Weird Universe

Nineteenth Century

The Bald-Headed Men of America

Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.

The New York Times has this 1896 report.


Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.


Then comes this report from 1954.


But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.

Apparently, they are still going strong.

What Is It?

A collectible "carte de visite" from the 1880s. See below in extended to find out exactly what "it" was!

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Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Feb 15, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Nineteenth Century

The Niagara Wave and Rocking Bath

From the Victorian period. Looks like it would have been kinda fun. [source: The Virtual Victorian]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Feb 02, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, Nineteenth Century

à la Girafe

The Guardian offers an odd footnote to the history of fashion. In 1826, "Zarafa" became the first giraffe ever brought to France from Africa. She inspired a giraffe craze, becoming the subject of songs, instrumental music, poems, and music-hall sketches. Also: "Women began to truss up their hair à la Girafe and style themselves in giraffe-coloured dresses."

Sounds like it was the 19th century predecessor of the beehive.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jan 22, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Fashion, Hair Styling, Nineteenth Century

Femme de Voyage

From the Victorian era. This ad was found by a historian in a scrapbook with similar material. More info here.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jan 21, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Nineteenth Century

Puss Sunday

The folks of County Clare, Ireland, have a rather unpleasant way of celebrating what is there known as "Puss" Sunday — the first Sunday in Lent, — by making general sport of all young women who failed to get husbands before Ash Wednesday, and are, consequently, left over for another season, and are known as "pussy" girls. It seems to be a local April fool's day for the spinsters, with whom the small boys have a good deal of fun, it being one of their favorite amusements to dip their hands in flour and leave the imprint of their fingers on the backs of these luckless ones, or to mark them with chalk, as they appear in the street, as unmistakable signs that they are still in the market.

Source: Good Housekeeping - May 29, 1886

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 20, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Holidays, Nineteenth Century

Abe Lincoln’s Ghost


Don't go mistaking any old tall ghost for Lincoln.

Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jan 16, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Dreams and Nightmares, Politics, Superstition, 1980's, Nineteenth Century

Terrified to death by a donkey

From the Illustrated Police News, 1883. [via Digital Victorianist]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jan 11, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Nineteenth Century

Ambition Pills for Weak and Nervous Men

Ads for these pills ran in many papers in the late 19th century. What was it in the pills that provided the ambition? If these pills were the same as 'Wendell's Ambition Pills,' which came on the market slightly later, then it was strychnine:

"Louisiana chemists reported that each pill was found to contain a little over one-thirtieth of a grain of strychnin and about one-fifth of a grain of iron in the form of the sesquioxid (ferric oxid). Pepper, cinnamon and ginger were also found and what was probably aloes in very small amounts. These pills are sold at 50 cents a box, each box containing forty-two pills. Under our present lax methods of permitting almost any dangerous drug to be sold indiscriminately, provided it is in the form of a 'patent medicine,' it seems, from the Louisiana findings, that it is possible for any one to purchase enough strychnin in a single box of Wendell's Ambition Pills to kill an adult."
The Journal A.M.A., Apr 6, 1918.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Dec 15, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Health, Medicine, Nineteenth Century
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