More interesting stuff from Tom Robbins in the Voice, this time on the book The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York:
‘Sex has always sold well. Most of us just assumed it took the likes of Larry Flynt, Al Goldstein, and the rest of that merry band of porn purveyors to finally get it openly on the newsstands. But now comes news that more than a century before them, an earlier breed of devilish publishers delighted readers with similar publications right here in New York.
‘That discovery was no small thrill for historians of American smut when they unearthed copies of long-forgotten sex rags that flared briefly in the early 1840s. These Dead Sea Scrolls of sleaze were discovered when Patricia Cline Cohen, one of a trio of authors of The Flash Press, was visiting the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1987: “On one memorable day, Dennis R. Laurie, reference specialist of newspapers and periodicals, asked her if she might like to see some uncataloged New York titles of a somewhat disreputable character.”‘