References for Kate

Via Twitter, Kate asked:

What are your go-to references for historical accuracy in fashion, politics, social interaction, etc?

Most readers and writers are familiar with the obvious sources, so I’m going to list a few that might not immediately come to mind:

*Instagram. I’ve only been Instagramming for about a year, but I’ve found a few accounts that have really informative and lovely posts on period fashion, mourning jewelry, taxidermy, butterflies, and London history. The accounts all list sources, so it’s easy to make the leap from the photos to more detailed information. Favorite account: The Corseted Beauty

*Children’s nonfiction books. When I am first digging into a subject, I will often hit up the kids’ section of the library. The nonfiction area is a great place to get an introduction to a subject. The authors strip out the extraneous details and focus on the essentials. From there, it’s easy to figure out what angles you need to pursue.

*Wikipedia. I know. Everybody likes to slag Wikipedia, and of course you have to be careful. However. The articles on wiki offer a quick introduction, and the printable and book options allow you to assemble a general guide to a subject quite handily. The best part is that the foot of each article includes references for more in-depth research including official websites, periodical links, interviews, etc.

*Archives. From Parliamentary reports to newspaper stories, LOADS of things from the Victorian age have been uploaded to digital archives. Some require a subscription fee, but others are entirely free and full of information. Favorite: British Newspaper Archive

Bonus: for all things related to British aristocrats, Debrett’s Essential Guide to the Peerage.