CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Restoring the Lost Sense

September 27, 2015 (permalink)

From the Guidon of the State Female Normal School, Farmville, Virginia, 1909.

Who was it who said that a nation is built one person at a time?  "Mrs. Barnaby commences her work on America," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

"A visitant from the grave," from The Poor Girl by Pierce Egan the Younger, 1890.  (We like how the first A in the caption resembles a ghostly, upside down V.  There are V's and A's in "visitant" and "grave."  As above, so below.)

September 26, 2015 (permalink)

"We must give up hope," from Home-Theatricals Made Easy, or, Busy, Happy, and Merry by Frances Elizabeth Callow, 1891.

Here's a spirit trumpet interpenetrating a seance table, from The Reality of Psychic Phenomena: Raps, Levitations, Etc. by William Jackson Crawford, 1916.  We wish we'd encountered this diagram in time for our guide to Seance Parlor Feng Shui.

Here's the only way to fly, from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

"Griffael—the law-clerk's devil," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.  (Would one have expected an angel?)

September 25, 2015 (permalink)

"And the star of peace return," from The Blue Poetry Book by Andrew Lang and illustrated by Lancelot Speed, 1891.

From The Ball of Yarn, 1854.

"Carved figures on the banks of the river Irrawaddy, Burmah."  From The Countries of the World by Robert Brown, 1894.  [For Gordon Meyer.]

From Stories of the Governess by S. C. Hall, 1852.

September 24, 2015 (permalink)

"I'll have no whims," from Home-Theatricals Made Easy, or, Busy, Happy, and Merry by Frances Elizabeth Callow, 1891.

We wish our history textbooks had been illustrated like this.  From Abstract of the Elements of U. S. History by Henry Clay Symonds, 1887.

Here's the imp who governs the difference between the salad fork and the dinner fork.  From The Oxford Thackeray.

September 23, 2015 (permalink)

Here's the "Crypto" in broad daylight, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1898.

Here is revealed one of our secrets of manipulating time, from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

"Paralyzed—but as malignant as ever."  From Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

"Finding the key," from A Daughter of the Druids by Alice Kimball Hopkins, 1892.

September 22, 2015 (permalink)

From Through Hell with Hiprah Hunt by Art Young, 1901.

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