The Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children

The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1873 includes an article about the mathematician/inventor Charles Babbage. In this article, there's a page-long footnote discussing some hoaxes, and at the end of this footnote, there's a brief reference to the existence of a curious group that called itself the "Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children":

What is this Society? I haven't been able to find it mentioned anywhere except in this Smithsonian Report. But it sounds like a clandestine group of 19th-century pranksters.

The footnote is signed "J.H.", which I assume stands for Joseph Henry, the Secretary of the Smithsonian at the time. He's a pretty credible source, so I assume he wasn't simply making up this Society.

If anyone has any information about this Society, let me know.


Posted on Wed Feb 15, 2012

More content from the Hoax Museum:


Why can't it be a joke unto itself (ie, The Ministry of Silly Walks from Monty Python)?
Posted by stopeatingmysesamecake  on  Wed Feb 15, 2012  at  09:56 AM
I think we should restart the group! I'd love to be part of it! grin
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Mon Feb 20, 2012  at  02:33 AM
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