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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Regency Servants

by guest blogger, Arietta Richmond
In my books, I strive for good historical accuracy (allowing for a little artistic license here and there), and one of the challenges at the start was making sure that I got the names of things right--things that don’t really exist today.  One of the things is the plethora of servant roles. 

What were all those servants called????

Any story set in the Regency period will, of necessity, feature lots of servants – because the nobility / aristocracy of the time had huge numbers of servants.  Having servants was not simply ostentation – it was actually a requirement of having a title or a lot of wealth – all of those servant roles were the main employment of the era – it was a wealthy person’s responsibility to keeping the economy of the country afloat, to employ as many people as possible.

But from our point of view toady, it seems a bit overwhelming, and confusing – who did what? What were the names of each of those roles? (and note – names of things back then did not have to be politically correct – they were gendered, and to the point.)

So – here is a glossary of servant roles in the Regency period.

In the house


The senior servant in the house, responsible for oversight of all other male servants (except in some cases, where a Lord might have a steward who was responsible for all of their estates, in which case the Butler also answered to the Steward, as the Butler was only for a single house). Butlers also were not necessarily responsible for managing tutors, who might come in each day just to teach.  Responsible for making everything run smoothly, for the security of the silverware and other valuables, and for the quality of service.


The senior female servant in the House, responsible for oversight of all other female staff (except for the Companion or Governess, if there is one). Responsible for ensuring that the linens, draperies etc are maintained in good order, that the rooms are cleaned as needed, that the items needed for the kitchens (as specified by the Cook) are available, and that the female servants are cared for and protected from abuse.

Cook / Chef

Responsible for the kitchen for that establishment. Manages the scullery maids and any kitchen boys. Responsible for food ordering, and for planning menus, in consultation with the mistress of the house and the housekeeper. Also manages the storage of food and avoids waste.  In a big house, there may be second cooks, who answer to the senior cook.

Scullery maids

Work in the kitchen, under the Cook’s direction. Scrub benches, tables, pots and keep things clean, also may be called upon to cut up food and help with other prep work.

Kitchen Boys

Do the dirty work in the kitchens – keep the fires going, cart coal or wood, cart away the rubbish, take the food scraps out to the compost heap. Turn the spit if there is a spit to cook whole animals, carry water where there is no running water.

House maids

Responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy. Each maid will be allocated certain rooms to keep clean – dust and mess free, with everything in its place, and making sure that there is always coal in the coal scuttle beside each fire place, ready to go. The larger the house, and the wealthier the owner, the smaller number of rooms that each maid will likely have to look after, and the more maids there will be.

Ladies maids

Generally, each lady living in the house would have a dedicated Lady’s maid, to help her dress, to do her hair, and generally to look after her in any way that was needed.  Sometimes, two sisters might share a maid. The maid was expected to have sewing / clothing repair skills, cleaning skills, hairdressing skills, skill with cosmetics and more.

The Lady’s maid was the top of the hierarchy of maids, with greater privileges, including often receiving her mistresses cast off dresses – which, even when they were ‘too old and unfashionable’ for the Lady, could easily be reworked into higher quality dresses than the maid might ever have otherwise.


Footmen were the ubiquitous method of getting anything done.  They might be tasked with staying in the foyer, ready to open the door, or might each have a section of the house where they simply waited in the halls, ready to run errands or do whatever was needed.  There was a hierarchy here as well – some tasks were more desirable than others. Footmen might also accompany a lady when she went shopping, ready to carry her parcels. Pretty much any time that someone pulled the bell rope to summon a servant to get something done, the one who answered was a footman, even if the task then required action by someone else.


If the household had young children, there was usually a nanny. The Nanny was the senior childcare servant and might have nursery maids to help her – the more children, the more nursery maids. The nanny was also usually responsible for the children’s first, very basic, education – in manners, and in simple reading and numbers.

Nursery maid

Nursery maids did the tedious bits of childcare – from changing nappies, to being the one up at all hours of the night, to providing entertainment for teething children. They took children out for walks in the park (note, early baby carriages barely existed yet, so often they carried the children), and amused the children. They also had to deal with washing all of those nappies….


The Valet, like the Lady’s maid, was a role with status.  The valet was the gentleman’s personal servant, responsible for helping him dress, caring for his clothes, shaving him, polishing his boots and more.  A good valet could tie a perfect cravat in multiple styles and could dress a man’s hair in the fashion of the day. He was also likely to receive the gentleman’s cast off clothes, and was expected to be very discreet about the gentleman’s day to day affairs, which he was almost always aware of.


A Governess was employed to teach younger children – usually girls, but sometimes also very young boys. A Governess was an odd position, hallway between a normal servant, and a gently born lady. Often, women of the upper classes, whose families had fallen on hard times, would take employment as a governess. It was regarded as one of the only acceptable roles for a well born lady, if she had to work. The governess taught young girls manners, ladylike skills (painting, music, singing, dancing, languages and more) and prepared them for their role in society.


A Companion was employed to keep an older woman, or a single woman, company – this provided a layer of propriety, as well as giving an older widow (for example) someone to talk to, in their daily life. Companions, like governesses, were in that grey area between servant and the nobly born. They were often from good families fallen on hard times, or they were distant cousins from the poor side of the family.


A Tutor was employed to teach boys, before they reached the age where they were sent off to boarding schools. The Tutor taught languages, maths, science and potentially other subjects which were regarded as suitable for boys. Like governesses, tutors might be of gentle birth, but from a poorer family, but they might also be from a commoner family, but be  a man who had done well for himself and become learned. They might live with the family, or come in each day to teach, and live elsewhere.

In the stables / outside the house

Stable master

The Stable master was responsible for all staff based in the stable area. He was also responsible for ensuring that the horses, carriages and equipment were maintained in excellent condition. He was responsible for ordering feed supplies and making certain that the quality received was good.


A groom looks after horses.  That means ensuring that they are fed and watered correctly, that they are groomed (brushed, washed if needed etc), that they are shod (the groom takes them to the farrier, who, in a small town, may also be the blacksmith), that their feet are cleaned out and kept in good condition, that they are brought to wherever the owner needs them, that they are walked to cool down after working and more.  Each groom may be responsible for one or more horses, depending on the scale of the establishment.  Grooms also rode and were responsible for keeping the horses exercised if the owner did not use them often. (A horse not exercise becomes bored, and often then fractious when next ridden). When ladies went out for a ride, a groom would accompany them – for propriety, and to help them if needed.  Many women could not mount up onto a sidesaddle without a mounting bloc or a hand up from a groom.


Stablehands did the dirty work of the stables (although the worst of it was often left to the stableboys, if there were any working there.).  This includes cleaning out the stalls, carting the manure away to the manure pile, laying fresh straw, hauling large amounts of hay in and out of the hayloft, lugging bags of grain about, cleaning harness, saddles etc, washing saddlecloths and horse rugs, cleaning and polishing carriages and generally helping to get everything done. They rarely, if ever, rode.


Stableboys were the bottom of the pecking order in the stables.  They were usually young, and hoping to move up over time (a bit like an apprenticeship). They got the worst jobs of the lots – whatever the grooms and stablehands didn’t want to do. They were the ones who got to stand out in the cold, waiting for the master to come home, so that they could be there to take his horse, they got to shovel the manure pile onto the waste cart when it came to collect it, and to be up first in the cold winter mornings, to break the ice on water troughs etc.


A Tiger was a young boy, fairly small, who went with the Lord when he was using a carriage which he drove himself.  The boy travelled on a small step or seat on the rear of the carriage and was therefore available when the Lord stopped somewhere to jump down and hold the horses. Tigers often learnt to drive the carriages, so that they could move them if needed while the owner was off doing whatever he had come to do.


The coachman drove the carriages. This was a well respected position, requiring considerable skill, especially for the larger vehicles.  If a family was wealthy, they might have many carriages, and a number of coachmen, one of whom would be the senior one and who would manage the others. The coachman was responsible for ensuring that the coaches were well maintained and that the carriage horses were well cared for by the other stable staff.


If the Lord chose to breed horses, he would have a Studmaster, who was responsible for all breeding related activities on the Lord’s estates. This included choosing horses to buy, choosing which mares to breed to which stallion, overseeing the breaking to saddle of the horses, overseeing the choice of which foals to sell and which to keep and more.


A farrier specialises in making horse shoes and fitting them to horses, as well as in the science of trimming and shaping the horses hoof so that the horse is comfortable, and his stride is also smoother for the rider. Farriers also often dealt with the necessary horse dentistry. In small towns, the blacksmith might also be the farrier. In a larger town they would be separate.  A lord with a very large estate and lots of horses might employ his own farrier.

Estate manager

A Lord might have an estate manager, who managed a single country estate for him. Occasionally, the estate manager might manage more than one property, but generally the steward did that, overseeing estate managers on each location. The estate manager was responsible for ensuring that the property was well run, the tenants cottages well cared for, the farms well run, and the harvests profitable.


Every estate or house (even London townhouses which had smallish gardens) had at least one gardener, usually more. The gardeners not only cared for the formal gardens of ‘pretty flowers’ but they cared for the kitchen gardens, which provided much of the fresh produce used by each household, and for the herb and scent gardens, which provided the herbs for cooking, healing and providing pleasant scents (like lavender to put in a lady’s dressing room, to keep her clothes smelling good). There was a hierarchy of gardeners – a head gardener, and others that he managed.


A Groundsman had a wider remit than a gardener. He might also be responsible (mainly on country estates) for the state of the gravel on the driveway, the state of fences, of gates and of other structures, as well as coordinating any forestry activity required.


On large country estates, the driveway might be long – often, a small cottage was built near the gate, and a gatekeeper employed to live there, and open and close the gates as required.



Jarvey was a term for a man who drove a hackney cab. It was also sometimes used to indicate any coachman who drove a hired coach.


A Doorman was a servant employed at establishments such as gentleman’s clubs, to mind the door, welcome approved guests, and turn away those not welcome.


An Usher was a role performed at large functions, where there were many guests (such as at a large Ball). There might be a person employed just for that, but it was more likely that a footman was appointed to the task for the event. The Usher announced the guests to the people already present, as they entered the room.

Messenger boy

Messengers were everywhere. With no telephones, and no way to communicate other then in writing, huge numbers of short letters were sent every day. Within cities, there were children who earned their living delivering messages for people of all stations.  Whilst an aristocratic family might send one of their own footmen with a message, others had no choice but to use whatever messenger boy they could find, lurking about in hope of work.

Crossing sweeper

Because of the literally hundreds of thousands of horses in London (carriages, ridden, pulling delivery carts etc etc), the streets were perpetually littered with manure, among other rubbish. In areas where the wealthy went to shop, or go to the theatre etc, there were enterprising urchins who made brooms out of straw and sticks, and who swept the road in front of the pedestrians, in exchange for a coin. This allowed the wealthy to keep their shoes and hems clean. In winter, when there was snow, the snow rapidly became filthy, and crossing sweepers did a good trade.


The Steward was a very high ranking man within the Lord’s employ. He managed all of the Lord’s estates as an entity, making sure that the Lord’s holdings were profitable overall, and that resources were used where needed, to balance out any issues that might occur in a single location. He generally worked closely with the Lord’s man of business.

Man of Business

The Lord’s man of business was similar to your family Solicitor or Lawyer today. He kept legal records for the Lord, assisted with investment and banking, drew up contracts, dealt with any legal issues and more. He was usually very trusted and had the deepest knowledge of the actual state of the Lord’s accounts.


Modistes were the highly expensive upper-class version of a seamstress – the equivalent of French haute couture brands today. Generally, they ran a business, and created gowns for multiple clients (gentleman’s outfitters were a separate thing). Occasionally, a wealthy lady might employ a modiste exclusively, but that was rare.

Names never to be used


This is not a job title from the era! It is a male attendant at a twentieth century or later wedding, but has nothing to do with Regency (or horses).


This is a modern, gender neutral term that we use for people performing service roles at events etc now. It is not a term that was ever used in that way in the Regency era. Job roles then were very gendered, and this was not a term used in that way.


This is not a specific job role. Servant is a generic term for anyone in service. So using it to describe a person in a Lord’s household tells you nothing about what they do – use the specific terms instead.

I hope that you found that interesting (and useful).  If you’d like to try my books, my latest release is ‘Betting on a Lady’s Heart’, Book 14 in the His Majesty’s Hounds Series ( ) and you can find out about all of my books on my amazon author page ( ) and on my website ( )

A Viscount who gambles, a wealthy merchant’s daughter, an Earl in need of funds, an unhappy stepmother, betrayals and deceptions, a love that overcomes all.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Book of Hours

While researching the early sixteenth century in England for my novel, Fire of the Word, I discovered an intriguing Medieval devotional book, called “The Book of Hours.” These books were usually written in Latin and beautifully illuminated with pictures depicting various Biblical scenes. They were made to be used by lay people who wished to incorporate the worship of the monks and nuns cloistered away from the world, and included psalms and prayers and biblical texts from the four Gospels about Christ. They were intended to be used for spiritual devotion at various times of the day. The books also included other things, like a calendar of feasts and saints days. 
Books were extremely rare during that time period, and a Book of Hours might be the only book in the house. It could be used to teach children to read. They could be commissioned and personalized for a particular owner, or also purchased, with extra pages to include items that had special meaning. Large margins enabled the owner to write notes, or keep personal records of major life events such as marriages, births and deaths. The books could even be added to over time.With the arrival of the printing press in the late 1400’s, more and more people could own a Book of Hours. After that, only the wealthy commissioned the custom-made books that might even include their own portraits.

This Book of Hours was owned by Anne Boleyn. Her book was highly personalized, and one can get a sense of the things that she valued by viewing it. Interestingly, it even contained hand-written messages exchanged between Anne and Henry VIII. Writing in Latin at the bottom of a page depicting the passion of Christ, Henry wrote to Anne: “If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. Forever.”
At the bottom of the page showing the Annunciation, Anne wrote to Henry: “Be daily prove ye shall find me to be to you both loving and kind.”
These books remind me of our modern journals. I wondered about the process of making these books. Who were the individuals who so painstakingly wrote the words with a quill pen made from the feathers of a goose or a swan? What hand drew the outline of the artwork, applying the gold leaf that made the illuminations sparkle and glow, and then applied the rich colors of the tempura paint? Surely it was done out of great devotion and love. These precious books became family treasures, often given as gifts and passed to posterity.

About the Author:
Carol Pratt Bradley is a historical novelist with an MFA in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She has three novels from WiDo Publishing:

Light of the Candle 2015
Fire of the Word 2016
Waiting for the Light 2017

Available on Amazon and WiDo Publishing's website

Friday, August 10, 2018

Regency Mourning Practices

by Donna Hatch

Mourning customs in the Regency Era were less rigid than in the Victorian Era. Excessively strict mourning rules we often encounter in historical novels came into practice after Queen Victoria’s beloved husband died -- she wouldn’t give up her black mourning clothes and turned mourning into a firmly followed rule of propriety. Her subjects used her example to springboard their own mourning customs. Keep in mind that these are not LAWS for mourning. Any display of mourning was done at a family's or person’s discretion. However, there were social norms, that, if not followed, might raise some eyebrows.

In the excellent book, The Rise of the Egalitarian Family, Trumbach gives the following data for mourning periods:
12 months for a husband or wife
6 months for parents or parents in-law
3 months for a sister or brother, uncle or aunt
6 weeks for a sister-in-law or uncle or aunt (no explanation for the duplication here so perhaps it had to do with the closeness or lack of same
3 weeks - uncle or aunt, aunt who remarried, first cousin
2 weeks - first cousin (and whether they were close or not?)
1 week - first and second cousin, and husband or stepmother’s sister.

Trumbach says there was usually a designated female who kept up the family tree and ordained the degree of mourning required for the dearly (or not so dearly) departed.

Bombazine and crepe were typical fabrics used for clothing of deep mourning. Crepe was a lightweight black silk, while bombazine was a medium-weight silk and wool blend. Over time, shinier fabrics emerged for appropriate evening wear while in mourning. The less wealthy simply took apart their clothes, dyed them black, then re-sewed them.

Mourning--or lack hereof--could also be used as an opportunity to get back at someone you disliked by cutting down on the time or style of one’s mourning.

Customarily, the widow would be in black for the first six months, and then in half mourning for the next six months. White, grey, and even lavender were suitable for half mourning. Again these are ideals, and not everyone observed them. Ackermann’s had a half mourning dress in a 1819 issue that was all white. Lavender is not mentioned in this issue, but it was commonly accepted as an appropriate half-mourning costume. On one blog I visited, I saw mention that there were some fashions circa 1811 of someone wearing scarlet for mourning, but "scarlet," is not only red in color; was also used to describe any brightly-dyed, plain-woven woolen fabric.

I found this: "February 1811 For the Promenade, cloaks in Scarlet merino or grey cloth, black velvet pelisses, lined with grey sarsenet, wrapped plain in tippets; Spanish hats in velvet, or cottage bonnets in black, grey, or scarlet cloth." I can only assume in this instance, the term means the way it was dyed, rather than the color red. 

In March 1811, La Belle Assemblee Ladies Magazine said that scarlet mantels were worn during mourning, and generally succeeded by short pelisses of purple velvet. Ladies Monthly Museum didn't have any mention of scarlet. I find it hard to believe any bright color, scarlet or otherwise, was an acceptable mourning color but who knows?

A bride would never wear mourning colors to her own wedding. A new bride was not supposed to be in mourning at all; though if her parents had recently died she might wear black or more sober clothes for a period, especially as brides were not supposed to go out socializing for a month after their wedding. Also, keep in mind that communication and travel were both slow, so the family may choose not to tell a bride on her honeymoon out of a desire not to ruin her wedded bliss, and because it was unlikely she could arrive home in a timely manner. Also remember, mourning during the Regency was an individual and family-dictated observance.

Julia Johnstone (before she was ruined and became a courtesan) had her court presentation and her debut in society not long after her father died, so clearly the world didn’t simply stop for people who were in mourning. However, while in full mourning, the family of the deceased typically avoided formal entertainment such as balls and large dinner parties. They were expected to limit social obligations to necessities and church for a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

Upon his mother’s death in 1818, the Prince of Wales announced that he intended “to wear the longest mourning that ever son did for a mother...” and he actually limited the official mourning period for the people of England to six weeks. I'm sure his mother would have been moved. Ahem.

In mourning, men wore black armbands, black gloves, and some wore black cravats. Some wore all black while in mourning. There is no mention of half mourning attire for men, however there was mention of men wearing a white band or ribband (ribbon) on their hats to mourn a young girl in the family.

In The Workwoman's Guide by A Lady (pub. 1840, long before Q. Victoria went into mourning) it says military men wore black armbands below the elbow, not above, and that affluent families put their servants in mourning etc.

When notifying relatives of death, the announcement came trimmed in black. I have also heard of the family mailing black gloves along with the announcement of death.

A hatchment or a mourning wreath would be suspended over the front door of a deceased person's house for 6 to 12 months, after which it was moved to inside the parish church. The last recorded use of a hatchment I found was hung in a London street in 1928.

Widows were not supposed to dance or to go to the more frivolous and silly plays while wearing mourning. They were also not supposed to marry until a year had passed (to see if she were expecting the child of her former husband) to end any doubt about the identity of child’s father if she were found to be increasing. However, many did remarry prior to the year mark. This could cause a brief scandal but these were always forgotten after a time.

Widowers did not have the same reason for waiting a year to remarry, and if they had small children, widowers were forgiven and even expected to remarry soon.

There were no hard and fast rules about these things. It all depended on how the movers of society reacted. Men were criticized much less for such breach of propriety than women. What a surprise!

The length of public and court mourning was set out in a fixed manner. The Lord Chamberlain notified the Gazette as to what it would be. If anyone were invited to court during this time, they were also sent instructions as to what to wear.

I couldn’t find the official mourning proclamation for Princess Charlotte, but I did find this for the father of Queen Victoria, the Duke of Kent, who died in 1820:

Lord Chamberlain's Office, Jan. 25.
Orders for the Court's going into mourning, on Sunday next, the 30th instant, for his late royal highness the duke of Kent and Strathern, fourth son of his majesty, viz. The ladies to wear black azins, plain muslin or long lawn, crape hoods, chamois shoes and gloves, and crape fans. Undress.—Dark Norwich crape. The gentlemen to wear black cloth, without buttons on the sleeves or pockets, plain muslin or long lawn cravats and weepers, chamois shoes and gloves, crape hatbands, and black swords and buckles. Undress.—Dark gray frocks.

Herald's College, Jan. 25.
The deputy earl Marshal's order for a general mourning for his late royal highness the duke of Kent. In pursuance of the commands of his royal highness the Prince Regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty. These are to give public notice, that it is expected that upon the present melancholy occasion of the of his late royal highness Edward Duke of Kent and Strathern, fourth son of his majesty, all persons do put themselves into decent mourning, the said mourning to begin on Sunday next, the 30th instant. HENRY HOWARD - MOLYNEUX-HOWARD, Deputy Earl-Marshal.

Horse-Guards, Jan, 25. It is not required that the officers of the army should wear any other mourning on the present melancholy occasion than a black crape round their left arms with their uniforms. By command of his royal highness the commander-in-chief.
HARRY CALVERT, Adjutant-General.

Admiralty-Office, Jan. 25. His royal highness the Prince Regent does not require that the officers of his majesty's fleet or marines should wear any other mourning on the present melancholy occasion of the of his late royal highness the duke of Kent and Strathern, than a black crape round their arms with their uniforms. J. W. CHOKER

For more information on mourning clothing, I highly recommend The Jane Austen Centre.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pinkerton Agents - America 1800's

What does it take to be a Pinkerton Agent in the late 1800’s?  These agents need to be brave, strong, tender, and true. They were relentless, incorruptible, driven, persistent, dedicated, and trusted. They were responsible for catching many outlaws like Jesse James, the James-Younger Gang, the Dalton Brothers, Butch Cassidy & The Wild Bunch, to name a few. They were the ones who started detective agencies in the USA.

Kate Warne was the first female agent that Allan Pinkerton hired. In 1856, there was no such thing as a woman detective.  Allan Pinkerton almost didn’t hire her, but she argued her point, stating that women could be “most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective.”  (quote from Wikipedia) Kate reasoned that women would be able to make friends with wives, daughters, girlfriends of suspected criminals and get information better than a man could.

This is NOT Kate Warne. Just another Pinkerton Agent.

Learning about Kate Warne has opened several plot ideas about women detectives in 1800's America, and my mind is spinning with excitement. If you’ve read some of my books, you’ll know how I love a good suspense / mystery. 

Just recently, I have joined with 11 other authors who have formed a group about Pinkerton Agents. The series is called, “The Pinkerton Matchmaker”. The stories in this series will be released starting in October 2018.  So far I have two stories in this series: An Agent for Cecily, and An Agent for Evelyn. The authors who are part of this series are awesome writers and fun to work with.  If you love reading a good historical suspense / mystery romance, you'll need to join our reader's group on Facebook - 

Author’s Bio
 Marie Higgins is a best-selling author of Christian and sweet romance novels; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She has 51 heartwarming on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories and has broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her "Queen of Tease", because of all her twists and unexpected endings.
Visit her website to discover more about her –

·        Wikipedia / Kate Warne -

·        The History of Pinkerton -

Friday, August 3, 2018

When Your Town Needed a Library

The idea struck me, not long ago, to write a story about a town that wanted to build a library.
I wanted to set my tale in the early 1900’s, preferably in Texas, and so I started to research.
What did a town do to build a library? What did it cost? How did they afford it? And after only
a little digging, I discovered the history of public libraries in the United States.

Andrew Carnegie, National Archives

If you’re like me, when you hear the name Carnegie you mostly think of Carnegie Hall,
a historic theater in New York where you can attend shows by rockstars or grand orchestras.
Maybe you’ll actually think of Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest businessmen of the
19th century. After researching the history of the public library system, I now think of
Carnegie Libraries.

Say what you will about the wealthy tycoons of centuries past, but a great debt is owed
to Andrew Carnegie for the emphasis and importance he put on libraries.

As a young working man, Carnegie knew the importance of books. During his days as a
journalist, he entered the home of a Mr. Stokes. In this man’s home, Carnegie read the words,

“He that cannot reason is a fool,He that will not a bigot,He that dare not a slave.”

At that moment, Carnegie said he promised to himself, “Some day, some day, I’ll have a
library and these words shall grace the mantel as here.”

He actually contributed a lot of his own success to having access to a private library.

“The treasures of the world which books contain were opened to me at the right moment. The fundamental advantage of a library is that it gives nothing for nothing. Youths must acquire knowledge themselves.” - Andrew Carnegie.

The original Dunfermline, Scotland, Carnegie Library. Beautiful.

This man, when he became a person of power, took to philanthropic work in regards
to cultivating a love for the arts and academics. He opened his first library in his hometown,
Dunfermline, Scotland. Then his foundation opened 2,508 more.

That’s right. There were 2,509 Carnegie libraries in the world. Only 1,689 were built in
the United States of America, where I live. But there were libraries in the UK, Ireland, Canada,
Australia, South African, Serbia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Fiji.

Carnegie didn’t believe in giving something for nothing. He wrote, “ endowed institution
is liable to become the prey of a clique. The public ceases to take interest in it, or, rather,
never acquires interest in it.”

Carnegie came up with a formula for the building and endowment of libraries. If a small
town in the middle of nowhere wanted help building a public library, they could apply to
the Carnegie foundation and they were sent back what amounts to forms and paper interviews
with a list of questions and requirements. The town was required to show a need for a library
and that they would be able to maintain it after it was built. They also had to come up with
some of the funds, though there wasn’t a fixed amount. Perfect for my story.

Did you know that in the old days of libraries, if a patron wanted a book they would have to
ask a librarian to get it for them? People weren’t allowed to browse the stacks and find
whatever they wanted. Part of the reason you can wander library shelves freely today is
because Andrew Carnegie, ever the business man, instituted a new method in his
libraries - an open-shelf, self-service policy. It started in Pittsburgh and was so successful
he pretty much required it for the rest of them.

Carnegie libraries were also unique in that several of the larger ones had room specifically
for children’s books.

Tucson, Arizona Carnegie Library
Now a Children's Museum

So when I started digging in to small town libraries, I discovered that just about every
library built prior to 1930 was a Carnegie Library. Many of them are still in use today.
Some as libraries, but others as museums, community buildings, elementary schools,
and the like. The closest Carnegie Library to me is in Tucson, Arizona. It’s now in use
as a children’s museum. :-)


I’m still working on my Western American books. But I have several Regency-Era romances
available on Amazon. The Regency period is my first love, when it comes to historical novels,
but the growth of small towns in the United States is fast becoming a favorite place for me to play.

Links for Further Reading: 
Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, by Andrew Carnegie