January 27th, 2007

Missing talent, Talent

Divorce in 1950s United States, and mail during the Korean War

Attempts at Google made it apparent that I have no idea how to look this kind of thing up.

I have a character who's getting divorced (cause is adultery on his wife's part, if that's relevant) in 1950. I'd like to have a general idea of how long it would take for the divorce to be finalized from when he signs the papers. The complicating factor is that he's serving in Korea at the time, so there's also some sort of delay due to it taking a while to mail something from the US to Korea and vice versa.

I'm imagining that this could also vary from state to state, but like I said, I just want a general idea – anecdotal evidence is perfectly fine. I don't even know that much about how divorce works from a legal perspective now, and I can only imagine that it was a harder and longer process in 1950.

Late nineteenth century renovations

Hello all,

I'm looking for sources on late nineteenth century renovation of homes, particularly antebellum homes, in the American south. While the story is set in contemporary Georgia, the house it occurs in dates back to the shortly before the Civil War, and was seriously renovated during the late 1800's. I've done some googling using "renovation," "victorian," "nineteenth century," as search terms. I've also done some database searching (Project Muse, JStore) with the same kinds of search terms. If anyone can point me in the direction of some sources, (print or otherwise) I would be eternally grateful.

Burakumin clothing in the Tokugawa era (Japan)

Setting: Japan in the Tokugawa era (1600 to 1800 only, even though Togukawa/Edo era ended 1867) In any Burakumin/eta/outcasts town, mostly inland.

Searches tried: Googled eta clothing, Tokugawa clothing, Burakumin clothing, Tokugawa era clothing + "" Burakumin.

The Question(s): I've read that the eta people had laws that told them what clothes to wear, and symbols they had to wear to denote their impurity. But I haven't been able to find out what they actually wear. Is it dull, earth colors, or something less fancy than commoner clothing? Also, would it be reasonable for them to wear the kanji meaning 'eta' or 'hinin'? I can read hiragana and katakana, but would someone people able to show me the correct kanji?

Thanks :3
the snow woman, 雪女 yuki onna

Attitudes about women / stolen weapons in Japan

Setting: My story deals with elements of Japanese folklore, so it takes place in a purposefully undefined year (the "once upon a time" -- or "mukashi mukashi" as is more appropriate in this case -- of fairy tales), but for the purposes of this question probably during the Sengoku (Warring States) period. But just because there are folkloric elements present, doesn't mean I'm adopting the "anything goes" attitude that is common in modern fantasy. I want things to be as culturally and historically accurate as possible. The particular part of the story I'm working on now takes place in Suruga province, now Shizuoka Prefecture, in a small rice-farming village.

Searches tried: I've Googled a few phrases, but none of them turn up anything even remotely relevant, let alone helpful. I just can't think of how to effectively put this question into a Google search.

The Question(s): A girl of fifteen years is found on the village boundary, with a short sword (wakizashi) in her possession. It doesn't matter how she got it, let's just assume she stole it, because that is what the villagers assume. So they confiscate the sword and take it and the girl to the village headman.

Now, I have a couple questions about this scenario. I'm pretty sure that historically Japanese people have been against women carrying weapons. But I'd like to have more information about these opinions, perhaps some sort of philosophical reasons behind it, or just some general expounding on their views. Just to have the whole thing clarified to me. This kind of thing seems like something that would be easy to mistakenly impress one's modern viewpoints on, so I'd like as much information as possible on historical Japanese attitudes toward women concerning war and the possession of weapons.

Secondly, what consequences would this girl face when discovered with a stolen weapon? Would she be punished within the village, or would the villagers have to notify local but higher authorities? Would she be locked up? Or did Japanese villages even have a place to lock up prisoners like this? Is this situation completely without precedence? (It's okay if it is, I just want to know how to handle it in a way that comes off as believable and accurate.) Is there any way in which the girl would be allowed to stay in the village, if her crime was seen as small and she had done some small sort of sentence? This is what I'd like to do, if it's at all historically and culturally possible. I'm completely in the dark on this, so any information would be helpful.

Let me know if there's any other information I can provide. I'd especially like relevant book reccomendations, if anyone has them. Thank you very much! EDIT: Okay, cool. I think I have enough information here. Thanks, everyone! (Still taking book reccomendations, though!)

Maiden names on tomb/headstones

My characters are Victorian, and the headstone would be from the 1880's. My question is about how the headstone would read. Say Martha Smith's (for lack of originality - lol) last name had been Jones before marrying. I'm trying to figure out which variation seems most correct:

Martha Smith
(nee Jones)

Martha Jones Smith

Martha (Jones) Smith

Martha Smith

I was perfectly happy with the first one, until my beta thought it looked funny. Guess I was thinking of what I read in the obituaries, rather than what I've seen on headstones. Thanks for any light that can be shed on this.