Author Tessa Dare is no stranger to the research necessary for historical romance. In addition to her "Pros on Prose" article on the topic in June's RT, Dare shares her top six historical research websites!
In this month’s issue, I contributed a “Pros on Prose” article about the joys and struggles of research when writing historical romance. There are many wonderful resources available online, including historical archives and entire libraries of scanned texts.
If you’re interested in researching early 19th century England, here are a few of my favorite starting places:
The Regency Encyclopedia: This is a vast database of Regency information, including thousands of maps and fashion images. All the information is scrupulously cited from the original sources, indexed by subject, and searchable by keyword.It was created and maintained by a few devoted fans of Jane Austen, and is only accessible by password — but, the site’s generous creators have provided a free login just for RT readers. Enjoy! ( ID: RTReader PW: ReadSmarter - Both are case sensitive! )
The Georgian Index: This site is a treasure trove of engaging, informative articles on many aspects of Georgian and Regency-era life, including clothing, transportation, and popular sports and pastimes. Be sure to check the Site Index for a full listing of topics included.
British Titles of the Nobility: When I was just starting out, I struggled to grasp the whole system of titles. What’s the difference between a baron and a baronet? Which takes precedence, an earl or a viscount? Is a marquess’s younger son addressed as “sir” or “my lord”? This site provides clear explanations and invaluable charts, and I’ve referred to it time and again.
1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: Looking to spice up your manuscript with some colorful curses and historical slang? Need to know the difference between an “abbess” and an “abigail”? (And the difference is great indeed.) Look no further. This 1811 lexicon by Francis Grose is great fun to browse and endlessly useful.
Cary’s Map of London, 1818 and Greenwood’s Map of London, 1827: Avid readers of historical romance quickly become familiar with the names of popular locations. But just where is this posh neighborhood of Mayfair, anyway? Could the hero easily walk from Covent Garden to St. Paul’s? This scanned, highly detailed maps of London were drawn to scale, and depict street names, parks, churches, bridges, and other landmarks.