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How to Kiss.

[Undated, mid-19th century] Stock Code: 144712
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A delightful memento of the amatory arts in mid-19th century America, an early copy of a humorous article for men on the art of kissing, which originally appeared during the Civil War, perhaps here passed off by the anonymous copyist as his own work. The piece opens by describing the technique of kissing, offering some tips on how the reader might improve his performance ("let your hat go to any place out of the way... don't be in a hurry"), and concluding with the bliss that a properly performed kiss can elicit: "the lips meet; the eyes close; the heart opens; the soul rides the storms, troubles, and sorrows of life... heaven opens before you; the world shoots under your feet, as a meteor flashes across the evening sky". Our amorous copyist inscribes the front of his instructions with the words "Practice makes perfect".

The original article was likely penned by the popular American journalist and humorist Marcus M. "Brick" Pomeroy (1833-1896). An early version was published in the Evansville Daily Journal (6 September 1865) under the title "The Science of Kissing", with the closing line: "Try the above recipe, and if you do not succeed, for farther particulars call on, or write to Brick Pomeroy", and later in Pomeroy's collection, Nonsense: Or Hits & Criticisms on the Follies of the Day (1869). In the mid-1860s, Pomeroy's writings "attracted national attention, being copied in most of the papers of prominence" (obituary, Sacramento Daily Union, 1 June 1896). The article was widely disseminated and reprinted throughout the latter 19th century in an extraordinary variety of publications, such as the Marysville Daily Appeal (1867), Yale Literary Magazine (1876), Zion's Home Monthly (1894), Farmer's Almanac (1896), and even the International Molders' and Foundry Workers' Journal as late as 1969. It also turned up in England when H. K. Browne ("Phiz") included it in his All About Kisses (1876).

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Single lined sheet, folded (176 x 225 mm). Neatly written in manuscript in black ink, titled "Practice makes perfect", initialled "J.A.J", and with blindstamp of a woman's profile.


Creased where folded, a little browning, very well-preserved.


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