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

Ladies, mind your corsets … . and your AMATIVE DESIRES!

These delightful illustrations (note especially the fig-leaf decorated intestines) are from an anti-corset book by the esteemed phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler!  And boy was he concerned! 19th century ladies were getting all bold what with their wrist-flashing, corset-wearing, and most likely novel-reading ways.  What hussies!  

Fortunately, Fowler was around to shame all the “Miss Fastidious Small Waists” he could find, leading many, we are sure, to the fainting couch.  Plus, Fowler’s bold use of concern-trolling text and exquisite handling of all-caps type for crucial points suggest he would be right at home engaging in online political discourse today! (Impure desires! AHHHHH!!!!)

From “Tight-lacing, or, The evils of compressing the organs of animal life” (1844)

 

How many of you spent your holidays frivolling in conservatories?  We know we did!  Now we must make amends by posting stuff to tumblr.
Image from Cupid’s Cyclopedia (1910).

How many of you spent your holidays frivolling in conservatories?  We know we did!  Now we must make amends by posting stuff to tumblr.

Image from Cupid’s Cyclopedia (1910).

A cool read on a hot day? Hello “The Icicle: A Story of the Sexless Woman!”

The Smart Set, March 1915
The George Peabody Library

A cool read on a hot day? Hello “The Icicle: A Story of the Sexless Woman!”

The Smart Set, March 1915
The George Peabody Library

Based upon the cover alone, it seems that this woman of evil doesn’t let her keen fashion sense get in the way of terrorizing men in a bizarre and thoroughly unexplained manner.
Call No.  813.52 C37 no. 1035 1905
Location: George Peabody Library

Based upon the cover alone, it seems that this woman of evil doesn’t let her keen fashion sense get in the way of terrorizing men in a bizarre and thoroughly unexplained manner.

Call No.  813.52 C37 no. 1035 1905

Location: George Peabody Library

A Guide to Strumpets of Yore: A Definitive List of How Girls Go Wrong!
Apparently, there are many ways and only one which involves ermine!  Us ladies can go bad if we have creative ambition (“The Girl That Studied Art’),  intellectual curiosity (“The Girl That Went to See”), or are merely disenchanted with bourgeois life (“The Woman That Is Bohemian”), and no amount of parental intervention will ever change our trollop-y tendencies (see “The Father That Was Careful”)!From: The Girl That Goes WrongCall No.: 176.5 K21Location: George Peabody Library

A Guide to Strumpets of Yore: A Definitive List of How Girls Go Wrong!

Apparently, there are many ways and only one which involves ermine!  Us ladies can go bad if we have creative ambition (“The Girl That Studied Art’),  intellectual curiosity (“The Girl That Went to See”), or are merely disenchanted with bourgeois life (“The Woman That Is Bohemian”), and no amount of parental intervention will ever change our trollop-y tendencies (see “The Father That Was Careful”)!
From: The Girl That Goes Wrong
Call No.: 176.5 K21
Location: George Peabody Library

Come to Baltimore & Gawk at the Fallen Ladies!

So, back in the 1830s the discriminating tourist wanted to see all that Baltimore had to offer, even trollops trying to leave the primrose path!  To that end, the fine writers of Picture of Baltimore knew that one of the most desirous places, known for its pleasant views and abject curiosity, is The Female Penitent’s Refuge Society!


Let’s see what our pleasant guide has to say about this upstanding establishment!

"This institution was founded in 1823, for the purpose of affording to frail and unfortunate females an opportunity of returning to the paths of virtue.

It is believed that is success has not been so commensurate with the benevolent object of its establishment, as its friends could have desired.”

From Latrobe’s Picture of Baltimore (1832)