Saturday I went on a bit of a mini research trip. If you follow my Instagram (@knotmagick) you might have seen some of the videos pop up in my stories.
I drove down to Chillicothe to look at some local papers to research for a novel. I’ve actually got the bulk of the manuscript written and it’s currently with a sensitivity/authenticity reader, but there were a few historical details that were bothering me.
Ash says I get hung up on details, which may be true, but it’s important to me to get things right. I know there are probably mistakes in my books. I am aware of this. But I really do try my best to limit them as much as possible, especially when it comes to the historical facts.
A few weeks ago, I listed some of my favorite historical nonfiction resources, and those are invaluable. But sometimes you just can beat seeing a place in person. Particularly when you’re talking about information about a rural area.
For some reason, Chillicothe has chosen not to list their historic newspapers online. They are not available through the Columbus Public Library, the Ohio Historical Society, or Chronicalling America. This was a bit of a problem, since the specific information I needed would have appeared in the newspapers–the restraints placed on the city as part of the 1918 influenza epidemic.
After 18 months of searching the web and local sources, I finally just drove down to see if their local library had copies of the local paper.
They did. A very helpful research librarian (who happened to be my name twin!) and within two hours I had the information I needed. I was able to use the rest of the afternoon to explore the area and get a better feel for my setting.
As a bonus, she remembered seeing this book by a local author in their reference section, which added some additional information I can add in. I haven’t been able to find this book on Amazon or Goodreads, or I would share a link, but once I find it I think I need to get a copy of this. It was very helpful and I can see it being useful in the future. It includes a lot of pictures, too, which can be almost as important as the words when conducting research!