Elinor Glyn, Three Weeks (1907)

Three weeks

Three Weeks: Banned in Boston for obscenity.

Elinor Glyn was a British novelist in the first part of the twentieth century, best known for coining the use of the word "It" to refer to sex appeal. Her romance novel Three Weeks, which depicted an adulterous relationship between a young man and an older woman, became an international bestseller in 1908, selling over five million copies worldwide.

The New England Watch and Ward Society, an organization involved in the censorship of books and performing arts in Boston, decided to ban Three Weeks for its obscene content. They sent out a warning notice to booksellers, who pulled it from the shelves. When the publisher tried to offer it for sale by mail, his advertisements were canceled by Boston newspapers after a warning from the Watch and Ward. To test the restrictions, a publishing representative tried to sell a copy to a Boston police officer and was arrested. He was found guilty under the obscenity law, and fined. The conviction was upheld on appeal. In 1932, a Mickey Mouse cartoon was banned in Ohio because it depicted a cow reclining in a field reading Three Weeks.

Clements Library copy of Three Weeks