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.
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.

News, 18 February 2001

New this week: Menstrual-pad belt ad from the Jordan, Marsh & Co. catalog (Boston, U.S.A., 1891) - humor
Would you stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions)
Words and expressions for menstruation
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

Vagina Day at the University of Delaware

Logo scanned from my t-shirt. The other side of the shirt reads,
Spread the word
The logo sits at the bottom of the shirt, below the belt.

Last Tuesday I manned a table with information about this museum at a celebration of women at a university an hour by train from here, spending an afternoon meeting interesting and friendly people.

Thanks, Megan Jenkins, Litza Stark, Rachel Meyer and many others for giving me and the many exhibitors an opportunity to show and discuss topics fundamental to women, like childbirth, breast feeding and menstruation, and for being such good company!

I was surprised at the range of majors represented by the folks operating the event, not all women's studies students, as I had assumed. For example, Megan Jenkins plays the flute and is weighing studying musical composition in graduate school next year. Litza Stark majors in computer science; she recently spent six weeks in Morocco and baked some tasty and thought-provoking cookies for V-Day (as did Megan), the dates in them being an inspiration from her trip.

Next week I hope to put a picture of the event on this page.

Some Long Island women cut flour bags into strips for . . . .

At Vagina Day a woman told me a story her over-90-year-old grandfather - that's father - told her about his childhood.

His father owned a bakery in Long Island, New York, and probably during the 1910s and 1920s his sisters and mother - he was the youngest in the family - cut strips from empty flour bags to make washable menstrual pads for themselves. [Note from 2007: The German Nobel Prize winning writer Günter Grass tells in his autobiography Peeling the Onion how his father cut newspaper into strips for the family's toilet paper. The family was poor.]

I suspect women have always used anything absorbent and cheap for menstrual pads, and probably still do in America and elsewhere (see and read more about washable pads). Women could buy washable pads since at least the early twentieth century - the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog sold them in 1902 and 1908, (at least), for example - and companies sold belts to hold them since at least 1891 (in the catalog from Jordan, Marsh & Co. in Boston, for example) - but throwaway pads probably didn't become widely available until Kotex starting advertising them, in 1921.

By the way, the visitor was amazed he told her the story but couldn't remember the context in which he told it, maybe because she was so startled. She hopes to muster the courage to ask her grandmother about it!

A black photographer from the Chicago Tribune newspaper accompanied a reporter to the physical museum a few years ago and told me he often saw menstrual rags drying on clotheslines in the 1950s in the poor section of Chicago where he grew up.

He and his under-ten-years-old friends used to guess which women were menstruating, which they could detect by seeing the bulk of a rag between a woman's legs - most women's nightmare (to be detected menstruationg, that is), according to advertisers!

And I had no idea women menstruated until the boy next door told me when I eleven!

Cultural attitudes about tampons: Procter & Gamble tries to expand tampon use in other countries

A visitor sent me a terrific article from the Wall Street Journal about a fascinating topic I have often discussed on the site: tampon use around the world, and how it's almost nonexistent in Latin countries and Japan, among others. And how a company tries to create a new market - a tough job Tambrands was not able to do a few years ago on its own.

I worked with a Hispanic man with two grown children, one a woman, who saw a tampon for the first time in his life when he looked at a comic tampon award two women in my office gave me when I started the museum.

The article tells how P&G is training women in Mexico to show others how a tampon works and some facts about menstruation. Tampax did the same thing when it started in 1936 and for years afterward.

Look at a chart salespeople used in the 1930s to show women what the Wix tampon (a predecessor of Tampax; Tampax bought the company in the 1930s) is and how to use it.

Fear of losing one's virginity by using a tampon is a big barrier to getting young women in many countries to use it. See an American Tampax ad addressing this.

And doctors themselves seem to know little about tampons.

The writer faults P&G for not mentioning the possibility of toxic shock syndrome to the potential customers, a condition that has drastically declined in the U.S.A. The company stopped making tampons until its acquisition of Tambrands a few years ago because of the association of its Rely tampon with the TSS crisis around 1980.

Read the article!

Letters to your MUM

Question about John Lowan, M.D., author of The Science of a New Life


I greatly admire your Web site. It manages to be both scholarly and readable. [Thanks!]

I am writing to ask you if you could possibly help me find information about John Lowan M.D., the author of "The Science of a New Life." Do you know of any reliable biographies, primary sources published in the 1870s, or other academic works that deal with this man? [No, but knowledgeable readers please e-mail her.]

My main interest is in finding out how influential his book was in the 1870s. I want to find out:

1. how many copies his book sold when it was first published,

2. how he adopted Sylvester Graham's dietary and sexual views,

3. and if he really did have mail correspondence with Cady Stanton and Wm. Lloyd Garrison.

Thank you for your time.


Ilana Pearlman, (E-mail her with the answers)

(a history student at a university in California)

Is Penis Day every day everywhere? A woman in the United Kingdom writes:

I don't know if this true in the U.S.A., but for many, many men in Britain EVERY DAY IS PENIS DAY. In fact, the world revolves around penises (or peni), especially their own. I think it will take more than one Vagina Day to redress the balance.

[I mused about a theoretical Penis Day last week, and I report on Vagina Day at the University of Delaware, above.]

Gee, is there a spot on the page for a link?

Dear Webmaster:

I would like to offer my Web site ( for inclusion in your links. It is a site dedicated to helping people create sexual relationships that will allow them to enjoy peace of mind, whatever their circumstances, to better love and be loved by others and to build families and communities that support positive and nurturing relationships.

A link to your site can be found at

Suggested link text:

The G Zone <> -Insightful articles, tools & toys for satisfying sexual relationships from Dr. Gary Schubach, sex educator and authority in the area of the Grafenberg spot and female ejaculation.

Thank you for your consideration.

Gary Schubach, Ed.D., A.C.S.

Do you want to show items from this museum?

Please contact me if, on behalf of an organization, you want to temporarily show items from this museum and are able to pay the shipping expenses, or if you have a good idea about where the museum can set up permanently.

All this depends on availability of items. Right now an American television network; Opening Closed Doors, in Texas; and, for a day, the University of Delaware, have chunks of the museum.

If you're willing to pay my shipping expenses, and if I can skip work, you can also listen to me, live, talk endlessly about this endlessly interesting subject!

A TV production company asks, "Did you celebrate your period?"

If you had a party or created a ritual to celebrate your first period, we would be interested in hearing your story and seeing your videos, pictures.

This would be for possible inclusion in a television documentary called
Reinventing Rituals, Coming of Age in a Modern World for Vision Television, in Canada.

Series consultant is Ron Grimes, internationally recognized expert on ritual and the author of numerous books on ritual including his most recent, Deeply Into the Bone, Reinvented Rite of Passage.

These three one hour specials, Coming of Age in the Modern World; Marriage Separation and Divorce; and Birth and Death are co-production between Northern Lights Television in Toronto and Ocean Entertainment in Halifax for Vision Television Network. They will air on Vision TV, a Canadian specialty channel whose mandate is to cover multi-faith, multicultural stories about the human spirit.

Reinventing Rituals will explore exotic cultures and ceremonies that may, on the surface, bear little resemblance to the hallmarks of our own lives. We will witness dramatic initiation ceremonies from Africa, complex funerals from New Guinea, and elaborate wedding and courtship rituals from South America. Viewers will become acquainted with traditional rites from many different cultures, contemporary and historic.

However, at the core of this series are the North Americans who are exploring new ways to mark transitions. We'll meet parents who are preparing to spend their children out in the mountains to spend grueling days and nights in initiation ceremonies; individuals who are approaching the end of life determined to design all aspects of their own funerals; and expectant couples who are redefining appropriate behaviour in the birthing room. This series is about these men and women and their quest to reinvent traditional rites of passage; but it's also about the connections that can be drawn between these modern pioneers and their counterparts in other times and places.

Program #1 The Bridge: Coming of Age in the Modern Reinventing Rites of Passage.

Reinventing Rituals is a compelling series of television documentaries that explore the dramatic resurgence in ritual and how it is being interpreted or recreated in order to give meaning to our lives.

From first menstruation ceremonies to vision quests, traditional societies have used ritual to help young people mark and make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. All but abandoned by Western culture, initiation rituals are suddenly becoming more popular.

The increasing profile of street gangs, drug wars, and teenage promiscuity in our communities have contributed to rising the popularity of the coming of age rituals. Many parents fear that if they do not provide an initiation scenario their children will initiate themselves using sex, drugs or dangerous behaviour. By enrolling their children in complex and often dramatic initiation rites, families can help young people make the difficult transition to adulthood. In this program we meet youth at the National Rites of Passage Institute in Cleveland Ohio who have spent the past year in a coming of age program. And then we'll join up with teenagers who've enrolled in a 10 day-long program outside Calgary, Alberta as they prepare to spend three World

If you are interested and/or need more information, contact

Deannie Sullivan Fraser

902-423-9056 phone

902-423-9058 fax


You have privacy here

What happens when you visit this site?


I get no information about you from any source when you visit, and I have no idea who you are, before, during or after your visit.

This is private - period.

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman.

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

New this week: Menstrual-pad belt ad from the Jordan, Marsh & Co. catalog (Boston, U.S.A., 1891) - humor
Would you stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions)
Words and expressions for menstruation
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?



© 2007 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