Oh My Lands and Stars! A Gynecological Manual from 1880

Recently, I had the pleasure experience of perusing a gynecological manual from 1880. Those poor women! Sure, going to the gynecologist is never a walk in the park, but my lands! Pretty much every illustration had me rocking back and forth, hugging my torso, and apologizing to my ovaries for ever thinking mean thoughts about them.

Some of the more disturbing aspects were simply the names of the instruments used. How is it the inclusion of the person’s name in a surgical instrument makes it so much worse?

Among the many, many gynecological instruments mentioned:

• Hick’s Wire-Rope

• Kibbee’s Fever-Cot

• Molesworth’s cervical dilator

• Cutter’s “T” for anterior displacements

• Budd’s elastic probe

• Simon’s Scoop for removing cancer

• Sim’s Screw for removing tampons (in this case, “tampons” were used to stop hemorrhages

• Thomas’s Spoon-saw for removal of uterine fibroids

• Thomas’s flat elastic whalebone


“Shhh, just keep sleeping.”



I would be completely fine with never, ever seeing the word “vaginal fistula” again.


gyno procedure 2

Hold on tight, Ellie Mae, and thank Bozeman’s securing apparatus!


The book also contained helpful hand-written cures for a number of other ailments. Please be sure to see the Hersteria Library for how to cure Hysterical Bladder and Fibroid Tumors in Womb.

Hersteria Presents: The Perfect Woman!

For millennia, men have sought the perfect woman, and women have sought to achieve that ideal. After countless minutes researching this very issue, I present my findings for you, my dear readers. Let the following photos be your template in your attempts toward Womanly Perfection!

Perfect woman - flapper

In this illustration, we are helpfully guided by the measurements taken from some of today’s top leading ladies. From this, we know that women should stand 5’4″, weigh 118 lbs, and have the following attributes:

• The eyes of Mary Pickford

• The 33″ chest of Greta Garbo

• And the ridiculously small, possibly bound feet of Ann Pennington. (I was incredulous about the size-3A thing, whatever that means; upon further Googling, girl wore a size 1 1/2!)

However, some may find the above method toward perfection too imperfect. Thankfully, we are able to look to the supercomputer for answers! Today, technology is able to conclusively define the Perfect Woman (as seen in the printout), which apparently includes a toned stomach, a flip haircut, and an oddly thick neck. Please note: Perfection may or may not include a bikini.

Thank you, science!


(image via Black Watch)

The Eyes Have It

Well, it’s not quite the Miss Inner Beauty Pageant, but I suppose this will have to do. I love how the exceedingly creepy judge checks their eyes like he’s fixin’ to buy one of them. Yeesh. Also: yashmak? Was that part of the everyday British lexicon back then? 


Sure, she had to be pawed at by the judge, but at least she won an enormous rose-shaped soap for her trouble! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Miss Beautiful Eyes of 1958!

(via The Hairpin)

Hersteria Gets Hysterical

“There is a disease of the nerves to which girls about the age of puberty are very subject, particularly in the higher circles of society, where their emotions are over-educated and their organization delicate. It is called hysteria, and more commonly hysterics

This disease is apt to produce a similar affection in other girls of the same age [14 or 15] who see the attacks. For this reason, hysterical girls should not be sent to large schools, but cured at home. Often a strong mental impression restores them. The anecdote is told of a celebrated surgeon (Boerhaave) who was called to a female seminary where there was a number of hysterical girls. He summoned them together, heated a number of iron instruments before their eyes, and told them that the first one who had a fit should be cauterized down the spine. They all recovered immediately.”

–The Physical Life of Woman


The magic of modern medicine, ladies and gentlemen!

Dimple Duplicity

You know what everybody loves? Dimples. Those little indentations that are just pinchably adorable on women, men, and babies alike.

But alas, your cheeks are unbearably smooth; you lack the sought-after dimple. What to do?

Luckily, Ms. Gilbert has invented this amazing machine that will show your face what’s what, come hell or high water. Dimples firmly in place, everyone will finally love you.

Order today!

(image via Black and WTF)

Of Babies and Brains

“The most wonderful of all the changes which attend pregnancy are those in the nervous system. The woman is rendered more susceptible, more impressible. Her character is transformed. She is no longer pleasant, confiding, gentle, and gay. She becomes hasty, passionate, jealous, and bitter. But in those who are naturally fretful and bad-tempered a change for the better is sometimes observed, so that the members of the household learn from experience to hail with delight the mother’s pregnancy as a period when clouds and storms give place to sunshine and quietness.

In some rare cases, also, pregnancy confers increased force and elevation to the ideas, and augmented powers to the intellect.”

–The Physical Life of Woman


Elevated ideas and increased intellect?! Why, isn’t growing a human inside of her enough? The nerve!


Dear Readers! You may notice the shiny new blog banner as done by Ms. Erin Burke of Yardsale. While I really liked the B&W option – particularly the nutso look in the perfume lady’s eyes – I ultimately chose the red banner (even though my friend Phineas deems it “not disapproving enough”).