Some Camelia ads:
1920s (Germany), 1930s (Germany), 1940/42 (Germany, with underpants made from sugar sacks, 1945/46), 1952 (Australia), 1970s (France), 1990 (Germany) - Underpants directory
Similar American booklets: for Cardui patent medicine, Mrs. Pinkham's vegetable compound
Booklets menstrual hygiene companies made for girls, women and teachers - patent medicine - a list of books and articles about menstruation - videos
What did American and European women use in the past for menstruation?
See also How shall I tell my daughter? and Personal Digest and read the whole booklet As One Girl to Another (Kotex, 1940).
See a Kotex ad advertising a Marjorie May booklet.
See many more similar booklets.
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.
Is this the first Tampax tampon? Go to Early Commercial Tampons
Other early commercial tampons - Main Tampax patent - Ad from 1936 - World War II Tampax sign
More ads for teens (see also introductory page for teenage advertising): Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and Quest napkin powder, 1948, U.S.A.), Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and belts, 1949, U.S.A.)Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins, 1953, U.S.A.), Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and belts, 1964, U.S.A.), Freedom (1990, Germany), Kotex (1992, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Saba (1975, Denmark)
See early tampons and a list of tampon on this site - at least the ones I've cataloged.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the 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 | FAQ | 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 | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | 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
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Camelia, early disposable menstrual napkin
Booklet (incomplete), the Netherlands, 1928(?)
Nurse Thekla vs The Lady of the Camellias

Camelia was probably the first really successful disposable menstrual napkin in Germany and probably Europe (in spite of Hartmann's) and women can buy it even now. Today it's part of Kotex, interestingly enough, the first widely successful pad in America, which appeared in the early 1920s, right before Camelia.

Typical of an older kind of advertising (see a page from the often eye-popping 1928 Johnson Smith & Co. catalog, from America), the booklet below goes on and on about how the pad developed and what its advantages are, with extensive quotes from letters. Most people today have little patience for so much reading. I and the Dutch contributor translated small portions from the Dutch, which is itself a translation from the probable original German since the product was German.

Two seemingly opposite women are locked into Camelia: the woman on the cover (below) and on boxes is a prostitute, the Lady of the Camellias (I suggest sitting down while reading the fascinating explanation); but the booklet's author is allegedly one Nurse (zuster in Dutch, below, Schwester in the original German) Thekla Buckeley, a name that's a puzzling combination of German and English, as the contributor noted. (It might be no puzzle: a Nurse Ellen Buckland pops up on a Kotex order blank at this time.) The nurse, here, wears a uniform derived from a nun's habit, making a great contrast to the lady of the night (and camellias). Other women's names associated with early menstrual products perhaps identify real people (here), perhaps not.

The Dutch contributor of these scans writes, in part:

As you see, Thekla is her first name; her family name: Buckeley!! I have never read that before, also not on your site.

I think they have chosen this only for the Dutch because of the English feelings and to counter the German name of Thekla.

In the booklet there is an letter dated 14 December 1925. I have reasons to believe you can date the Dutch version of the booklet [below] at about 1928, maybe with the start of sales in the Netherlands. In that year some ads appeared in the Dutch newspaper NRC with a remark about the booklet and with the company Fa. C.F. van Dijl & Zoon. In 1929 the prices were lower (it became the time of prices getting lower and lower: the very bad years we called here the Crises-jaren) and another company takes care of the business of Camelia in the Netherlands.

NB: Firma Hunkemoller was then but also now a famous supplier of panties, bras, etc. and in those days (you have mentioned it over and over on your site) they also have bandages and so on to catch the menstrual flow. Later also the disposable kind of it.

Camelia was that kind of disposable: see e.g. page 15 for all the advantages. It was really disposable: it was soluble in water and you could put it easily into the toilet. (Now everywhere in Europe as U.S.A. water authorities try to forbid putting things into the toilet!! [See some allegedly disposable-in-the-toilet pads])

In the left corner of the front is printed: 24e vermeerdere oplage (24th enlarged edition): maybe this is only making it interesting, to give it an appeal of very popular booklet. But maybe this is true, but then so many editions!

I had never heard of this booklet or seen it before I saw it early this month [July 2007] at a big second-hand book market [in the Netherlands] (and bought it as you can expect).

As with all advertisements not printed in a paper or magazine: this sort of old advertisement booklet is rare because everyone thinks it is (after a while) rubbish and does away with it. Second, the subject was (and is in some way) taboo and third: a booklet maybe nearly eighty years old has with all the war/water/cleaning/house improvements and so on little chance of surviving into 2007!

I thank again the kind Dutchman who scanned and sent these pages; he's sent MUM scores of scans and original documents. He has rescued in the Netherlands many items that somehow survived World War II, including those about the military and other subjects. We're indebted to him for his work!

Below: Back (at left) and front covers. The pages measure 10.6 x 14.5 cm (4.17 x 5.71"), 4 pages front, inside front, back inside, back and 48 numbered pages. Only the pages dealing with the Camelia pad are shown in the following pages.

My translation: (left page)

[in Camelia ellipse] Simple and traceless destruction (?) exclusively guaranteed

popular size 0.75 gilders

gewone (?) size 1.1 gilders

large size 1.25 gilders

The ideal reform menstrual pad


[on the boxes] VISA-BELLA (beautiful face) facial cloth

The facial cloth for proper beauty care

(right page)

24th enlarged edition

Uncovered and overheard secret in the area of women's hygiene and rejuvenation

by Sister Thekla Buckeley (Sister Thekla appears here too)

offered through

Hunkemöller Lexis firm

corset shops

Amsterdam (9 branches), Haarlem, Leiden, Den Haag, Rotterdam (3 branches), Eindhoven, Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Utrecht, and Hilversum

Read the story behind the flower. American commercial printed material associated with menstruation almost never uses red - the very thought! But see an exception.

NEXT | title & p.5 - pp. 6-7 - 8-9 - 10-11 - 12-13 - 14-15 - 16-17 - 46-47 Similar American booklets: for Cardui patent medicine, Mrs. Pinkham's vegetable compound - Camelia ads: 1920s (Germany), 1930s (Germany), 1940/42 (Germany, with underpants made from sugar sacks, 1945/46), 1952 (Australia), 1970s (France), 1990 (Germany) - Underpants directory - See one of the nicest ads ever for a product (just my opinion), Camelia pads.

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