ARCHERY: VICTORIAN STYLE by Cindy Nord

Cindy Nord - Professional Image

 

I absolutely adore the Victorian years…indeed, those golden decades when Queen Victoria sat her throne. And as we know, what the good queen mandated across the big pond, so obeyed the middle and upper class of America.

Archery1_LaBelleAssemblee_1831

During this era, participating in genteel pastimes allowed a well-heeled lady freedom from the humdrum of her everyday life of reading, playing the piano, or passementarie needlework. Any opportunity to appreciate the great outdoors would most certainly be well accepted. From croquet to tennis to horseback riding, these informal, yet socially-appropriate, affairs helped to bring excitement to her life. Yet, no task delivered as much enjoyment as did the recreation called archery.

 

When the Queen of England proclaimed her love of this hobby, deeming it worthy of a lady’s attention, her vanguard of devoted followers took heart. Archery caught on like wildfire, blazing across nineteenth-century womankind to become the first organized, competitive sport for females. But ladies never lost sight of their femininity. In fact, at the Grand National Archery meeting in Norwich, England, in 1866, the first prize was a magnificent Spitalfields Silk shawl — a coveted item, to be sure! By 1880, archery clubs for the genteel in America could be found coast-to-coast, but only the wealthiest women could afford the equipment needed to join.

Archery2_ScientificAmerican_1894

 

A lady’s bow weighed 40 pounds at full draw and arrows were 30-inches long. Soon archery became the sport, which could even be enjoyed upon a whim as it did not require the changing of dress that accompanied the activities of croquet or tennis. In fact, the lady’s archer outfit simply consisted of her dress for the day. A small quiver containing extra arrows draped one shoulder. Across the archer’s other shoulder draped a “scoring kit,” of sorts. Inside this and usually made of silk was an ivory, acorn-shaped container that held beeswax to keep her gloved fingers from sliding off the bowstring, an ivory pencil, and a small, circular disc containing paper to keep score. Also tucked inside was an extra bowstring and several gold tokens. With every archery match won, the champion would receive a coin from each of her opponents. Archery3_HarpersWeekly_1881

 

Collecting these coveted tokens became the quest of every lady archer. The afternoon event was usually followed by a gala dinner and an evening of a grand and glorious ball. The wealthiest even built their own lodges to host said celebrations. So the next time we wonder what activities the affluent ladies of the Victorian era did to pass the time, now we know exactly which one they preferred.

Cindy will gift one ebook of With Open Arms to one blogger today!! 

 

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Author bio:

Historical romance writer Cindy Nord is the author of No Greater Glory, a number-one Civil War romance at Amazon for more than a year and book one in her four-book The Cutteridge Family series. With Open Arms, book two in the series, debuted in August 2014. Cindy also contributed to the non-fiction anthology Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them. A blend of history and romance, her love stories meld both genres around action and emotionally driven characters.NoGreaterGlory (1)

 

Website:  www.cindynord.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.nord.9

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cnord2

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cnord2/

 

GetAttachment with open armsWith Open Arms (http://amzn.com/B00KT23WO0)

A war-weary ex-soldier. An untamable hellion. Love doesn’t stand a chance in hell…

Hardened in childhood by the death of her parents, then left to run the family’s southwestern territory ranch when her brother rode off to fight for the Union years before, Callie Cutteridge hides her heartbreak behind a mask of self-sufficiency. Breaking horses for the army proves she’s neither delicate nor helpless. When a former cavalry officer shows up claiming to own her brother’s half of the Arizona ranch, she steels herself to resist the handsome stranger’s intention to govern even one single aspect of her life. After all, loving means losing…to her it always has.

For months, Jackson Neale has looked forward to putting the bloodstained battlefields back east behind him. Callie isn’t the agreeable angel her brother led him to believe, but he’s damned well not the useless rake this foul-mouthed hellion thinks he is, either. His quest for calm stability contradicts sharply with her need for control, yet still their heartstrings tangle. But how can these mistrusting partners transform their fiery passion into a happily-ever-after when all Callie knows how to do is fight…and all Jackson wants is peace?

 

 Image credits:

Archery1_LaBelleAssemblee_1831.jpg: Illustration from La Belle Assemblee, 1831

Archery2_ScientificAmerican_1894.jpg: “Meeting of the Toxophilite Society.” Scientific American, 1894

Archery3_HarpersWeekly_1881.jpg: “The Archery Tournament, Prospect Park, Brooklyn.” Harper’s Weekly, July 23, 1881

Archery4_HarpersWeekly_1878.jpg: “Archery Practice on Staten Island.” Harper’s Weekly, 1878

 

Guest Blogger
Updated: September 13, 2015 — 2:11 am

40 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this post! I am an archer having won many tournaments and State Titles before my health made me give it up. I first started shooting while dating the man that I later married. He and our family still shoot having joined a club in 1972. It is such a great family sport. I would love to share this blog with my Archery family.

    1. Connie! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the article! I have dabbled a bit in archery, but nothing compared to you. Congratulations on your many ‘shooting’ companionship wins! And finding your hubby inside this marvelous ‘hobby’ is simply the cherry on top! Thxs so much for poppin’ in to share this morning! Kindest regards, ~ Cindy ?

  2. Thanks for visiting us at Wildflower Junction, Cindy! The Victorian Era was an interesting period. There seems to have been a gorge between the lifestyles in the Old States (New England) and the West. There also seems to have been a chasm between the wealthy and everyday folks.

    Learning more about the lesser-known habits of the day is always a pleasure.

    Best wishes for continuing success with your books. 🙂

    1. Thank YOU for your fabulous invite, Kathleen! I’m so pleased to pay a ‘front porch’ visit to y’all’s oh-so-wonderful website. You know me, I love all things Victorians. And hey, at least I didn’t yammer about that flappin’ sandalwood fan, or fancy-smancy, split-crotch bloomers. LOL!! Regardless, I loved your comment about the chasm of differences between the wealthier ladies in the eastern states & most women residing on the western side o’ the Mississippi during the mid-to-late 1800s. Although socialites did move westward, ever-so-slowly, but surely…as seen in book three of my Cutteridge series, AN UNLIKELY HERO — when rugged army scout, Dillon Reed is assigned to escort Boston debutante, Miss Alma Talmadge westward to her waiting fiance! What fun!! Biggest hugs, ? ~ Cindy

  3. I have been an archer also.. I enjoyed reading your post.. Your book sounds like one I’d really like!

    1. DK!! Thanks a zillon for stopping by…although, I must confess I’ve never shot a bow myself while dressed in full Victorian corseted regalia…lol. ? And I have all my fingers & toes crossed in hopes you enjoy my characters hard-won journeys to happily-ever-after! Warmest regards… ~ Cindy ?

  4. Hi Cindy! Welcome to P&P. We’re so happy to have you. I swear, you’re always teaching me things about history that I didn’t know. You’re just a walking encyclopedia! How interesting to discover that women archers were very enthusiastic about this sport. It took a lot of strength to pull back the bow and then to aim the arrow straight while holding that heavy bow took some doing as well. I’m just amazed. But then, I shouldn’t be I guess. Women were very bored back then because the men kept them so suppressed. Told them what to think and how to feel and ostracized them if they didn’t follow the rules. Very interesting.

    I love the covers of your books. Each one is so vibrant and draws you in and the models show such emotion and love. Wishing you much success now and always!

    1. Linda!! I’m thrilled to visit P&P…fabulous website!! And thx you for your kind words, sweetie! I love all things Victorian! I do believe I was born in the wrong time period…lol. Had I been, I would’ve surely attempted an overthrow of that ‘men-suppression’ thing you mentioned (& so true, BTW) all in the name of WOMANHOOD! Woohoo…Kindest regards. ~ Cindy

  5. This is so interesting, archery, I never would have imagined! You are such a wealth of fun information Cindy, thank you for this great interview!

    1. I’m tickled pink you enjoyed the lil’ historical tidbit, Heather!! Thxs for dropping by. See, our foremothers didn’t always tat or sew…lol! And me? Well…I’d like to think I’d’ve been right there with ’em, slinging arrows straight down the fairway to that bulls eye!! Woohoo…Biggest hugs, sweetie. ENJOY your day. ? ~ Cindy

  6. Cindy,
    Fascinating information about women in the Victorian years. Your love for this era shines through in your research as well as wonderful stories. You mentioned an ivory pencil, which intrigued me. What exactly was that? Thank you again for sharing, and I wish you continued success with your fabulous novels!

  7. Diana!! Thxs for dropping in…I appreciate your kind comments. You do know me well, my darlin’! ? And the pencil (covered in a thin ivory veneer) was attached on a ribbon alongside a circular score sheet, of sorts. ? ~ Cindy

  8. Never tried archery. Had to be one tough lady back then.

    1. Our foremothers had ‘grit’, that’s for sure, Kim!! LOL. And thxs a zillion for dropping by. I just dropped your name into my wicker basket for the drawing. Kindest regards… ~ Cindy

  9. Fabulous! Nothing intrigues me more than reading up on the pastimes of our 19th Century foremothers. I too have dabbled in archery, my father used to teach it to students. In fact, it was the only sport at which I excelled other than horseback riding. Through all of my research to date, I had not yet stumbled across this gem of knowledge…thank you for enlightening us, Cindy, I enjoyed your post immensely. How wonderful to think of archery as a feminine sport! I’ll be digging deeper into the history of this one. 🙂

    1. Shayna!! So pleased you swing by on your way into your day & tickled pink you enjoyed my lil’ historical tidbit. Your love of history matches my own, for sure! ENJOY your exploration of this most-invigorating of ladies pastimes, the ‘researching’ part of writing historical romance is so much fun. Kindest regards, ~ Cindy ?

  10. Cindy, this was fascinating! Really enjoyed the new knowledge. And a 40-lb bow? Wow, these ladies definitely weren’t “delicate flowers”, were they?

    1. LOL…Mary, our foremothers were staunch & forthright paragons of style, grace AND talent! And the competitive sport of Archery simply allowed them to ‘strut THIS oh-so-intriguing’ side o’ their stuff’…Woohoo. Hugs on your kindest comments. Your name’s been dropped into the basket. ~ Cindy ?

  11. I love the Victorian period. I know I was born at the wrong time and on the wrong continent. Although I can’t hit a bullseye I love archery. It’s amazing how back then it was considered lady like and appropriate activity for young ladies. Now its just something to pass the time or for an elective in college as a pe credit.

    1. Delighted you stopped in, Valarie…& I completely agree with you about being born in the wrong timeperiod…lol. Although, I do enjoy the modern conveniences. ~ Cindy

  12. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Cindy! What a terrific post. I had no idea! I remember really enjoy hing archery in high school PE…looks like I coulda been stylish way back when! Congratulations on your mega-successful novels!

    1. Tanya!! I’m thrilled to be ridin’ through Wildflower Junction today. And your comment took me waaaaaaay back to high school PE, too, & — oh dear — those horrid blue exercise uniforms. LOL. ~ Cindy

  13. i have loved and still love archery. What fun! It’s no wonder the ladies enjoyed it so much.

    1. Exactly, Lori…to be outside & to be competitive with their own women-kind, just imagine how much fun that must’ve been for those oh-so-proper Victorians. I’ve dropped your name into my basket, sweetie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me today. ~ Cindy

    2. Lori…I’m right there with you in agreement on how fun-loving our fine Victorian foremothers must’ve been. I’ve dropped your name into my basket, sweetie. ENJOY your weekend… ~ Cindy ?

  14. Very interesting… I remember taking archery when I was at camp in my pre-teens… it was fun… but they made us look for the arrows if they flew past the targets, lol.

    1. I’m sure our Victorian foremothers had a suitor or two who would search for the arrows that went astray…lol! Thxs for visiting with me this afternoon, sweetie. So glad you enjoyed my lil’ historical tidbit. Warmest regards, ~ Cindy

  15. Loved your post today, Cindy! It’s so refreshing to read about pastimes and attitudes of a different Era than The Regency! Judith Ivory has a lovely book with a Bow wielding heroine. I need to go look up the title. Congrats on the success of your current BIP’S!

    1. Thxs for your kind comments, sweetie!! I love sharing all kinds o’ historical tidbits pertaining to the Victorian era [& lots more goodies over on my bloggie spot @ http://www.cindynord.com too]. Warmest regards, ~ Cindy ?

  16. Love this historical detail!! Now I want to use it for an upcoming heroine. 🙂 Except I tend to write about heroines who would use the archery skills for hunting…so that would be different. *LOL* Can you imagine an Annie Oakley roots type who suddenly becomes part of the American Elite and archery is now a hobby?

    1. Fran, by golly, YOU write about an Annie Oakley-like gal who shows up all the fussy socialites, now THAT’D be a tale worth telling…lol. Thxs for poppin’ in this evening. Biggest hugs, ~ Cindy ?

  17. Thanks for the information! It would be neat to find some of those coins. I’ve never seen any.

    1. I’d love to collect some too, things such as these are such a fun part of our American history, Mary! Thxs for stopping by this evening. I’ve dropped your name into the basket for my drawing! Warmest regards, ~ Cindy ?

  18. Another post full of facts I did not know! It seems that those Victorian women weren’t quite the shrinking violets we are sometimes led to believe.

    I also enjoy reading about the Civil War and post-Civil War period – With Open Arms sounds great. New series to me. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Sally! With an appreciation for the Civil War & post-CW years, we are surely cut from the same cloth! I hope you fall in love with my writing & characters…I’d love to get your thoughts. Warmest regards, ~ Cindy

      1. I just downloaded No Greater Glory. Put as #2 in my TBR stack!

        1. OMGosh…thx you so much, Sally. NO GREATER GLORY is truly the book o’ my heart. I hope you fall in love with Reece & Emaline’s hard-won journey to happily-ever-after. Kindest regards, ~ Cindy

  19. Loved the post, Cindy, and welcome to P&P!

    1. Ah Jane…I’m so pleased you enjoyed my lil’ historical tidbit. Thxs for the wonderfully warm invite. Kindest regards, ~ Cindy

  20. My winner has been selected…congrats goes out to VALARIE!! And thank you all so much for stopping by this weekend to visit with me! I truly had a wonderful time sharing my lil’ historical tidbit with y’all! Biggest hugs to the amazingly talented gals at Petticoats & Pistols who ‘hold down the fort’ — I truly appreciate the invite to your fantastic website.

    Kindest regards,

    ~ Cindy
    http://www.cindynord.com

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