Posted on September 14, 2023 at 12:32 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The Guardian had two chuckle-worthy articles on historic nonfiction books worth sharing.

The more recent one is the Oxford English Dictionary, which, as a new book observes, was basically written via a seventy-year crowdsourcing project.

As Sarah Ogilvie, author of The Dictionary People, discovered, the thousands of people who answered the call for submissions to the nineteenth-century project were a real motley crew, though many were on the “margins of academia,” notes the Guardian.

Her book features many of the more colorful characters, such as a man whose hobby was collecting pornography (which had its own dedicated rental space).

A less famous, but probably funnier, old piece of nonfiction comes from the sixteenth century.

“A pamflyt compiled of Cheese, contayninge the differences, nature, qualities, and goodnes” was handwritten in the 1580s, says the Guardian, making it the earliest surviving book about British cheese.

The University of Leeds library's special collections has acquired the 112-page manuscript and published it online.

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