never trust a boy doctor

“Sammy Tubbs, Boy Doctor, and Sponsie, His Troublesome Monkey” was a children’s book written in 1874 by Edward Bliss Foote. Dr Foote lectured against wearing tight fitting clothes and promoted phrenology as well as manufacturing an early contraceptive (a type of Dutch cap) which he sold in his clinic and through mail order for $6.00

sammy tubbs

on page 130 of Sammy Tubbs there is an illustration of a “suggestive chart” showing which areas of the face relate to various body parts.

Morbid, in the region of the cheekbone, is the place to look for the signs of an infirm constitution. Great breadth of neck below the jaws at the point marked Insane, indicates a tendency to insanity.”


image found here

but the most interesting thing about this book is that it was a used as a device to teach children about the human body.

It’s a Victorian sex-ed manual. For children. Starring a monkey. There are thrilling showdowns between bigotry and the rights of women and minorities. And there are, courtesy of illustrator H.L. Stephens, hundreds of drawings of everything from shrub-like capillary diagrams to flying monkeys and animated kitchen appliances. Rather more down to earth—if not downright earthy—illustrations include those of genitalia. One set of these occurs on page 180 1/2—the publishing netherworld equivalent of Floor 7 1/2 in Being John Malkovich—so that mortified parents could razor out the drawings without Junior noticing a break in pagination. But even razored copies still contained a drawing of a vagina with a tiny musical note tooting out of it—a sly touch by Stephens removed from later printings.

object remix

object remix by Bob Turek

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 10:26 am  Comments (33)  

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33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ‘But even razored copies still contained a drawing of a vagina with a tiny musical note tooting out of it’

    I’m trying to figure out what that musical instrument would be called.

  2. hey alex have you voted in triple j’s hottest 100 songs of all times?

    • Nope, there isn’t much point none of my favourite songs would make it. Dam you triple j listeners why don’t you like the spice girls 😉

  3. A toot toot from the Whoo Whoo.

  4. a cucarina?

  5. “If music be the food of love, play on.”–Twelfth Night.

    See, even snoochmongers such as I may read the bard. Speaking of which, myra, I have some corsets and such you may find interesting.

    • be right over…..

  6. In the drawing, Sponsie, the troublesome monkey, is showing us how to use suggestive finger gestures to pick up women in bars, right?

  7. my vagina whistles too,
    but only when i walk,
    despite attempts
    to razor it.

    • still laughing about this comment.

  8. That could explain my insanity! A children’s book? I learn so much over here.

  9. Every troubelesome monkey requires spanking at some stage. Possibly over the rather nice corset photies below?

  10. On the subject of sex and monkeys. I managed to get in a conversation about zoophilia today. My friend insisted that she didn’t understand it at all. I had to say that, kind of like a number of other sexual acts, I understand why people enjoy it even if I don’t.

    On the other hand, if it were a monkey that was functionally indistinguishable from Kelly LaBrock, circa 1985, yeah, I’d do it.

  11. Parents clippin out th page wif nawty-bits fergot:

    It aint a funky haff-page that depickts th tootin twat.

    And Junior, havin learnd th rules o proper pagination,

    Chargd his mom & dad wif some covert de-vagination.

    • welcome to the Gimcrack Joey. Did Junior learn his tricks from you?

    • Yeah. I cant always tell where a vagina IS, but I can usualy tell where one AINT.

  12. This book sounds amazing. I’m scanning through the PDF now. Amazing how progressive it was for the era. What a find. thanks nurse.

  13. I’m wondering what role ‘animated kitchen appliances’ played in a sex-ed book aimed at children 😯

    (I’ve got a very fertile imagination) 😳

  14. Is there anything cooler than a singing vagina??

  15. What does the vagina sing? Hymns?

  16. That reminds me of a filthy joke ……. which I shall keep to myself ….. tee hee

  17. That object remix looks like what they use at the Korova Milk Bar to play their iPods. A little bit of the lovely Ludwig Van.

  18. that last image should be a cell phone charger and the boobs light up when charged

  19. In rsponse to th question from Alex L:

    Th instrument is calld a crumpet trumpet.

  20. The Victorian days were stranger than I could have ever imagined.

  21. I learned everything I know about sex from that book. Where do you think the expression, Do you want to monkey around came from?

  22. Can vagina sing? I thought it cunt. :-s

  23. The instrument is not a crumpet trumpet, but rather a strumpet trumpet

  24. A strumpet trumpet IS a crumpet trumpet — only brassyer.

  25. […] *The information above was found in Paul Collins’ fascinating book “The Trouble with Tom – The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine”. He had quite a lot to say about Dr E. B Foote. You can read an earlier post about Foote’s amazing little book “Sammy Tubbs, Boy Doctor, and Sponsie, His Troublesome Monkey” here. […]

  26. can you say where the above illustration of the figures on the left and the monkey on the right came from? It is not in the 5th volume that I can see and does not match in illustrative style to H.L. Stephens. I’m wondering if it’s original to the time or if it was later illustrated by a contemporary artist.

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