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


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! 😊
Posted by Nettie  on  Mon Feb 20, 2012  at  02:33 AM
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