Book Banned in 1906 Back on Library's Shelf

Mark Twain's 'Eve's Diary' contained risque images
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2011 2:23 PM CDT
File photo of library stacks.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Massachusetts' Charlton Public Library is now one title richer, thanks to one man's detective work. Richard Whitehead uncovered a century-old controversy when doing some research for his new position as one of the library's trustees: a book banned in 1906 because it contained naked images. That weren't graphic. Of Eve in Eden. Sounds like small potatoes now, but the trustees at the time—the town clerk, a minister, and an undertaker—found the illustrations in Mark Twain's Eve's Diary too risque, reports the New York Times.

The paper digs up its own Nov. 24, 1906, article on the topic, which noted that "after looking long and earnestly at one picture depicting Eve pensively reclining on a rock," one of the trustees "decided to act." Says Whitehead, "It’s kind of a shame that for what seems to me like very good artwork, a great piece of literature was banned." And so he and the other trustees voted on Tuesday to welcome back Eve's Diary—two copies of it, in fact, along with an audio version for those capable of picturing their own reclining Eve. (A banned Kurt Vonnegut book also won a partial victory this week, notes AP.)

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