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Before there was Google, there was the New York Public Library: behold the funniest questions people asked back then


Endless hours can be whittled away entering words and phrases into Google and seeing autocomplete reveal what burning questions curious users before you have asked the search engine.

But in the days before you could sit in the comfort and privacy of your own home, asking your computer the questions you might be hesitant to ask others, you had to ask an actual person.

In Manhattan, that person was the impartial and, presumably, extremely patient librarian at the New York Public Library.

The NYPL recently discovered a box of queries from the 1940s through to the 1980s and they have been kind enough to share some of the gems on their addictive and hilarious Instagram account.

We’ve picked a few of our favourites and we highly suggest you follow them for more. 

Forget why she ate it, or why nobody was phased by a talking snake, what was Eve's chosen brand - a Granny Smith, or a Braeburn, we wonder?

Good to see feminism was alive and well...

The ultimate conspiracy theory...

Early beauty journalism.

One might say it's a hair-raising question...#letmelibrarianthatforyou

A photo posted by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on

We suspect this one was waiting for a long time. The grass is always greener.

Don't we all? "A woman wanted 'inspirational material on grass and lawns'" #letmelibrarianthatforyou

A photo posted by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on

This one came before YouTube tutorials.

Google tells us that these squirrels were not usually posing for the painter, and that they were included in portraits as symbols of obedience and personal restraint.

We suggest Freud might have a trunk-related answer for this one...

See these and many more on the New York Public Library Instagram account.


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