Monday, August 13, 2018

Kate Warne- First Female P.I.

Not much is known about Kate Warne prior to the day she walked into the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1856.

Answering an ad in a local newspaper, Warne went to Pinkerton's Chicago office and asked to see Allan Pinkerton about a job. There is still debate whether or not she intended to become a detective or a secretary. There were no women detectives until well after the Civil War. Pinkerton himself claimed that she demanded to become a detective.
According to Pinkerton's records, he was surprised to learn Kate was not looking for clerical work, but was actually answering an advertisement for detectives he had placed in a Chicago newspaper. Pinkerton said, 'It is not the custom to employ women detectives.' Kate argued eloquently that women could be 'most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective.' A woman would be able to befriend the wives and girlfriends of suspected criminals and gain their confidence.
Her argument impressed Pinkerton and on August 23, 1856, he employed Kate Warne, over the strong objections of his brother Robert who was also his partner in the business. According to Pinkerton family history, Allan was smitten with the woman; she became his mistress and traveled with him. (He had a wife and children at home.) This caused problems when his brother questioned some of the expenses she turned in to the agency.
Thus, Warne became the first female private detective in the United States. Moreover, Pinkerton soon hired other females. Their ranks grew, Kate having shown Pinkerton their intrinsic value to his organization, and he appointed Warne Supervisor of Female Detectives.
Warne became a very good private investigator and acted undercover, infiltrating social events and gathering information no man could have obtained. She wore disguises, changed her accent at will and became a huge asset to the Agency.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Please use caution when running at night

Jogging can be very dangerous... even at low speeds. 
Please use caution when you decide to be an idiot.

Here is my true story... In a successful attempt to avoid our children, my sister and I decided to go eat delicious Mexican food. After sharing a scrumptious plate of carnitas tacos, we did some light shopping before arriving home around 8pm. The sun was starting to set, but I felt like a 3-mile run would be the perfect way to end a wonderful day.

I threw on my running clothes, put my music on, and I started running down the asphalt road. While I was jogging (and I use that term loosely), I started outlining a book that I am collaborating with many other fantastic authors. After achieving a speedy 10 minute mile average, I had just started the final leg of my jog when a pothole came out from nowhere. Sadly, my ankle was not having it and gave out on me. 

As I sat on the side of the road, a nice older man offered to give me a ride home. Yes, I had to accept a ride from a stranger; Yes, I went to the emergency room because I thought I had broken my ankle again. (Yes, again)  

 Luckily, it is only a sprain, but I learned a few life lessons:

1.  Do not start a run when it is already dark outside 

     2.  While running on neglected city streets, do not start acting out scenes in your head


  3. Wearing flimsy running shorts to an emergency room might not be the best choice in wardrobe selection

4. It might be best for me to bring along a partner when jog because I appear to be accident prone. Perhaps I should request an ambulance to trail behind me

5. The nurse at the ER told me that I am not a "young buck" anymore and I should develop a new workout strategy. (Maybe liposuction????)


Monday, July 16, 2018

A Cheat Sheet for Regency Era Carriage Types

Are you trying to keep track of all the wide varieties of conveyances used in the Regency Era. If so, this cheat sheet should help you immensely. My list is complied of the most commonly used carriage types. Enjoy!

Regency Era Carriage Types Cheat Sheet

Buggy light, un-hooded, one-horsed vehicles with two wheels– carried a single passenger.

Carriages- A carriage usually refers to any private, four-wheeled passenger vehicle drawn by two or more horses.

Cart- Typically a two-wheeled wagon with no suspension, a cart was maneuverable and drawn by a single horse. It was a general-purpose trade or farm vehicle.


A chaise was a pleasure or traveling carriage that was usually open and low with four wheels and drawn by one or two ponies. Often referred to as “a yellow bounder”, a hired Post Chaise were always painted bright yellow and a postillion riding one of the rented horses controlled the vehicle.

Regency Era Carriage: coach


Coaches were stately carriages with four wheels and windows on all sides. The curved underbody and seating for four passengers were also characteristic. A Town Coach was massive and often drawn by up to six horses and usually sported a coat of arms painted on the doors.

Regency Era Carriage: curricle


Curricles were light, two-wheeled vehicles pulled by a pair of horses that were used for short trips. This was the only two-wheeled vehicle to be drawn by a pair of horses and a steel bar, attached with pads to the horses’ backs, supported the weight of the pole.


Regency Era Carriage: coach


Gigs were light, two-wheeled, one-horsed vehicles for two passengers. This was the most common vehicle on the road.


Now for Specific Vehicles Names:

Regency Era Carriage: barouche


The barouche had a collapsible hood over the back and was considered a summer vehicle used for driving in the great parks. It was drawn by a pair of high quality horses to complement the expensive and fashionable vehicle.



These were coaches or carriages for hire. The name comes from the French term haquenée meaning horse for hire. Often these coaches had been discarded by the nobility and were looked down upon because of their shabby, dirty interiors.


A landau was a four-wheeled carriage with a folding two-part hood. The front and rear halves could be raised and lowered independently.

Mail CoachRegency Era Carriage: mailcoach

The official mail coaches, which followed fixed routes, carried mail and passengers to specific coaching inns and followed a strict schedule. Usually pulled by six horses changed out at regular post stops, these coaches could therefore run all the way.

PhaetonRegency Era Carriage: phaeton

A phaeton refers to a light and usually low-slung, four-wheeled open carriage drawn by a pair of horses. 



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gambling in Regency England

Many romances set in Regency England often depict the characters gambling and engaging in high-stakes betting. In general, Regency gentlemen wagered on a wider range of activities including cards, dice, horse races, cock fights… well, pretty much anything.

Some of the most famous gentlemen’s clubs of London included White’s, Brook’s, The Cocoa Tree and Almack’s, and were often referred to as ‘golden halls’.  (Fun side note: Men’s clubs for the lower classes were called ‘copper hells’.)


Card games were an acceptable pastime for both sexes at private parties and assemblies. For the most part, these games were meant to entertain but some gentlemen sought out more disreputable ‘gaming hells’ to satisfy their addiction. Great fortunes were won and lost at the gaming tables during this time period. 
Lucky for you, I compiled a list of the most common games played in the Regency period. Enjoy!

Card Games:

Whist- The precursor of today’s Contract Bridge, was one of the period’s most popular card games. The game requires four players, playing in partners. A trump suit is chosen and tricks are won. In Whist, strategy improves the player’s ability to win, so a poor player is a great frustration to a more skilled partner.

Piquet-  It is played by two players and has a complicated scoring system and possibilities of huge bonus points. Skill, strategy, and memory for cards are all very important for success in Piquet.

Loo- In its five card version, a permanent high trump is selected, called “Pam.” Like whist, the players play for tricks, but at the beginning of the hand, they may choose to play, fold, or pick up and play an extra hand dealt, called a “miss.” A player who wins no tricks is “looed.”

Vingt-et-un- Is essentially today’s game of Twenty-One. Each player tries to beat the dealer by earning twenty-one points or reaching a higher number of points without exceeding twenty-one.

Games of Chance:

Faro- is not really a card game but a game of chance using cards. It is played at a green baize table displaying pictures of playing cards. The player bets on whether a certain card will be dealt from a special wooden box.

Hazard- Is a dice game. The player must roll a certain number on the dice. There is some strategy involved in which numbers the player selects to roll, but Hazard is essentially a game of chance.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Doctors in the Regency Era

I bet you didn’t realize that there were several types of doctors in the Regency Era. There were physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, and midwives/accouchers. The type of doctor they were determined what they practiced and their place in society.

Physicians- The highest rung on the social ladder
During the early 1800’s, physicians were regarded as gentleman because of their extra schooling and lack of apprenticeship. These men avoided any manual labor that was associated with their profession and spent most of their time diagnosing patients and writing prescriptions.

In turn, physicians were well received by the families they treated and often were invited to social events. If they dined with the families, they would eat with them as a guest of honor.
Physicians were the only qualified doctor to use the title of “Doctor”. (Surgeons and apothecaries were addressed as “Mister”.)


Surgeons occupied a lower rung on the ladder due to their lack of schooling. They learned their trade from an older doctor and basically learned on the job. They preferred surgeries but treated common ailments of ordinary people.


Apothecaries was considered a trade and ranked even lower on the social scale. They went through an apprenticeship to learn how to make drugs and poultices. In most rural areas, they were known to act as surgeons as well, making house calls and treating patients. But largely, they mixed drugs, dispensed them, and trained apprentices.

Midwives / Accouchers
In the early 1800’s, women often turned to midwives to help deliver their babies since midwives often had a higher survival rate than the doctors and surgeons of their time. (This was because midwives would wash their hands between their patients)

During the Regency period, the aristocracy started employing accouchers, which were male doctors who specialized in the childbirth from conception to delivery.