Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound Advertisement

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday,  July 15, 1913:  Nothing doing.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I bet that Grandma still felt mopey when she wrote this entry. The previous day she wrote that she “didn’t feel very good today, and did feel very miserable. I’m not really sick, but sick at heart over something. “

Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound was a popular tonic for female problems a hundred years ago.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 3, 1913)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 3, 1913)


May Find Help in Mrs. Elston’s Letter About Her Daughter.

Burlington, Iowa—“Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound has cured my daughter of weakness. She was troubled almost a year with it and complained of backache, so that I thought she would be an invalid. She was entirely run down, pale, nervous and without appetite. I was very much discouraged but heard of Lydia E. Pinkham’s  Vegetable Compound through friends and now I praise it because it has cured my daughter.” –Mr.s F.M. Elston, R.D. No. 3, Burlington, Iowa

Case of Another Girl

Scanlon, Minn.  – “I used to be bothered with nervous spells, and would cry if anyone was cross with me. I got awful weak spells especially in the morning, and my appetite was poor. I also had a tender place in my right side which pained when I did any hard work. I took Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound and my symptoms all changed, and I am certainly feeling fine. I recommend it to every suffering woman or girl. You may use this letter for the good of others.” — Miss Ella Olson, 171 5th St., Virginia, Minn.

Young Girls, Heed This Advice

Girls who are troubled with painful or irregular periods, backache, headache, dragging-down sensations, fainting spells or indigestion, should immediately seek restoration to health by taking Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.

23 Responses

  1. Do you think it would do the trick for a mature woman, like me? :D Sounds effective! But perhaps we, older ones, need something a little stronger.

  2. Ladies 30/40 years older than I would suggest ‘little pink pills’ if I looked pale as a teenager… Something I suspect remembered from their teens, since definitely not available to buy in my day!

  3. My, how times have changed!

  4. Oh…sad…she was sick at heart over something!

  5. The one thing that rings true with me, is that eating the right foods can make a world of difference for anyone!

  6. I remember back in the 1960s, performing a favorite choral arrangement by Daniel Pinkham, and my choir teacher telling me, yes, Dr. Pinkham was descendant of Lydia Pinkham, of “little pink pill” fame. So Lydia was still a household name fifty-five years later.

  7. I love the old ads. And it is good advise to eat vegetables.

  8. Great poste: I seem to remember reading somewhere about an old advertisement gloryfying ‘ Pink Pills for Pale People’ Nice alliteraion!

  9. Very interesting post. I love reading anything from old newspapers.

  10. Hmm. Kind of scary to think of the medical care women got in those days and even worse before that.

  11. Interesting…that’s certainly not the sort of thing they give to anxious girls these days. This ad helps you realize how much the health industry has evolved, especially in areas of mental health care. The girls in these ads are just described as “nervous”, whereas today they could be diagnosed with anything from just normal “girl problems” to more serious things like depression or autism…

    • I hadn’t thought about it quite this way before, but you’re absolutely right–we know a lot more about mental health today than they did back then.

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