January 23, 2017

Researching Saratoga Letters Part 2

By Elaine Marie Cooper

Although I’m a nurse by training, I had no idea what was worn by nurses in the 1970s. Were they still wearing all white and those precipitously-placed caps on their heads? Why yes they were, I found out. Contacting Redlands Community Hospital where my fictitious character of Abby worked, I struck a goldmine: They had put together a hardbound anniversary edition of their hospital’s history. “I can send you a copy,” offered the public relations contact person. “Yes!” I tried to maintain my excitement.

That one was fairly easy. The real challenge came with the actual events that took place during the commemoration events that spanned over a two-week time period in September and October of 1977. I found a newspaper reporter who was willing to search the archives and found an article that described the scene at the event where Tom Brokaw spoke. Score!!

Other articles revealed bits and pieces: What songs were sung, who spoke, what events took place. It was a painstaking process of getting one piece of information at a time. No Google search would satisfy the details that I needed.

I contacted one historian in Saratoga Springs who referred me to another in nearby Stillwater. I was referred to librarians who found details in their archives. All on paper of course! Again, they were not put into the internet so there was not a record online.

Then there were the 1977 airport scenes in my book. The differences in travel then vs now are astonishing. No jet ramps to smoothly guide you onto your flight. You had to walk across the tarmac and climb stairs to board. So what did the airport look like in Albany, New York? A wonderful public relations gentleman sent me a photo that he found from that era and emailed me other info so I could make the scenes accurate for that time.

The police chief in Saratoga Springs gave me a few details about uniforms, etc. in the late 1970’s. I was connected to his email from one of the historians in that town.

It became a network of wonderful, helpful persons who guided me until I gathered all the facts that I needed. I mention each and every one of these precious contacts in my acknowledgment section of Saratoga Letters and I’ve sent out autographed books of thanks to most. I’m still trying to track down a couple of addresses to send out all the copies of “thanks.”

I cannot wait until I visit the Saratoga area next spring. I have on my agenda personally shaking the hands of all those who patiently answered all my questions and took time out of their busy schedules to look up information for me.

As writers, it’s so important to be grateful to those who help us. And I am so very grateful to my many new friends in Saratoga.
Award winning author Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Saratoga LettersFields of the Fatherless, Bethany’s Calendar and the historical trilogy called the Deer Run Saga. She has been captivated by the history of the American Revolution since she was young. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her historical novels. Her upcoming release is Legacy of Deer Run (CrossRiver Media, Dec, 2016), Book 3 in the Deer Run Saga. Cooper has been writing since she penned her first short story at age eleven. She began researching for her first novel in 2007. Her writing has also appeared in Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson and the romance anthology, I Choose You. She has also written articles for Prayer Connect Magazine, Splickety Prime Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Life: Beautiful Magazine. She began her professional writing career as a newspaper freelancer. You can read more at her website/ blog, Facebook:
Facebook Author Page: Twitter: @elainemcooper

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