Here's another nugget I uncovered while researching my forthcoming novel, Lonely Are the Brave.
In an early draft, I had one of my main characters, Kay Sorensen, open a bank account in 1917 while her husband's away serving in the army. I thought it only natural, since she's working for her father's timber company and dreams of a business career.
Then I happened on an appalling historical fact: almost every state in the Union required a man's cosignature before a woman could open a bank account. At that time, Tennessee may have been the only exception.
My research discovery supports a feminist theme of the novel and handed me a point of conflict when Kay's husband returns from Over There; so much the better. But I was shocked to learn that the laws remained on the books until the 1960s.