In 1995, a woman who read an article about this museum in the Chicago Tribune newspaper donated boxes of fax, Fibs, and other tampons and advertising material from the 1930s left by her father, who had worked for Kotex.
In 2001, Procter & Gamble, owner of Tampax and Always pads, donated scores of boxes of tampons and other menstrual products from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
And, of course, the first Tampax AND - special for you! - the American fax tampon, from the early 1930s, which also came in bags.
See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM 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.


Tambrands Gives Your MUM an Extraordinary Collection

Last week, the maker of the best-selling tampon in the world, Tambrands, which makes Tampax, sent this museum almost 150 boxes of tampons from around the world, 20 old booklets from various companies explaining menstruation and women's health to girls, and hundreds of pages of advertising created decades ago by Tampax and other companies. (Tambrands sent MUM another 300 boxes and other material a few weeks later.)

As you may know, Procter & Gamble, maker of the best-selling menstrual pad Always, bought Tambrands, and is moving the Tambrands research facility to Cincinnati, Ohio. Company officials couldn't take everything with them, so duplicates of product samples and advertising were offered to MUM by the Research Library. (Procter & Gamble generously donated many items to this museum from its own archives in 2001.)

This is a fantastic and generous gift!

With this donation this museum increases tenfold its holdings of information about the menstrual cups Tassette and Tassaway, and now owns many more documents about products long dead. Anyone ever hear of Kotams, Colleens, Slim-pax, Nunap, Nappons, or the Anna Health Sponge?

MUM now has boxes, including tampons, of the Tampax produced in 1939 (shown above), three years after the company started selling the first applicator tampon in the world. And Tambrands sent MUM boxes of Holly-Pax (at left), a tampon made in Hollywood, and product displays for the Wix tampon (see the Wix folder MUM just received). Tampax absorbed, so to speak, both companies in the 1930s. (Both Tampax and Holly-Pax claim on the boxes that they were accepted for advertising by the Journal of the American Medical Association. They were, but the statement got Tampax in hot water with JAMA, according to the Tampax company history, Small Wonder. It seemed to imply endorsement of that then still controversial item, Tampax.)

One piece of paper rattles my cherished belief about what the first commercial tampon was, and adds more interest to the challenge MUM makes to you, the sleuths who will solve this problem for riches and honor (see the contest conditions)! Get busy!

Menstrual hygiene products and documents, with toilet paper, make us understand what the word ephemera means. That's why this gift is so important.

People around the world have donated thousands of items to this museum. Outside of the archives of the various companies involved in menstrual hygiene, I doubt that there is a greater collection of items relating to menstruation in the world. (A staff member of the Smithsonian Institution has twice asked for this museum.) Part of it is on display. My dream is that the public can see much more of it in its own building in the future, as part of the extraordinary history of women's health. You deserve it.

I hope to get a grant to archivally preserve the Tampax gift and that part of the MUM collection not already so treated. The museum has thousands of pages of print advertising from around the world; copies of television advertising and educational films for schools; thousands of boxes and samples of napkins, tampons, sponges, cups and underwear; articles and patents; and other items.

By the way, Patricia Hart, the administrator of the Research Library at Tambrands, writes that Procter & Gamble "has done an outstanding job handling the people [at Tambrands] during this difficult time, and I'm sure they'll also do an outstanding job growing the Tampax brand."


A visitor in England to this Web site found MUM through a link on a homepage in Sweden. Impressed with the page owner's good taste, I asked the Englishman for the address of the site. He wrote back that

she [the Swedish creator of the homepage] told me that she had only included the link because she thought the idea of the museum was so "disgusting" - her word - and didn't think that I should have any interest in such matters.

Not everyone fits the popular idea of Swedish broad mindedness!

Recently another Swedish woman - hmm, or was it the same person? - e-mailed me that her dog's name was Mum, and asked if I was a dog. I said no, but that I had a cat named Mack C. Padd (a nephew's girlfriend named him and gave him to me), and, showing off, asked in my best Swedish why she named her dog Mum.

No reply as yet. Maybe my Swedish was just not good enough.

A Film About That First Time

Molly Strange, a writer and filmmaker in California, has filmed an unusual and interesting story about a girl's first period. It's designed mainly for girls ages 9-18, boys 10-18, but also for a general audience. She writes,

In Search of Juan Colorado is the lively and humorous story of a tomboy's journey toward her first period and how, with the help of her friends Ruth and Lily, she turns this dreaded event into a positive experience.

Twelve-year-old Marty Thayer is a dedicated tomboy. When she sneaks out of her house with her friends on an adventure to look for a hermit who supposedly lives in the nearby woods, Marty learns about anger, betrayal, friendship, and ultimately, her period.

In Search of Juan Colorado provides diversity in role models for children by portraying three different characters struggling to define themselves in relation to societal pressures. This film shows the girls' coming to accept and celebrate this important, yet virtually ignored, rite of passage. For boys and men, this film offers a view onto a usually secret, silent female event.

The film works in the classroom as a companion to a biology-based film, and can be a touchstone for discussions of topics listed above.

Molly continues,

Here's how I came to make this film.

A number of experiences coalesced during a short period of time back in 1990.

I was doing exploratory writing about tomboys in general and my experiences as a tomboy. I recalled a number of experiences that all revolved around starting my period, and realized that there were absolutely no films about menstruation at all.

One of my favorite films is Stand By Me. I walked out of the theater after seeing that for the first time and realized that there was not even a single female in the entire movie. But the feelings, the themes of growing up were so important. But if that film had been made about girls, what would be important?

I was meeting on a regular basis with two other filmmakers to talk about scripts. One day I asked them about menstruation. One guy, a Mexican-born filmmaker, told me his story of growing up with his mom and two sisters. They spoke about "Juan Colorado." Francisco thought this was some mysterious guy he'd never met - until he was about 14 and realized that they were speaking in code about their period. It turns out this was a common euphemism from their region of Mexico. "Juan Colorado" means "John Red" - just a code name for this monthly event. They felt giving it a man's name made it better, less detectable.

And those were the seeds that germinated into my story of In Search of Juan Colorado.

I wrote for about six months and then began raising money. Within nine months I had about $20,000 and began shooting in March, 1991.

Contact Molly by e-mail. The 29-minute video is available directly from her at Good viewing!

Speaking of Juan Colorado, Is This the Way Euphemisms Start?

Miki Walsh, a member of the board of directors of this museum, pals around with a folk group, which recently invited her to go to the beach with them. Let's hear Miki tell it:

I told them I couldn't 'cuz I was going to the Museum of Menstruation that day. Then I explained about MUM a bit. One of them starts laughing and is like, "You mean you're REALLY going to a Museum of Menstruation?!?! I thought that you were using a witty euphemism and saying that you didn't want to go to the beach 'cuz you had your period!"

So there you are . . . . MUM is coined in a term! "Sorry, honey, I can't go swimming today . . . I'm going to the Museum of Menstruation!"

Does Leptin Trigger Menstruation?

A study published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism provides support for the hypothesis of Rose Frisch of Harvard University, which claims that women need a certain level of fat to be able to reproduce.

Researchers at Ohio State University have found evidence that leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, may trigger the onset of menstruation, menarche. It could be that the body only prepares itself for reproduction when the woman has sufficient energy for the job in the form of fat. This fat level is indicated by the amount of leptin in the blood.

It's well known that very thin women, such as anorectics, or women with very low body fat because of exercise, can stop menstruating.

LAST CHANCE - This Thursday - to See the Feminine Hygiene Comedy Group in New York!

Get all the facts and/or call the Fried Eggs Hotline at 212-475-1284*1 for more information about the all-feminine crew!

NEXT older news

© 1998 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