11 1 / 2012

Never Fear, Ayer’s is Here!
Ayer’s Almanac (1889) is nothing if not thorough: it provides, in twenty-one languages, remedies for all your troubles. Have a frightened child on your hands? No problem— just bark at it! 
(George Peabody Library, 615 A977)

Never Fear, Ayer’s is Here!
Ayer’s Almanac (1889) is nothing if not thorough: it provides, in twenty-one languages, remedies for all your troubles. Have a frightened child on your hands? No problem— just bark at it!
(George Peabody Library, 615 A977)

29 12 / 2011

Treatise on the Metamorphoses of Gelatinous Desserts

The holidays are here, you’ve had a little too much eggnog, and you’ve neglected to prepare the ham and acquire gifts for your loved ones! Luckily, there’s a solution: at the stroke of midnight, your Jell-O Gelatin will turn itself into wobbly holiday gifts and quivering ham-varnish. These are the things you never thought of, but from now on they will dance in your head like visions of jiggly sugarplums…

(PS: The scissors in the photo are for self-defense.)

The New Joys of Jell-O Recipe Book. General Foods Corporation, 1973. Page 108.

18 12 / 2011

On the Morals of Children
When Santa checks his list twice, what exactly is he checking for? Here is one possible answer, courtesy of Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus. Trans. Eleanor Merchant. London: Preface Publishing, 2008.

On the Morals of Children

When Santa checks his list twice, what exactly is he checking for? Here is one possible answer, courtesy of Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus. Trans. Eleanor Merchant. London: Preface Publishing, 2008.

06 12 / 2011

Beastly Magic
Here, witchcraft authority Francesco Maria Guazzo takes on the question of whether witches are able to turn people into animals. Surely this giant snail and his ambiguously feline sidekicks know nothing about this matter…

Guazzo, Francesco Maria. Compendium maleficarum. Milan, 1626.  George Peabody Library, call no.: 133.4 G896C 1626 c.1

Beastly Magic
Here, witchcraft authority Francesco Maria Guazzo takes on the question of whether witches are able to turn people into animals. Surely this giant snail and his ambiguously feline sidekicks know nothing about this matter…

Guazzo, Francesco Maria. Compendium maleficarum. Milan, 1626. George Peabody Library, call no.: 133.4 G896C 1626 c.1

02 12 / 2011

Surf and Turf

One wonders what type of lobster lore the author managed to dig up in the forest, etc. etc.

Lord, W. B. Crab, Shrimp, and Lobster Lore, Gathered Amongst the Rocks at the Sea-Shore, By the Riverside, and in the Forest. London: Routledge, 1867.

Surf and Turf

One wonders what type of lobster lore the author managed to dig up in the forest, etc. etc.

Lord, W. B. Crab, Shrimp, and Lobster Lore, Gathered Amongst the Rocks at the Sea-Shore, By the Riverside, and in the Forest. London: Routledge, 1867.

28 11 / 2011

Aunt Carrie Strikes Again!
Another puzzle from Aunt Carrie’s compendium: a mysterious dinner party! This is the dessert course, because nothing says dessert like “pretended suffering.”
Smith, Caroline L. Popular Pastimes for Field and Fireside, or, Amusements for Young and Old, Carefully Compiled by Aunt Carrie. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley & Co., 1867.  

Aunt Carrie Strikes Again!

Another puzzle from Aunt Carrie’s compendium: a mysterious dinner party! This is the dessert course, because nothing says dessert like “pretended suffering.”

Smith, Caroline L. Popular Pastimes for Field and Fireside, or, Amusements for Young and Old, Carefully Compiled by Aunt Carrie. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley & Co., 1867.  

23 11 / 2011


Good Question!
In this compendium of amusements for the nineteenth-century fireside, “Aunt Carrie” explains how to make a basket out of nutmegs, dance a Caledonian quadrille, and play a rollicking game of Charades (suggested words: penitent, bridewell, bondage). Here, she tries her hand at riddles. Why is a sword like a lager beer? It’s… um… inappropriate in the office?  
Smith, Caroline L. Popular Pastimes for Field and Fireside, or, Amusements for Young and Old, Carefully Compiled by Aunt Carrie. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley & Co., 1867. 

Good Question!

In this compendium of amusements for the nineteenth-century fireside, “Aunt Carrie” explains how to make a basket out of nutmegs, dance a Caledonian quadrille, and play a rollicking game of Charades (suggested words: penitent, bridewell, bondage). Here, she tries her hand at riddles. Why is a sword like a lager beer? It’s… um… inappropriate in the office?  

Smith, Caroline L. Popular Pastimes for Field and Fireside, or, Amusements for Young and Old, Carefully Compiled by Aunt Carrie. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley & Co., 1867. 

17 11 / 2011

Adventures with Literacies
This rebus-sonnet (sonnetto figurato) by 16th-century Roman poet Giovambattista Palatino defies interpretation on a number of levels. Even if you don’t know Italian, however, you can determine that the rhyme scheme is of the “bootform-chest-chest-bootform” variety. 
Delpierre, Octave. Essai historique et bibliographique sur les rebus. London, 1870. Page 12. George Peabody Library, call no.: 790 D346 c. 1

Adventures with Literacies

This rebus-sonnet (sonnetto figurato) by 16th-century Roman poet Giovambattista Palatino defies interpretation on a number of levels. Even if you don’t know Italian, however, you can determine that the rhyme scheme is of the “bootform-chest-chest-bootform” variety. 

Delpierre, Octave. Essai historique et bibliographique sur les rebus. London, 1870. Page 12. George Peabody Library, call no.: 790 D346 c. 1

16 11 / 2011

Introduction to Drink
This winningly-titled chapter really captures the charming spirit of the whole book (salvaged from the library discard table at a local community college: perhaps the modern hospitality department found the passages on “rain butts” for “toilet purposes and tea making” somewhat confounding?). Exactly what one might expect of a comprehensive catering guide from the early ’50s, including chapters on “The Art of Waiting” and “The Spirit of Service,” and an entire section (Part IX) on “Pipe, Cigar and Cigarette.” Progressive, indeed!
Morley, J.J. Progressive Catering: A Comprehensive Treatment of Food, Cookery, Drink, Catering Services and Management. Vol. III. London: The Caxton Publishing Company, Ltd., 1953. Page 9.  

Introduction to Drink

This winningly-titled chapter really captures the charming spirit of the whole book (salvaged from the library discard table at a local community college: perhaps the modern hospitality department found the passages on “rain butts” for “toilet purposes and tea making” somewhat confounding?). Exactly what one might expect of a comprehensive catering guide from the early ’50s, including chapters on “The Art of Waiting” and “The Spirit of Service,” and an entire section (Part IX) on “Pipe, Cigar and Cigarette.” Progressive, indeed!

Morley, J.J. Progressive Catering: A Comprehensive Treatment of Food, Cookery, Drink, Catering Services and Management. Vol. III. London: The Caxton Publishing Company, Ltd., 1953. Page 9.  

14 11 / 2011


So Many Quiddities, So Little Time
Bell, W. H. The Quiddities of an Alaskan Trip. Portland, OR: C. A. Steel & Co., 1873.

So Many Quiddities, So Little Time

Bell, W. H. The Quiddities of an Alaskan Trip. Portland, OR: C. A. Steel & Co., 1873.