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.

The Latest in Beachwear



Bathing suit, bicycling costume. . .  either way, you’re still a slut, darling. 



*For those needing their spectacles, the text reads:

Mother – “Gracious daughter, what an outrageous costume! And those stockings are shocking!”

Daughter – “Well, you see, ma, I hadn’t a bathing suit and was compelled to wear my bicycling costume.”

Mother – “O, well, that’s all right.”*

Cosmo Has Nothing on These War Horses


Dropped hankies just not garnering the attention they used to? I recently came across these informative and incredibly useful Victorian-era flirting techniques in published and written in 1892 by Lady Beatrice Violet Greville in The Gentlewoman in Society. These tried-and-true tips are sure to make you enchanting to any gentleman caller! (Thanks to the lovely lady scholars at Writing Women’s History.)

Here are some choice words of advice:

1. The Society flirt is a war horse: “Society flirtations are rarely guileless. The Society girl’s ears are open, her eyes are keen. She has noted the affairs of her elders; she longs for a flirtation of her own, as the war horse sniffs the scent of battle from afar; but she has no foolish visions of its eternity.”

4. Avoid the male flirt, they always marry a dull cousin: “the male flirt…makes the girls’ hearts beat with anticipation, raises hopes he never intends to gratify, and ‘carries on’ as the saying is, with different girls, season after season, until suddenly, to everyone’s astonishment, he throws the handkerchief to the unlikeliest of all – a girl he has met for a week in a country house – a simple village maiden who has never been to London, – the cousin he has flirted with and jilted in the long ago.”

10. Beware becoming a ‘professional flirt’: “there are some professional flirts, who have absolutely exhausted all sensation, who have reduced flirtation to a study, who know exactly when to look, and how to look, who convey in a glance a depth of affection they have never even realised, who play with a man as a cat with a mouse…living enigmas, female Machiavellians, for whom no man is a match.”

More tips can be be found on the Writing Women’s History circular.