Peep shows at Middlebury

scMiddlebury Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives has recently acquired some 19th-century European peep shows! Peep shows burst onto the European scene in 1825 with Austrian printer Heinrich Friedrich Müller’s first “Teleorama.” These tunnel viewers, constructed from folded paper, became immensely popular in Germany, Austria, France, and England. Special Collections is now the proud custodians of two examples of these.

The first, from England around 1829, depicts a projected view of the first tunnel under a river ever constructed. This peep show offered a glimpse into the future, as the tunnel was not completed and opened to the public until 1843.

The second, a French peep show from around 1836, shows Les Tuileries Palace on the front, and has three viewing options. A square cutout in the center provides a view of pedestrians, carriages, and equestrians on the streets of Paris, with monuments and churches, fountains and buildings, representing the best of the city. The circular left and right cutouts show various views of gardens.

Please visit our recent blog post for many more images, or stop by Special Collections on the lower floor of Davis Family Library to see them for yourself!