by Jeanne Gehret

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Writing the Anthony saga requires gathering and sifting through a lot of historical tidbits. And that requires organization! After the holidays I got bitten by the decluttering bug, resulting in a massive cleanup effort in my office. The removal of some furniture gave me a new view of my beloved books, plus some favorite objects in purple, the color of suffrage.

My Favorite Thing

But I awarded pride of place (the spot above my desk) to my timeline, which records important events in the Anthonys life from 1783 to 1950. The first date in the Anthony saga marks the birth of Lucy Anthony (Susan and D.R.’s mother), while the last reflects the death of D.R.’s daughter Maude.

In between lie other births and deaths, important Civil War battles, dates of significant technological advances (completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869), and events of great personal consequence to the Anthonys. These include the evening when D.R. was shot in the neck and the day Susan was arrested for voting.

Displaying my timeline gives me fresh inspiration every time I walk into the room, making it easier to write. (Less hunting for facts.)

What’s happening with Book Two in the Anthony saga?

For the second novel in my series, I marked off an eight-year period from 1864 -1872. Looking at all the events in that timespan made me wonder how I can ever fit them all into one book. I’ll have to include at least one of D.R.’s gunfights, his arrest and acquittal just before the birth of his daughter, Susan’s first trip to Kansas, and Annie’s adjustment to her new home. I love it!

Readers are asking for a progress report on my Anthony saga. I’m happy to respond that the rough draft is about one-third complete. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing plenty of fascinating tidbits ranging from christening gowns to newspaper tycoons to feuds among Leavenworth’s editors.

Want to help with research?

If you can recommend a website about upper-class women’s education in 19th-century America, I’d love to have a link. Not 18th-century or middle-class, and not in England. To reach me, scroll down to the very bottom of this page and “Leave a Reply.” Thanks!

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