What Woodcraft for Women, Taxidermy, and Raising Pigeons Have in Common

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

This is part of an intermittent series of blogs featuring advertisements found in our collection. You can find the entire series here.

Between the covers of our books, you can sometimes find small delights: advertisements.

Most frequently, these ads list an array of other books available from the publisher. Publishers began advertising in their publications as early as 1551. By the 1650s, they included their title lists in the beginning and/or ends of books. These lists could lead to strange juxtapositions of titles, suggesting that the same reader might be interested in a huge range of topics and genres.1

Such a variety of titles can be found in Laurens P. Hickok’s Empirical Psychology; Or, the Human Mind as Given in Consciousness (second edition, 1854), Solon Robinson’s How to Live: Saving and Wasting, Or, Domestic Cookery Illustrated (1889), and John K. Anderson’s How to Heal by Nature’s Potent Methods (1899). Ads promote books as diverse as Ancient Magic, Magnetism and Psychic Forces, Heads and Faces; How to Study Them, and Spencerian Penmanship. Click on an image below to enlarge and view the gallery.

A favorite publisher list appears in Katherine G. Pinkerton’s Woodcraft for Women (1916). Part of the Outing Publishing Company’s Outing Handbooks series, this book ends with a list of all 56 Outing Handbooks titles—80 cents per volume, plus 5 cents for postage. Titles range from Taxidermy to Raising Pigeons to The Canoe—Its Selection, Care and Use.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But the book with the best ads (in my opinion) is Chilton’s One Thousand Secrets and Wrinkles (187-?). Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers’ catalog must be seen to be believed, including The Art and Etiquette of Making Love alongside The Amateur Trapper and Trap-Maker’s Guide. Click on an image below to enlarge and view the gallery.


1. Raven J. The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850. New Haven: Yale University Press; 2007:283. Available at: https://books.google.com/books?id=2y9L5ChxDScC&pgis=1. Accessed February 4, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s