Saturday, March 10, 2012

Topeka's Medicine Man - W. W. Gavitt - Part 4 of 5 - Letters from Agents

In this fourth part of a 5-part series on Topeka's W. W. Gavitt Medical Co., I feature correspondence (in my collection) from some of their agents in small towns around America.

In one interesting letter, the Gavitt agent speaks of the competition they face from the medicine wagons (and perhaps medicine shows?) coming to their Oklahoma town an also speaks of how Gavitt's best customers can also make the best agents:

"Sales of the medicine have been slow owing to so many medicine agents. Four medicine wagons have made their annual trips through the country...Last but not least I am a very busy little lady. My husband and I are 50 years old. Are in extra good health. Good examples to represent your medicine."

A woman from Arkansas writes seeking to be a Gavitt agent:

"Sir as I dont no of any agent here I would like to have the agency here please let me no if you have one here and your terms to agents everybody I recommend it to wants it I am takeing it for liver and kidney disease it is doing me lots of good."

But not every agent has good news for th
e home office:

"You ask me for a report Well I don't like to say it but my neighbors say your medicine dont cure their sickness they dont come to me any more We have five doctors in our town the people have always get the doctor I will try to give some of your circulars to some new families in my own case the medicine did me good at first but I guess my system is used to it now and I guess thats the way with other people they want cures in a few weeks or months they forget that they are getting used to the medicine."

Also shown below:

A typical completed sales report from an agent to the Gavitt home office (see Part 3 for examples of a blank report)

Correspondence from the Gavitt home office to an aspiring agent explaining the agency process.

Letterhead and rubber stamp of a proud Gavitt agent (the Gavitt Co. also sold rubber stamps so that agents could have a professional appearance).



Mark said...

This reminds me of the old-time cliche of the "doc" who comes into town on a wagon, selling a miracle elixir...very cool:)

Jim Schmidt said...

Mark - It's not a cliche at all! I've given several; talks on patent medicines and every now and then there is an old timer in the room who remembers medicine shows...wouldn;t it have been great to see one? You see them in the movies of course, but it was really cool to see this letter mentioning several different wagons coming to town! Thanks so much for stopping by! Jim