You may have already stumbled across this gem of a blog: Ask the Past. If you haven't, take a look. It's the work of Dr. Elizabeth P. Archibald, who teaches humanities and musicology at the Peabody Institute, the conservatory of music at Johns Hopkins University. (She's also one of the editors of "Learning Latin and Greek from Antiquity to the Present," if that's your thing.)
Ask the Past gleans tips for living and tidbits of advice from a huge array of historical manuscripts. Some of it's inherently odd - as in how to make snail bread, circa 1685. Other entries start in the realm of reason before veering hard toward nonsense - such as soothing teething babies by gently massaging their gums and then ... anointing them with the brains of a hare. That's from 1450.
Today, Ask the Past made its debut in book form: "Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear." Here's a snippet to go with the image at the top of this post:
Next week, I'll be interviewing Dr. Archibald for an episode of the show that will come out later this spring. So if you have questions for Dr. Archibald (or for the past) let us know in the comments or by dropping us a note at historypodcast at howstuffworks dot com.