See ads for menarche-education booklets: Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1933), Tampax tampons (1970, with Susan Dey), Personal Products (1955, with Carol Lynley), and German o.b. tampons (lower ad, 1970s)
See also the booklets How shall I tell my daughter? (Modess, various dates), Growing up and liking it (Modess, various dates), and Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1928).
And read Lynn Peril's series about these and similar booklets!
See more Kotex items: First ad (1921) - ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog) - Lee Miller ads (first real person in amenstrual hygiene ad, 1928) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here to Kotex items) - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s, booklet for girls; Australian edition) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing disposal method - box from about 1969 - "Are you in the know?" ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) - See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | 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.

MUM Lands Its First Board Member!

This museum is pleased to have acquired its first member of the board, Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Ph.D., director of microbiology and immunology at the New York University Medical Center, and associate professor in the New York University medical school.

Dr. Tierno is a leader in the independent testing of menstrual hygiene products, and has published extensively. He was instrumental in causing the menstrual hygiene companies to change the composition of their products because of toxic shock. He has also tested and written about menstrual cups.

He brings to the board scientific expertise, and deserves the high regard of women everywhere!

The Museum of Menstruation is becoming a non-profit corporation, and is searching for board members to guide its future development.

The purpose of this museum is to create exhibits and other information for the general public, and resources for scholars, that show the place of menstruation and allied subjects in world culture.

MUM at GirlCon '97

A "National All-Girl Slumber Party" ("well, almost," says the publicity), is happening at Wellesley College on April 11, 12 and 13.


"Because young women need networking and solidarity, and a conference that isn't run by older liberal feminists who don't share our concerns.

"We are looking for girls of all varieties to help us organize this conference. We need girls to set up/speak on panels dealing with issues that affect young women; female poets, artists, musicians, film-makers, zine-writers, theater troupes, playwrights, etc., to display their work and provide entertainment, and women to help organize and coordinate events and publicize GirlCon."

MUM is proposing to give a workshop about this museum at GirlCon, conducted by Miki Walsh. She will also show the film Under Wraps, the best film made about menstruation.

Contact ASAP the organizers by phone at (617) 283-4379, or by e-mail:, or write: Wellesley Women's Alliance for Action, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02181 (U.S.A.).

Send Your Menstruation Art to MUM!

As I reported last week, an advertising agency in Vienna, Austria, wants to reproduce two pictures in the Art of Menstruation collection in an article about menstruation directed at Austrian doctors. The article deals with the taboos still rife in our society, even among physicians, says Alexandra Fiedler, of Werkstudio.

She faxed that they want to see more pictures, and have until early summer to make a final selection.

They will pay for a one-time use of the art work.

Send clear photos of your work, NOT the original art, to the MUM P.O. Box on the first page.

New York Times to Write About Menstruation

New York Times science reporter Natalie Angier, who I think is the best science reporter in America, e-mailed me recently for information for an article about menstruation she is writing for that paper. Look for a well-written report with a smile in it, which makes me miss her when I don't see her byline in the Science Times section of the Tuesday edition.

Anyone who read her article on scarab beetles several years ago will not forget the masterpiece of juggling about what scarabs do for a living, and where they do it. She repeats this magic in every story.

I'll report more here when the article appears.


Quickly now, what's the only ad for menstrual hygiene to feature just a man, and a smiling one at that?

Those naughty French, of course, at the company that makes NANA pads and tampons, conjured up this bon vivant from the 1980s who still puzzles me, even though I read French and a kindly Frenchman has interpreted it for me ("The more women are cute [or nice], the more I love them"). French guys refer to their girlfriends as being "nana," I am told by a male representative of the company, who said the ad is "very good." He had not seen it before.

Not that the French are so sophisticated that menstruation doesn't faze them; on the contrary, says my first informant. But somehow their approach is, well, so French!

As a former magazine art director, I find French magazines in general to be the best designed in the world; there are layouts in Elle (the French, not the other editions) that are works of art, comparable to the best magazines of 1910 - 1945 in America (and elsewhere). (There are Vanity Fair covers from 75 years ago that knock your socks off.) The only American magazine which seems seems to be returning to the beautiful in its design is Harpers Bazaar.

Joie de vivre IS something French, and it shows magnificently in the visual.

Anyway, back to NANA. Bas Jurriens in Belgium, who is the interim Webmaster for NANA, e-mails that we can now see the NANA site - but watch it, it's in French and Dutch. It also says on the first page that this site is "forbidden to men." This seems somehow to contradict the spirit of the ad shown above; oh, well, it's those inscrutable French again!

I want to remind you that you can also visit the Web site of Libresse menstrual pads, made by SCA (formerly SABA) Mølnlycke, which is sponsoring the Norwegian exhibit about menstruation; bring your Norwegian dictionary.

A Lesbian Replies to a Lesbian's Criticism

E-mail brought this nice message last week:

"Hi, I'm here on your wonderful Web site, reading your blurb that a few copies of the last printed edition of Catamenia are still available. I'd love to get a copy, if you still have some. My address is below.

"By the way, you mentioned getting criticism from a lesbian who seems to blame you for people's mocking attitude toward menstruation. As a lesbian and a menstruating woman myself (and a menstrual worker), I believe this museum, and your willingness to put your time into de-mystifying menstruation, are wonderful and absolutely needed in the world. It takes courage for anyone to speak up about menstruation. Women and men will be criticized for doing so, for different reasons. Yet both voices are needed. Speaking up is the only way to change things. And the history of menstruation is too important to lose. I'm glad you have been inspired to do the work you are doing.


Ellen Symons" (Eco Logique, Inc., Ottawa, Canada)

Hail Bopp!

If you haven't yet done it, go outside before the sun rises, about 5 a.m., face east, and raise your arm about 10°-15° above the horizon, (like a Hitler salute - sorry for the analogy, but it works). Look where that arm is pointing, and you'll be looking at a fuzzy spot, brighter than most stars, but with a little tail. That's the comet Hale-Bopp, which has assumed the names of the two discoverers, and which is a startling sight. As March progresses, it will get brighter, but so will the moon. Apparently you will see it best toward the end of the month, in the evening, about an hour after the sun goes down.

Isn't nature wonderful?

That First Period, by the Book


Generations of mothers and their daughters in America and elsewhere have read booklets put out by the pad and tampon companies (at left is one by Kimberly-Clark for Kotex, ©1968, revised 1981, part of the MUM collection), by Planned Parenthood of America, and others. They explain menstruation, sex and other things that parents themselves are often too shy to explain - or maybe don't understand.

Lynn Peril, who publishes a fascinating publication called Mystery Date, and a Web site devoted to it, talks about these publications and related matters here, in the first installment of an article from the latest Mystery Date, Growing Up and Liking It: a Primer of Period Pedagogy, 1868 - 1996 .

But menstruation is just one of Lynn's interests. In the five editions of MD so far, she collects and reviews old publications about marriage, dating, sex, advice and self-help and sprinkles the pages with those often humorous illustrations from bygone eras. Her wit lightens her erudition, which is stupendous. And she's easy to read. There's more about Lynn after the article.

I too know the pleasure of finding old books. When I was a sophomore in high school, too many moons ago, I bought Photographs by Man Ray, the 1934 English version of the collection of the great surrealist, for $5 - FIVE DOLLARS! - in a used-book store in Washington, D.C. Two years later I again paid $5 - which happened to be my allowance - for the two volumes of the Harper and Brothers 1846 edition of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle (the short title), in a tiny bookshop in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. My father was attending the Army War College in that town, and I was finishing high school. The lady who sold me the books also taught me how to pronounce miscellany, which formed part of the title of the Harper's series.

Just a few years ago I saw Stjernestunder, a 1950 Danish translation of Stefan Zweig's Sternstunden der Menschheit, in an antique mall in Raleigh, North Carolina, and plunked down $7.50 for it. Sternstunden was the runaway bestseller among smart German high school kids in the 1920s. Zweig - he's the most exciting writer I have ever read - was the most translated writer in the world right before World War Two. Anyone who has read his short biographies - Joseph Fouché may be his best - has trouble reading anyone else's. A Jew, he killed himself in Brazil, in 1942, fearing the Nazis would conquer the world.

What does this have to with menstruation? Nothing at all, but just hold on a second! My first big "find" was a reprint of Dreyer's New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, and Index Catalog, which I bought in the ninth grade. I was an astronomy fanatic, and held in my hands precise data about those spinning worlds of the night. Hey, I also have the first Mad comic book (1954), which my big brother and I - oh, all right, it was his money - bought in an Eagle supermarket in Rock Island, Illinois; and we bought (and I have) many more.

Well, I see you're still with me, so I'll end it here by saying the biggest treasure to get away, considering my meager funds, was the reprint of the 11-volume, 1925-1930 Paris edition of ALL the caricatures of Honoré Daumier (about 4000), with commentary, edited by Loys Delteil: Honoré Daumier, catalogue illustré des lithographies; I'm an artist and cartoonist, and Daumier is the best artist of all the cartoonists. I had ordered it for $300 while working as an illustrator in Heidelberg, Germany. Then I realized I didn't have the money to pay the rent, and had to put a stop payment on the check at the local American Express. Actually, my landlady, the widow of a police major during Nazi Germany, was a nice person, and rich, and probably would have let me pay it later; but the fact is, I didn't buy it, to my lasting regret. Now it goes for over a thousand bucks.

Whew, I really got carried away! Read Growing Up and Liking It, and you will too!

Speaking of Authors on the Internet...

Your MUM director received this e-mail recently:

"Never thought I'd discover this on the Web! I'm the author of 'Everything You Must Know About Tampons' (Berkley Books, 1981), and how I wish this info had been available when I was doing my research. Keep up the good work!

Nancy Friedman"

Austrians Interested in Art of Menstruation

I received a fax from Werkstudio, an agency in Vienna, Austria, which puts together medical publications. They want to use two of the images in the Art of Menstruation exhibit for an article about menstruation for physicians, among whom the subject is still taboo, and in the land of Freud (isn't that mind-boggling?).

Why not send photos of art work about menstruation you have done to MUM? I can't guarantee we'll show them, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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© 1997 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to

See Tampax tampons (1970, with Susan Dey), Personal Products (1955, with Carol Lynley), and
German o.b. tampons (lower ad, 1981) See a Lucky Strike cigarettes ad from 1933.

See ads for menarche-education booklets: Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1933),
See also the booklets How shall I tell my daughter? (Modess, various dates), Growing up and liking it (Modess, various dates),
and Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1928).
And read Lynn Peril's series about these and similar booklets!
See another ad for As One Girl to Another (1942), and the booklet itself.