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This was another irresistible Strand Rare Book Room purchase, partly due to the bombastic, hysterical tone of the cover, and partly because it never, ever, ever acknowledges the GIANT elephant in the room. What might that be, you ask? Why, let’s look at the subheader there:

“THE GREATEST CRIME IN THE WORLD’S HISTORY”.

This book was republished in 1910. Wasn’t there maybe something, say, about 40 years earlier, that might have been just as, if not a tad more great in its magnitude of criminality and immorality? No? You sure? Okay then, onward and upward!

I don’t mean to make light of any form of slavery; the horrors that this book speaks out against are still going on today – if you’d like to see a modern take on the exact message presented here I recommend watching ‘Lilya 4 Ever‘. Human trafficking is a deplorable and shameful practice we all need to help eradicate, especially those of us in countries where these women, and yes, the majority of the victims are still women, are taken.

What gets me about this book is the thick layering of Victorian morality over the message, how once a woman ‘falls from grace’ she’s doomed forever, how she’s to blame for whatever happens to her. Hence the major focus being how to prevent women from falling in the first place, which happens to include bringing down traffickers and making sure ladies are aware of potential traps. Of course, once the trap is sprung, if they’re caught it’s their own fault.

Below is a gallery of all the images from the book – click for comments on each image and a larger view.

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Click!

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I was unaware there even was an International Womens’ Day until I saw all the hoopla (read: blog posts) around it on March 8th, and was so excited I waited until now to write about it. Apparently International Women’s Day’s been around since 1911, though from 1925-32 it was known as ‘Skirts Day’.

In belated celebration of the ladies, here are some outstanding women as chosen by the Brooklyn Library:

International Women's Day Display

Aww, isn’t that wonderful. We’ve got Harriet Tubman, Mother Teresa, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth:

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Ain’t you a woman indeed. A very, very pixellated woman.

Including Princess Di amongst such honored personages seems a trifle light, but it was pointed out she did use her fame to help others, and she was royalty, albeit of the figurehead variety. Another royal lady prominently featured is history-altering Queen Elizabeth, portrayed holding her beloved royal poodle….hey, wait a minute…

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An entry from (I kid you not) The Dorcas Magazine, May 1885:

CHARMING WOMEN, AND WOMEN IN EARNEST.
IT is the business of a woman of the world to be agreeable. She spares no pains to make herself just as good-looking as possible, and just as charming. And she is always tolerant. She may think you a fool for your beliefs, but she doesn’t tell you so brutally, or try to crush you with an avalanche of argument. She tries to look at it from your point of view; in short, she feigns a sympathy, if she have it not. Your woman with a purpose thinks it wrong to feign anything. They won’t pretend to be sympathetic any more than they will powder their faces, or let their dressmaker improve their figures. That’s why they are so boring; they are too narrow to be sympathetic, and too conscientious to be polite. It is earnestness does it; earnestness is naturally narrowing. It is earnestness, too, sets their nerves in a quiver, and makes them so restless. They can never sit still; they are always twitching, don’t you know? That’s earnestness. It has a kind of electrical effect. Women in earnest have no repose of manner. But a woman of the world feigns that, just as she feigns sympathy, because it makes her pleasent to other people. Oh, there’s no doubt of it-women with a purpose are vastly better than other women, but they are not nearly so nice!

I’m guessing ‘niceness’ was a list-topper in sought-after wifely qualities of 1885. Their advice of ‘if you don’t have it, fake it’ in order to appear pleasant is also rather disconcerting. So, if I’m an earnestly fidgety woman with purpose, I should continue to be so(because I’m better), but pretend to everyone I’m agreeable and nice? With tips like these, it’s no wonder so many women were treated for nerves.

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