Potty Humor


The Vanishing American Outhouse

I can honestly say that in 20 plus years of library service no one has ever asked me anything even remotely outhouse related. Even though this isn’t necessarily a specific information need, it is one of those books that are purchased to make the collection interesting. Holly calls them serendipity books, or something that browsers can stumble upon, almost by accident. They are part of the recipe for an interesting collection. They may or may not work in your collection, but taking a chance now and then to spice up a collection is often worth it.

This book did have some serious sales and was reviewed by Library Journal with a generally lukewarm endorsement in 1989. A newer edition was released in 2000. Even if potty humor isn’t your particular thing, keep an open mind for those serendipity titles.


outhouse poetry





  1. Heh, this looks like something I might check out — or just read in the stacks for a good chuckle and a smile! If weeded for lack of circulation (and still in decent condition), I bet it would go quickly in the book sale.

    (Oh, and were the last two pics supposed to be the same?)

  2. Sadly, I must report that my husband, an outhouse aficionado, has received a number of outhouse calendars as Christmas gifts. He would have taken this book home in a heartbeat.

  3. I may have mentioned this before, but I think anyone who is nostalgic about outhouses never had to use one. When I was a kid my parents and I stayed at a campground that had these things and I was terrified of them, especially at night. The smell. The darkness. The vermin. The cross-contamination. (although as a kid I didn’t really worry about that last one)

    1. We stayed for several weeks at a campsite on an island in Lake George, where we were fortunate enough to be the first users of a spanking new outhouse. So most of what bothered you didn’t apply — but I do remember a lovely large spider that lived in a corner inside. Huge and colorful — wish I knew what kind it was.

  4. Where was this book when I had an outhouse related question? A patron wanted to know why most outhouses had crescent moons cut in the doors. I’m going to ILL this book to see if it has the answer.

  5. So, what’s the Dewey number? Strictly humor or lore would be 390s or 800s. But if you plan to build your own, 600s.

  6. I had this one (1989 ed.) growing up!!! It was amazing, pictures, Chic Sale as “the Specialist”, WPA blueprints, a story of a round brick outhouse on the Mississippi river, I don’t remember what else. My grand mother wanted to xerox some pages and I wouldn’t let her because I was too young to know that federal government works weren’t copyrighted (the WPA plans). She got offended.

    Sadly, the binding was bad and the pages detached. (frowny face)

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