Can mice throw up?

The New York Public Library has a Christmas / solstice / holiday / rainy day present for us: questions asked of reference librarians in the days before The Google.

Recently some folks at the New York Public Library discovered a box containing old reference questions from the 1940s to 1980s. They’ll be posting the questions to their Instagram account on Mondays (starting today), but have shared a bunch with us today, noting, “we were Google before Google existed.”

I love it when people discover a box containing treasure.

  • What did women use for shopping backs before paper bags?
  • Are black widow spiders more harmful dead or alive?
  • Is it proper to go to Reno alone to get a divorce? (1945)
  • Are Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates the same person?
  • Can NYPL recommend a good forger?

I’ll pause a moment to let us all catch our breath.


  • Does the Bible have a copyright?
  • What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the US?
  • Can you tell me the thickness of a US Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We cannot get this answer quickly. Perhaps try the Postal Service. Response: This is the Postal Service.
  • What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?
  • How do you put up wallpaper?

They should get the forger to put up the wallpaper.



  1. luzclara says

    But what about the darling mice. Do they throw up? Now I’ll have to call the NYPL myself I guess.

  2. says

    Well I’m sure mice can throw up. If cats can throw up and dogs can throw up – and you know we know they can – why would a loving god not let mice throw up?

    I rest my case.

  3. karmacat says

    Horses can’t throw up. I googled this question and turns out rodents don’t vomit. Cats, of course, vomit frequently especially where you walk

  4. Cuttlefish says

    Mice (and rats) cannot throw up. Which is why they have such a fantastic learned aversion to poisons–they eat very little of any novel food, and if it sickens them, they will not eat it again. Which leads to exterminators who specialize in making rat poison taste like the stuff they are already used to. Gourmet poisons, which emulate the foods they eat regularly–pizza poison at pizza joints, cajun poison at cajun joints, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French… I guess it makes a heck of a last meal.

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