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18th-Century Lithographs of Some Very Eccentric Characters

The human fascination with eccentricity is centuries old, and we’re betting it will never go out of style. These lithographs of “remarkable persons,” which we spotted over at the always excellent BibliOdyssey, were created by printmaker James Caulfield in the late 18th century and later republished in the 1869 The Book of Wonderful Characters: Memoirs and Anecdotes of Remarkable and Eccentric Persons in all Ages and Countries, Chiefly from the Text of Henry Wilson and James Caulfield. From your typical bearded ladies and contortionists to people with slightly stranger talents (spitting specialists?), these weird and wonderful illustrations both leer at and celebrate the strange corners of humanity. Click through to see a few of our favorite 19th-century freaks, and then be sure to head here to read about each character’s story in detail.


Joseph Clark, The Famous Posture-Master

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