April 4, 2012

Having fun researching

This lovely lady is my husband's
great grandmother,Olga, at age fourteen.
Had a great time the other day tooling around researching my third YA book, a sequel to The Secret Society of Sugar and Spice.  I  find it very helpful to scope out the settings for my scenes by actually visiting the locations.  Since all of my novels are set in the late 1800's, many places have been irretrievably altered.  For instance, I was looking for the site of a maternity hospital founded in 1886 by Dr. Martha Ripley, one of the first female physicians in Minneapolis.  She was a real reformer dedicated to improving the lot of poor women and unwed mothers.  What I found was a scruffy vacant lot nestled up to an immense barrier wall bordering the interstate highway.  Next stop was the site of The Babies Hospital in St. Paul.  Much to my surprise, the building is still standing but is now a private home. I wonder what stories those walls could tell about the babies that were abandoned there over a hundred and thirty years ago.

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