I recently came across this bizarre newspaper article out of Cumberland, MD on October 9, 1897:
Remarkable Affliction of Miss Roselle Darr of Cumberland, Md
The Courier, Cumberland, Md - October 9, 1897
The reporter of The Courier hearing of a terrible malady with which a young and handsome lady of Cumberland, Md., was afflicted, called at the residence of Mr. Michael Darr, 58 Frederick Street, to learn something of it. Mrs. Darr said that her daughter Roselle, aged 20 years, had been afflicted with a disease that apparently had turned her blood to water, accompanied by nervous prostration, pains, loss of appetite, etc., making life a burden. The family physician was consulted, but his treatment brought no relief, and her daughter's existence was a dragging misery. The mother also said that her daughter accidentally cut her finger rather severely, and they were astounded to notice that no blood came from the wound. Then, said the mother, I was convinced that my daughter's blood had really turned to water. Mrs. Darr, continuing, said she had read of the merits of Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People, and had little faith in such remedies, but finally purchased a box at Mr. Harvey Laney's drug store, on North Centre street. After her daughter Roselle had taken one box a slight improvement was noticed in her condition; the remedy was continued, and after three and a half boxes were taken her daughter's health was restored.
The reporter naturally had a desire to see the young lady after hearing these remarkable statements, but was informed that she was out of the city on a visit. Mr. Michael Darr, the father of the young lady, is a passenger engineer on the B.& 0. Railroad, and is an experienced and popular railroad man. To those who may doubt the accuracy of this statement, we refer them to Mr. Darr, who will endorse all we have said, and to the following affidavit of the mother of the young lady:
I, Mrs. Rebecca Darr, do acknowledge the statements of the above article relating to my daughter's illness, and the merits of Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People, in connection with the same, is substantially correct.
Witness my hand and seal. MRS. REBECCA DARR. Witness: CHARLES R. MORRIS. STATE OF MARYLAND - ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Personally appeared before me, the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace, in and for the said state and county, Mrs. Rebecca Darr, and made oath in due form of law, that the foregoing statement is true as therein set forth. CHARLES R. MORRIS, Justice of the Peace. February 3, 1897.
Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People contain, in a condensed form, all the elements necessary to give new life and richness to the blood and restore shattered nerves. They are also a specific for troubles peculiar to females, such as suppressions, irregularities and all forms of weakness. In men they effect a radical cure in all cases arising from mental worry, overwork or excesses of whatever nature. Pink Pills are sold in boxes (never in loose bulk) at 50 cents a box or six boxes for $2. 50, and may be had of all druggists, or direct by mail from Dr . Williams Medicine Co., Schenectady, N. Y.
Apparently Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People could cure about anything...including vampirism. Then again, this may have been a late 19th century version of viral advertising.
Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People was a patent medicine containing iron oxide and magnesium sulfate. It was produced by Dr. Williams Medicine Company, the trading arm of G. T. Fulford & Company. It was claimed to cure chorea, referenced frequently in newspaper headlines as "St. Vitus' Dance," as well as "locomotor ataxia, partial paralyxia, seistica, neuralgia rheumatism, nervous headache, the after-effects of la grippe, palpitation of the heart, pale and sallow complexions, and all forms of weakness in male or female."
The following news clip also described the miracle of 'Pink Pills':
REMARKABLE AFFAIR IN YORKSHIRE
The Derby Mercury, Wednesday 10 April 1895
The daughter of Mr. J. Bridges, 42, Foljambe-road, Eastwood View, Rotherham, has been the theme of a well-authenticated report in the Yorkshire papers, the facts having been investigated, and the lady and her parents seen, by press representatives. Miss Bridges at seventeen was described by her parents as “prematurely old.” She could not eat, had no strength, and was nearly copper-coloured, suffering severely from palpitation of the heart. But when seen by the reporter she was in the bloom of health, eating and sleeping well and quite free from heart-trouble, with complexion like the rose — a recovery entirely due to the now famous remedy, Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.
When a girl is pale, weak, easily “tired out,” troubled with headache, backache, pain in the side; when her temper is fitful and her appetite poor — she is in a condition of extreme peril, a fit subject for the development of the most dreaded of all diseases - consumption. Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills will assist the patient to develop properly and regularly; they will enrich the blood, and danger of consumption and premature death will be averted. Prudent mothers will insist upon their daughters taking Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills upon the approach of the period of womanhood and thus avoid all chances of disease or early decay. The same medicine cures rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, paralysis, locomotorataxy, nervous headache, scrofula, chronic erysipelas, and influenza. A specific for the female sex.
In men they cure all cases from worry, overwork, or excesses. Sold by Dr. Williams’ Medicine Company, 46 Holborn Viaduct, London, and by chemists, at 2s. 9d. a box, or six boxes 13s. 9d., post free. Only genuine in pink wrapper with full name, Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.
This description kind of reminded me of the Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Raymond purchased pills to lesson Deborah's PMS...'bitchy pills.' In the classic film Life With Father, the son, portrayed by young Martin Milner, was selling a patent medicine known as Barlett's Beneficant Balm. Then he decided his ailing Mother Claire would benefit from a bit of this secret blend in her tea...terrifiying everyone in the household that she may succumb to the unintended effects of the medicine. Patent medicines were regularly sold during the turn of the late 19th - early 20th century...and many of these concoctions resulted in agonizing deaths and full-blown cocaine and/or morphine dependency. Every hear of the 'Gay 90's?'
That said, I am a believer in herbal and natural medicine...but only when administered through the knowledge of a holistic or medical practitioner. Be well...Lon
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