Lillie Langtry
Lillie Langtry

I love timelines. I like being able to see events in relation to each other. I’d like it even better if there were three dimensions to a timeline, but I’m satisfied with two.

As I was organizing a lot of the material I’ve gathered (and you gathered) about 1883, it occured to me that there might be an easier way to put together a timeline, and I did a search which brought me to the wondrous XTimeline.  I prompty spent an hour inputting about half of what I have, and now I’m all woozy headed in my enthusiasm.  Here’s my 1883 Manhattan-centric timeline. Note that the timeline moves horizontally (the slider is at the bottom of the timeline and not at the right hand side, as usual). You can look at it in two different formats (buttons at upper right).

If you have any interest in adding bits and pieces, you just have to register (no cost) and let me know, and I’ll give you access. If you participated in the giveaway a few weeks ago (you can see that here), you know what I’m looking for.  What would be especially great would be events relating to women’s history, birth control (advances, court cases, etc), social events, and public health. I need to start putting in what I have about epidemics and illness and medical training.  Any suggestions very welcome.

roses in march

In 1883, Easter fell on March 25.  On the east coast the weather is unpredictable  at that time of year; it can be balmy or miserable, and has been both.  According to the The Sun, one of the many daily newspapers printed in Manhattan during this period, it was a beautiful sunny day (“A sky and a temperature in keeping with the season.”). The Sun goes into detail: What women were wearing, how churches were decorated, who was singing what in which ceremonies, and of course, who gave the sermons.

Charitable events were also documented, and a few oddities jump out there:

At the Five Points Mission there was no dinner. The old rule of giving meals only on working days was adhered to, but on Tuesday next colored eggs will be added to the regular bill of far in honor of Easter.

And then this interesting tidbit:

Three hundred young voices united in singing Easter songs at the Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers at 40 New Bowery yesterday afternoon [Easter Sunday].

If I made up the name The Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers, I would be the object of scoffing.

Flowers seem to have been everywhere. The ones mentioned most often: violets, lilies, roses, and smilax (a type of greenery somewhat like holly).  As I was reading all this I could imagine it quite clearly, and then the question came to me: roses in March?

Clearly, there must have been greenhouses and gardeners who supplied out of season flowers. There’s no other explanation for  roses in March. I had assumed the normal flowers of the season — lily of the valley, crocus, daffodils.  The roses took me by surprise (and come to think of it, the lilies, too). Now I’m all curious about professional gardening, where the greenhouses were, and how all these flowers were transported.  But I won’t go searching for this information. Nope, I won’t. I am making a vow because you know, really, that’s not relevant to the story. Unless of course I can fit in a character who is in fact a gardener…