You Won't Believe The Questions People Asked Librarians Pre-Google

Way before incognito searches.

Even if you can remember it, life before the Internet can seem pretty foreign. It's easy to take for granted how easily accessible information is today, especially when just two decades ago people relied on encyclopedias and phone books.

Way back when, though, librarians were the ones people turned to when they needed answers. The New York Public Library has hundreds of reference cards where librarians recorded some of the more interesting questions they were asked, and they're pretty amazing.

There's something really sweet in seeing how people had to share even their silliest questions with someone when they wanted an answer. And we must admit that any temptation we've had to judge these vanishes once we imagine what it would be like if our search history was published.

Check out the amazing questions librarians had to field, pre-Siri.


1. "What kind of an apple did Eve eat?"

2. "Any statistics on the life span of an abandoned woman?"

3. "When one travels west in the U.S. and crosses the desert, does one cross on camels?"

4. "Are Plate, Aristotle and Socrates one and the same person?"

5. "Life cycle of an eye-brow hair."

6. "Inspirational material on grass and lawns."

7. "Can you make a toast with water?"

8. "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?"

9. "Where rent a guillotine?"

10. "Is it possible to keep an octopus in a private home?"

11. "Is there a book on how to build with popsicle sticks?"

12. "Is a black widow spider more harmful dead or alive?"

13. "In what occupation may one be barefooted?"

14. "How much did Napoleon's brain weigh?"

15. "What does it mean when you dream you're being chased by an elephant?"

16. "Where can I find something on the comical aspects of pregnancy?"

17. "What country has the highest number of honorable women?"


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