Before public libraries were common, and before the internet allowed us to ask questions at the touch of a button, British writer William Thoms founded Notes and Queries
, a weekly periodical devoted to collecting and researching miscellaneous information. First published in 1839, Notes and Queries
quickly gained fame as a treasure trove of "history, folklore and Victorian pedantry,"
packed with delightful (and occasionally obscure) tidbits and tales. Modern history fans and collectors of esoteric info will relish this slim anthology of gems from the Notes and Queries
archives, full of such odds and ends as a list of superstitions common in Lancashire, thoughts on the origin of moles, an inquiry as to the disposal of an "immoral" poem by Lord Byron, a plea for purchasing hashish, a brief account of an attempted prison break by highwaymen, an itemized list of the "expenses of a young lady's school in the seventeenth century"
… Trivia buffs, dive in! (KG)