in the exhibit
Advertising Health to the People

By William H. Helfand

(all the notes in this essay are anchored - simply click the number to read the note and then click 'return' to resume reading.)

By 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War, America was awash in advertising. Announcements were ubiquitous. Not only were they prominent in newspapers and magazines, but posters and broadsides, many in full color, blazoned from the walls of buildings in city locations from where they could be seen at considerable distances. Advertising might certainly be expected in the thousands of newspapers and magazines, many of which had commenced their operations at the war's end, but it was the unusual venues which added to the continual barrage. Almanacs were piled on druggists' counters for customers to pick up. Notices were painted on rocks or the sides of country barns, inside retail shops and offices, and on the outsides of public transportation. On the streets of large cities sandwich men were seen, at times in groups, with each carrying individual letters which spelled out the name of a product. Banners were strung across streets. There were "drummers" too, for the profession of traveling salesman had only recently been introduced. This overabundance of promotion had raised complaints since at least the 1840s, but the frenzied activity brought about by the war's conclusion attracted increased attention.1


Patent, or as they are more properly termed since they were rarely patented, proprietary medicines, were responsible for much of this advertising. They had been a mainstay of newspapers since 1708, when an advertisement appeared in the Boston News-Letter for Daffy's Elixir Salutis at the fairly stiff price of four shillings six pence a half pint bottle. Philadelphia's first newspaper, The American Weekly Mercury, was begun in 1719, and in its issue of March 30, 1721, are two advertisements showing that there was already rivalry in the proprietary medicine trade. In the first advertisement, Elizabeth Wartnaby claims to be the "Original and First Promoter" of the "Right and Genuine Spirit of Venice Treacle," which is "truly and only prepared by her in Philadelphia" and is still for sale at her shop. In the second advertisement, a few lines below, the daughter of the recently deceased Mary Banister claims to "rightly" prepare the same medicine and authorizes only two particular druggists to sell it.

Advertisements in colonial newspapers and magazines demanded a certain level of literacy on the part of the reader. Before street numbers were introduced, shop signs on the facades of apothecary shops, such as Evan Jones's Head of Paracelsus in early Philadelphia, were advertisements which even illiterates could decipher.2 There were many of these shop signs; eighteenth-century listings report the existence of The Golden Mortar, The Unicorn, The Looking-Glass and Druggist-Pot, The Sign of the Golden Spectacles, and the heads of Hippocrates, Cullen, and Boerhaave, among others.

Of course, proprietary medicines were not the only health products or services advertised in early-eighteenth-century newspapers and magazines; there were many more, including announcements by physicians and dentists, offerings of books, artificial legs, anatomical wax figures, equipment for physicians' practices, and lectures for both professionals and the public. In the August 1790 issue of The American Museum, or Universal Magazine the eminent Philadelphia physician William Shippen, Jr. (1736-1808) "Proposes to begin a course of lectures upon midwifery, on Monday the nineteenth of July; and to repeat it every three months.

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The lectures upon anatomy and surgery will begin on the first Monday in November." There were also repeated notices of domestic medical guides, literature of significant importance to a vast
and growing nation when both money and professional practitioners were in scarce supply. Beginning with the January 23, 1735 issue The Pennsylvania Gazette printed an advertisement for the third edition of John Tennent's Every Man his own Doctor; since Benjamin Franklin was the publisher of both the book and the Gazette, the same notice was repeated ten more times during the same year. This was just one example of a long series of notices for this genre of such popular books by William Buchan, John Wesley, John Gunn, and others. Books on sex education and marriage were popular throughout the nineteenth century, at times relying on fear. One advertisement promised, for example, "a volume that should be in the hands of every family in the land, as a preventive of secret vices, or as a guide for the alleviation of one of the most awful and destructive scourges ever on visited mankind."3

Newspapers carried notices for medicated vapor baths, artificial teeth, genuine Galvanic Rings, the Anodyne Necklace, and other amulets. In the space of a few days in 1771, one New York newspaper contained advertisements offering the services of the itinerant Dr. J. Graham, the midwives M. Hartley and Mrs. Fisher, and the surgeon Daniel Lightfoot, who offered "Secrecy, Expedition, and the Certainty of a radical Cure" for venereal disease.4 Competitors to practicing physicians, including quacks, also advertised: the November 21, 1771 edition of The Pennsylvania Journal noted the arrival of Dr. Anthony Yeldall's touring troupe, including a clown whom he called his Merry Andrew. Yeldall referred to his nostrums as "Public Medicines" and noted that "the poor will be served off the public stage gratis." A December 2, 1762 advertisement in The New York Gazette, or The Weekly Post-Boy informed the public that "Dr. Stork in Philadelphia has restored the sight to several hundred persons" and was now in New York. Of course, there were few if any restrictive advertising regulations in North American publications throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the claims of Dr. Yeldall, Dr. Stork and their peers required constant vigilance by the papers' readers.

But it was proprietary medicines above all that comprised the bulk of advertising for health matters throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The earliest were imported from Great Britain, and were products backed by both a history of substantial advertising budgets and exaggerated claims in their home country. Eight of these imports - Bateman's Pectoral Drops, Godfrey's Cordial, Turlington's Balsam of Life, Hooper's Female Pills, Anderson's Scots Pills, Dalby's Carminative, Steer's Opodeldoc, and British Oil - were extensively advertised in the American press as well, their success in the early nineteenth century eliciting a publication in 1824 from the recently opened Philadelphia College of Pharmacy divulging their formulas.5 British products took time to arrive and were expensive; publication of the formulas could facilitate substitution by local manufacturers. By 1800, American-made proprietary medicines had begun to enter the market, and habits born in the colonial period, when local merchants used advertising to sell to people in their immediate area, began to give way to country-wide advertisers. Several proprietors, anxious to sell their remedies far and wide, began to insert notices in papers throughout the expanding country.6

In their frequent newspaper and magazine notices, wholesale druggists and apothecary shops provided lists of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, botanicals, and equipment as well as proprietary medicines. In 1763 advertisements in The Connecticut Gazette as well as in a broadside two years later, Benedict Arnold advertised that he "has just imported (via New-York) and sells at his store in New-Haven, A very large and fresh Assortment of Drugs and Chymical Preparations" and then proceeded to list three columns of books, crude drugs, and products available, including the eight British imports as well as Bostock's Elixir, Eaton's Styptik, France's Female Elixir, Greenough's Tincture for the Teeth, and several others.7 Thomas Dyott, a successful Philadelphia manufacturer of nostrums and glassware, affords another example; his many newspaper advertisements included long lists of products, both British and American, at times supported by woodcut illustrations of his manufacturing and wholesaling facilities.

In many similar notices, the same products were listed over and over again; only rarely was additional information beyond the name of the product included. In a growing nation where demand for a product often exceeded supply, unsophisticated announcements such as these brief lists of products in stock were all that was necessary. Only in periods of abundance, brought about by increased manufacturing capacity, does competition make it necessary for the seller to actively promote a product's advantages.

To do this, the best recourse is advertising, invariably the surest way to move products off the shelves, and at the same time, it is hoped, to better control price levels and distribution. Even before the end of the eighteenth century such promotional expenditures became necessary, and copy stating the merits of individual specialties became a staple of advertising columns. Testimonials for cures of dropsy supported "an Elexir [sic] prepared by Edward Jones of Philadelphia" in eight issues of Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette in 1736, and testimonials also confirmed the value of Francis Torres's Chinese Stones which could cure bites of poisonous creatures, rheumatism, cancers, etc. a few years later.8 Other notices were published during the same period for Daniel Goodman's Infallible Cure for the Bite of a Mad Dog, Dr. Ryan's Incomparable Worm-Destroying Sugar Plums, Balsamick powders for amputations and stopping bleedings, and many others.9 On the front page of Philadelphia's General Advertiser for February 5, 1793 advertisements for Boerhave's extract and Dr. Lee's Essence for the Tooth-ache occupy half a column, not far from notices offering the services of a wet nurse and a dentist. Boerhave's Extract was to be had of the nameless woman who "attends the market with flower roots." She offered a guarantee: "No cure no pay!"

Certain newspaper advertisements suggested a close association between printers, booksellers, and stationers, or the one hand, and proprietary medicine firms on the other, Benjamin Franklin being only one of many carrying out both roles. Often, printers and publishers of newspapers and almanacs ran an apothecary business on the side. James Rivington, Christopher Saur, Hugh Gaine, and other colonial printers were major importers of crude drugs and proprietary medicines; some of them even initiated product manufacturing, and several varieties of mercurial preparations and other anti-venereal formulations, marketed by printers, were said to be the foundation of great fortunes.10 Gaine frequently advertised such medicines as Joyce's American Balsam, Keyser's Pills, and Balm of Gilead, naming his own store as the place to get them.11 Rivington advertised in Gaine's paper in February 3, 1772 that he had just received from London a supply of Keyser's Pills, effective against "a certain disease," and that he had "printed accounts of the astonishing cures, which, from their subject, are improper to be inserted in the public newspaper, but may be seen at his house." And Franklin placed a notice in the August 19, 1731 issue of his Pennsylvania Gazette which read "The Widow Read, removed from the upper End of High street to the New Printing Office near the Market, continues to make and sell her well-known ointment for the ITCH. It is always effectual for that purpose and never fails to perform the cure speedily. It also kills or drives away all sorts of lice."12 Frequently printers' or booksellers' advertisements also listed proprietary medicines, such as a 1770 listing in The Pennsylvania Journal, or Weekly Advertiser of "Maredaunt's Drops, at the bookstore of William and Thomas Bradford." Book catalogues too would include pages of drug advertisements, and frequently lists of agents for various proprietary medicines would include printers and booksellers. On the back cover of a book published by the discoverer of Swaim's Panacea in 1829, 57 agents were listed; of those whose type of business is mentioned, about one-fifth were booksellers.13

By the end of the Revolutionary War there were 43 weekly papers. In 1784 the first daily made its appearance, and by 1800 twenty were published each day.14 Newspapers had space to fill and many became dependent on the proprietors of medicines to stay in business; this was particularly a problem for rural publications and those with small circulations devoted to particular audiences. Religious weeklies, of which more than 400 were published by 1870, had financial needs which called for a steady flow of advertising revenue to keep them afloat. To emphasize the point, one editor confessed that without nostrum advertising, his paper would need two thousand subscribers rather than just a few hundred; it is probable that by the end of the 1800s, advertising expenditures for proprietary medicines provided one-third of all the profits made by the American press, rising to about one-half by the beginning of the Civil War.15 The sums spent were large; by 1849, for example, Benjamin Brandreth was spending $100,000 a year to advertise his pills in newspapers alone.16 The entire front page of the June 11, 1842 issue of the Boston Times was taken up by an advertisement for Frederick Brown's Sarsaparilla and Tomato Bitters, including a six-by-nine-inch engraving of Brown's premises. Many similar examples could be cited. These spending levels had a positive side-effect for the advertiser since they forestalled press criticism of what were at times scandalous excesses in the message they carried. And excesses there were in plenty in this unregulated era.


in the exhibit

Eighteenth-century advertisements were not limited to appearances in newspapers and magazines. Printed broadsides were major sources of commercial information, and publication of the first of them even preceded the weekly and monthly journals. Broadsides were usually printed in sheets the width of a newspaper page but twice as long and were made to be posted, but they also could serve conveniently as wrapping paper, a fact which explains why so few have managed to survive.
Along with posters and handbills, they had an advantage over notices in newspapers not only because of their size, but also because of the variety and size of typefaces that could be chosen to provide maximum impact. In a period when there were frequent paper shortages and when newspaper publishers did not wish to give an advantage to larger advertisers, newspapers uniformly restricted the size of advertisements to two to three inches, denied the use of images and headlines, and kept typefaces uniform, small and restricted to one column. The limitations on the use of display advertising lasted until the 1860s, but such restrictions at times inspired creative advertisers to circumvent their severity.17

Early broadsides dealt with epidemics, providing regulations to prevent the spread of smallpox or inquiring about deaths from distemper. Indeed, the first medical broadside, A Brief Rule to guide the Common People of New-England How to order themselves and theirs in the Small Pocks, or Measels, by Thomas Thacher (1620-1678), was printed in Boston in 1678 and is considered to be the first medical imprint to appear in the British colonies of North America.18 Before too long, broadside advertisements by druggists and apothecaries began to surface, usually in the form of lists with little amplification. The earliest of these was A Catalog of Medicines Sold by Mr. Robert Talbot at Burlington (New Jersey), published around 1725; only a portion of this broadside, at the New Jersey Historical Society Library, has survived.19 Another such list by the New York City firm of Smith, Moore and Company presented 120 names of products in two columns, all in verse!20 More typical are broadsides advertising the stock of booksellers who also sold medicines. In 1769 David Hall, Franklin's successor in his printing office, published a broadside catalogue of his stock, including seven of Dr. Hill's famous medicines, with a description of the virtues of each.21

Broadsides with lengthier texts, describing the value of proprietary medicines and frequently joined by testimonials, accompanied these lists. For example, Dr. Van Swieten's Renowned Pills and Dr. Anderson's Famous Scots Pills were the subjects of broadsides published in Philadelphia in the late eighteenth century to promote two products of European origin.22 Prior to 1820 there were others giving rules for hospital patients, statistics including bills of mortality, lectures, government reports, professional notices, and advertisements of new medical texts, in addition to those for medicines.

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Announcements by physicians, dentists, and other practitioners advising of a temporary stay in a local area were generally posted by itinerants; such broadsides often included several open lines on which the traveler would insert a hand-written note specifying the place and time of his availability. Some took advantage of the notice to tout their abilities as well. Not surprisingly, those offering alternative or non-orthodox methods frequently resorted to the use of such announcements, for phrenologists and providers of universal panaceas rarely had a fixed address, depending on itinerancy for their livelihoods. A broadside published in Schoharie, New York, is typical of this genre: "Read and Circulate. The well known and popular Indian Physician, Dr. O. S. Martin, would respectfully inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of this place and vicinity that he has taken rooms at [blank] where he will remain [blank] after date, commencing [blank] 1860." Dr. Martin or his agent then inserted the specific information on time, place and duration of his visit in the space provided.

Books, pamphlets, and almanacs

Books, pamphlets, and almanacs were significant sources of advertising, extensively used by physicians and promoters of systems to improve health as well as by proprietary medicine manufacturers. An early example of the former is the Boston, 1749 edition of a British book, The Authentick Narrative of the success of Tar Water, to which the famous Boston divine Thomas Prince added an appendix instructing Americans how to make their own tar water with native American pitch pine: every man his own apothecary. Probably the earliest instance of an American pamphlet promoting a proprietary medicine is the New York, 1731 reprint of a British pamphlet, A Short Treatise of the virtues of Dr. Bateman's Pectoral Drops. Since pamphlets, like newspapers, were usually discarded after reading, only one copy of this piece of puffery, at the New York Academy of Medicine, is known to have survived. Catalogues of medicines were also published in pamphlet form; a unique example of the latter at the Library Company is the 12-page Catalogue of Drugs & Medicines for sale by John Wheeler, at his apothecary shop opposite the printing office, Dover, N.H. (1802). Prices varied too much to entrust them to print, but this catalogue has them added in manuscript.

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Not until the nineteenth century did the publication of books advertising patent medicines become common in America. In the 1820s William Swaim published both books and pamphlets on his Panacea, publications generally full of testimonials by the known and unknown, accompanied by before-or-after pictures of cures obtained. Benjamin Brandreth promoted his vegetable pills as singular cures for all ailments in such publications as Vegetable Purgation; a natural law of the human body for its purification (New York, 1845). As the years passed there were hundreds of other similar publications. Samuel Thomson not only published his own volumes but also placed advertisements in the newspapers and magazines of others. One of his publications, The Medical Advocate, promoted not only his own products, but also had listings for physicians who practiced the Thomsonian system. He also made use of annually revised almanacs to describe his botanicals, the 1839 edition mentioning Dr. Thomson's No. 3, No. 4 Bitters, No. 5 Syrup, No. 6 Rheumatic Drops, Composition powders, Ladies Spice Bitters, Emetic or Asthmatic Tincture, and his primary specialty, Lobelia inflata, each of which was for sale at the Thomsonian Medicine Store on Market Street in Philadelphia. In the 1840s almanacs published by the manufacturers of patent medicines began to appear, such as Jayne's Medical Almanac and guide to health from the Philadelphia drug giant David Jayne. Some of these almanacs, such as those of the Ayer and Hostetter companies, had lengthy runs well into the twentieth century. By 1870 the pamphlet literature branched into a variety of new forms; cook books, puzzle books, song books, coloring books, dream books, and joke books were developed to carry an ever increasing advertising load.

Popular medical guides

Popular medical guides themselves were frequently carriers of advertising, serving to reinforce promotional messages in the newspapers and magazines; thus homeopathic guide books advocated homeopathic treatment, and Thomsonian guides stressed the value of Samuel Thomson's botanicals. J. Hamilton Potter's The Consumptive's Guide to Health, published in Philadelphia in 1849, carried a notice on where his products could be purchased. Drugs were advertised in many of the guide books, one estimate suggesting that at least one-fifth of all domestic medical guides were in part or primarily vehicles for selling drugs.
23 These popular medical guides, in addition to their many other important functions, helped to shape millions of Americans' drug-buying and drug-taking habits. An illustrative example of such product promotion is Samuel Solomon's Guide to Health, the 53rd edition of which contains 216 pages, many of which are solely for the purpose of proclaiming the advantages of his popular Cordial Balm of Gilead.24 Books, too, were advertised in the guides; in James C. Jackson's How to Treat the Sick without Medicine (Dansville, NY, 1868), there are four such pages recommending books by the same author, including The Sexual Organism and its Healthful Management, and Consumption, How to Treat It, How to Prevent It.

in the exhibit

Eighteenth-century newspaper advertising was almost completely textual, relieved occasionally by small generic woodcuts of ships or other common symbols. In the 1770s woodcuts began to appear in druggists' advertisements, such as the image of the pelican piercing her breast to nourish her young used in the Pennsylvania Journal in December 1775 by Mary Memminger, who traded under the sign of the Golden Pelican. A mortar and pestle was a common shop sign, and it appears among many other places in an advertisement for Samuel H. Lee "at the Sign of the Golden Mortar" in the New London Connecticut Gazette for August 24, 1803. Woodcuts and wood-engravings, printed in black and white, illustrated books and pamphlets; in the early nineteenth century copper engravings began to furnish attractive designs for package labels and inserts in books, even though they could not be used to print great quantities. Certain manufacturers, including Benjamin Brandreth and David Jayne,
commissioned copperplate engravings for their elaborate labels, largely as a device against counterfeiters. Illustrations were important to advertising, for pictures are more easily remembered than text. George P. Rowell, an advertising pioneer, recalling his memories of 1842, wrote that "The only other result of advertising that made an impression on the memory that time has not effaced was a certain poster picture of a sort of calico horse of Arabian pattern and vast grace and beauty, all calculated to emphasize benefits that might be derived from a compound known as Merchants' Gargling Oil." In his book, written many years later, he added that the products could still be found in drug stores throughout the country.25

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In the mid-nineteenth century color began to be added to black-and-white illustrations in promotional messages. This was at first done by hand, sheet by sheet, since there was no commercially viable method of printing in colors. The advent of commercial lithography in the 1830s provided an inexpensive way to replace more costly woodcuts and engravings, and brought considerable change to the appearance of advertisements. William Swaim took advantage of the new methods and had a lithographer produce a large size portrait of Nancy Linton, whose "actual appearance after having been cured by the use of Swaim's Panacea [was] One of the most extraordinary cures ever recorded in the annals of medicine." A portrait of Miss Linton had hitherto only appeared in black-and-white in Swaim's books and pamphlets. The color illustration did not seem to show any improved efficacy of his Panacea.


Increases in the size of printing presses and paper in the mid-nineteenth century made possible large broadsides that integrated text and illustrations, or posters. In about 1840 Jasper H. Morse of Haverhill, Massachusetts published One Hundred valuable receipts for the cure of various diseases in broadside form, a huge sheet in nine columns of small type comprising as much text as a small book. Large ornamental types cut from wood by jig-saw were more usually used to give posters a visual impact. An 1844 example for Deshler's Anti-periodic Pills used eight different fancy wood types. Sometimes large woodcut illustrations were also used to good effect, as in the many large diagrams of the human head used by phrenologists as both advertisements and props for their showmanship. Woodcut was the most common medium for illustrating posters in the early part of the century, but occasionally copper plate engraving was used, as in the giant view of the sky-scraper headquarters of Dr. Jayne's Family Medicines (Philadelphia, ca. 1850).

During the 1840s European techniques of printing illustrations with color relief wood blocks migrated to America. One of the earliest multicolor woodcuts, an 1846 poster for The Celebrated Oxygenated Bitters, a Sure Remedy for Dyspepsia, Asthma and General Debility, presented a portrait of the product's proprietor, George B. Green, surrounded by testimonials from five senators, four congressmen, the president of the Michigan State Bank, and "other prominent gentlemen." During the Civil War a similar color woodcut poster for Dr. C. F. Brown's Young American Liniment, showing a pathetic horse (before) and a prancing steed (after) reflected the type of image which could be obtained from the woodcut technique.

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Meanwhile the new technique of lithography was gaining acceptance as an advertising medium, and because it could provide larger quantities at lower costs, it gradually replaced the woodcut as the prime means of poster publishing. At first these advertising posters were little more than illustrated broadsides, but soon their designs became more and more creative and their appearance began to change, until they made woodcut posters look stiff and old-fashioned. Posters whose purpose it was to advertise commercial and industrial enterprises were also known as "trade cards." These eye catching lithographs, often in color and usually on large size sheets of paper, were made to be posted in enclosed spaces and were more posters than cards; probably more of them were made in Philadelphia than any other large center.26

Perhaps the most common type of lithographic advertisement was a view of the store or warehouse of the advertiser, and manufacturers frequently commissioned them. Most were uncolored, such as the giant poster for Dr. George Stewart's Botanic Syrup and Vegetable Pills (Philadelphia, 1849). Another example is the poster for Shepherd's Medicines published by their importers Bodder & Co., Baltimore, in the 1840s, which prominently displays the clipper ship that brought the medicines to the wharf. During the 1850s techniques of color printing in lithography, known as chromolithography, were advancing quickly, so that soon these advertisements appeared in striking color, such as the poster showing the warehouse of Dr. Hoofland's Celebrated German Bitters printed in Philadelphia around 1858. Chromolithographic domestic scenes were also common, as in the poster for Dr. McMunn's Kinate of Quinine and Cinchona, published in New York about 1870, shown on the cover of this catalogue. The image of a bedridden patient resting at home, with bottles of McMunn's medicines nearby, takes up almost the entire space, while through an open door we see how quinine bark is harvested. Another example, a "picture of health" to contrast with Dr. McMunn's picture of illness, is the charming poster, If you wish perfect health, use the National Bitters (Philadelphia, 1867), reproduced on the back cover. These are just a few of the many attractive multicolored posters copyrighted in the 1860s. By the 1870s "chromos" were everywhere.


What can be said about the content, quality, and effectiveness of the advertising? In the eighteenth century there were no guides for the advertiser, who had to rely empirically on trial and error to discover what would work; if sales increased the advertisements were good. Perhaps the continual repetition of both names and slogans brought some success in the beginning. One deceitful technique was to insert advertising copy masquerading as a news report, luring the unsuspecting reader to unwittingly absorb the commercial message when least expected.

Certainly testimonials, by well-known authorities or clergymen if possible, were used with great frequency, especially for proprietary medicines. "I have within the last two years had an opportunity of seeing several cases of very inveterate ulcers, which, having resisted previously the regular modes of treatment, were healed by the use of Mr. Swaim's Panacea,"28 noted the eminent Philadelphia professor Nathan Chapman, and his published blessing was followed by equally positive comments from 25 physicians, politicians, and even the British consul. Eminent physicians did not usually endorse proprietary medicines; in fact Benjamin Rush actually published an article exposing Dr. Martin's cancer powder as a "quack medicine" in the January 1787 American Museum. Most of the testimonials for these and hundreds of other products were from lesser known writers.

Advertising agencies, the first of which began in 1841, would eventually help create more effective messages, but their original tasks were to fill newspaper space by contracting for large quantities in advance and then selling small portions to individual marketers. Many of the techniques developed by advertisers in the nineteenth century and which persist in more modern times were first developed by the proprietary medicine firms, particularly before-and-after images and the creation of newly found conditions such as catarrh and, later, halitosis. Even the ever present commercial break in radio and television programs today owes something to marketing techniques developed by the itinerant medicine show, a spectacle which had European origins but which in the nineteenth century developed a purely American character.

In a sense, too, the advertisers of medicines were such important factors from the beginning of American advertising that their commercial success demonstrated the potential that could be realized through print promotion. As one historian of advertising has noted, "They nursed mediums. They developed copy and mechanics. They tested and determined the value of position in the newspapers. At every stage in the early growth of advertising it was the patent-medicine trade that was giving the subject the most thought and developing new devices."29 Advertising also helped to expand the consumer's knowledge, bringing new products and new ideas to the minds of people who might not otherwise have had access to them. With its continually expanding capacity to carry health messages to the public, advertising furthered the desire of everyone to be his, or her, own doctor.

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see selections from the exhibition


1. James Harvey Young, The Toadstool Millionaires (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), 112. return

2. American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia: Andrew Bradford), March 5, 1730. return

3. Abraham Blinderman, "Medical Advertisements: Rhetoric in American Newspapers 1861-1865," New York State Journal of Medicine, 74 (1974), 1475. return

4. The New-York Gazette, and The Weekly Mercury (New York: Hugh Gaine), June 3, July 8 and July 15, 1771. return

5. George B. Griffenhagen and James Harvey Young, "Old English Patent Medicines in America," Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, Bulletin 218 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1959), 157. return

6. Young, Toadstool Millionaires, 32. return

7. Kenneth Redman, "A Handbill of B. Arnold, Druggist, Bookseller, etc. From London Sibi Totique," Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, Practical Pharmacy Edition, 8, 7 (1947), 362-366.return

8. The Pennsylvania Journal (Philadelphia: William Bradford), September 5, 1745. return

9. The Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers), March 10, 1779, Sept. 20, 1780, April 17, 1782. return

10. Francisco Guerra, American Medical Bibliography 1639-1783 (New York: Lathrop C. Harper, Inc., 1962), 14. return

11. The New York Gazette, and The Weekly Mercury (New York: Hugh Gaine), February 18, April 29 and October 7, 1771. return

12. Young, Toadstool Millionaires, 17-18. return

13. William Swaim, Cases of Cures performed by the use of Swaim's Panacea (Philadelphia, 1829). return

14. Frank Presbrey, The History and Development of Advertising (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1929), 158-161. return

15. Madge E. Pickard and R. Carlyle Buley, The Midwest Pioneer, His Ills, Cures and Doctors (New York: Henry Schuman, 1946), 269; Charles Goodrum and Helen Dalrymple, Advertising in America: The First 200 Years (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990), 17, 24. return

16. Young, Toadstool Millionaires, 88. return

17. Goodrum and Dalrymple, Advertising in America, 19-20. return

18. Guerra, American Medical Bibliography, 29. The unique copy is at Harvard. return

19. David L. Cowen, "Pharmaceutica Americana," Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, NS3, 3 (1963), 138-9. return

20. David L. Cowen, "A store mixt, various, universal," Journal of the Rutgers University Library, 25, 1 (1961), 2-9. return

21. David Hall, at the New Printing-Office has to dispose of, wholesale and retail, the following books.[Philadelphia: 1769]. return

22. Cf. By authority of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. Dr. Anderson's famous Scots Pills are faithfully prepared by me, Patrick M'Naughton (Philadelphia: Carey, Talbot, and Spotswood, [1785]. Tobias Hirte, Philadelphia apothecary, advertised Dr. Van Sweiten's . renowned Pills in a broadside of about 1793, as well as a native Pennsylvania Indian or German nostrum in Indianisch-French-Criek-Seneca-Spring-Oel (Chestnut Hill: Samuel Saur, 1792). Unique copies of all three are in the Library Company. return

23. Norman Gevitz, "Domestic Medical Guides and the Drug Trade in Nineteenth-Century America," Pharmacy in History, 32 (1990), 32, 2, 52. return

24. Samuel Solomon, Guide to Health, 52nd edition (Stockport [England]: Printed for the Author by J. Clarke; and sold by Robert Bach, New York, 1800), 270. return

25. George P. Rowell, Forty Years an Advertising Agent (New York: Franklin Publishing Co., 1906), 14. return

26. Nicholas B. Wainwright, Philadelphia in the Romantic Age of Lithography (Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1958), 2. return

27. Presbrey, History and Development of Advertising, 256. return

28. Swaim, Cases and Cures, 10. That Chapman's disavowal of this endorsement took place some years later did not affect the incontestable value of his earlier praise; see Young, Toadstool Millionaires, 65. return

29. Presbrey, History and Development of Advertising, 300. return

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