The world was a very different place a century-and-a-half ago and this
exhibit seeks to expose the similarities and contrasts of that era with
our world today through the lens provided by the literature of 1856.
(Aside: This very exercise was the genesis of
The printed matter published in 1856 is now beyond the protection of copyright law, being in the public domain. With such license, various parties are freely reproducing this material. While contemporary scanning may afford a very "thin" new copyright, surely limited reproduction of such scanned material is within the "Fair Use" safe harbor of copyright law as well. Happily, we now attend the vanguard of a tidal wave of material from old books, digitized and transmitted through the Internet, for exploitation by projects such as ours.
Here we have aggregated a few amusing and insightful excerpts from the English-language literature published in 1856, including from sources such as the following: