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This Is How People Asked Embarrassing Questions Before The Internet

Welcome to the New York Public Library's vault of strange questions. H/T Gothamist.

A long time ago, before the internet's glorious tubes brought us all the cats and boobs we could ever want, people used to go to the library for info.

When confused patrons couldn't find what they were looking for in books, they'd often ask the librarians.

instagram.com

People-2-people connecting.

At the New York Public Library, each query was written down on an index card and filed away.

From 1940 to 1980, the library kept track of questions with a paper file. Recently, that old box of questions was rediscovered. "We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled 'Interesting Reference Questions,' the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations," the NYPL Instagram says. BTW: The answer is zero years. YOU DIE WITHOUT THE LIFE-GIVING INFLUENCE OF A MAN.
nypl.org

From 1940 to 1980, the library kept track of questions with a paper file. Recently, that old box of questions was rediscovered.

"We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled 'Interesting Reference Questions,' the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations," the NYPL Instagram says.

BTW: The answer is zero years. YOU DIE WITHOUT THE LIFE-GIVING INFLUENCE OF A MAN.

Some were serious.

Some were...not.

Some are oddly still very prescient.

Who is this rich mystery man we'd all like to meet, BTW?
New York Public Library / Via Instagram: @nypl

Who is this rich mystery man we'd all like to meet, BTW?

A few other mysterious queries: How about "Can mice throw up?"

"What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the U.S.?"

And "What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?"

“In a world pre-Google,” reads a caption on NYPL’s Instagram, “librarians weren’t just Wikipedia, they were people’s Craiglist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram all rolled into one.”

The NYPL's Instagram will unveil some of its favorite queries every Monday with the hashtag #LetMeLibrarianThatForYou.
gothamist.com

The NYPL's Instagram will unveil some of its favorite queries every Monday with the hashtag #LetMeLibrarianThatForYou.

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