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"Home Treatment for Women,"

(aka "CARDUI Home Treatment of Female Diseases"), before 1920?
Chattanooga Medicine Company, U.S.A.
Complete booklet, 64 pages plus covers

Cardui, one of thousands of patent medicines in the 19th and 20th centuries, seems to have found favor mainly in the southern half of the United States, judging by the origins of the many testimonials in this booklet. Maybe the Chattanooga Medicine Co., based in Tennessee, distributed its bottles and packets only to that area. But Cardui's The 20th Century Song Book (1904) lists factories in San Francisco and St. Louis and, of course, Chattanooga; and a Martha Killian writes from South Africa to praise the tonic.

One of the many afflictions these three medicines - Cardui, Black Draught, and Cardoseptic - treated was "female weakness," which the unremitting housework and endless childbirths and children might have brought on (but men took it too). Medicine, not perfect today, was much less so in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the sick and tired often looked to their druggists for healing, just as we do today. Think of all the supplements, mostly unregulated, that we swallow, alcohol (see the Cardui label with ingredients) among them. Same thing back then.

And this is also the same: if people wait long enough, with or without medicine, many disorders clear up by themselves, something doctors know and knew. So during the weeks and months and years these folks imbibed Cardui and its siblings some disorders would have cleared up anyway.

Lydia Pinkham made similar cure-alls and became fabulously successful.

Booklets like this are museums of rural speech. Some words and phrases are probably gone forever. I would love to hear the speakers of the time talk.

This booklet appeared before radio began to smooth out regional differences in the 1920s by allowing listeners to hear speakers far away from the little towns and farms that many never left. But my stepmother, from North Carolina, dumbfounded an elevatorful of New Jersey residents in that state by exchanging some words with my father (a New Jerseyite). She laughed and said that one person told her they did not know people really spoke like that and thought she was faking it. So even today there are surprises. Vive la différence!

As an artist I find the illustrations fabulous, better than the Wall Street Journal's daily portraits of people in the news. Drawing for publication prevailed over photography then, which had just started in printed media a few decades earlier so there was a large number of experienced artists available.

See the Cardui booklet covers, ads & bottle label with ingredients; examination sheet; and The Twentieth Century Song Book.

Midol pain reliever pills for menstruation: old tins (containers), old ads, old booklet (selections)

More patent medicine on this site || Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients - Dr. Pierce's medicines - Dr. E. C. Abbey's The Sexual System and Its Derangements (1882) - Dr. Young's rectal dilators - Orange Blossom medicine - ad for Ergoapiol (1904), abortion substance.

SarahAnne Hazlewood generously donated the booklet.

Below: Front cover. The booklet measures 5 1/4 x 7 5/8" (about 13.5 x 19.3 cm).

NEXT front cover pages 1 2-3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46-47 48-49 50-51 52-53 54-55 56-57 58-59 60-61 62-63 64 || All patent medicine on this site || Cardui booklet covers, examination sheet, The Twentieth Century Song Book. || See Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Dr. Pierce's medical empire and Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound

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