The Vault

A Striking Artifact of Casual Misogyny from the Early 20th Century

“Man and the horse-radish are most biting when grated,” reads the Jean Paul Richter epigraph to this book of anti-female, anti-marriage quotations, published as a novelty item in 1903. The compliation, titled Bachelor Bigotries, offers bite-sized critiques of womankind for every day of the year, along with comic illustrations of put-upon married men. 

The sources for the quotations represent a mix of high and low culture. The editor taps Shakespeare, Byron, Kipling, and Sir Walter Scott, as well as republishing jokes that originally appeared in newspapers (some of which bear the mark of the racism endemic to the era’s humorous writing). 

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The book was compiled by a woman, Laura Brace Bates, who used the pseudonym “The Old Maid.” Bates began the collection with a dedication seemingly intended to undercut the bitterness of the rest of the book, quoting Alexander Pope: “I know the thing that’s most uncommon / (Envy be silent and attend) / I know a reasonable woman / Handsome and witty, yet a friend.” 

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The book, which I first saw on the Tumblr of user Nemfrog, is available in full on the Internet Archive; below are the pages for the month of November. 

Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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Internet Archive

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