A (Tail) Flap of Mermaids

The end of the summer season. Library of Congress Images.

The end of the summer season. Library of Congress Images.

We are coming to the end of the traditional Silly Season. Last year I did a post on popular images of sea serpents from vintage newspapers. This year, we move on to an equally popular Silly Season topic: mermaids, as seen in newspapers, magazine, and book illustrations.

A mermaid wearing a red scarf plucks a woefully undersized harp. c. 1800

A mermaid wearing a red scarf plucks a woefully undersized harp. c. 1800

 

Walter Crane, The Mermaid Dance, c. 1880s

Walter Crane, The Mermaid Dance, c. 1880s

 

Mer-children playing marbles, 1902

Mer-children playing marbles, 1902

 

Mermaid "Rough-Riders" 1909

Mermaid “Rough-Riders” 1909

 

A merman dude, 1880s

A dude of a merman, 1880s

 

 

The mermaid has Charley take off her tail for bait, 1887

The mermaid has Charley take off her tail for bait, 1887. Rather creepy really….

 

Deep-Sea Gossip between mermaids, 1911

Deep-Sea Gossip between mermaids, 1911

 

Merbaby riding a shark, 1890s

Merbaby riding a shark, 1890s

 

1883

A storm-tossed temptress of the sea, 1883

 

 

Just one of the Buoys....

Just one of the Buoys….

This last one is one of my favorites: the sideshow mermaid revealed!

The Mermaid and the Mouse, 1904

The Mermaid and the Mouse, 1904

I have been unable to find a collective noun for mermaids–a flap? a mer-mer–and by extension, a susurration? a tale of mermaids?  I welcome suggestions. Splash me at chriswoodyard8 AT gmail.com

For another post on mermaids see here; and for a maker of mermaids, see here.

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com.