See ads for menarche-education booklets: Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1932), Tampax tampons (1970, with Susan Dey), Personal Products (1955, with Carol Lynley), and German o.b. tampons (lower ad, 1981)
See also the booklets How shall I tell my daughter? (Modess, various dates), and Growing up and liking it (Modess, various dates)
And read Lynn Peril's series about these and similar booklets!
Read the full text of the 1935 Canadian edition of Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday, probably identical to the American edition.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Founder bio |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
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Olor |
Pad directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

The Kotex puberty & menstruation booklet
Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday, 1929
Next page (cover, pages 3, 11, 12-13, 14-15)

In pages 5-10, Marjorie May's mother explains that Marjorie's chum is experiencing a purification, an interpretation proposed by Hippocrates thousands of years ago, and alive today in the thesis of MacArthur Fellow Margie Profet, who opines that menstruation is partly the body's way of ridding the uterus of pathogens brought by sperm from the vagina, which contains billions of bacteria and other micro-organisms. But menstruation neutralizes the acidity of the vagina, enabling fecal bacteria to invade and feed on the discharge, causing the characteristic odor of menstruation. (See the odor page.)
Using the word purification calls forth cleanliness, health and whiteness, which the Kotex manufacturer promoted. The company also put a cross on its boxes, reinforcing the medical connection: Kotex developed from bandages made by Kimberly-Clark during World War I. But it also played on the public's respect for physicians. (Tampax, in the late 1930s, claimed an endorsement by the American Medical Association; it later abandoned this under pressure from that association.) The Cellucotton Products Company, which made Kotex and which Kimberly-Clark owned, changed the size "super" to "hospital" (which persists today with some manufacturers) to firm this connection; and women at the time felt embarrassed to ask for "super" because of its implications.
Next page (cover, pages 3, 11, 12-13, 14-15)
This copy of Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday is in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Curator of Health and Medicine at that museum.

© 1999 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to