Thursday, January 24, 2008


The Secret Museum of Mankind

‘Published in 1935, the Secret Museum is a mystery book. It has no author or credits, no copyright, no date, no page numbers, no index. Published by “Manhattan House” and sold by “Metro Publications”, both of New York, its “Five Volumes in One” was pure hype: it had never been released in any other form.

Advertised as “World’s Greatest Collection of Strange & Secret Photographs” and marketed mainly to overheated adolescents (see the 1942 ad in Keen, left), it consists of nothing but photos and captions with no further exposition. This was not a book published to educate (despite appearing on some public library’s shelves), but to titillate (literally)– it’s emphasis was on the female form (“Female Beauty Round the World”) and fashion, and it featured as many National-Geographic-style native breasts as possible. But anything lurid, weird, or just plain unusual is fair game. This was a book to gawk at by flashlight under the bedcovers.’

One Response to “The Secret Museum of Mankind”

  1. Karen Kester Says:

    I have a hard back of The Secret Museum Of Mankind passed down from my father’s family. Five volumes in one, New York, Manhatten House, no copy right, author or anything! It is bound in a dark teal linen and is in very good condition. What is it worth and who might want it for their very own??

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