I know I usually feature a magazine cover on Saturday, but I had this photo of this book that I’ve been really wanting to share. Contrary to what the title might lead you to think, The Ugly Girl Papers is actually a book on how to improve one’s appearance.
As the cover suggests, the book is a series of articles on milady’s toilet that ran in Harper’s Bazar in the early 1870s. Evidently the first few articles were so popular that the series was continued, and actually involved the questions and hints of readers. Still, I think the choice of title is a bit unfortunate!
From the introduction:
The science of the toilet is well-nigh as delicate as that of medicine; and as no prescription has yet proved a specific for disease, no recipe can reach all cases of complexion.
In other words, nothing is guaranteed; some of you are just too ugly to be helped.
I stood in the antique store, reading through it, having decided that the $45 price tag was too steep. It sells for much more online, but the very good news is that ugly girls everywhere now have access to this book. Thanks to Google Books, the entire volume is available for online reading.
Some of my favorite topics:
How to acquire sloping shoulders
Morals of paint and powder
Varnish for wrinkles
Soap to bleach the arms
Olive oil and tar for the face
The fearful malady of which no one dies
Losing flesh at the rate of a pound a week
And so on. Start browsing through this book only if you have an afternoon to waste, as it is truly fascinating to read this beauty advice from 140 years ago.