December 3rd, 2007

Viking Spongebob

Old Newspaper Stories

There are times when I really regret being into early period reenactment, especially when I'm doing the research for a book set in a near-contemporary period. The sources are so available--well, except for the two books in norwegian that I can't get hold of--and understandable--except for the two books, &c.--and profuse. Right now, a bunch of Scadians arguing on one list about how ring belts are period; if you make such a statement about the 1890s, you'd just have to go to the Sears catalog to see that they were blowing smoke out of their puffy Rus pants.

So I have nearly a day-by-day timeline of Captain Andersen's trip across the Atlantic, gleaned from any number of contemporary newspapers, and I have had the additional pleasure of looking at century-old ads, funky illustrations and the occasional gem: In the New Orleans Picayune of 1893, an author writes about the announcement of a Muslim cleric in New Orleans who had just announced that women did have souls (the Koran proved it) and who then argued that George Washington was a Muslim. For some reason, this just made me laugh.

In defense of the cleric, Washington at least never named any of his mules Mohomet...