Saturday, March 3, 2012

Topeka's Medicine Man - W. W. Gavitt - Part 2 of 5 - Handwritten Testimonials!

Bedford, MO (cover)
March 11 1913 (postmark)

Well Mr. Gavitt I like your medicine just fine It is doing me lots of good. There is some things about it I don't like so well, I didn't have but 3 days until I had to build an extra outhouse. My wife is up most of the last part of the night and what time she haint up I am. The worst trouble about it we keep the dog awake, he haint slept any for a month. I have got an old democrat over here that never has saw the sun come up. I want to get a box off on him. ha ha.

With more than a million customers and hundreds if not thousands of agents selling their medicines, the W. W. Gavitt Medical Co. generated and received a lot of mail. A good amount of this mail has ended up in the hands of collectors; although their monetary value is small they are most interesting in shedding light on the business, the medicine, the customers, and the era.

About six months ago I secured 30-40 pieces of Gavitt correspondence. In this post I will share some of the handwritten testimonials and orders for the medicine.

Testimonials were the bread-and-butter of patent medicine advertising and newspapers, magazines, product inserts, almanacs, and other printed material were loaded with them. But I always LOVE to see the original handwritten testimonials!


[All original spelling has been retained in these transcriptions]

A customer attributes cures of gallstones and more to Gavitt's System Regulator:

March 28, 1913
Taylor, Iowa

I am greatfull to you for the benifit your Gavatt Sistum regulater has done for me, I was aflicted with gallstones, constipation and catarrh of the head when I began using your Gavatt sistum regulater. I am now nearly cured have taken your medison for nearly 10 years and no other since I had a bad spell of Gallstones and my other ailment are nearly cured I will use my influence to spread the news of your wonderful system regulater everyone can be their own doctor.

...another: appendicitis:

De Kalb, MO
July 14 (Year not on letter and not clear from postmark)

Kind Friend - please send me a box of Gavitt's System Regulator you will find inclosed $1.00 money order send to:...Please send these as quick as possible these have cured my husband of apendicitis we think there is nothing like them.

Recommended for Rheumatism:

Gerald, MO
May 7, 1911

Sir I want to get some of your Sciatic Rheumatism Medicine. Has bin recamended to me by my father at Galt, MO. He said it cured him of Rheumatism. Send me your prices and Catalogue...I am bothered with it myself and one of my neighbors is such all the time with it. Please send me soon.

...but another customer not so sure:

April 20 1910

Dear Sir:

...I hase taken nearly one box myself this winter and spring for my back and rheumtaizm I am worse then I ever was before I can;t sleap very good Dreame Skarey
Dremes can't work more than a hafe a day at a time I never was so befor so I can't reckmend your medson for Reumitizm as i has ben worse.

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