Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Politics and Elections - Quack Medicine Style!

Elections - like those of yesterday, November 2, 2010 - are serious business and voting is a serious right and duty. But now that the elections and voting are over we can take a lighthearted look at them, right?!

Patent/Quack medicines had their finger in every aspect of late 19th and early 20th-century culture, and so it is no surprise they also took advantage of political themes!

Indeed, there were cases where patent medicine makers parlayed their remedies into political careers (or vice versa); a famous example is Louisiana State Senator Dudley J. "Coozan Dud" LeBlanc, who gained a fortune selling his "vitamin supplement" (alcohol apparently being a vitamin?!) "Hadacol" (as well as "Happy Day Headache Powder" and "Dixie Dew Cough Syrup")

Another example of political themes in patent medicine advertising can be seen on these covers of an 1883 issue of Hood's Latest in my collection, published by C.I. Hood & Co., manufacturers of the popular patent medicine, Hood's Sarsaparilla (the most popular among an entire family of Hood's remedies).

The front cover features two prominent politicians of the day: New York Governor Grover Cleveland and Massachusetts Governor Benjamin F. Butler pitching Hood's Sarsaparilla (Mrs. Grover Cleveland got in on the action herself by promoting a kidney and liver cure!) Within a year, Cleveland would be elected as the 22nd President of the United States (and then again as the 24th).

With every elections comes winners and losers, and therefore the short poem that appears in the 8-page Hood's flyer is very fitting:

"Song of the Defeated Candidate"

"Oh! for an ointment
To cure disappointment"



1 comment:

Richard said...

"O for an ointment, to cure disappointment"

Short, perhaps a bit tacky, but sweet and to the point. I wish I was clever enough to come up with something like that.