Dennis, Donna. Licentious Gotham Harvard University Press, 2009 Amazon
As I’ve observed previously, there’s a lot of historical coverage of the European/British history of pornography, but not so much of American porn, at least in the 19th or early 20th centuries.
Dennis’ book bears this out, saying that while there was plenty of porn produced in antebellum New York, it was largely pirated editions of English or translated European works, notably John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748), easily the most popular, and Laurence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey (1768, published in New York as early as 1795). Little if any was actually written by Americans, at least until during and after the Civil War, when demand grew greatly. (Illustrations may have been created domestically, though the text isn’t clear.)
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