18 September 2019

Rusticus in Luna

The earliest literary appearance of the familiar character of the Man in the Moon, the man punished by being eternally banished on the moon, is in “Rusticus in Luna” (“Ruſticuſ in luna”), a 12th‐century folk rhyme in Latin that is preserved in the book De naturis rerum (On the Nature of Things), by Alexander Neckam. Having only known the rhyme from 19th‐century typeset sources, I wondered if a manuscript copy from the Middle Ages had been digitized for the delight of Internet users, and then, thanks to the Trinity College library, I located one.

An 1866 translation into English by Sabine Baring‐Gould goes
See the rustic in the Moon,
How his bundle weighs him down ;
Thus his sticks the truth reveal
It never profits man to steal.

“Ruſticuſ in luna,” manuscript copy of De naturis rerum, by Alexander Neckam, 13th century. From the collection of Trinity College, Cambridge.


Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, by S. [Sabine] Baring‐Gould, London: Rivingtons, 1866, new ed., 1877, p. 196. Digitized by the Internet Archive from the collection of the John P. Robarts Research Library, University of Toronto.

(1866 printings: UCLA, Oxford.)

28 June 2019

Jackson Heights, 1921

The four illustrations from “Twenty‐six Garden Apartment Houses Costing $3,000,000 to Be Built at Jackson Heights,” The New York Times, 25 Sept. 1921. (In the public domain.)


“3 of the 14 new garden elevator apartments on 19th and 20th Sts. Jackson Heights”


“Garden view of new apartments under construction at Jackson Heights”


“Group of new garden apartments on 22nd and 23rd Sts. under construction at Jackson Heights”


“Floor plan of new 6 room elevator apartments under construction at Jackson Heights”

25 April 2019

Preparing for the Passing Over of the Angel of Death

“Preparing for the Passing Over of the Angel of Death,” illustration by C. M. Burd for With the Children on Sundays: Through Eye‐Gate and Ear‐Gate into the City of Child‐Soul, by Sylvanus Stall, Philadelphia: Uplift Publishing Co., 1911, p. 229. (In the public domain.)

— https://www.archive.org/details/withchildrenonsu00stal/page/229
— https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14783117655

17 March 2019


THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.—One of the largest and most formidable animals known to natural history is the Hippopotamus or River Horse. Its short clumsy legs bear a body of great bulk and a tough hide, and its head is one of the most peculiar and repulsive possessed by any animal; the neck is short and very thick. The expression of ferocity in its face is a true index to its character. The native home of the Hippopotamus is in the large rivers of the northern part of central Africa. (Hippopotamus amphibius.)”

Illustration by Friedrich Specht, engraved by Carl Gottlob Specht (from mark), for Brehm’s Life of Animals: A Complete Natural History for Popular Home Instruction and for the Use of Schools, vol. 1, Mammalia, by Dr. Alfred Edmund Brehm, 1895. Digitized by the Internet Archive from the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. (In the public domain.) <https://www.archive.org/details/brehmslifeofanim00breh/page/551>


“Hippopotamus,” illustration by Friedrich Specht for Illustrated Natural History (Animals and Birds): Arranged for Young Readers, by Rev. J. G. Wood, 1899, as reprinted in Children’s Own Library, vol. 10, Miscellaneous Tales, ed. by J. Ellis Burdick, 1910. Digitized by the Internet Archive from the collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (In the public domain.) <https://www.archive.org/details/childrensownlibr10burd/page/108>

18 February 2019

Goodbye, Cookie ⚱️🍪👀🐈

Goodbye, Cookie. ⚱️🍪👀🐈

23 July 2016.

11 Feb. 2012.

11 Feb. 2012.

7 May 2017.

7 May 2017.

7 May 2017.

14 Dec. 2013.