Using Ebay for Research

Unlike this guy,

Bonus Points if you know this movie!

 we can’t go back in time.

But, thanks to Ebay, we can buy a piece of history and then have it delivered right to our front door.

I’ve found Ebay to be a valuable research tool. In recent weeks I’ve sought out pictures using the search terms, “Handwritten letters, handwritten journals/diary, vintage diary,” and all sorts of other terms because ebay is nice enough to suggest related search terms for you.

Try it. You might be surprised at the time you’ll waste looking at the cost of your toys you had while growing up how much you’ll learn about the past.

Do you have any unusual research methods? And, even more importantly, PLEASE tell me you know the name of the movie in the above picture?

*FYI: I watched this movie LOTS of times growing up. My favorite part was watching the fashions change via the mannequin.


8 thoughts on “Using Ebay for Research

  1. At first I thought it might be a young Dr. Who, but I’m probably wrong. I didn’t like the show but my brother was a dedicated watcher.

    I love ebay for the same reason. I use old census returns as a source for character names.

    • Diane,

      Now that the cat’s out of the bag (see the correct guesses below) I can tell you the movie is “The Time Machine” based upon the novel by H.G. Wells.

      That movie is one of the first “grown-up” movies I watched as a kid, a really young kid. So young, the first few times I all really remembered were the monsters that lived underground (The Warlocks) and how the manniquin showed off all the fashions of the day.

      I highly recommend this movie because first of all, it’s a classic, and second, as a writer, you’ll really enjoy a part that occurs in the future when he is shown all the books from the past. I won’t give it away, but it’s a really poignant moment…more so because you’re a writer.

      Thanks for visiting!


    • Peter,

      I KNEW you’d know it, because you’re such a cool kind of guy!

      What’s your favorite part? I haven’t seen it in years, but I still remember the horror of when he’s shown the books from the past, and how he yells at the woman. Now that I’m a “grown-up”, that moment means so much more.

      (I don’t want to giveaway the details because I’m hoping Diane from the above comment will watch the movie and I don’t want to blow it for her)

      Happy writing!


  2. Christi, it was the second book I downloaded into my new kindle over 18mos. ago. An all time favorite, I’ve also watched that movie at least a half dozen times 🙂 Although someone already guessed, before I scrolled down that picture sparked wonderful memories … and how sad I felt when I knew he would never be able to return.

    Love the research idea and intend to use it. Crazy as it seems, I also use the massive search engines of amazon to dig into subject matter, find ideas for titles and get free classics I can use to bone up on certain genres. Use the phone book for names as well as google, use google live for locations. Thanks for the fun 🙂

    • Florence,

      Yaaaay, another Time Machine lover!

      See my above comment for all my favorite parts of that movie, but keep in mind I first watched it when I was about nine so my favorite parts then aren’t the same as now 🙂

      That book is on my “TBR” shelf that I have for my twins for when they are a little bit older. I plan to read it aloud to them to start with, and then hopefully they’ll love the movie as much as I did once they’re older.

      Great research ideas! I have a book from 1885 that I use for names. It’s an official registrar of the United States post office, so the names are authentic for the times.

      Talk to you soon,


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