Welcome to George Peabody Library's Wunderkammer!

From dandies in danger to the lusty dramas of educated fleas, the George Peabody Library proves that the past was indeed STRANGE! Visit us in Baltimore (don't worry, in addition to the strange things depicted here, we also have plenty of old and rare and classy books, too).

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 9am -5pm; Friday 9-3

Address: 17 East Mount Vernon Place Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 410-234-4943

Libguide: http://bit.ly/g1UsTk

Email: hherr1@jhu.edu

Here’s a look at the George Peabody Library’s collection of books and ephemera relating to The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. First up is a lively chromolithograph of the Crystal Palace and its grounds, showcasing boating, carriage rides, and tourists taking in the sites.

Next we have a print of “Wot is to be” : or probable results of the industry of all nations in the year ‘51 : showing what is to be exhibited, who is to exhibit it : in short, how it’s all going to be done,” a look into the inner-workings of the great exhibition. This particular print showcases inventors with their patent machines for putting down revolutions, subduing Chartism, and grinding paupers’ noses. Of course, the real star of the print is the Prize Pig, because no exhibition would be complete without impressive farm animals!

The next two images are chromolithographic prints showing the Arms of All Nations (because we all know the world is comprised of nineteen countries) and the interior of the Crystal Palace’s exhibition hall.

For a more unique view of the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, check out the Lane’s Telescopic View! This ‘Telescopic View’ is made of printed paper and card, and is supplied in a slip-in card box. When you view the internal scene through the little peep hole in the cover, you see a three dimensional view of the inside of the Crystal Palace in 1851, and the grand opening by Queen Victoria. Cool, right?

No, this isn’t a set piece from Prometheus!  It’s actually a depiction of a mammoth Spanish wine jug that was displayed in London during the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was at least 10 feet tall. Do you think Bernard and Manny (from Black Books, duh!) ever tried to create their own — in honor of Prince Albert, of course.

from page 150 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s
Industry in 1851, Volume 2. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.
Call No.: 606 L847 GTquarto V.2
Location: The George Peabody Library

No, this isn’t a set piece from Prometheus! It’s actually a depiction of a mammoth Spanish wine jug that was displayed in London during the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was at least 10 feet tall. Do you think Bernard and Manny (from Black Books, duh!) ever tried to create their own — in honor of Prince Albert, of course.

from page 150 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s
Industry in 1851, Volume 2. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.
Call No.: 606 L847 GTquarto V.2
Location: The George Peabody Library

Completely Frivolous, Yet Totally Awesome!
Ornate revolving book cases requiring the strength of over a thousand Hercules to operate were on display at the 1851 Great Exhibition.  While we are quite happy that the George Peabody Library is chock full of traditional upright cases, we nonetheless but wish to have one revolving book case simply for the opportunities for mischief such a storage unit naturally creates.
From page 202 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851, Volume 2. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.Call No.: 606 L847GT V.2Location: The George Peabody Library

Completely Frivolous, Yet Totally Awesome!

Ornate revolving book cases requiring the strength of over a thousand Hercules to operate were on display at the 1851 Great Exhibition.  While we are quite happy that the George Peabody Library is chock full of traditional upright cases, we nonetheless but wish to have one revolving book case simply for the opportunities for mischief such a storage unit naturally creates.

From page 202 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851, Volume 2. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.
Call No.: 606 L847GT V.2
Location: The George Peabody Library

A Telescopic View to the Past!
When people hear the word “peepshow” today, they often think of something rather scandalous.  Fortunately for those of us without smelling salts and fainting couches, nary a scandal can be found in the peepshows housed at the Peabody Library!
You are looking at the interior view of one of our peepshows relating to London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. This peepshow, also known as a tunnel book, contains eight hand-colored compartments meant to mimic the interior of the Crystal Palace when gazing through the viewfinder.
Title: Lane’s Telescopic View of the Interior of the Great Industrial Exhibition
Call No.: 606 R1993 1851
Location: George Peabody Library

A Telescopic View to the Past!

When people hear the word “peepshow” today, they often think of something rather scandalous.  Fortunately for those of us without smelling salts and fainting couches, nary a scandal can be found in the peepshows housed at the Peabody Library!

You are looking at the interior view of one of our peepshows relating to London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. This peepshow, also known as a tunnel book, contains eight hand-colored compartments meant to mimic the interior of the Crystal Palace when gazing through the viewfinder.

Title: Lane’s Telescopic View of the Interior of the Great Industrial Exhibition

Call No.: 606 R1993 1851

Location: George Peabody Library

Hey Kids — It’s Taxidermy Tea Party Time! 
These scenes are odd at best.  The upper picture features studious rabbits, one of which was apparently not as studious as it should have been.  The lower one inspires memories of children’s tea parties with stuffed animals, except that it was orchestrated by an adult and the animals were once alive.  Please notice that the rodent on the right has its legs crossed and a napkin on its lap.  How polite! The question that just keeps coming up upon seeing these is simply “Why?” from page 115 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851, Volume 1. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.Call No.: 606 L847 GTquarto V.1Location: The George Peabody Library

Hey Kids — It’s Taxidermy Tea Party Time!

These scenes are odd at best.  The upper picture features studious rabbits, one of which was apparently not as studious as it should have been.  The lower one inspires memories of children’s tea parties with stuffed animals, except that it was orchestrated by an adult and the animals were once alive.  Please notice that the rodent on the right has its legs crossed and a napkin on its lap.  How polite! The question that just keeps coming up upon seeing these is simply “Why?”

from page 115 of History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World’s Industry in 1851, Volume 1. Printed in London by John Tallis and Co.
Call No.: 606 L847 GTquarto V.1
Location: The George Peabody Library