Warning: Graphic Content
January 13, 2018 8:49 AM   Subscribe

The Library of Congress has digitized its Popular Graphic Arts collection, nearly 14,000 19th century prints available in extremely high resolution public domain scans, searchable by subjects and browsable by thumbnails. You can read more about the work required to bring this collection to your computers on the library's blog. Below the fold, a few favorites to get you started.

The Porcineograph, a whimsical map of the US in the shape of a pig.
A bizarre Darwinian satire/ad for "Merchant's Gargling Oil"
A bird's-eye view of Boston.
A delicious-looking dessert
The Poultry of the World
A dramatic full color baseball poster from 1895.
A Currier & Ives rendering of the Tree of Life from the Book of Revelations
posted by Horace Rumpole (24 comments total) 106 users marked this as a favorite

This image would make for a great light switch cover: The Electric Light.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:16 AM on January 13

So great. I got curious about the gargling oil one, and as it happens on the internet, somebody else did too, and blogged the results (Paris Review):
Merchant’s Gargling Oil is “a Liniment for Man and Beast,” a catch-all salve first produced by George W. Merchant, a druggist, in 1833. Who can guess what compelled Merchant to whip up that first batch of petroleum, soap, ammonia water, oil of amber, iodine tincture, benzine, and water? Who still can say what frame of mind found him slathering this unguent on his skin? And who, at last, will stand up and tell me why Merchant saw fit to market his concoction as “Gargling Oil” even though he intended it primarily for external use?
posted by notyou at 9:21 AM on January 13 [7 favorites]

The Porcineograph, a whimsical map of the US in the shape of a pig.

I zoomed in on the larger TIFF version that's available, and it's pretty amazing.

It's inscribed:

"Is copied from the Census Surveys of 1970, adding only 3 feet of territory (?) resting on Cuba, Mexico, and Sandwich Islands, and the Hydro-Cephalus from Canada.

Congressional Legislation is required to PERFECT this


Cuba is depicted as a sausage.

Also, each state has a pork-themed motto assigned to it.

Arizona's is a bit, um...well:


Jerked beef and greasy doings."

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:35 AM on January 13 [7 favorites]

Holy shit this is awesome. The state specialities on the Porcineograph are amazing.

PA = Pork Scrappel, Applue Butter, and Old Monongahela

Texas( !!!) = Wild Steer and Corn Dodgers wobbled in Pork Fat

wtf is wobbled
posted by lazaruslong at 9:40 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

If hip-hop had been around in the late 19th century, "Jerked Beef and Greasy Doings" would have been a great name for an album (it's not too late).

This is amazing, thanks for sharing. I work in the Special Collections department of the Toronto Public Library, which also has a Digital Archive full of cool old stuff we (or more accurately, the Digitization and Preservation Department) have digitized and put on the website.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:45 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]

A bird's-eye view of Boston.

This 1903 bird's-eye view of the industrial areas along Fort Point Channel is also interesting, in part because it shows how dependent on trains Boston was then, in part because it answers the question of why Fan Pier (a key part of the gazillion-dollar waterfront redevelopment these days) is called that (look at the train tracks in the foreground).
posted by adamg at 9:47 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

The universal food chopper and a few of the things it chops

Summary: Print shows a "Universal No. 2 Food Chopper" mounted to a countertop with a swirl of animals and vegetables from top center, down the left, and across the bottom, and up the right side into the opening at the top of the chopper. Among the animals and animated vegetables "it chops" are chickens, turkeys, carrots, coconut, apples, clams, fish, potato, celery, bread, lobster, crackers, beef, cauliflower, onions, sheep, cabbage, and pork.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:58 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

Oh WOW. This is fantastic! Thank you!
posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on January 13

My faith in the Internet is temporarily restored.
posted by Segundus at 10:13 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I like the archival effort, but be warned that there are some racist drawings in there (found them on my second random click).
posted by haemanu at 10:44 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Since there were people actually held as slaves at that time, I would think that would be a pretty good assumption.
posted by bongo_x at 11:09 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:26 AM on January 13

Good point, the ones I found were all published in NY 1880-1890.
posted by haemanu at 12:44 PM on January 13

YANMD, but would you recommend any of the following for my cold?

Gilbert & Parsons, hygienic whiskey--for medical use

Hoofland's celebrated German tonic water will cure dyspepsia, liver complaint, debility, indigestion, &c., &c.

Oxygenated bitters. A sovereign remedy for fever & ague, dyspepsia, asthma & general debility

Dr. M.A. Simmons liver medicine

Wolcott's instant pain annihilator

As it turns out, (unsurprisingly) the Wolcott's was basically an opium tincture (and therefore probably lived up to its name), and the Hoofland's was basically liquor:

Hoofland's German Tonic was basically Hoofland's German Bitters with Santa Cruz Rum added to overcome the bitter taste. This medicine was advertised as a non-alcoholic herbal mixture. In the 1887 Chicago Medical Times published a story saying that this medicine was just over 29 percent alcohol.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:14 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

This is very much my jam. Have a drink!
posted by ardgedee at 4:19 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Dude with the tam-o-shanter can't help himself around doorknobs.
posted by ardgedee at 4:24 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

There seem to be way too many pictures of horses
posted by mbo at 4:39 PM on January 13

mandolin conspiracy: The universal food chopper and a few of the things it chops

Wow! We had that exact chopper when I was a kid. All I ever chopped in though was cranberries and oranges to make relish at Thanksgiving.
posted by Gotanda at 5:12 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

"One flag-one country- Zwei Lager" holy shit.
posted by ardgedee at 5:13 PM on January 13

"Defeat of the cold-water-men by the bock" -- The collection notes explain what's going on, but it still makes no damn sense. Herd of goats gets wind of beer tasting, hilarity ensues. Kind of thing would probably go viral on YouTube if it happened today. Doubly funny because Bock is both a style of beer and German for billy goat.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 11:18 AM on January 14

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