Author Archives: Sharon Virts

Top News Stories of the 19th Century

The delivery of the daily news was quite different in the 19th century than today.  Throughout the 1800s, newspaper distributors, or “post riders” would deliver papers to smaller post offices and suburban areas. Over time, young boys called “newsboys” were employed and assigned specific routes to deliver newspapers to people’s homes. It was also commonplace […]

The Rise of Mass Entertainment: Leisure Time and Fun in Pre-Civil War America

In a time of growth and territorial expansion, early 19th Century America saw many changes occur in day-to-day life. Advancements in technology brought a new wave of industrialization, and the population grew exponentially. Due to an economic boom, the American people were living more comfortably and in better conditions. Whereas before only the wealthy could […]

19th Century Culture: The Irish in the Antebellum & Their Impact on American Culture

Our country has persistently been a symbol of freedom and hope for those seeking refuge—from its birth, to the present day, and especially so in the 1800s. The newly prosperous America was seen as the land of opportunity, attracting immigrants from around the world. From the beginning of the century, an overwhelming majority of these […]

The Charm of Loudoun County Virginia and Belmont Manor

Like most grand houses with a past, Belmont Manor had a long trajectory as the place to see and be seen. Built by Ludwell Lee between the years of 1799 and 1802 on land he acquired through marriage to his first cousin Flora Lee, Belmont saw its fair share of luminaries brighten its imposing doorstep. […]

Belmont Manor House, Lee Family Seat in Loudoun County Virginia [Part One of a five-part series.]

Loudoun County Virginia’s countryside was once dotted with the plantation homes of some of the most influential families in American history.  If the house had a proper name attached, you could bet it belonged to someone of note, or a direct descendant.  An example is the first house on our Masque of Honor historical home […]

Why My Books are Set in 19th Century America

When I first began this journey as an author, I was single-minded, focused solely on writing Selma’s stories and specifically, Masque of Honor. But, my research on that book introduced me to a number of other historical events that intrigued me. Now it seems wherever I go, I am always on the hunt for a […]

Polly Strong: One for All

Today I want to highlight a woman of incredible resilience who set precedent and greatly impacted the lives of many. Polly Strong is an understated figure; not much is known about her life outside of the critical Strong v. Laselle case, but her impact on American history and legislature is indelible. In 1796, Polly Strong […]