Thursday, January 10, 2008

Panic of 1873

In September 1873, the Philadelphia Banking Firm, Jay Cooke and Company, filed bankruptcy. In May of that same year, the Vienna Stock exchange in Austria collapsed. These two events led to a national economic depression that would last until 1877. Read more about the Panic of 1873 and its causes.

This time of hardship worked well with my story. My heroine, Shauna, was taken in by a family that treated her as a servant. Instead of being adopted, she agreed to an indenture. Indentured orphans were bound to their foster family until they reached the age of 18. For Shauna, leaving the household to live on her own proved a scary proposition. Unmarried and with no skills, she couldn't hope to find work. Once she did build up the courage to leave, the panic of 1873 hit. She would be 19. So - she stayed, hoping something would happen to change her circumstances. That something didn't occur until she was 21.

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