Brain Pickings

Sexology Circa 1942: Vintage Anatomical Charts of the Male and Female Body, as Animated GIFs


“The average reader … does not appreciate the truly vast complexity of the human machine, and all the different parts which make the machine go.”

As a lover of antique anatomical drawings, yesteryear’s medical art, and vibrant vintage guides to the human body, I was delighted to stumble upon a copy of the 1942 booklet The Sexual Study of the Male and Female Human Body in Color Pictures (public library) — a slim 32-page pamphlet by psychiatrist, “sexologist,” and “director of human relations” Myron D. Jacoby, featuring 16 color plates, 8 for each gender.

Having already tried my hand at transforming vintage anatomical charts into animated GIFs, I decided to give this vintage gem the same GIF treatment. Enjoy.

The Sexual Study of the Male and Female Human Body in Color Pictures comes less than two decades after Fritz Kahn’s seminal Man as Industrial Palace, so the machine metaphor for the human body is hardly surprising — it endured for at least two more decades.

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