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Funny And Strange Questions People Asked Librarians Before The Internet Was Born





Did you ever think what life was like before the birth of the Internet? Nowadays, whenever a question pops into your head, there is a ready answer stored somewhere in Google’s archives.

Pre-Internet days, people used to turn to the ever-ready librarians for answers. Some years back, a New York Public Library staff discovered a box of cards with people’s search questions directed to the librarian. Take a quick stroll down memory lane.

“Any statistics on the lifespan of the abandoned woman?”, a caller wanted to know in 1963.

Until today, we do not know how to answer this question.

“When did Moses first come into the public eye?”, a caller asked in 1963.

Because searching the Bible is too much work.

How many neurotic people in the US? (Dec 30, 1946)

Maybe the librarian was keeping count?

What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant? (May 27, 1947)

Maybe this question is more for a psychiatrist than a librarian.

Where can I get all available statistics on the volume of business, the money involved, etc. in the sale of cadavers? (Nov 30, 1948)

This is just disturbing.

Why do 18th Century English paintings have so many squirrels in them, and how did they tame them so that they wouldn’t bite the painter? (Oct, 1976)

The concern for squirrels in this one question is off the charts.

Is a black widow spider more harmful dead or alive?

If alive, don’t let it bite you. If dead, don’t bite it. Did I answer this question correctly?

Is there a full moon every night in Acapulco? (Oct 6, 1961)

NOW you appreciate your weather apps.

What was the origin of bedsheets? (Jan 30, 1950)

Oh, the fun in history!

Off-hand do you happen to know a really good book about having twins?


Nutritional value of human flesh. (June 6, 1958)

This is the next level disturbing.

Do you have information about permanent people? (Feb 1966)

Wait, what about temporary people?

Do you have any books on the science of ATHAR, which is the science of deducing information from camel tracks? (June 23, 1949)

Looks like a book Sherlock Holmes would be interested in.

It is fascinating to look back at the age of pre-internet. After reading some of these questions, I bet we are all realizing how convenient and advantageous our current life really is. Thank you, Internet!

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