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Encyclopaedia Britannica

In the late 18th century, tourists seeking carnal pleasure in Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh had a handy guidebook to start with. It detailed the names, ages and specialties of sixty-six of Edinburgh’s foremost working girls and where to find them. Unlike the infamous Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies—an annual directory of London prostitutes—that ran for four decades, the Ranger’s Impartial List of Ladies of Pleasure was published only once, in 1775.

Although the book was published anonymously, it was later revealed that the man behind the meticulous research was James Tytler, a perpetually debt-ridden writer and balloon enthusiast who later went on to become the editor of Encyclopædia Britannica, contributing hundreds of articles and almost singlehandedly enlarging the volume to more than three times its size.


© Amusing Planet, 2019.


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