Life in the Past Lane

Official blog of award-winning romantic historical and military fiction author Jessica James

Words from the heart during the Civil War

I couldn't let Valentine's Day approach and not write something on the art of letter writing, which was so important during the Civil War.Eloquently written love letters were part of Victorian era courtship and continued through a couple’s marriage. Today, no form of...

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Civil War hospital contains diary on walls

I always get excited when I’m invited to a historic venue for a book signing, and could not be more pleased to be attending a Civil War author Meet and Greet at Historic Blenheim in Fairfax, Va., on Feb. 21.I don't know about anyone else, but I had never heard about...

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What a difference a hundred years makes

This is basically an email I received, but I thought it was worth sharing to show how different life is now from a mere 100 years ago. For instance, did you know that in 1909 the average life expectancy was 47 years?Other things that were different 100 years ago...

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Sidesaddle soldiers part of Civil War past

Many readers of Shades of Gray have said they didn't know women took such an active role in the Civil War. There are actually many documented cases of women dressing as men and taking part in the fighting. I had never heard, however, that there was an entire cavalry...

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Today in history ‘Burnside’s Quagmire’

"The auspicious moment seems to have arrived to strike a great and mortal blow to the rebellion, and to gain that decisive victory which is due to the country." - General Ambrose Burnside to his Union Army of the Potomac, just before getting stuck in the mudJanuary...

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Birthday of Confederate hero Robert E. Lee

"Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less." - Robert E. LeeJan. 19, marks two great historic events. First, it is the anniversary of the publication of my historical fiction novel Shades of Gray, and second it is the 202nd...

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The tradition & history of Inaugural balls

"Never have so many paid so much to dance so little."- Lyndon B. Johnson, about the overcrowded 1965 ballsOur president-elect plans to attend 10 Inaugural balls. Do you know when the first Inaugural ball was held? Visit my blog to find out.

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Inaugural balls have long tradition

Like many of the traditions that go along with the Inauguration of a new president, I found that Inaugural balls have quite a history.The first Inaugural ball traces its roots to New York City on May 7, 1789, one week after the Inauguration of George Washington. But...

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Presidential inaugurations: A look back

Since we are one week away from a historic Presidential Inauguration, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the customs and history of Inauguration Day. Rather than go into all the background, I've picked out a few odds and ends that I found interesting...

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Winter Wonderland in Gettysburg

Just wanted to add one photo of the Winter Wonderland in Pennsylvania (and all over the Northeast) that I missed putting on my blog.The camera lens doesn't quite capture the sparkling beauty of the landscape, but it gives those in warmer climates at least an idea of...

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