I stopped at an estate sale over the weekend that was taking place just down the street from where I live. I didn’t have anything in particular I wanted to find, so I waited until it was nearly over to see if I could strike some deals. I went in about two hours before it was set to close, and I immediately spotted these vintage anatomical charts being offered for $10. I told the woman it was just weird enough for me to want to buy but… and before I could finish she offered to make it $5 and I was sold. I didn’t even get a good look at them until I got home, but when I did I quickly found it was a great purchase.
These charts were originally a supplement to The New Modern Home Physician, which from the little bit I’ve gathered was an encyclopedic home medical reference first offered in 1934 (then called The Modern Home Physician.) I’m not sure when these charts were produced; one listing I saw for them indicated the 1950′s, but I haven’t found a solid reference to back that up. The envelope refers to the charts as “Manakins”, and they feature different layers of the human anatomy that are able to be removed or folded out to reveal different parts of the body. There is one male and one female. Some of the organs fold out individually to reveal other organ that are otherwise obstructed. All in all, they’re very interesting and beautiful charts with a great vintage charm.
One thing I find interesting is how the sexual organs have been censored, and when I say censored, I mean they’re completely ignored. The male is illustrated with a towel wrapped around his waist, and none of his sexual organs are shown, not even in the internal diagrams. The female is shown fully naked, however she has no vulva, and again, none of the sexual organs are shown in any of the internal diagrams. Despite all of this, the female is pregnant, as her uterus contains a fetus (how she became pregnant then is unclear.) I find it odd that such otherwise wonderfully detailed diagrams do not include such an important aspect of our human anatomy, but given the probable era(s) these were produced and the fact that they were targeted at the home market rather then professionals, it may have been considered the proper thing to do then. To me, it seems rather prudish, but then nowadays all of this information is available in explicit detail on the Internet.
I’ve got more photos/scans of the diagrams after the break, and higher-res copies on flickr. If you know anything more about these, please share! I’ve ordered a copy of the book as it sounds interesting as well.