History Undusted: Decisions, Decisions

In May 2013, I began blogging here on WordPress; at the time, I had several topics of interest that I wanted to pursue, and to that end I began several blogs.  As time has marched on sometimes other priorities took over, or focus changed, and now I have three active blogs.  This eponymous blog is my home-base, but one of my favourite blogs to write besides this one is History Undusted.  I love finding the dusty bits of history and “undusting” them for the unsuspecting public.  But sadly, it has never really seemed to find notice by WordPress, and many of the posts have gone unseen.

Because history and the research thereof is a big part of my writing process, whether it be Viking history, archaeology, Scottish history, 18th century England, science, technology, advertisement, historical characters, or any of a dozen other topics, I have decided to combine the two blogs into this one.  If history isn’t your thing, don’t worry – I will still enjoy posting articles regularly about the writing process and the nuts and bolts involved!  I will begin “importing” (and, if necessary, augmenting) those blogs gradually, until they’re all safely here.

So without further ado, here is the first offering:

Decisions, Decisions

gieves-dress-wheelHave you ever heard of a butler (or male servant, in general) referred to as “Gieves” or “Jeeves”?  This might just be where it all started:  The Gieves Gentlemen’s Tailor Company was founded in 1771, and became a limited company in 1785; their dress wheel aided naval officers in choosing what to wear at any particular occasion, for any part of the world they might have found themselves in at the time.  Dressing, even for men, was an extremely complex social signal in bygone eras.  By 1935 there were twelve styles of dress, including tropical options.  By turning the wheel, an officer could see just what to wear on any occasion.  A handy little marketing device, it gained Gieves loyal royal naval customers, and the company has thrived ever since, with loyal customers including members of the British royal family today. For an interesting history of the company, click here.

Sir P.G. Wodehouse, an English author and one of the most widely-read humorists of the 20th century, named the comical fictional character of his shrewd valet “Jeeves”; the name was taken from Percy Jeeves, who was a cricketer killed during the First World War. Both the wheel and the fictional character served to cement the name in the collective conscience of the western world as a reliable servant.

Originally posted 27 May 2013 on History Undusted


Filed under Articles, Etymology, History, Images, Military History, Research

10 responses to “History Undusted: Decisions, Decisions

  1. Absolutely love this. And thanks for the info on Jeeves. I’ve always been a huge Wodehouse fan. Hubby and I once actually even tried to translate a bit into German for friends to enjoy. No chance. About three hours for a couple of pages. “With a hey-nonny-nonny- and-a-ha-cha-cha”

  2. Great post – I’ll also visit your other blog.

  3. Thank you!
    I can translate into German if someone else edits the grammar. 😉 I can translate flawlessly from German into English (I used to do simultaneous oral translation), but living in Switzerland hasn’t helped solidify High German grammar in my brain. 😛

  4. Thank you! I’ll be bringing them over here over time, but enjoy looking around there in the meantime!

  5. oh my yes. And living in a strong dialect area, and with a husband who speaks the local as well as his hunsrück dialect, in my case also doesn’t help. Actually, I translated for the Gutenberg Gesellschaft for a while, but still, Wodehouse eludes me.What a gift that man had. Ps I actually love Schwitzerdutsch, as they call it here. Do you know the film Die Schweizermacher?

  6. Of course! We speak the Zürich dialect here, though I can speak High German as well – like a Swiss. 😉 People have asked if my books will ever be translated into German, but I honestly don’t know… they’re High English, and “The Cardinal” has several languages sprinkled in, as well as Old Scots and modern Scots… good luck to anyone who attempts it!!

  7. Having just 1 blog is generally a good idea. As soon as one tries to draw a distinction between what belongs HERE and what belongs THERE, one finds that some of the most interesting things straddle the boundary. Putting a short phrase like “History Undusted” in the title of things that clearly land in a single bucket is also helpful.

  8. I agree; but the word around the block when I first started blogging recommended that a blog stick to one MO – one theme – to help people know what they were getting themselves into. But life is messier than all that, isn’t it? 😉 So from now until the blogs are all safe and sound on this site, ‘History will be repeating itself here!

  9. While I can understand how sticking to a single theme could seem helpful when contemplated abstractly, I have come to believe that life is indeed messier (often much messier!) than simple categories can accommodate. For example, I follow a blogger who started out putting his poems in one blog and his photos in another. Before long, he found himself writing some poems inspired by sights he had photographed, taking some photos that illustrated poems he had written, and fretting about what should go where. He eventually decided to consolidate.

  10. Those two blogs sound like splitting hairs (I would have thought the combination would have been beneficial from the beginning)… but to each his own! Though writing and history do overlap for me, they are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I look forward to consolidating them together. 🙂

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