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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Collector

posted by on May 24 at 10:30 AM

The first paragraph of a story published a week ago in the New York Times:

THE owner of Napoleon’s penis died last Thursday in Englewood, N.J. John K. Lattimer, who’d been a Columbia University professor and a collector of military (and some macabre) relics, also possessed Lincoln’s blood-stained collar and Hermann Göring’s cyanide ampoule. But the penis, which supposedly had been severed by a priest who administered last rites to Napoleon and overstepped clerical boundaries, stood out (sorry) from the professor’s collection of medieval armor, Civil War rifles and Hitler drawings.
We humans are endless.

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I read that article. I thought it was interesting that a urologist can claim a "professional interest," but it's somehow weirder for someone else to own it. What professional interest can someone have in a gross old speciman in a jar? Did Napoleon have a strange condition?

Posted by Aislinn | May 24, 2007 11:06 AM

I own the bloody menstrual rags of Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, and Cher!

Posted by Menses_Faire | May 24, 2007 11:17 AM

Aislinn, please. I call a case of "smelt it, dealt it." Who among us hasn't picked up the odd preserved penis specimen at an estate sale now and then? Well, me for one I guess, but I think most people, including maybe you (you might just not remember), own or have owned a famous or semi-famous penis in a jar of formaldehyde.

Or brine.

Posted by jackie treehorn | May 24, 2007 11:34 AM

In answer to #1. Yes: a Napoleonic Complex (rimshot!).

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | May 24, 2007 12:28 PM

at least they didn't post photos!

Posted by lilblackcat | May 24, 2007 12:49 PM

So was he hung or was he overcompensating?

Posted by keshmeshi | May 24, 2007 1:06 PM

@2: Gross.
@3: Ohhhh, right, my brine-cured penis collection! Silly me, I forgot all about it.
@4: I enjoy a good pun, but that one hurt a little bit.
@6: Considering there is (hopeful) speculation that it was only a "partial sample," and that it's "barely recognizable as a human body part," I'm guessing it was nothing to write home about.

Posted by Aislinn | May 24, 2007 2:16 PM

correction: "THE owner of Napoleon’s penis" should read "The SECOND OWNER of Napoleon’s penis"


Posted by josh bomb | May 24, 2007 2:19 PM

I'm confused. In what way is cutting off a dead man's penis "overstepp[ing] clerical boundaries?" Don't they always?

Posted by John Pontoon | May 24, 2007 3:07 PM

napoleon was famouly micro-phallused - reputedly about 1". i learned this from "the book of lists" when i was a kid.

i'd wager this doctor either a. doesn't have the real bona-part (har!), or b. is about the 12th owner.

shouldn't this item be in the british museum along with cromwell's death mask?

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Posted by mtwjgyk xqjt | June 5, 2007 11:02 PM

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Posted by qmve smct | June 5, 2007 11:03 PM

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