Agnes Melanie Dickson as a debutante, 1890

Anyone who reads historicals, even 20th century historicals…or watches TV…knows what a debutante is. But as I started writing Colonial-set books, I was a bit surprised to learn the word wasn’t around in the 1700s. And a bit at a loss as to what to replace it with when talking about a young woman entering society.

But in its first appearance, debutante actually meant an actress making her stage debut. This word arrived in English round about 1801, coming (no surprise) from the French. It wasn’t applied to society ladies making their debut until 1817. So for me, that means no using it until my Civil War books.

Which I’m now going to hasten back to. 😉 If you haven’t seen the cover of said book, Circle of Spies, yet on Facebook, be sure to come back on Wednesday for a peek, and some fun behind-the-scenes I’ve learned about it since describing it to y’all last week!

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