While researching the first chapter of my book, which is basically a broad look at policing from the colonial era up through about the early 1960s, I found the fascinating (or I guess fascinating-sounding—I haven’t yet read it) book, Licentious Gotham: Erotic Publishing and Its Prosecution in Nineteenth-Century New York.
While flipping through the index, I found a fun appendix of book titles that were named in New York City obscenity indictments between 1840 and 1860. It’s like browsing an adult bookshop in Victorian America. A few of my favorites:
The Amorous History and Adventures of Raymond DeB—and Father Andoullard, Detailing Some Curious Histories and Disclosing the Pastimes of a Convent, With Some Remarks on the Use and Advantages of Flagellation
The Auto-Biography of a Footman
The Cabinet of Venus Unlocked in a Series of Dialogues between Louisa Lovestone and Mariana Greedy, Two Cyprians! of the Most Accomplished Talent in the Science of Practical Love
The Confessions of a Voluptuous Young Woman of High Rank
The Curtain Drawn Up; or, the Education of Laura
The Life and Adventures of Silas Shovewell
The Lustful Turk
Wedding Secrets Revealed by the Torch of Hymen
Memoirs of the Life and Voluptuous Adventures of the Celebrated Courtesan Madamoiselle Celestine of Paris Written by Herself
The Secret Habits of the Female Sex
Wonderful as these are, part of me was hoping for some dirty puns on Victorian novels. Maybe Moby’s Dick. Or Scarlet Let Her. Tail in Two Cities. The House of Girth. Great Expectorations.
I’ll stop now.