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Title: The Great American Fraud - The Patent Medicine Evil
Author: Adams, Samuel Hopkins, 1871-1958
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Great American Fraud - The Patent Medicine Evil" ***


By Samuel Hopkins Adams

A Series of Articles on the Patent Medicine Evil, Reprinted from
Collier's Weekly

     I-----The Great American Fraud     3
     II----Peruna and the Bracers      12
     III---Liquozone                   23
     IV----The Subtle Poisons          32
     V-----Preying on the Incurables   45
     VI----The Fundamental Fakes       57




Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Oct. 7, 1905. {003}

This is the introductory article to a series which will contain a full
explanation and exposure of patent-medicine methods, and the harm done
to the public by this industry, founded mainly on fraud and poison.
Results of the publicity given to these methods can already be seen
in the steps recently taken by the National Government, some State
Governments and a few of the more reputable newspapers. The object
of the series is to make the situation so familiar and thoroughly
understood that there will be a speedy end to the worst aspects of the

[IMAGE ==>] {003}

Gullible America will spend this year some seventy-five millions of
dollars in the purchase of patent medicines. In consideration of this
sum it will swallow huge quantities of alcohol, an appalling amount of
opiates and narcotics, a wide assortment of varied drugs ranging from
powerful and dangerous heart depressants to insidious liver stimulants;
and, far in excess of all other ingredients, undiluted fraud. For fraud,
exploited by the skillfulest of advertising bunco men, is the basis of
the trade. Should the newspapers, the magazines and the medical journals
refuse their pages to this class of advertisements, the patent-medicine
business in five years would be as scandalously historic as the South
Sea Bubble, and the nation would be the richer not only in lives and
money, but in drunkards and drug-fiends saved.

"Don't make the mistake of lumping all proprietary medicines in one
indiscriminate denunciation," came warning from all sides when this
series was announced. But the honest attempt to separate the sheep from
the goats develops a lamentable lack of qualified candidates for the
sheepfold. External remedies there may be which are at once honest in
their claims and effective for their purposes; they are not to be found
among the much-advertised ointments or applications which fill the
public prints.

Cuticura may be a useful preparation, but in extravagance of advertising
it rivals the most clamorous cure-all. Pond's Extract, one would
naturally suppose, could afford to restrict itself to decent methods,
but in the recent {004}epidemic scare in New York it traded on the
public alarm by putting forth "display" advertisements headed, in heavy
black type, "Meningitis," a disease in which witch-hazel is about as
effective as molasses. This is fairly comparable to Peruna's ghoulish
exploitation, for profit, of the yellow-fever scourge in New Orleans,
aided by various southern newspapers of standing, which published as
_news_ an "interview" with Dr. Hartman, president of the Peruna Company.

Drugs That Make Victims.

When one comes to the internal remedies, the proprietary medicines
proper, they all belong to the tribe of Capricorn, under one of two
heads, harmless frauds or deleterious drugs. For instance, the laxatives
perform what they promise; if taken regularly, as thousands of people
take them (and, indeed, as the advertisements urge), they become an
increasingly baneful necessity. Acetanilid will undoubtedly relieve
headache of certain kinds; but acetanilid, as the basis of headache
powders, is prone to remove the cause of the symptoms permanently by
putting a complete stop to the heart action. Invariably, when taken
steadily, it produces constitutional disturbances of insidious
development which result fatally if the drug be not discontinued, and
often it enslaves the devotee to its use. Cocain and opium stop pain;
but the narcotics are not the safest drugs to put into the hands of the
ignorant, particularly when their presence is concealed in the "cough
remedies," "soothing syrups," and "catarrhal powders" of which they are
the basis. Few outside of the rabid temperance advocates will deny a
place in medical practice to alcohol. But alcohol, fed daily and in
increasing doses to women and children, makes not for health, but for
drunkenness. Far better whiskey or gin unequivocally labeled than the
alcohol-laden "bitters," "sarsaparillas" and "tonics" which exhilerate
fatuous temperance advocates to the point of enthusiastic testimonials.

None of these "cures" really does cure any serious affection, although
a majority of their users recover. But a majority, and a very large
majority, of the sick recover, anyway. Were it not so--were one illness
out of fifty fatal--this earth would soon be depopulated.

As to Testimonials.

The ignorant drug-taker, returning to health from some disease which he
has overcome by the natural resistant powers of his body, dips his pen
in gratitude and writes his testimonial. The man who dies in spite of
the patent medicine--or perhaps because of it--doesn't bear witness to
what it did for him. We see recorded only the favorable results: the
unfavorable lie silent. How could it be otherwise when the only avenues
of publicity are controlled by the advertisers? So, while many of the
printed testimonials are genuine enough, they represent not the average
evidence, but the most glowing opinions which the nostrum vender
can obtain, and generally they are the expression of a low order of
intelligence. Read in this light, they are unconvincing enough. But the
innocent public regards them as the type, not the exception. "If that
cured Mrs. Smith of Oshgosh it may cure me," says the woman whose
symptoms, real or imaginary, are so feelingly described under the
picture. Lend ear to expert testimony from a certain prominent cure-all:

"They see my advertising. They read the testimonials. They are
convinced. They have faith in Peruna. It gives them a gentle stimulant
and so they get well."

There it is in a nutshell; the faith cure. Not the stimulant, but the
faith inspired by the advertisement and encouraged by the stimulant
does the work--or seems to do it. If the public drugger can convince his
patron {005}that she is well, she _is_ well--for his purposes. In the
case of such diseases as naturally tend to cure themselves, no greater
harm is done than the parting of a fool and his money. With rheumatism,
sciatica and that ilk, it means added pangs; with consumption, Bright's
disease and other serious disorders, perhaps needless death. No onus of
homicide is borne by the nostrum seller; probably the patient would have
died anyway; there is no proof that the patent bottle was in any way
responsible. Even if there were--and rare cases do occur where the
responsibility can be brought home--there is no warning to others,
because the newspapers are too considerate of their advertisers to
publish such injurious items.

The Magic "Red Clause."

With a few honorable exceptions the press of the United States is at the
beck and call of the patent medicines. Not only do the newspapers modify
news possibly affecting these interests, but they sometimes become their
active agents. F. J. Cheney, proprietor of Hall's Catarrh Cure, devised
some years ago a method of making the press do his fighting against
legislation compelling makers of remedies to publish their formulæ, or
to print on the labels the dangerous drugs contained in the medicine--a
constantly recurring bugaboo of the nostrum-dealer. This scheme he
unfolded at a meeting of the Proprietary Association of America, of
which he is now president. He explained that he printed in red letters
on every advertising contract a clause providing that the contract
should become void in the event of hostile legislation, and he boasted
how he had used this as a club in a case where an Illinois legislator
had, as he put it, attempted to hold him for three hundred dollars on a
strike bill.

"I thought I had a better plan than this," said Mr. Cheney to his
associates, "so I wrote to about forty papers and merely said: 'Please
look at your contract with me and take note that if this law passes you
and I must stop doing business,' The next week every one of them had an
article and Mr. Man had to go."

So emphatically did this device recommend itself to the assemblage that
many of the large firms took up the plan, and now the "red clause" is a
familiar device in the trade. The reproduction printed on page 6 {p006}
is a fac-simile of a contract between Mr. Cheney's firm and the Emporia
_Gazette_, William Allen White's paper, which has since become one
of the newspapers to abjure the patent-medicine man and all his ways.
Emboldened by this easy coercion of the press, certain firms have since
used the newspapers as a weapon against "price-cutting," by forcing
them to refuse advertising of the stores which reduce rates on patent
medicines. Tyrannical masters, these heavy purchasers of advertising

To what length daily journalism will go at the instance of the business
office was shown in the great advertising campaign of Paine's Celery
Compound, some years ago. The nostrum's agent called at the office of a
prominent Chicago newspaper and spread before its advertising manager a
full-page advertisement, with blank spaces in the center.

"We want some good, strong testimonials to fill out with," he said.

"You can get all of those you want, can't you?" asked the newspaper

"Can _you?_" returned the other. "Show me four or five strong ones from
local politicians and you get the ad."

Fake Testimonials.

That day reporters were assigned to secure testimonials with photographs
which subsequently appeared in the full-page advertisement as
promised. As for the men who permitted the use of their names for this
{006}purpose, several of them afterward admitted that they had
never tasted the "Compound," but that they were willing to sign the
testimonials for the joy of appearing in print as "prominent citizens."
Another Chicago newspaper compelled its political editor to tout for
fake indorsements of a nostrum. A man with an inside knowledge of the
patent-medicine business made some investigations into this phase of the
matter, and he declares that such procurement of testimonials became so
established as to have the force of a system, only two Chicago papers
being free from it.

[IMAGE ==>] {006}

To-day, he adds, a similar "deal" could be made with half a dozen of
that city's dailies. It is disheartening to note that in the case of
one important and high-class daily, the Pittsburg _Gazette_, a trial
rejection of all patent-medicine advertising received absolutely no
support or encouragement from the public; so the paper reverted to its
old policy.


{008} The control is as complete, though exercised by a class of
nostrums somewhat differently exploited, but essentially the same.
Only "ethical" preparations are permitted in the representative medical
press, that is, articles not advertised in the lay press. Yet this
distinction is not strictly adhered to. "Syrup of Figs," for instance,
which makes widespread pretense in the dailies to be an extract of the
fig, advertises in the medical journals for what it is, a preparation
of senna. Antikamnia, an "ethical" proprietary compound, for a long
time exploited itself to the profession by a campaign of ridiculous
extravagance, and is to-day by the extent of its reckless _use_ on the
part of ignorant laymen a public menace. Recently an article announcing
a startling new drug discovery and signed by a physician was offered to
a standard medical journal, which declined it on learning that the drug
was a proprietary preparation. The contribution was returned to the
editor with an offer of payment at advertising rates if it were printed
as editorial reading matter, only to be rejected on the new basis.
Subsequently it appeared simultaneously in more than twenty medical
publications as reading matter. There are to-day very few medical
publications which do not carry advertisements conceived in the same
spirit and making much tin same exhaustive claims as the ordinary quack
"ads" of the daily press, and still fewer that are free from promises
to "cure" diseases which are incurable by any medicine. Thus the medical
press is as strongly enmeshed by the "ethical" druggers as the lay press
is by Paine, "Dr." Kilmer, Lydia Pinkham, Dr. Hartman, "Hall" of the
"red clause" and the rest of the edifying band of life-savers, leaving
no agency to refute the megaphone exploitation of the fraud. What
opposition there is would naturally arise in the medical profession, but
this is discounted by the proprietary interests.

The Doctors Are Investigating.

"You attack us because we cure your patients," is their charge. They
assume always that the public has no grievance against them, or, rather,
they calmly ignore the public in the matter. In his address at the last
convention of the Proprietary Association, the retiring president, W.
A. Talbot of Piso's Consumption Cure, turning his guns on the medical
profession, delivered this astonishing sentiment:

"No argument favoring the publication of our formulas was ever uttered
which does not apply with equal force to your prescriptions. It is
pardonable in you to want to know these formulas, for they are good.
But you must not ask us to reveal these valuable secrets, to do what you
would not do yourselves. The public and our law-makers do not want your
secrets nor ours, _and it would be a damage to them to have them_."

The physicians seem to have awakened, somewhat tardily, indeed, to
counter-attack. The American Medical Association has organized a Council
on Pharmacy and Chemistry to investigate and pass on the "ethical"
preparations advertised to physicians, with a view to listing those
which are found to be reputable and useful. That this is regarded as
a direct assault on the proprietary interests is suggested by the
protests, eloquent to the verge of frenzy in some cases, emanating from
those organs which the manufacturers control. Already the council has
issued some painfully frank reports on products of imposingly scientific
nomenclature; and more are to follow.

What One Druggist Is Doing.

Largely for trade reasons a few druggists have been fighting the
nostrums, but without any considerable effect. Indeed, it is surprising
to see that people are so deeply impressed with the advertising claims
put forth daily as to be impervious to warnings even from experts. {009}

A cut-rate store, the Economical Drug Company of Chicago, started on a
campaign and displayed a sign in the window reading:

[IMAGE ==>] {009}



For you embarrass us, as our honest answer must be that IT IS WORTHLESS

If you mean to ask at what price we sell it, that is an entirely
different proposition.

When sick, consult a good physician. It is the only proper course. And
you will find it cheaper in the end than self-medication with worthless
"patent" nostrums.

This was followed up by the salesmen informing all applicants for the
prominent nostrums that they were wasting money. Yet with all this that
store was unable to get rid of its patent-medicine trade, and to-day
nostrums comprise one-third of its entire business. They comprise about
two-thirds of that of the average small store.

Legislation is the most obvious remedy, pending the enlightenment of
the general public or the awakening of the journalistic conscience. But
legislation proceeds slowly and always against opposition, which may be
measured in practical terms as $250,000,000 at stake on the other
side. I note in the last report of the Proprietary Association's annual
meeting the significant statement that "the heaviest expenses were
incurred in legislative work." Most of the legislation must be done by
states, and we have seen in the case of the Hall Catarrh cure contract
how readily this may be controlled.

Two government agencies, at least, lend themselves to the purposes of
the patent-medicine makers. The Patent Office issues to them trade-mark
registration (generally speaking, the convenient term "patent medicine"
is a misnomer, as very few are patented) without inquiry into the nature
of the article thus safeguarded against imitation. The Post Office
Department permits them the use of the mails. Except one particular
line, the disgraceful "Weak Manhood" remedies, where excellent work has
been done in throwing them out of the mails for fraud, the department
has done nothing in the matter of patent remedies, and has no present
intention of doing anything; yet I believe that such action, powerful as
would be {010}the opposition developed, would be upheld by the courts on
the same grounds that sustained the Post Office's position in the recent
case of "Robusto."

A Post-Office Report.

That the advertising and circular statements circulated through the
mails were materially and substantially false, with the result of
cheating and defrauding those into whose hands the statements came;

That, while the remedies did possess medicinal properties, these were
not such as to carry out the cures promised;

That the advertiser knew he was deceiving;

That in the sale and distribution of his medicines the complainant made
no inquiry into the specific character of the disease in any individual
case, but supplied the same remedies and prescribed the same mode of
treatment to all alike.

Should the department apply these principles to the patent-medicine
field generally, a number of conspicuous nostrums would cease to be
pat-, rons of Uncle Sam's mail service.

Some states have made a good start in the matter of legislation, among
them Michigan, which does not, however, enforce its recent strong law.
Massachusetts, which has done more, through the admirable work of its
State Board of Health, than any other agency to educate the public on
the patent-medicine question, is unable to get a law restricting this
trade. In New Hampshire, too, the proprietary interests have proven
too strong, and the Mallonee bill was destroyed by the almost
united opposition of a "red-clause" press. North Dakota proved more
independent. After Jan. 1, 1906, all medicines sold in that state,
except on physicians' prescriptions, which contain chloral, ergot,
morphin, opium, cocain, bromin, iodin or any of their compounds or
derivatives, or more than 5 per cent, of alcohol, must so state on
the label. When this bill became a law, the Proprietary Association
of America proceeded to blight the state by resolving that its members
should offer no goods for sale there.

Boards of health in various parts of the country are doing valuable
educational work, the North Dakota board having led in the legislation.
The Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina boards have been
active. The New York State board has kept its hands off patent
medicines, but the Board of Pharmacy has made a cautious but promising
beginning by compelling all makers of powders containing cocain to put
a poison label on their goods; and it proposes to extend this ruling
gradually to other dangerous compositions.

Health Boards and Analyses.

It is somewhat surprising to find the Health Department of New York
City, in many respects the foremost in the country, making no use of
carefully and rather expensively acquired knowledge which would serve
to protect the public. More than two years ago analyses were made by the
chemists of the department which showed dangerous quantities of cocain
in a number of catarrh powders. These analyses have never been printed.
Even the general nature of the information has been withheld. Should
any citizen of New York, going to the Health Department, have asked:
"My wife is taking Birney's Catarrh Powder; is it true that it's a
bad thing?" the officials, with the knowledge at hand that the drug in
question is a mater of cocain fiends, would have blandly emulated the
Sphinx. Outside criticism of an overworked, undermanned and generally
efficient department is liable to error through ignorance of the
problems involved in its administration; yet one can not but believe
that some form of warning against what is wisely admittedly a public
menace would have been a wiser form {011}of procedure than that
which has heretofore been discovered by the formula, "policy of the

Policies change and broaden under pressure of conditions. The Health
Commissioner is now formulating a plan which, with the work of the
chemists as a basis, shall check the trade in public poisons more or
less concealed behind proprietary names.

It is impossible, even in a series of articles, to attempt more than an
exemplary treatment of the patent-medicine frauds. The most degraded
and degrading, the "lost vitality" and "blood disease" cures, reeking of
terrorization and blackmail, can not from their very nature be treated
of in a lay journal. Many dangerous and health-destroying compounds will
escape through sheer inconspicuousness. I can touch on only a few of
those which may be regarded as typical: the alcohol stimulators, as
represented by Peruna, Paine's Celery Compound and Duffy's Pure Malt
Whiskey (advertised as an exclusively medical preparation); the catarrh
powders, which breed cocain slaves, and the opium-containing soothing
syrups, which stunt or kill helpless infants; the consumption cures,
perhaps the most devilish of all, in that they destroy hope where hope
is struggling against bitter odds for existence; the headache powders,
which enslave so insidiously that the victim is ignorant of his own
fate; the comparatively harmless fake as typified by that marvelous
product of advertising and effrontery, Liquozone; and, finally, the
system of exploitation and testimonials on which the whole vast system
of bunco rests, as on a flimsy but cunningly constructed foundation.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Oct. 28, 1905. {012}

A distinguished public health official and medical writer once made this
jocular suggestion to me:

"Let us buy in large quantities the cheapest Italian vermouth, poor gin
and bitters. We will mix them in the proportion of three of vermouth to
two of gin, with a dash of bitters, dilute and bottle them by the
short quart, label them '_Smith's Reviver ana Blood Purifier; dose,
one wineglassful before each meal_'; advertise them to cure erysipelas,
bunions, dyspepsia, heat rash, fever and ague, and consumption; and to
prevent loss of hair, smallpox, old age, sunstroke and near-sightedness,
and make our everlasting fortunes selling them to the temperance trade."

"That sounds to me very much like a cocktail," said I.

"So it is," he replied. "But it's just as much a medicine as Peruna and
not as bad a drink."

Peruna, or, as its owner, Dr. S. B. Hartman, of Columbus, Ohio (once
a physician in good standing), prefers to write it, Pe-ru-na, is at
present the most prominent proprietary nostrum in the country. It has
taken the place once held by Greene's Nervura and by Paine's Celery
Compound, and for the same reason which made them popular. The name of
that reason is alcohol.* Peruna is a stimulant pure and simple, and
it is the more dangerous in that it sails under the false colors of a
benign purpose.

     * Dr. Ashbel P. Grinnell of New York City, who has made a
     statistical study of patent medicines, asserts as a provable
     fact that more alcohol is consumed in this country in patent
     medicines than is dispensed in a legal way by licensed
     liquor venders, barring the sale of ales and beer.

According to an authoritative statement given out in private circulation
a few years ago by its proprietors, Peruna is a compound of seven
drugs with cologne spirits. This formula, they assure me, has not been
materially changed. None of the seven drugs is of any great potency.
Their total is less than one-half of 1 per cent, of the product.
Medicinally they are too inconsiderable, in this proportion, to produce
any effect. There remains to Peruna only water and cologne spirits,
roughly in the proportion of three to one. Cologne spirits is the
commercial term for alcohol.

What Peruna Is Made Of.

Any one wishing to make Peruna for home consumption may do so by mixing
half a pint of cologne spirits, 190 proof, with a pint and a half of
water, adding thereto a little cubebs for flavor and a little burned
sugar for color. Manufactured in bulk, so a former Peruna agent
estimates, its cost, including bottle and wrapper, is between fifteen
and eighteen cents a bottle. Its price is $1.00. Because of this
handsome margin of profit, and by way of making hay in the stolen
sunshine of Peruna advertising, many imitations have sprung up to harass
the proprietors of the alcohol-and-water product. Pe-ru-vi-na, P-ru-na,
Purina, Anurep (an obvious inversion); these, bottled and labeled to
resemble Peruna, are self-confessed imitations. From what the Peruna
people tell me, I gather that they are dangerous and damnable frauds,
and that they cure nothing.

What does Peruna cure? Catarrh. That is the modest claim for it; nothing
but catarrh. To be sure, a careful study of its literature will suggest
its value as a tonic and a preventive of lassitude. But its reputation
{013}rests on catarrh. What is catarrh? Whatever ails you. No matter
what you've got, you will be not only enabled, but compelled, after
reading Dr. Hartman's Peruna book, "The Ills of Life," to diagnose
your illness as catarrh and to realize that Peruna alone will save
you. Pneumonia is catarrh of the lungs; so is consumption. Dyspepsia
is catarrh of the stomach. Enteritis is catarrh of the intestines.
Appendicitis--surgeons, please note before operating--is catarrh of the
appendix. Bright's disease is catarrh of the kidneys. Heart disease is
catarrh of the heart. Canker sores are catarrh of the mouth. Measles
is, perhaps, catarrh of the skin, since "a teaspoonful of Peruna thrice
daily or oftener is an effectual cure" ("The Ills of Life"). Similarly,
malaria, one may guess, is catarrh of the mosquito that bit you. Other
diseases not specifically placed in the catarrhal class, but yielding to
Peruna (in the book), are colic, mumps, convulsions, neuralgia, women's
complaints and rheumatism. Yet "Peruna is not a cure-all," virtuously
disclaims Dr. Hartman, and grasps at a golden opportunity by advertising
his nostrum as a preventive against yellow fever! That alcohol and
water, with a little coloring matter and one-half of 1 per cent, of mild
drugs, will cure all or any of the ills listed above is too ridiculous
to need refutation. Nor does Dr. Hartman himself personally make that
claim for his product. He stated to me specifically and repeatedly that
no drug or combination of drugs, with the possible exception of quinin
for malaria, will cure disease. His claim is that the belief of the
patient in Peruna, fostered as it is by the printed testimony, and
aided by the "gentle stimulation," produces good results. It is well
established that in certain classes of disease the opposite is true.
A considerable proportion of tuberculosis cases show a history of the
Peruna type of medicines taken in the early stages, with the result of
diminishing the patient's resistant power, and much of the typhoid in
the middle west is complicated by the victim's "keeping up" on this
stimulus long after he should have been under a doctor's care. But it
is not as a fraud on the sick alone that Peruna is baneful, but as the
maker of drunkards also.

"It can be used any length of time without acquiring a drug habit,"
declares the Peruna book, and therein, I regret to say, lies
specifically and directly. The lie is ingeniously backed up by Dr.
Hartman's argument that "nobody could get drunk on the prescribed doses
of Peruna."

Perhaps this is true, though I note three wineglassfuls in
forty-five minutes as a prescription which might temporarily alter a
prohibitionist's outlook on life. But what makes Peruna profitable to
the maker and a curse to the community at large is the fact that the
minimum dose first ceases to satisfy, then the moderate dose, and
finally the maximum dose; and the unsuspecting patron, who began with
it as a medicine, goes on to use it as a beverage and finally to be
enslaved by it as a habit. A well-known authority on drug addictions
writes me:

"A number of physicians have called my attention to the use of Peruna,
both preceding and following alcohol and drug addictions. Lydia
Pinkham's Compound is another dangerous drug used largely by drinkers;
Paine's Celery Compound also. I have in the last two years met four
cases of persons who drank Peruna in large quantities to intoxication.
This was given to them originally as a tonic. They were treated under my
care as simple alcoholics."

The Government Forbids the Sale of Peruna to Indians.

Expert opinion on the non-medical side is represented in the government
order to the Indian Department, reproduced on the following page, the
kernel of which is this: {014}



Washington, D. C., _August 10, 1905._

_To Indian Agents and School Superintendents in charge of Agencies:_

The attention of the Office has been called to the fact that many
licensed traders are very negligent as to the way in which their stores
are kept. Some lack of order might he condoned, but it is reported that
many stores are dirty even to filthiness. Such a condition of affairs
need not be tolerated, and improvement in that respect must be insisted

The Office is not so inexperienced as to suppose that traders open
stores among Indians from philanthropic motive's. Nevertheless a trader
has a great influence among the Indians with whom he has constant
dealings and who are often dependent upon him, and there are not a few
instances in which the trader has exerted this influence for the welfare
of his customers as well as for his own profit.

A well-kept store, tidy in appearance, where the goods, especially
eatables, are handled in a cleanly way, with due regard to ordinary
hygiene, and where exact business methods prevail is a civilizing
influence among Indians, while disorder, slovenliness, slipshod ways,
and dirt are demoralizing.

You will please examine into the way in which the traders under your
supervision conduct their stores, how their goods, particularly edible
goods, are handled, stored, and given out, and see to it that in these
respects, as well in respect of weights, prices, and account-keep-ing,
the business is properly conducted. If any trader, after due notice,
fails to come up to these requirements you will report him to this

In connection with this investigation, please give particular attention
{016}to the proprietary medicines and other compounds which the traders
keep in stock, with special reference to the liability of their misuse
by Indians on account of the alcohol which they contain. The sale of
Peruna, which is on the lists of several traders, is hereby absolutely
prohibited. As a medicine, something else can be substituted; as an
intoxicant, it has been found too tempting and effective. Anything of
the sort under another name which is found to lead to intoxication you
will please report to this Office. When a compound of that sort gets a
bad name it is liable to be put on the market with some slight change of
form and a new name. Jamaica ginger and flavoring extracts of vanilla,
lemon, and so forth, should be kept in only small quantities and in
small bottles and should not be sold to Indians, or at least only
sparingly to those who it is known will use them only for legitimate

Of course, you will continue to give attention to the labeling of
poisonous drugs with skull and cross-bones as per Office circular of
January 12, 1905.

Copies of this circular letter are herewith to be furnished the traders.

Yours, respectfully,


_Acting Commissioner._

Note, in the fifth paragraph, these sentences: "The sale of Peruna which
is on the list of several traders, _is hereby absolutely prohibited._
As a medicine something else can be substituted; as an Intoxicant it has
been found too tempting."

Alcohol In "Medicines" And In Liquors.

[IMAGE ==>] {015}

These diagrams show what would be left in a bottle of patent medicine
If everything was poured out except the alcohol; they also show the
quantity of alcohol that would be present if the same bottle had
contained whisky, champagne, claret or beer. It is apparent that a
bottle of Peruna contains as much alcohol as five bottles of beer, or
three bottles of claret or champagne--that is, bottles of the same size.
It would take nearly nine bottles of beer to put as much alcohol into
a thirsty man's system as a temperance advocate can get by drinking one
bottle of Hostetter's Stomach Bitters. While the "doses" prescribed
by the patent medicine manufacturers are only one to two teaspoonfuls
several times a day, the opportunity to take more exists, and even small
doses of alcohol, taken regularly, cause that craving which is the first
step in the making of a drunkard or drag fiend.

Specific evidence of what Peruna can do will be found in the following
report, verified by special investigation:

Pinedale, Wyo., Oct. 4.-- (Special.)--"Two men suffering from delirium
tremens and one dead is the result of a Peruna intoxication which took
place here a few days ago. C. E. Armstrong, of this place, and a
party of three others started out on a camping trip to the Yellowstone
country, taking with them several bottles of whisky and ten bottles of
Peruna, which one of the members of the party was taking as a tonic. The
trip lasted over a week. The whisky was exhausted and for two days
the party was without liquor. At last some one suggested that they use
Peruna, of which nine bottles remained. Before they stopped the whole
remaining supply had been consumed and the four men were in a state of
intoxication, the like of which they had never known before. Finally,
one awoke with terrible cramps in his stomach and found his companions
seemingly in an almost lifeless condition. Suffering terrible agony,
he crawled on his hands and knees to a ranch over a mile distant, the
process taking him half a day. Aid was sent to his three companions.
Armstrong was dead when the rescue party arrived. The other two men,
still unconscious, were brought to town in a wagon and are still in a
weak and emaciated condition. Armstrong's body was almost tied in a knot
and could not be straightened for burial."

Here is testimony from a druggist in a Southern "no license" town:

"Peruna is bought by all the druggists in this section by the gross. I
have seen persons thoroughly intoxicated from taking Peruna. The common
remark in this place when a drunken party is particularly obstreperous
is that he is on a 'Peruna drunk,' It is a notorious fact that a great
many do use Peruna to get the alcoholic effect, and they certainly do
get it good and strong. Now, there are other so-called remedies used for
the same purpose, namely, Gensenica, Kidney Specific, Jamaica Ginger,
Hostetter's Bitters, etc."

So well recognized is this use of the nostrum that a number of the
Southern newspapers advertise a cure for the "Teruna habit." which
is probably worse than the habit, as is usually the case with these
"cures." In southern Ohio and in the mountain districts of West Virginia
the "Peruna jag" is a standard form of intoxication.

Two Testimonials.

A testimonial-hunter in the employ of the Peruna company was referred
by a Minnesota druggist to a prosperous farmer in the neighborhood. The
farmer gave Peruna a most enthusiastic "send-off"; he had been using
it for several months and could say, etc. Then he took the agent to his
barn and showed him a heap of empty Peruna bottles. The agent counted
them. There were seventy-four. The druggist added his testimonial. "That
old boy has a 'still' on all the time since he discovered Peruna," said
he. "He's my star customer." The druggist's testimonial was not printed.

At the time when certain Chicago drug stores were fighting some of the
leading patent medicines, and carrying only a small stock of them, a
boy {017}called one evening at one of the downtown shops for thirty-nine
bottles of Peruna. "There's the money," he said. "The old man wants to
get his before it's all gone." Investigation showed that the purchaser
was the night engineer of a big downtown building and that the entire
working staff had "chipped in" to get a supply of their favorite

"But why should any one who wants to get drunk drink Peruna when he can
get whisky?" argues the nostrum-maker.

There are two reasons, one of which is that in many places the
"medicine" can be obtained and the liquor can not. Maine, for instance,
being a prohibition state, does a big business in patent medicines. So
does Kansas. So do most of the no-license counties in the South, though
a few have recently thrown out the disguised "boozes." Indiana Territory
and Oklahoma, as we have seen, have done so because of Poor Lo's
predilection toward curing himself of depression with these remedies,
and for a time, at least, Peruna was shipped in in unlabeled boxes.

United States District Attorney Mellette, of the western district of
Indian Territory, writes: "Vast quantities of Peruna are shipped into
this country, and I have caused a number of persons to be indicted for
selling the same, and a few of them have been convicted or have entered
pleas of guilty. I could give you hundreds of specific cases of 'Peruna
drunk' among the Indians. It is a common beverage among them, used for
the purposes of intoxication."

The other reason why Peruna or some other of its class is often the
agency of drunkenness instead of whisky is that the drinker of Peruna
doesn't want to get drunk, at least she doesn't know that she wants to
get drunk. I use the feminine pronoun advisedly, because the remedies
of this class are largely supported by women. Lydia Pinkham's variety of
drink depends for its popularity chiefly on its alcohol. Paine's Celery
Compound relieves depression and lack of vitality on the same principle
that a cocktail does, and with the same necessity for repetition. I
know an estimable lady from the middle West who visited her dissipated
brother in New York--dissipated from her point of view, because she was
a pillar of the W. C. T. U., and he frequently took a cocktail before
dinner and came back with it on his breath, whereon she would weep over
him as one lost to hope. One day, in a mood of brutal exasperation, when
he hadn't had his drink and was able to discern the flavor of her grief,
he turned on her:

"I'll tell you what's the matter with you," he said. "You're
drunk--maudlin drunk!"

She promptly and properly went into hysterics. The physician who
attended diagnosed the case more politely, but to the same effect,
and ascertained that she had consumed something like half a bottle of
Kilmer's Swamp-Root that afternoon. Now, Swamp-Root is a very creditable
"booze," but much weaker in alcohol than most of its class. The
brother was greatly amused until he discovered, to his alarm, that his
drink-abhorring sister couldn't get along without her patent medicine
bottle! She was in a fair way, quite innocently, of becoming a drunkard.

Another example of this "unconscious drunkenness" is recorded by the
_Journal of the American Medical Association_: "A respected clergyman
fell ill and the family physician was called. After examining the
patient carefully the doctor asked for a private interview with the
patient's adult son.

"'I am sorry to tell you that your father undoubtedly is suffering from
chronic alcoholism,' said the physician.

"'Chronic alcoholism! Why, that's ridiculous! Father never drank a
drop of liquor in his life, and we know all there is to know about his

"'Well, my boy, its chronic alcoholism, nevertheless, and at this
present {018}moment your father is drunk. How has his health been
recently? Has he been taking any medicine?'

"'Why, for some time, six months, I should say, father has often
complained of feeling unusually tired. A few months ago a friend of
his recommended Peruna to him, assuring him that it would build him up.
Since then he has taken many bottles of it, and I am quite sure that he
has taken nothing else.'"

From its very name one would naturally absolve Duffy's Malt Whiskey
from fraudulent pretence. But Duffy's Malt Whiskey is a fraud, for
it pretends to be a medicine and to cure all kinds of lung and
throat diseases. It is especially favored by temperance folk. "A
dessertspoonful four to six times a day in water and a tablespoonful on
going to bed" (personal prescription for consumptive), makes a fair grog
allowance for an abstainer.

[IMAGE ==>] {018}


This bar-room advertises Duffy's Malt Whiskey, the beverage "indorsed"
by the "distinguished divines and temperance workers" pictured below,
and displays it with other well-known brands of Bourbon and rye--not
as a medicine, but purely as a liquor, to be served, like others, in
15-cent drinks across the bar.

Medicine or Liquor?

[IMAGE ==>] {019}


Of these three "distinguished divines and temperance workers," the Rev.
Dunham runs a Get-Married-Quick Matrimonial Bureau, while the "Rev."
Houghton derives his income from his salary as Deputy Internal Revenue
Collector, his business being to collect Uncle Sam's liquor tax. The
printed portrait of Houghton is entirely Imaginary; a genuine photograph
of the "temperance worker" and whiskey Indorser is shown above. The
Rev. McLeod lives in Greenleaf, Mich.--a township of 893 inhabitants, in
Salina County, north of Port Huron, and off the railway line. Mr. McLeod
was called to trial by his presbytery for Indorsing Duffy's whiskey and
was allowed to "resign" from the fellowship. {020}It has testimonials
ranging from consumption to malaria, and indorsements of the clergy.
On the opposite page we reproduce a Duffy advertisement showing the
"portraits" of three "clergymen" who consider Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey
a gift of God, and on page 18 [IMAGE ==>] {018}a saloon-window display
of this product. For the whisky has its recognized place behind the bar,
being sold by the manufacturers to the wholesale liquor trade and by
them to the saloons, where it may be purchased over the counter for
85 cents a quart. This is cheap, but Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey, is not
regarded as a high-class article.

[IMAGE ==>] {020}


Born in Vermont eighty-two years ago, Mr. Dunham was graduated from the
Boston Medical College and practiced medicine until about thirty years
ago, when he moved west. There he became a preacher. He occupied the
pulpit of the South Cheyenne, Wyoming, Congregational Church for ten
years. Two years ago he retired from the pulpit and established a
marriage bureau for the accommodation of couples who come over from
Colorado to be married. No money was paid by the Duffy's Malt Whiskey
people for Dunham's testimonial; but he received about $10 "to have his
picture taken."


This Is the actual likeness of the "distinguished divine" with the side
whiskers in the Duffy whiskey advertisement. Mr. Houghton was for a
number of years pastor of the Church of Eternal Hope, of Bradford, Pa.
He retired six years ago to enter politics, and is now a deputy Internal
Revenue collector. Although a member of the Universalist Church, Mr.
Houghton is a spiritualist and delivered orations last summer at the
Lily Dale assembly, the spiritualistic "City of Light" located near
Dunkirk, N. Y. Mr. Houghton owned racehorses and was a patron of the

Its status has been definitely settled in New York State, where Excise
Commissioner Cullinane recently obtained a decision in the supreme court
declaring it a liquor. The trial was in Rochester, where the nostrum is
made. Eleven supposedly reputable physicians, four of them members of
the Health Department, swore to their belief that the whisky contained
drugs which constituted it a genuine medicine. The state was able to
show conclusively that if remedial drugs were present they were in
such small {021}quantities as to be indistinguishable, and, of course,
utterly without value; in short, that the product was nothing more or
less than sweetened whisky. Yet the United States government has long
lent its sanction to the "medicine" status by exempting Duffy's Pure
Malt Whiskey from the federal liquor tax. In fact, the government is
primarily responsible for the formal establishment of the product as a
medicine, having forced it into the patent medicine ranks at the time
when the Spanish war expenses were partly raised by a special tax on
nostrums. Up to that time the Duffy product, while asserting its virtues
in various ills, made no direct pretence to be anything but a whisky.
Transfer to the patent medicine list cost it, in war taxes, more
than $40,000. By way of setting a _quid pro quo_, the company began
ingeniously and with some justification to exploit its liquor as "the
only whisky recognised by the government as medicine," and continues
so to advertise, although the recent decision of the Internal Revenue
Department, providing that all patent medicines which have no medicinal
properties other than the alcohol in them must pay a rectifier's tax,
relegates it to its proper place. While this decision is not a severe
financial blow to the Duffys and their congeners (it means only a few
hundred dollars apiece), it is important as officially establishing
the "bracer" class on the same footing with whisky and gin, where they
belong. Other "drugs" there are which sell largely, perhaps chiefly,
over the oar, Hostetter's Bitters and Damiana Bitters being prominent in
this class.

When this series of articles was first projected, _Collier's_ received
a warning from "Warner's Safe Cure," advising that a thorough
investigation would be wise before "making any attack" on that
preparation. I have no intention of "attacking" this company or any one
else, and they would have escaped notice altogether, because of their
present unimportance, but for their letter. The suggested investigation
was not so thorough as to go deeply into the nature of the remedy, which
is an alcoholic liquid, but it developed this interesting fact; Warner's
Safe Cure, together with all the Warner remedies, is leased, managed
and controlled by the New York and Kentucky Distilling Company,
manufacturers of standard whiskies which do not pretend to remedy
anything but thirst. Duffy's Malt Whiskey is an another subsidiary
company of the New York and Kentucky concern. This statement is
respectfully submitted to temperance users of the Malt Whiskey and the
Warner remedies.

Some Alcohol Percentages.

Hostetter's Bitters contain, according to an official state analysis,
44 per cent, of alcohol; Lydia Pinkham appeals to suffering womanhood with
20 per cent, of alcohol; Hood's Sarsaparilla cures "that tired feeling"
with 18 per cent.; Burdock's Blood Bitters, with 25 per cent.; Ayer's
Sarsaparilla, with 26 per cent., and Paine's Celery Compound, with
21 per cent. The fact is that any of these remedies could be interchanged
with Peruna or with each other, so far as general effect goes, though
the iodid of potassium in the sarsaparilla class might have some effect
(as likely to be harmful as helpful ) which would be lacking in the
simpler mixtures.

If this class of nostrum is so harmful, asks the attentive reader of
newspaper advertising columns, how explain the indorsements of so many
people of prominence and reputation? "Men of prominence and reputation"
in this connection means Peruna, for Peruna has made a specialty of high
government officials and people in the public eye. In a self-gratulatory
dissertation the Peruna Company observes in substance that, while the
leading minds of the nation have hitherto shrunk from the publicity
attendant on commending any patent medicine, the transcendent virtues of
Peruna have overcome this amiable modesty, and, one and all, they stand
forth its avowed champions. This is followed by an ingenious document
headed {022}"Fifty Members of Congress Send Letters of Indorsement
to the Inventor of the Great Catarrh Remedy, Pe-ru-na," and quoting
thirty-six of the letters. Analysis of these letters brings out the
singular circumstance that in twenty-one of the thirty-six there is no
indication that the writer has ever tasted the remedy which he so
warmly praises. As a sample, and for the benefit of lovers of ingenious
literature, I reprint the following from a humorous member of Congress:

"My secretary has as bad a case of catarrh as I ever saw, and since he
has taken one bottle of Peruna he seems like a different man.

"Taylorsville, N. C. Romulus Z. Linney."

The famous letter of Admiral Schley is a case in point. He wrote to the
Peruna Company:

"I can cheerfully say that Mrs. Schley has used Peruna, and, I believe,
with good effect. [Signed] W. S. Schley."

This indorsement went the rounds of the country in half-page blazonry,
to the consternation of the family's friends. Admiral Schley seems
to have appreciated that this use of his name was detrimental to his
standing. He wrote to a Columbus religious journal the following letter:

"1820 I Street, Washington, D. C., Nov. 10,1904. "_Editor Catholic
Columbian_:--The advertisement of the Peruna Company, inclosed, is made
without any authority or approval from me. When it was brought to
my attention first I wrote the company a letter, stating that
the advertisement was offensive and must be discontinued. Their
representative here called on me and stated he had been directed to
assure me no further publication would be allowed, as it was without my

"I would say that the advertisement has been made without my knowledge
or consent and is an infringement of my rights as a citizen.

"If you will kindly inform me what the name and date of the paper was in
which the inclosed advertisement appeared I shall feel obliged.

"Very truly yours, W. S. Schley."

Careful study of this document will show that this is no explicit denial
of the testimonial. But who gives careful study to such a letter? On the
face of it, it puts the Peruna people in the position of having forged
their advertisement. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred would get
that impression. Yet I have seen the testimonial, signed with Admiral
Schley's name and interlined in the same handwriting as the signature,
and I have seen another letter, similarly signed, stating that Admiral
Schley had not understood that the letter was to be used for such
advertising as the recipient based on it. If these letters are forgeries
the victim has his recourse in the law. They are on file at Columbus,
Ohio, and the Peruna Company would doubtless produce them in defense of
a suit.

What the Government Can Do.

One thing that the public has a right to demand in its attitude toward
the proprietary medicines containing alcohol: that the government carry
out rigidly its promised policy no longer to permit liquors to disguise
themselves as patent medicines, and thereby escape the tax which is put
on other (and probably better) brands of intoxicants. One other demand
it should make on the purveyors of the concoctions: that they label
every bottle with the percentage of alcohol it contains; that they label
every man who writes testimonials to Duffy, and the W. C. T. U. member
who indorses Peruna, Lydia Pinkham, Warner and their compeers, will
know when they imbibe their "tonics," "invigorators," "swamp roots,"
"bitters," "nerve-builders" or "spring medicines" that they are sipping
by the tablespoon or wineglassful what the town tippler takes across the
license-paying bar.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Nov. 18, 1905. {023}

Twenty years ago the microbe was making a great stir in the land. The
public mind, ever prone to exaggerate the importance and extent of any
new scientific discovery, ascribed all known diseases to microbes. The
infinitesimal creature with the mysterious and unpleasant attributes
became the leading topic of the time. Shrewdly appreciating this golden
opportunity, a quack genius named Radam invented a drug to slay the new
enemy of mankind and gave it his name. Radam's Microbe Killer filled the
public prints with blazonry of its lethal virtues. As it consisted of a
mixture of muriatic and sulphuric acids with red wine, any microbe which
took it was like to fare hard; but the ingenious Mr. Radam's method of
administering it to its intended prey via the human stomach failed to
commend itself to science, though enormously successful in a financial
sense through flamboyant advertising.

Liquozone "Cures" Thirty-seven Varieties.

In time some predaceous bacillus, having eluded the "killer," carried
off its inventor. His nostrum soon languished. To-day it is little heard
of, but from the ashes of its glories has risen a mightier successor,
Liquozone. Where twenty years ago the microbe reveled in publicity,
to-day we talk of germs and bacteria; consequently Liquozone exploits
itself as a germicide and bactericide. It dispenses with the red wine
of the Radam concoction and relies on a weak solution of sulphuric
and sulphurous acids, with an occasional trace of hydrochloric or
hydrobromic acid. Mostly it is water, and this is what it "cures":

     "Asthma, Gallstones,
     Abscess--Anemia, Goiter--Gout;
     Bronchitis, Hay Fever--Influenza,
     Blood Poison, La Grippe,
     Bowel Troubles, Leucorrhea,
     Coughs--Colds, Malaria--Neuralgia,
     Consumption, Piles--Quinsy,
     Contagious Diseases, Rheumatism,
     Cancer--Catarrh, Scrofula,
     Dysentery--Diarrhea, Skin Diseases,
     Dyspepsia--Dandruff, Tuberculosis,
     Eczema--Erysipelas, Tumors--Ulcers,
     Fevers, Throat Troubles

--all diseases that begin with fever--all inflammations--all
catarrh--all contagious diseases--all the results of impure or poisoned
blood. In nervous diseases Liquozone acts as a vitalizer, accomplishing
what no drugs can do."

These diseases it conquers by destroying, in the human body, the germs
which cause (or are alleged to cause) them. Such is Liquozone's claim.

Yet the Liquozone Company is not a patent medicine concern. We have
their own word for it:

"We wish to state at the start that we are not patent medicine men, and
their methods will not be employed by us.... Liquozone is too important
a product for quackery."

The head and center of this non-patent medicine cure-all is Douglas
Smith. {024}Mr. Smith is by profession a promoter. He is credited with
a keen vision for profits. Several years ago he ran on a worthy ex-piano
dealer, a Canadian by the name of Powley (we shall meet him again,
trailing clouds of glory in a splendid metamorphosis), who was selling
with some success a mixture known as Powley's Liquefied Ozone. This was
guaranteed to kill any disease germ known to science. Mr. Smith examined
into the possibilities of the product, bought out Powley, moved the
business to Chicago and organized it as the Liquid Ozone Company. Liquid
air was then much in the public prints. Mr. Smith, with the intuition
of genius, and something more than genius' contempt for limitations,
proceeded to catch the public eye with this frank assertion: "Liquozone
is liquid oxygen--that is all."

It is enough. That is, it would be enough if it were but true. Liquid
oxygen doesn't exist above a temperature of 229 degrees below zero. One
spoonful would freeze a man's tongue, teeth and throat to equal solidity
before he ever had time to swallow. If he could, by any miracle, manage
to get it down, the undertaker would have to put him on the stove to
thaw him out sufficiently for a respectable burial. Unquestionably
Liquozone, if it were liquid oxygen, would kill germs, but that wouldn't
do the owner of the germs much good because he'd be dead before they had
time to realize that the temperature was falling. That it would cost a
good many dollars an ounce to make is, perhaps, beside the question. The
object of the company was not to make money, but to succor the
sick and suffering. They say so themselves in their advertising. For
some reason, however, the business did not prosper as its new owner had
expected. A wider appeal to the sick and suffering was needed. Claude C.
Hopkins, formerly advertising manager for Dr. Shoop's Restorative (also
a cure-all) and perhaps the ablest exponent of his specialty in the
country, was brought into the concern and a record-breaking campaign
was planned. This cost no little money, but the event proved it a good
investment. President Smith's next move showed him to be the master of a
silver tongue, for he persuaded the members of a very prominent law firm
who were acting as the company's attorneys to take stock in the concern,
and two of them to become directors. These gentlemen represent, in
Chicago, something more than the high professional standing of their
firm; they are prominent socially and forward in civic activities; in
short, just the sort of people needed by President Smith to bulwark his
dubious enterprise with assured respectability.

The Men Who Back the Fake.

In the Equitable scandal there has been plenty of evidence to show
that directors often lend their names to enterprises of which they know
practically nothing. This seems to have been the case with the lawyers.
One point they brought up: was Liquozone harmful? Positively not,
Douglas Smith assured them. On the contrary, it was the greatest boon to
the sick in the world's history, and he produced an impressive bulk of
testimonials. This apparently satisfied them; they did not investigate
the testimonials, but accepted them at their face value. They did not
look into the advertising methods of the company; as nearly as I can
find out, they never saw an advertisement of Liquozone in the papers
until long afterward. They just became stockholders and directors, that
is all. They did as hundreds of other upright and well-meaning men had
done in lending themselves to a business of which they knew practically

While the lawyers continued to practice law, Messrs. Smith and Hopkins
were running the Liquozone Company. An enormous advertising campaign
was begun. Pamphlets were issued containing testimonials and claiming
{025}the soundest of professional backing. Indeed, this matter of
expert testimony, chemical, medical and bacteriologic, is a specialty of
Liquozone. Today, despite its reforms, it is supported by an ingenious
system of pseudoscientific charlatanry. In justice to Mr. Hopkins it is
but fair to say that he is not responsible for the basic fraud; that the
general scheme was devised, and most of the bogus or distorted medical
letters arranged, before his advent. But when I came to investigate
the product a few months ago I found that the principal defense against
attacks consisted of scientific statements which would not bear analysis
and medical letters not worth the paper they were written on. In
the first place, the Liquozone people have letters from chemists
asseverating that the compound is chemically scientific.

Faked and Garbled Indorsements.

[IMAGE ==>] {025}


SULPHURIC ACID -- About nine-tenths of one per cent. SULPHUROUS ACID --
About three-tenths of one per cent WATER....... -- Nearly ninety-nine
per cent.

Sulphuric acid is oil of vitriol. Sulphurous acid is also a corrosive
poison. Liquozone is the combination of these two heavily diluted.

Messrs. Dickman, Mackenzie & Potter, of Chicago, furnish a statement
to the effect that the product is "made up on scientific principles,
contains no substance deleterious to health and is an antiseptic and
germicide of the highest order." As chemists the Dickman firm stands
high, but if sulphuric and sulphurous acids are not deleterious to their
health there must be something peculiar about them as human beings. Mr.
Deavitt of Chicago makes affidavit that the preparation is not made by
compounding drugs. A St. Louis bacteriologist testifies that it will
kill germs (in culture tubes), and that it has apparently brought
favorable results in diarrhea, rheumatism and a finger which a
guinea-pig had gnawed. These and other technical indorsements are set
forth with great pomp and circumstance, but when analyzed they fail to
bear out the claims of Liquozone as a medicine. Any past investigation
into the nature of Liquozone has brought a flood of "indorsements"
down on the investigator, many of them medical. My inquiries have been
largely along medical lines, because the makers of the drug claim the
private support of many physicians and medical institutions, and such
testimony is the most convincing. "Liquozone has the indorsement of an
overwhelming number of medical authorities," says one of the pamphlets.

One of the inclosures sent to me was a letter from a young physician on
the staff of the Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, who was paid $25 to
make bacteriologic tests in pure cultures. He reported: "This is
to certify that the fluid Liquozone handed to me for bacteriologic
examination has shown bacteriologic and germicidal properties." At the
same time he {026}informed the Liquozone agent that the mixture would
be worthless medicinally. He writes me as follows: "I have never used or
indorsed Liquozone; furthermore, its action would be harmful when taken
internally. Can report a case of gastric ulcer due probably to its use."

Later in my investigations I came on this certificate again. It was
quoted, in a report on Liquozone, made by the head of a prominent
Chicago laboratory for a medical journal, and it was designated "Report
made by the Michael Reese Hospital," without comment or investigation.
This surprising garbling of the facts may have been due to carelessness,
or it may have some connection with the fact that the laboratory
investigation was about that time employed to do work for Mr. Douglas
Smith, Liquozone's president.

Another document is an enthusiastic "puff" of Liquozone, quoted as being
contributed by Dr. W. H. Myers in _The New York Journal of Health_.
There is not nor ever has been any such magazine as _The New York
Journal of Health_. Dr. W. H. Myers, or some person masquerading under
that name, got out a bogus "dummy" (for publication only, and not as
guarantee of good faith) at a small charge to the Liquozone people.

For convenience I list several letters quoted or sent to me, with the
result of investigations.

The Suffolk Hospital and Dispensary of Boston, through its president,
Albert C. Smith, writes: "Our test shows it (Liquozone) to possess great
remedial value." The letter I have found to be genuine. But the hospital
_medical_ authorities say that they know nothing of Liquozone and never
prescribe it. If President Smith is prescribing it he is liable to
arrest, as he is not an M.D.

A favoring letter from "Dr." Fred W. Porter of Tampa, Fla., is quoted.
The Liquozone recipients of the letter forgot to mention that "Dr."
Porter is not an M.D., but a veterinary surgeon, as is shown by his
letter head.

Dr. George E. Bliss of Maple Rapids, Mich., has used Liquozone for
cancer patients. Dr. Bliss writes me, under the flaming headline of his
"cancer cure," that his letter is genuine and "not solicitated."

Dr. A. A. Bell of Madison, Ga., is quoted as saying: "I found Liquozone
to invigorate digestion." He is _not_ quoted (although he wrote it)
as saying that his own personal experience with it had shown it to be
ineffective. I have seen the original letter, and the unfavorable part
of it was blue-penciled.

For a local indorsement of any medicine perhaps as strong a name as
could be secured in Chicago is that of Dr. Frank Billings. In the
offices of _Collier's_ and elsewhere Dr. Billings has been cited by the
Liquozone people as one of those medical men who were prevented only by
ethical considerations from publicly indorsing their nostrum, but who,
nevertheless, privately avowed confidence in it. Here is what Dr.
Billings has to say of this:

Chicago, Ill., July 31, 1905.

_To the Editor of Collier's Weekly._

_Dear Sir_:--I have never recommended Liquozone in any way to any one,
nor have I expressed to any representative of the Liquozone Company, or
to any other person, an opinion favorable to Liquozone. (Signed)

Frank Billings, M.D.

Under the heading, "Some Chicago Institutions which Constantly Employ
Liquozone," are cited Hull House, the Chicago Orphan Asylum, the Home
for Incurables, the Evanston Hospital and the Old People's Home.

Letters to the institutions elicited the information that Hull
House {027}had never used the nostrum, and had protested against the
statement; that the Orphan Asylum had experimented with it only for
external applications, and with such dubious results that it was soon
dropped; that it had been shut out of the Home for Incurables; that a
few private patients in the Old People's Home had purchased it, but on
no recommendation from the physicians; and that the Evanston Hospital
knew nothing of Liquozone and had never used it.

Having a professional interest in the "overwhelming number of medical
indorsements" claimed by Liquozone, a Chicago physician, Dr. W. H.
Felton, went to the company's offices and asked to see the medical
evidence. None was forthcoming; the lists, he was informed, were in the
press and could not be shown. He then asked for the official book for
physicians advertised by the firm, containing "a great deal of evidence
from authorities whom all physicians respect." This also, they said, was
"in the press." As a matter of fact, it has never come out of the press
and never will; the special book project has been dropped.

One more claim and I am done with the "scientific evidence." In a
pamphlet issued by the company and since withdrawn occurs this sprightly

"Liquozone is the discovery of Professor Pauli, the great German
chemist, who worked for twenty years to learn how to liquefy oxygen.
When Pauli first mentioned his purpose men laughed at him. The idea
of liquefying gas--of circulating a liquid oxygen in the blood--seemed
impossible. But Pauli was one of those men who set their whole hearts on
a problem and follow it out either to success or to the grave. So Pauli
followed out this problem though it took twenty years. He clung to it
through discouragements which would have led any lesser man to abandon
it. He worked on it despite poverty and ridicule," etc.

Liquozone Kills a Great German Scientist.

Alas for romance! The scathing blight of the legal mind descended on
this touching story. The lawyer-directors would have none of "Professor
Pauli, the great German chemist," and Liquozone destroyed him, as it
had created him. Not totally destroyed, however, for from those rainbow
wrappings, now dissipated, emerges the humble but genuine figure of our
old acquaintance, Mr. Powley, the ex-piano man of Toronto. He is the
prototype of the Teutonic savant. So much the Liquozone people now
admit, with the defence that the change of Powley to Pauli was, at most,
a harmless flight of fancy, "so long as we were not attempting to use a
name famous in medicine or bacteriology in order to add prestige to the
product." A plea which commends itself by its ingeniousness at least.

Gone is "Professor Pauli," and with him much of his kingdom lies. In
fact, I believe there is no single definite intentional misstatement in
the new Liquozone propaganda. For some months there has been a cessation
of all advertising, and an overhauling of materials under the censorship
of the lawyer-directors, who were suddenly aroused to the real situation
by a storm of protest and criticism, and, rather late in the day, began
to "sit up and take notice." The company has recently sent me a copy of
the new booklet on which all their future advertising is to be based.
The most important of their fundamental misstatements to go by the board
is "Liquozone is liquid oxygen."

"Liquozone contains no free oxygen," declares the revision frankly. No
testimonials are to be printed. The faked and garbled letters are to
be dropped from the files. There is no claim of "overwhelming medical
indorsement." Nor is the statement {028}anywhere made that Liquozone
will cure any of the diseases in which it is recommended. Yet such is
the ingenuity with which the advertising manager has presented his case
that the new newspaper exploitation appeals to the same hopes and
fears, with the same implied promises, as the old. "I'm well because of
Liquozone," in huge type, is followed by the list of diseases "where it
applies." And the new list is more comprehensive than the old.

All Ills Look Alike to Liquozone.

[IMAGE ==>] {028}

Just as to Peruna all ills are catarrh, so to Liquozone every disease is
a germ disease. Every statement in the new prospectus of cure "has been
submitted to competent authorities, and is exactly true and correct.,"
declares the recently issued pamphlet, "Liquozone, and Tonic Germicide";
and the pamphlet goes on to ascribe, among other ills, asthma, gout,
neuralgia, dyspepsia, goiter and "most forms of kidney, liver and heart
troubles" to germs. I don't know just which of the eminent authorities
who have been working for the Liquozone Company fathers this remarkable
and epoch-making discovery. {029}

Unfortunately, the writer of the Liquozone pamphlet, and the experts who
edited it, got a little mixed on their germs in the matter of malaria.
"Liquozone is deadly to vegetable natter, but helpful to animals,"
declares the pamphlet.... "Germs are vegetables"--and that is the reason
that Liquozone kills them. But malaria, which Liquozone is supposed to
cure, is positively known to be due to animal organisms in the blood,
not vegetable. Therefore, if the claims are genuine, liquozone, being
"helpful to animals," will aid and abet the malaria organism in his
nefarious work, and the Liquozone Company, as well-intentioned men,
working in the interests of health, ought to warn all sufferers of this
class from use of their animal-stimulator.

The old claim is repeated that nothing enters into the production of
Liquozone but gases, water and a little harmless coloring matter, and
that the process requires large apparatus and from eight to fourteen
days' time. I have seen the apparatus, consisting of huge wooden vats,
and can testify to their impressive size. And I have the assurance of
several gentlemen whose word (except in print) I am willing to take,
that fourteen days' time is employed in impregnating every output of
liquid with gas. The result, so far as can be determined chemically
or medicinally, is precisely the same as could be achieved in fourteen
seconds by mixing the acids with the water. The product is still
sulphurous and sulphuric acid heavily diluted, that is all.

Will the compound destroy germs in the human body? This is, after all,
the one overwhelmingly important point for determination; for if it
will, all the petty fakers and forgery, the liquid oxygen and Professor
Pauli and the mythical medical journalism may be forgiven. For more than
four months now _Collier's_ has been patiently awaiting some proof of
the internal germicidal qualities of Liquozone None has been
forthcoming except specious generalities from scientific employés of
the company--and testimonials. The value of testimonials as evidence is
considered in a later article. Liquozone's are not more convincing than
others. Of the chemists and bacteriologists employed by the Liquozone
Company there is not one who will risk his professional reputation on
the simple and essential statement that Liquozone taken internally kills
germs in the human system. One experiment has been made by Mr. Schoen
of Chicago, which I am asked to regard as indicating in some degree
a deterrent action of Liquozone on the disease of anthrax. Of two
guinea-pigs inoculated with anthrax, one which was dosed with Liquozone
survived the other, not thus treated, by several hours. Bacteriologists
employed by us to make a similar test failed, because of the surprising
fact that the dose as prescribed by Mr. Schoen promptly killed the first
guinea-pig to which it was administered. A series of guinea-pig tests
was then arranged (the guinea-pig is the animal which responds to germ
infection most nearly as the human organism responds), at which Dr.
Gradwohl, representing the Liquozone Company, was present, and in which
he took part. The report follows: {030}


Sanitary, Chemical and Bacteriologic Investigations.



October 21, 1905,

Anthrax Test. Twenty-four guinea-pigs were inoculated with anthrax
bacilli, under the same conditions, the same amount being given to each.
The representative of the Liquozone people selected the twelve pigs for
treatment. These animals were given Liquozone is 5 c.c. doses for three
hours. In twenty-four hours all pigs were dead--the treated and the
untreated ones.

Second Anthrax Test. Eight guinea-pigs were Inoculated under the same
conditions with a culture of anthrax sent by the Liquozone people. Four
of these animals were treated for three hours with Liquozone as in
the last experiment. These died also in from thirty-six to forty-eight
hours, as did the remaining four.

Diphtheria Test. Six guinea-pigs were inoculated with diphtheria
bacilli and treated with Liquozone. They all died in from forty-eight
to seventy-two hours. Two out of three controls (i. e., untreated
guinea-pigs) remained alive after receiving the same amount of culture.

Tuberculosis Test. Eight guinea-pigs were inoculated with tubercle
bacilli. Four of these animals were treated for eight hours with 5 c.c.
of a 20 per cent, solution of Liquozole. Four received no Liquozone. At
the end of twenty-four days all the animals were killed.

Fairly developed tuberculosis was present in all.

To summarize, we would say that the Liquozone had absolutely no curative
effect, but did, when given in pure form, lower the resistance of the
animals, so that they died a little earlier than those not treated.

Lederle Laboratories.

By Ernst J. Lederle.

Dr. Gradwohl, representing the Liquozone Company, stated that he was
satisfied of the fairness of the tests. He further declared that in his
opinion the tests had proved satisfactorily the total ineffectiveness of
Liquozone as an internal germicide.

But these experiments show more than that. They show that in so far as
Liquozone has any effect, it tends to lower the resistance of the body
to an invading disease. That is, in the very germ diseases for which
it is advocated, _Liquozone may decrease the chances of the patient's
recovery with every dose that is swallowed, but certainly would not
increase them_.

In its own field Liquozone is _sui generis_. On the ethical side,
however, there are a few "internal germicides," and one of these comes
in for mention here, not that it is in the least like Liquozone in
its composition, but because by its monstrous claims it challenges

Since the announcement of this article, and before, _Collier's_ has been
in receipt of much virtuous indignation from a manufacturer of remedies
which, he claims, Liquozone copies. Charles Marchand has been the most
active enemy of the Douglas Smith product. He has attacked the makers in
print, organized a society, and established a publication mainly devoted
to their destruction, and circulated far and wide injurious literature
(most of it true) about their product. Of the relative merits of
Hydrozone, Glycozone (Marchand's products); and Liquozone, I know
nothing; but I know that the Liquozone Company has never in its history
put forth so shameful an advertisement as the one reproduced on page
28, [IMAGE ==>] {028} signed by Marchand, and printed in the New Orleans
_States_ when the yellow-fever scare was at its height. {031}

And Hydrozone is an "ethical" remedy; its advertisements are to be found
in reputable medical journals.

The Same Old Fake.

Partly by reason of Marchand's energy, no nostrum in the country has
been so widely attacked as the Chicago product. Occasional deaths,
attributed (in some cases unjustly) to its use, have been made the most
of, and scores of analyses have been printed, so that in all parts
of the country the true nature of the nostrum is beginning to be
understood. The prominence of its advertising and the reckless breadth
of its claims have made it a shining mark. North Dakota has forbidden
its sale. San Francisco has decreed against it; so has Lexington, Ky.,
and there are signs that it will have a fight tor its life soon in
other cities. It is this looming danger that impelled Liquozone to an
attempted reform last summer. Yet, in spite of the censorship of
its legal lights, in spite of the revision of its literature by its
scientific experts, in spite of its ingenious avoidance of specifically
false claims in the advertising which is being scattered broadcast
to-day, Liquozone is now what it was before its rehabilitation, a fraud
which owes its continued existence to the laxity of our public health
methods and the cynical tolerance of the national conscience.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Dec. 2, 1006. {032}

Ignorance and credulous hope make the market for most proprietary
remedies. Intelligent people are not given largely to the use of the
glaringly advertised cure-alls, such as Liquozone or Peruna. Nostrums
there are, however, which reach the thinking classes as well as the
readily gulled. Depending, as they do, for their success on the lure of
some subtle drug concealed under a trademark name, or some opiate not
readily obtainable under its own label, these are the most dangerous
of all quack medicines, not only in their immediate effect, but because
they create enslaving appetites, sometimes obscure and difficult of
treatment, most often tragically obvious. Of these concealed drugs the
headache powders are the most widely used, and of the headache powders
Orangeine is the most conspicuous.

Orangeine prints its formula. It is, therefore, its proprietors claim,
not a secret remedy. But to all intents and purposes it is secret,
because to the uninformed public the vitally important word "acetanilid"
in the formula means little or nothing. Worse than its secrecy is its
policy of careful and dangerous deception. Orangeine, like practically
all the headache powders, is simply a mixture of acetanilid with less
potent drugs. Of course, there is no orange in it, except the orange hue
of the boxes and wrappers which is its advertising symbol. But this is
an unimportant deception. The wickedness of the fraud lies in this:
that whereas the nostrum, by virtue of its acetanilid content, thins the
blood, depresses the heart and finally undermines the whole system, it
claims _to strengthen the heart and to produce better blood_. Thus
far in the patent medicine field I have not encountered so direct and
specific an inversion of the true facts.

Recent years have added to the mortality records of our cities a
surprising and alarming number of sudden deaths from heart failure. In
the year 1902 New York City alone reported a death rate from this cause
of 1.34 per thousand of population; that is about six times as great as
the typhoid fever death record. It was about that time that the headache
powders were being widely advertised, and there is every reason to
believe that the increased mortality, which is still in evidence, is due
largely to the secret weakening of the heart by acetanilid. Occasionally
a death occurs so definitely traceable to this poison that there is
no room for doubt, as in the following report by Dr. J. L. Miller, of
Chicago, in the _Journal of the American Medical Association_, on the
death of Mrs. Frances Robson:

"I was first called to see the patient, a young lady, physically
sound, who had been taking Orangeine powders for a number of weeks for
insomnia. The rest of the family noticed that she was very blue, and
for this reason I was called. When I saw the patient she complained of
a sense of faintness and inability to keep warm. At this time she had
taken a box of six Orangeine powders within about eight hours. She was
warned of the danger of continuing the indiscriminate use of the remedy,
but insisted that many of her friends had used it and claimed that it
was harmless. The family promised to see that she did not obtain any
more of the remedy. Three days later, however, I was called to the house
and found the patient dead. The family said that she had gone to her
room the evening before in her usual health. The next morning, the
patient not appearing, they investigated and found her dead. The case
was reported to the coroner, and the coroner's verdict was: 'Death was
from the effect of an overdose of Orangeine {033}powders administered by
her own hand, whether accidentally or otherwise, unknown to the jury.'"

Last July an 18-year-old Philadelphia girl got a box of Orangeine
powders at a drug store, having been told that they would cure headache.
There was nothing on the label or in the printed matter inclosed with
the preparation warning her of the dangerous character of the nostrum.
Following the printed advice, she took two powders. In three hours she
was dead. Coroner Dugan's verdict follows:

"Mary A. Bispels came to her death from kidney and heart disease,
aggravated by poisoning by acetanilid taken in Orangeine headache

Prescribing Without Authority.

Yet this poison is being recommended every day by people who know
nothing of it and nothing of the susceptibility of the friends to whom
they advocate it. For example, here is a testimonial from the Orangeine

"Miss A. A. Phillips, 60 Powers street, Brooklyn, writes: 'I always keep
Orangeine in my desk at school, and through its frequent applications to
the sick I am called both "doctor and magician."'"

If the school herein referred to is a public school, the matter is
one for the Board of Education; if a private school, for the Health
Department or the county medical society. That a school teacher should
be allowed to continue giving, however well meaning her foolhardiness
may be, a harmful and possibly fatal dose to the children intrusted
to her care seems rather a significant commentary on the quality of
watchfulness in certain institutions.

Obscurity as to the real nature of the drug, fostered by careful
deception, is the safeguard of the acetanilid vender. Were its perilous
quality known, the headache powder would hardly be so widely used. And
were the even more important fact that the use of these powders becomes
a habit, akin to the opium or cocain habits, understood by the public,
the repeated sales which are the basis of Orangeine's prosperity would
undoubtedly be greatly cut down. Orangeine fulfills the prime requisite
of a patent medicine in being a good "repeater." Did it not foster
its own demand in the form of a persistent craving, it would hardly be
profitable. Its advertising invites to the formation of an addiction to
the drug. "Get the habit," it might logically advertise, in imitation of
a certain prominent exploitation along legitimate lines. Not only is
its value as a cure for nervousness and headaches insisted on, but its
prospective dupes are advised to take this powerful drug as a _bracer_.

"When, as often, you reach home tired in body and mind... take an
Orangeine powder, lie down for thirty minutes' nap--if possible--anyway,
relax, then take another."

"To induce sleep, take an Orangeine powder immediately before retiring.
When wakeful, an Orangeine powder will have a normalizing, quieting

It is also recommended as a good thing to begin the day's work on in the
morning--that is, take Orangeine night, morning and between meals!

These powders pretend to cure asthma, biliousness, headaches, colds,
catarrh and grip (dose: powder every four hours during the day for a
week!--a pretty fair start on the Orangeine habit), diarrhea, hay fever,
insomnia, influenza, neuralgia, seasickness and sciatica.

Of course, they do not cure any of these; they do practically nothing
but give temporary relief by depressing the heart. With the return
to normal conditions of blood circulation comes a recurrence of the
nervousness, {034}headache, or what not, and the incentive to more of
the drug, until it becomes a necessity. In my own acquaintance I know
half a dozen persons who have come to depend on one or another of these
headache preparations to keep them going. One young woman whom I have
in mind told me quite innocently that she had been taking five or
six Orangeine powders a day for several months, having changed from
Koehler's powders when some one told her that the latter were dangerous!
Because of her growing paleness her husband had called in their
physician, but neither of them had mentioned the little matter of the
nostrum, having accepted with a childlike faith the asseverations of
its beneficent qualities. Yet they were of an order of intelligence that
would scoff at the idea of drinking Swamp-Root.

[IMAGE ==>] {034}

An Acetanilid Death Record.

This list of fatalities is made up from statements published in the
newspapers. In every case the person who died had taken to relieve a
headache or as a bracer a patent medicine containing acetanilid, without
a doctor's prescription. This list does not include the case of a dog
in Altoona, Pa., which died immediately on eating some sample headache
powders. The dog did not know any better.

   Mrs. Minnie Bishop, Louisville, Ky.; Oct. 16, 1903.
   Mrs. Mary Cusick and Mrs. Julia Ward, of 172 Perry Street,
                  New York City; Nov. 27, 1903.
   Fred. P. Stock, Scranton, Pa.; Dec. 7, 1903.
   C. Frank Henderson, Toledo, 0.; Dec. 13, 1903.
   Jacob E. Staley, St. Paul, Mich.; Feb. 18, 1904.
   Charles M. Scott, New Albany, Ind.; March 15, 1904.
   Oscar McKinley, Pittsburg, Pa.; April 13, 1904.
   Otis Staines, student at Wabash College; April 13, 1904.
   Mrs. Florence Rumsey, Clinton, la.; April 23, 1904.
   Jenny McGee, Philadelphia, Pa.; May 26, 1904.
   Mrs. William Mabee, Leoni, Midi.; Sept. 9, 1904.
   Mrs. Jacob Friedman, of South Bend, Ind.; Oct. 19, 1904.
   Miss Libbie North, Rockdale, N. Y.; Oct. 26, 1904.
   Margaret Hanahan, Dayton, O.; Oct. 29, 1904.
   Samuel Williamson, New York City; Nov. 21, 1904.
   George Kublisch, St. Louis, Mo.; Nov. 24, 1904.
   Robert Breck, St. Louis, Mo.;'Nov. 27, 1904.
   Mrs. Harry Haven, Oriskany Falls, N. Y.; Jan. 17, 1905.
   Mrs. Jennie Whyler, Akron, 0.; April 3, 1905.
   Mrs. Augusta Strothmann, St. Louis, Mo.; June 20, 1905.
   Mrs. Mary A. Bispels, Philadelphia, Pa.; July 2, 1905.
   Mrs. Thos. Patterson, Huntington, W. Va.; Aug. 15, 1905.

Some of these victims died from an alleged overdose; others from the
prescribed dose. In almost every instance the local papers suppressed
the name of the fatal remedy, {035}Peruna. That particular victim
had the beginning of the typical blue skin pictured in the street-car
advertisements of Orangeine (the advertisements are a little mixed, as
they put the blue hue on the "before taking," whereas it should go on
the "after taking"). And, by the way, I can conscientiously recommend
Orangeine, Koehler's powders, Royal Pain powders and others of that
class to women who wish for a complexion of a dead, pasty white,
verging to a puffy blueness under the eyes and about the lips. Patient
use of these drugs will even produce an interesting and picturesque, if
not intrinsically beautiful, purplish-gray hue of the face and neck.

[IMAGE ==>] {035}

Drugs That Deprave.

Another acquaintance writes me that he is unable to dissuade his wife
from the constant use of both Orangeine and Bromo-Seltzer, although her
{036}health is breaking down. Often it is difficult for a physician to
diagnose these cases because the symptoms are those of certain diseases
in which the blood deteriorates, and, moreover, the victim, as in opium
and cocain slavery, will positively deny having used the drug. A case
of acetanilid addiction (in "cephalgin," an ethical proprietary) is thus

"When the drug was withheld the patient soon began to exhibit all the
traits peculiar to the confirmed morphine-maniac--moral depravity
and the like. She employed every possible means to obtain the drug,
attempting even to bribe the nurse, and, this failing, even members of
the family." Another report of a similar case (and there are plenty of
them to select from) reads:

"Stomach increasingly irritable; skin a grayish or light purplish hue;
palpitation and slight enlargement of the heart; great prostration, with
pains in the region of the heart; blood discolored to a chocolate
hue. The patient denied that she had been using acetanilid, but it was
discovered that for a year she had been obtaining it in the form of
a proprietary remedy and had contracted a regular 'habit.' On the
discontinuance of the drug the symptoms disappeared. She was discharged
from the hospital as cured, but soon returned to the use of the drug and
applied for readmission, displaying the former symptoms."

[IMAGE ==>] {036}


On a cocain-laden medicine.

Where I have found a renegade physician making his millions out of
Peruna, or a professional promoter trading on the charlatanry of
Liquozone, it has seemed superfluous to comment on the personality of
the men. They are what their business connotes. With Orangeine the case
is somewhat different. Its proprietors are men of standing in other and
reputable spheres of activity. Charles L. Bartlett, its president, is a
graduate of Yale University and a man of some prominence in its alumni
affairs. Orangeine is a side issue with him. Professionally he is the
western representative of Ivory Soap, one of the heaviest of legitimate
advertisers, and he doubtless learned from this the value of skillful
exploitation. Next to Mr. Bartlett, the largest owner of stock (unless
he has recently sold out) is William Gillette, the actor, whose
enthusiastic indorsement of the powders is known in a personal sense to
the profession which he follows, and in print to hundreds of thousands
of theater-goers who have read it in their programs. Whatever these
gentlemen may think of their product (and I understand that, incredible
as it may seem, both of them are constant users of it and genuine
believers in it), the methods by which it is sold and the essential and
mendacious concealment of its real nature illustrate the {037}level to
which otherwise upright and decent men are brought by a business which
can not profitably include either uprightness or decency in its methods.

Orangeine is less dangerous, except in extent of use, than many other
acetanilid mixtures which are much the same thing under a different
name. A friend of mine with a weak heart took the printed dose of
Laxative Bromo Quinin and lay at the point of death for a week. There
is no word of warning on the label. In many places samples of headache
powders are distributed on the doorsteps. The St. Louis Chronicle
records a result:

"Huntington, W. Va., Aug. 15, 1905.--While Mrs. Thomas Patterson was
preparing supper last evening she was stricken with a violent headache
and took a headache powder that had been thrown in at her door the day
before. Immediately she was seized with spasms and in an hour she was

That even the lower order of animals is not safe is shown by a canine
tragedy in Altoona, Pa., where a prize collie dog incautiously devoured
three sample tablets and died in an hour. Yet the distributing agents of
these mixtures do not hesitate to lie about them. Rochester, N. Y., has
an excellent ordinance forbidding the distribution of sample medicines,
except by permission of the health officer. An agent for Miniature
Headache Powders called on Dr. Goler with a request for leave to
distribute 25,000 samples.

"What's your formula?" asked the official.

"Salicylate of soda and sugar of milk," replied the traveling man.

"And you pretend to cure headaches with that?" said the doctor. "I'll
look into it."

Analysis showed that the powders were an acetanilid mixture. The sample
man didn't wait for the result. He hasn't been back to Rochester since,
although Dr. Goler is hopefully awaiting him.

Bromo-Seltzer is commonly sold in drug stores, both by the bottle and
at soda fountains. The full dose is "a heaping teaspoonful." A heaping
teaspoonful of Bromo-Seltzer means about ten grains of acetanilid. The
United States Pharmacopeia dose is four grains; five grains have been
known to produce fatal results. The prescribed dose of Bromo-Seltzer is
dangerous and has been known to produce sudden collapse.

Megrimine is a warranted headache cure that is advertised in several
of the magazines. A newly arrived guest at a Long Island house party
brought along several lots and distributed them as a remedy for headache
and that tired feeling. It was perfectly harmless, she declared; didn't
the advertisement say "leaves no unpleasant effects"? As a late dance
the night before had left its impress on the feminine members of the
house party, there was a general acceptance of the "bracer." That
night the local physician visited the house party (on special "rush"
invitation), and was well satisfied to pull all his patients through.
He had never before seen acetanilid poisoning by wholesale. A Chicago
druggist writes me that the wife of a prominent physician buys Megrimine
of him by the half-dozen lots secretly. She has the habit.

On October 9, W. H. Hawkins, superintendent of the American Detective
Association, a mar of powerful physique and apparently in good health,
went to a drug store in Anderson, Ind., and took a dose of Dr. Davis'
Headache Powders. He then boarded a car for Marion and shortly after
fell to the floor, dead. The coroner's verdict is reproduced on page 35.
{035} Whether these powders are made by a Dr. W. C. Davis, of
Indianapolis, who makes Anti-Headache, I am unable to state.
Anti-Headache describes itself as "a compound of mild ingredients and
positively contains no dangerous drugs." It is almost pure acetanilid.

In the "ethical" field the harm done by this class of proprietaries is
perhaps {038}as great as in the open field, for many of those which are
supposed to be sold only in prescriptions are as freely distributed to
the laity as Peruna. And their advertising is hardly different.

Antikamnia, claiming to be an "ethical" remedy, and advertising through
the medical press by methods that would, with little alteration, fit any
patent painkiller on the market, is no less dangerous or fraudulent than
the Orangeine class which it almost exactly parallels in composition. It
was at first exploited as a "new synthetical coal-tar derivative,"
which it isn't and never was. It is simply half or more acetanilid
(some analyses show as high as 68 per cent.) with other unimportant
ingredients in varying proportions. In a booklet entitled "Light on
Pain," and distributed on doorsteps, I find under an alphabetical list
of diseases this invitation to form the Antikamnia habit:

[IMAGE ==>] {038}

"Nervousness (overwork and excesses)--Dose: One Antikamnia tablet every
two or three hours.

"Shoppers' or Sightseers' Headache--Dose: Two Antikamnia tablets every
three hours.

"Worry (nervousness, 'the blues')--Dose: One or two Antikamnia and
Codein tablets every three hours."

Codein is obtained from opium. The codein habit is well known to all
institutions which treat drug addictions, and is recognized as being no
less difficult to cure than the morphin habit.

The following well-known "remedies" both "ethical" and "patent," depend
for their results upon the heart-depressing action of Acetanilid:

     Royal Pain Powders Dr. Davis's Headache Phenalgin
     Miniature Headache Powders

A typical instance of what Antikamnia will do for its users is that of a
Pennsylvania merchant, 50 years old, who had declined, without apparent
Antikamnia {039}cause, from 140 to 116 pounds, and was finally brought
to Philadelphia in a state of stupor. His pulse was barely perceptible,
his skin dusky and his blood of a deep chocolate color. On reviving he
was questioned as to whether he had been taking headache powders. He
had, for several years. What kind? Antikamnia; sometimes in the plain
tablets, at other times Antikamnia with codein. How many? About twelve
a day. He was greatly surprised to learn that this habit was responsible
for his condition.

"My doctor gave it to me for insomnia," he said, and it appeared that
the patient had never even been warned of the dangerous character of the

Were it obtainable, I would print here the full name and address of
that attending physician, as one unfit, either through ignorance or
carelessness, to practice his profession. And there would be other
physicians all over the country who would, under that description,
suffer the same indictment within their own minds for starting innocent
patients on a destructive and sometimes fatal course. For it is the
careless or conscienceless physician who gets the customer for the
"ethical" headache remedies, and the customer, once secured, pays
a profit, very literally, with his own blood. Once having taken
Antikamnia, the layman, unless informed as to its true nature, will
often return to the drug store and purchase it with the impression that
it is a specific drug, like quinin or potassium chlorate, instead of a
disguised poison, exploited and sold under patent rights by a private
concern. The United States Postoffice, in its broad tolerance, permits
the Antikamnia company to send through the mails little sample boxes
containing tablets enough to kill an ordinary man, and these samples are
sent not only to physicians, as is the rule with ethical remedies,
but to lawyers, business men, "brain workers" and other prospective
purchasing classes. The box bears the lying statement: "No drug
habit--no heart effect."

Just as this is going to press the following significant case comes in
from Iowa:

"Farmington, Iowa, Oct. 6.-- (Special to the
Constitution-Democrat.)--Mrs. Hattie Kick, one of the best and most
prominent ladies of Farmington, died rather suddenly Wednesday morning
at 10 o'clock from an overdose of Antikamnia, which she took for a
severe headache from which she was suffering. Mrs. Kick was subject to
severe headaches and was a frequent user of Antikamnia, her favorite
remedy for this ailment."

There is but one safeguard in the use of these remedies: to regard them
as one would regard opium and to employ them only with the consent of
a physician who understands their true nature. Acetanilid has its uses,
but not as a generic painkiller. Pain is a symptom; you can drug it away
temporarily, but it will return clamoring for more payment until the
final price is hopeless enslavement. Were the skull and bones on every
box of this class of poison the danger would be greatly minimized.

With opium and cocain the case is different. The very words are danger
signals. Legal restrictions safeguard the public, to a greater or less
degree, from their indiscriminate use. Normal people do not knowingly
take opium or its derivatives except with the sanction of a physician,
and there is even spreading abroad a belief (surely an expression of the
primal law of self-preservation) that the licensed practitioner leans
too readily toward the convenient narcotics.

But this perilous stuff is the ideal basis for a patent medicine because
its results are immediate (though never permanent), and it is its own
best advertisement in that one dose imperatively calls for another.
Therefore it behooves the manufacturer of opiates to disguise the use of
the drug. This he does in varying forms, and he has found his greatest
success in the "cough and consumption cures" and the soothing syrup
class. The former of these will be considered in another article. As
to the "soothing syrups," {040}designed for the drugging of helpless
infants, even the trade does not know how many have risen, made their
base profit and subsided. A few survive, probably less harmful than
the abandoned ones, on the average, so that by taking the conspicuous
survivors as a type I am at least doing no injustice to the class.

Some years ago I heard a prominent New York lawyer, asked by his office
scrub woman to buy a ticket for some "association" ball, say to her:
"How can you go to these affairs, Nora, when you have two young children
at home?"

"Sure, they're all right," she returned, blithely; "just wan teaspoonful
of Winslow's an' they lay like the dead till mornin'."

What eventually became of the scrub woman's children I don't know. The
typical result of this practice is described by a Detroit physician who
has been making a special study of Michigan's high mortality rate:

"Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup is extensively used among the poorer
classes as a means of pacifying their babies. These children eventually
come into the hands of physicians with a greater or less addiction to
the opium habit. The sight of a parent drugging a helpless infant into a
semi-comatose condition is not an elevating one for this civilized age,
and it is a very common practice. [IMAGE ==>] {040}I can give you one
illustration from my own hospital experience, which was told me by the
father of the girl. A middle-aged railroad man of Kansas City had a
small daughter with summer diarrhea. For this she was given a patent
diarrhea medicine. It controlled the trouble, but as soon as the remedy
was withdrawn the diarrhea returned. At every withdrawal the trouble
began anew, and the final result was that they never succeeded in curing
this daughter of the opium habit which had taken its hold on her. It
was some years afterward that the parents became aware that she had
contracted the habit, when the physician took away the patent medicine
and gave the girl morphin, with exactly the same result which she had
experienced with the patent remedy. At the time the father told me
this story his daughter was 19 years of age, an only child of wealthy
parents, and one who could have had every advantage in life, but who was
a complete wreck in every way as a result of the opium habit. The father
told me, with tears in his eyes, that he would rather she had died with
the original illness than to have lived to become the creature which she
then was." The proprietor of a drug store in San José, Cal., writes to
_Collier's_ as follows:

[IMAGE ==>] {041}

"I have a good customer, a married woman with five children, all under
10 years of age. When her last baby was born, about a year ago, the
first thing she did was to order a bottle of Winslow's Soothing Syrup,
and every {042}week another bottle was bought at first, until now a
bottle is bought every third day. Why? Because the baby has become
habituated to the drug. I am not well enough acquainted with the family
to be able to say that the weaned children show any present abnormality
of health due to the opium contained in the drug, but the after-effects
of opium have been thus described.... Another instance, quite as
startling, was that of a mother who gave large quantities of soothing
syrup to two of her children in infancy; then, becoming convinced of
its danger, abandoned its use. These children in middle life became
neurotics, spirit and drug-takers. Three children born later and not
given any drugs in early life grew up strong and healthy.

"I fear the children of the woman in question will all suffer for their
mother's ignorance, or worse, in later life, and have tried to do my
duty by sending word to the mother of the harmful nature of the stuff,
but without effect.

"P. S.--How many neurotics, fiends and criminals may not 'Mrs. Winslow'
be sponsor for?"

This query is respectfully referred to the Anglo-American Drug Company,
of New York,' which makes its handsome profit from this slave trade.

Recent legislation on the part of the New York State Board of Pharmacy
will tend to decrease the profit, as it requires that a poison label be
put on each bottle of the product, as has long been the law in England.

An Omaha physician reports a case of poisoning from a compound bearing
the touching name of "Kopp's Baby Friend," which has a considerable
sale in the middle west and in central New York. It is made of sweetened
water and morphin, about one-third grain of morphin to the ounce.

"The child (after taking four drops) went into a stupor at once, the
pupils were pin-pointed, skin cool and clammy, heart and respiration
slow. I treated the case as one of opium poisoning, but it took twelve
hours before my little patient was out of danger."

As if to put a point of satirical grimness on the matter, the
responsible proprietor of this particular business of drugging helpless
babies is a woman, Mrs. J. A. Kopp, of York, Pa.

Making cocain fiends is another profitable enterprise. Catarrh powders
are the medium. A decent druggist will not sell cocain as such,
steadily, to any customer, except on prescription, but most druggists
find salve for their consciences in the fact that the subtle and
terrible drug is in the form of somebody's sure cure. There is need to
say nothing of the effects of cocain other than that it is destructive
to mind and body alike, and appalling in its breaking down of all
moral restraint. Yet in New York City it is distributed in "samples"
at ferries and railway stations. You may see the empty boxes and the
instructive labels littering the gutters of Broadway any Saturday night,
when the drug-store trade is briskest.

Simey's Catarrhal Powder, Dr. Cole's Catarrh Cure, Dr. Gray's Catarrh
Powder and Crown Catarrh Powder are the ones most in demand. All of
them are cocain; the other ingredients are unimportant--perhaps even

Whether or not the bottles are labeled with the amount of cocain makes
little difference. The habitués know. In one respect, however, the
labels help them by giving information as to which nostrum is the most
heavily drugged.

"People come in here," a New York City druggist tells me, "ask what
catarrh powders we've got, read the labels and pick out the one that's
got the most cocain. When I see a customer comparing labels I know she's
a fiend." {043}

Naturally these owners and exploiters of these mixtures claim that the
small amount of cocain contained is harmless. For instance, the "Crown
Cure," admitting 2% per cent., says:

"Of course, this is a very small and harmless amount. Cocain is now
considered to be the most valuable addition to modern medicine... it is
the most perfect relief known."

Birney's Catarrh Cure runs as high as 4 per cent, and can produce
testimonials vouching for its harmlessness. Here is a Birney
"testimonial" to the opposite effect, obtained "without solicitation
or payment" (I have ventured to put it in the approved form), which no
sufferer from catarrh can afford to miss. [IMAGE ==>] {043}

READ what William Thompson, of Chicago, says of


"Three years ago Thompson was a strong man. Now he is without money,
health, home or friends."

(Chicago Tribune.)

"I began taking Birney's Catarrh Cure (says Thompson) three years ago,
and the longing for the drug has grown so potent that I suffer without

"I followed the directions at first, then I increased the quantity until
I bought the stuff by the dozen bottles."

A famous drink and drug cure in Illinois had, as a patient, not long
ago, a 14-year-old boy, who was a slave to the Birney brand of cocain.
He had run his father $300 in debt, so heavy were his purchases of the

Chicago long ago settled this cocain matter in the only logical way. The
proprietor of a large downtown drug store noticed several years ago
that at noon numbers of the shop girls from a great department store
purchased certain catarrh powders over his counter. He had his clerk
warn them that the powders contained deleterious drugs. The girls
continued to purchase in increasing numbers and quantity. He sent word
to the superintendent of the store. "That accounts for the number of our
girls that have gone wrong of late," was the superintendent's comment.
The druggist, Mr. McConnell, had an analysis made by the Board of
Health, which showed that the powder most called for was nearly 4 per
cent, cocain, whereon he threw it and similar powders out of stock. The
girls went elsewhere. Mr. McConnell traced them and started a general
movement against this class of remedies, which resulted in an ordinance
forbidding their sale. Birney's Catarrhal Powders, as I am informed, to
meet the new conditions brought-out a powder without cocain, which had
the briefest kind of a sale. For weeks thereafter the downtown stores
were haunted by haggard young men and women, who begged for "the old
powders; these new ones don't do any good." As high as $1.00 premium was
paid for the 4 per cent, cocain species. To-day the Illinois druggist
who sells cocain in this form is liable to arrest. Yet in New York,
at the corner of Forty-second street and Broadway, I saw recently a
show-window display of the Birney cure, and similar displays are not
uncommon in other cities.

Regarding other forms of drugs there may be honest differences of
opinion as to the limits of legitimacy in the trade. If mendacious
advertising were stopped, and the actual ingredients of every nostrum
plainly published {044}and frankly explained, the patent medicine trade
might reasonably claim to be a legitimate enterprise in many of its
phases. But no label of opium or cocain, though the warning skull and
cross-bones cover the bottle, will excuse the sale of products that are
never safely used except by expert advice. I believe that the Chicago
method of dealing with the catarrh powders is the right method in
cocain- and opium-bearing nostrums. Restrict the drug by the same
safeguards when sold under a lying pretence as when it flies its true
colors. Then, and then only, will our laws prevent the shameful trade
that stupefies helpless babies and makes criminals of our young men and
harlots of our young women.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Jan. 13, 1906. {045}

Incurable disease is one of the strongholds of the patent medicine
business. The ideal patron, viewed in the light of profitable business,
is the victim of some slow and wasting ailment in which recurrent hope
inspires to repeated experiments with any "cure" that offers. In
the columns of almost every newspaper you may find promises to cure
consumption. Consumption is a disease absolutely incurable by any
medicine, although an increasing percentage of consumptives are saved by
open air, diet and methodical living. This is thoroughly and definitely
understood by all medical and scientific men. Nevertheless there are in
the patent medicine world a set of harpies who, for their own business
interests, deliberately foster in the mind of the unfortunate sufferer
from tuberculosis the belief that he can be saved by the use of some
absolutely fraudulent nostrum. Many of these consumption cures contain
drugs which hasten the progress of the disease, such as chloroform,
opium, alcohol and hasheesh. Others are comparatively harmless in
themselves, but for their fervent promises of rescue they delude the
sufferer into misplacing his reliance, and forfeiting his only chance by
neglecting those rigidly careful habits of life which alone can conquer
the "white plague." One and all, the men who advertise medicines to cure
consumption deliberately traffic in human life.

[IMAGE ==>] {045}

Certain members of the Proprietary Association of America (the patent
medicine "combine") with whom I have talked have urged on me the claim
that there are firms in the nostrum business that are above criticism,
and have mentioned H. E. Bucklen & Co., of Chicago, who manufacture a
certain salve. The Bucklen salve did not particularly interest me.
But when I came to take up the subject of consumption cures I ran
unexpectedly on an interesting trail. In the country and small city
newspapers there is now being advertised lavishly "Dr. King's New
Discovery for Consumption." It is proclaimed to be the "only sure cure
for consumption." Further announcement is made that "it strikes terror
to the doctors." As it is a morphin and chloroform mixture, "Dr. King's
New Discovery for Consumption" is well calculated to strike terror to
the doctors or to any other class or profession, except, perhaps, the
undertakers. It is a pretty diabolical concoction to give to any one,
and particularly to a consumptive. The chloroform temporarily allays
the cough, thereby checking Nature's effort to throw off the dead
matter from the lungs. The opium drugs the patient into a deceived
cheerfulness. The combination is admirably designed to shorten the life
of any consumptive who takes it steadily. Of course, there is nothing on
the label of the bottle to warn the purchaser. That would be an example
of legitimate advertising in the consumption field.

[IMAGE ==>] {046}


Chloroform and Prussic Acid. {047}

Another "cure" which, for excellent reasons of its own, does not print
its formula, is "Shiloh's Consumption Cure," made at Leroy, N. Y., by
S. C. Wells & Co. Were it to publish abroad the fact that it contains,
among other ingredients, chloroform and prussic acid. Under our present
lax system there is no warning on the bottle that the liquid contains
one of the most deadly of poisons. The makers write me: "After you have
taken the medicine for awhile, if you are not firmly convinced that you
are very much better we want you to go to your druggist and get back all
the money that you have paid for Shiloh."

[IMAGE ==>] {047}

[IMAGE ==>] {048}

[IMAGE ==>] {049}

But if I were a consumptive, after I had taken "Shiloh" for awhile I
should be less interested in recovering my money than in getting back my
wasted chance of life. Would S. C. Wells & Co. guarantee that? {050}

Morphin is the important ingredient of Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup.
Nevertheless, the United States Postoffice Department obligingly
transmits me a dose of this poison through the mails from A. C. Meyer
& Co., of Baltimore, the makers. The firm writes me, in response to my
letter of inquiry:

"We do not claim that Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup will cure an established
case of consumption. If you have gotten this impression you most likely
have misunderstood what we claim.... We can, however, say that Dr.
Bull's Cough Syrup has cured cases said to have been consumption in its
earliest stages."

Quite conservative, this. But A. C. Meyer & Co. evidently don't follow
their own advertising very closely, for around my sample bottle (by
courtesy of the Postoffice Department) is a booklet, and from that
booklet I quote:

"_There is no case of hoarseness, cough, asthma, bronchitis... or
consumption that can not be cured speedily by the proper use of Dr.
Bull's Cough Syrup_."

If this is not a claim that Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup "will cure an
established case of consumption," what is it? The inference from Meyer
& Co.'s cautious letter is that they realize their responsibility for a
cruel and dangerous fraud and are beginning to feel an uneasiness
about it, which may be shame or may be only fear. One logical effect
of permitting medicines containing a dangerous quantity of poison to
be sold without the poison label is shown in the coroner's verdict
reproduced on page 47.

[IMAGE ==>] {047}

In the account of the Keck baby's death from the Dr. Bull opium mixture,
which the Cincinnati papers published, there was no mention of the
name of the cough syrup. Asked about this, the newspapers gave various
explanations. Two of them disclosed that they had no information on the
point. This is contrary to the statement of the physician in the case,
and implies a reportorial, laxity which is difficult to credit. One
ascribed the omission to a settled policy and one to the fear of libel.
When the coroner's verdict was given out, however, the name of the
nostrum got into plain print. On the whole, the Cincinnati papers showed
themselves gratifyingly independent.

Another case of poisoning from this same remedy occurred in Morocco,
Ind., the victim being a 2-year-old child. The doctor reports:

"In an hour, when first seen, symptoms of opium poisoning were present.
In about twelve hours the child had several convulsions, and spasms
followed for another twelve hours at intervals. It then sank into a coma
and died in the seventy-two hours with cardiac failure. The case was
clearly one of death from overdose of the remedy."

The baby had swallowed a large amount of the "medicine" from a bottle
left within its reach. Had the bottle been properly labeled with skull
and cross-bones the mother would probably not have let it lie about.

Caution seems to have become a suddenly acquired policy of this class
of medicines, in so far as their correspondence goes. Unfortunately,
it does not extend to their advertising. The result is a rather painful
discrepancy. G. G. Green runs hotels in California and manufactures
quack medicines in Woodbury, N. J., one of these being "Boschee's German
Syrup," a "consumption cure." Mr. Green writes me (per rubber stamp):

"Consumption can sometimes be cured, but not always. Some cases are
beyond cure. However, we suggest that you secure a trial bottle of
German Syrup for 25 cents," etc.

On the bottle I read: "Certain cure for all diseases of the throat and
lungs." Consumption is a disease of the lungs; sometimes of the throat.

If it "can sometimes be cured, but not always," then the German Syrup
is not a "certain cure for all diseases of the throat and lungs," and
somebody, as the ill-fated Reingelder put it, "haf lied in brint" on
Mr. Green's bottle, which must be very painful to Mr. Green. Mr. Green's
remedy contains morphin and some hydrocyanic acid. Therefore consumption
will be much less often curable where Boschee's German Syrup is used
than where it is not.

Absolutely False Claims.

A curious mixture of the cautious, semi-ethical method and the blatant
claim-all patent medicine is offered in the Ozomulsion Company.
Ozomulsion does not, like the "cures" mentioned above, contain active
poisons. It is one of the numerous cod-liver oil preparations, and its
advertising, in tne medical journals at first and now in the lay
press, is that of a cure for consumption. I visited the offices of the
Ozomulsion Company recently and found them duly furnished with a regular
physician, who was employed, so he informed me, in a purely ethical
capacity. There was also present during the interview the president
of the Ozomulsion Company, Mr. A. Frank Richardson, former advertising
agent, former deviser of the advertising of Swamp-Root, former
proprietor of Kranitonic and present proprietor of Slocum's Consumption
Cure, which is the "wicked partner" of Ozomulsion. For convenience I
will put the conversation in court report form, and, indeed, it partook
somewhat of the nature of a cross-examination:

Q.--Dr. Smith, will Ozomulsion cure consumption?

A.--Ozomulsion builds up the tissues, imparts vigor, aids the natural
resistance of the body, etc. (Goes into a long exploitation in the
manner and style made familiar by patent medicine pamphlets. )

Q.--But will it cure consumption?

A.--Well, without saying that it is a specific, etc. (Passes to an
instructive, entertaining and valuable disquisition on the symptoms and
nature of tuberculosis. )

Q.--Yes, but will Ozomulsion cure consumption?

A.--We don't claim that it will cure consumption.

Q.--Does not this advertisement state that Ozomulsion will cure
consumption? (SHowing advertisement.)

A.--It seems to.

Q.--Will Ozomulsion cure consumption?

A.--In the early stages of the disease--

Q. (interrupting)--Does the advertisement make any qualifications as to
the stage of tne disease?

A.--Not that I find.

Q.--Have you ever seen that advertisement before?

A.--Not to my knowledge.

Q.--Who wrote it?

A. (by President Richardson)--I done that ad. myself.

Q.--Mr. Richardson, will Ozomulsion cure consumption?

A.--Sure; we got testimonials to prove it.

Q.--Have you ever investigated any of these testimonials?

Q. (to Dr. Smith)--Dr. Smith, in view of the direct statement of your
advertising, do you believe that Ozomulsion will cure consumption?

A.--Well, I believe in a great many cases it will.

Health for Five Dollars.

That is as far as Dr. Smith would go. I wonder what he would have said
as to the Dr. T. A. Slocum side of the business. Dr. Slocum puts out a
"Special Cure Offer" that will snatch you from the jaws of death, on the
{052}blanket plan, for $6, and guarantees the cure (or more medicine) for
$10. His scheme is so noble and broad-minded that I can not refrain from
detailing it. For $5 you get,

     1 large bottle of Psychine,
     1 large bottle of Ozomulsion,
     1 large bottle of Coltsfoote Expectorant,
     1 large tube of Ozojell,
     3 boxes of lazy Liver Pills
     3 Hot X-Ray Porous Plaster,

"which," says the certificate, "will in a majority of cases effect a
permanent care of the malady from which the invalid is now suffering."
Whatever ails you--that's what Dr. T. A. Sloram cures. For $10 you get
almost twice the amount, plus the guarantee. Surely there is little left
on earth, unless Dr. Slocum should issue a $15 offer, to include funeral
expenses and a tombstone.

The Slocum Consumption Cure proper consists of a gay-hued substance
known as "Psychine." Psychine is about 16 per cent, alcohol, and has a
dash of strychnin to give the patient his money's worth. Its alluring
color is derived from cochineal. It is "an infallible and unfailing
remedy for consumption." Ozomulsion is also a sure cure, if the
literature is to be believed. To cure one's self twice of the same
disease savors of reckless extravagance, but as "a perfect and permanent
cure will be the inevitable consequence," perhaps it's worth the money.
It would not do to charge Dr. T. A. Slocum with fraud, because he is,
I suppose, as dead as Lydia E. Pinkham; but Mr. A. Frank Richardson is
very much alive, and I trust it will be no surprise to him to see here
stated that his Ozomulsion makes claims that it can not support, that
his Psychine is considerably worse, that his special cure offer is a bit
of shameful quackery, and that his whole Slocum Consumption Cure is a
fake and a fraud so ludicrous that its continued insistence is a
brilliant commentary on human credulousness.

Since the early '60s, and perhaps before, there has constantly been in
the public prints one or another benefactor of the human race who wishes
to bestow on suffering mankind, free of charge, a remedy which has
snatched him from the brink of the grave. Such a one is Mr. W. A.
Noyes, of Rochester, N. Y. To any one who writes him he sends gratis
a prescription which will surely cure consumption. But take this
prescription to your druggist and you will fail to get it filled,
for the simple reason that the ingenious Mr. Noyes has employed a
pharmaceutical nomenclature peculiarly his own If you wish to try the
"Cannabis Sativa Remedy" (which is a mixture of hasheesh and other
drugs) you must purchase it direct from the advertiser at a price which
assures him an abnormal profit. As Mr. Noyes writes me proposing to give
special treatment for my (supposed) case, depending on a diagnosis of
sixty-seven questions, I fail to see why he is not liable for practicing
medicine without a license.

Piso Grows Cautious.

Piso's Consumption Cure, extensively advertised a year or two ago, is
apparently withdrawing from the field, so far as consumption goes,
and the Pino people are now more modestly promising to cure coughs and
colds. Old analyses give as the contents of Piso's Cure for Consumption
alcohol, chloroform, opium and cannabis indica (hasheesh). In reply
to an inquiry as to whether their remedy contains morphin and cannabis
indica, the Piso Company replies: "Since the year 1872 Piso's Cure has
contained no morphin or anything derived from opium." The question as to
cannabis indica is not answered. Analysis shows that the "cure" contains
chloroform, alcohol and apparently cannabis indica. It is, therefore,
another of the {053}remedies which can not possibly cure consumption,
but, on the contrary, tend by their poisonous and debilitating drugs to
undermine the victim's stamina.

Peruna, Liquozone, Duffy's Malt Whiskey, Pierce's Golden Medical
Discovery and the other "blanket" cures include tuberculosis in their
lists, claiming great numbers of well-authenticated cures. From the
imposing book published by the R. V. Pierce Company, of Buffalo, I took
a number of testimonials for investigation; not a large number, for I
found the consumption testimonial rather scarce. From fifteen letters I
got results in nine cases. Seven of the letters were returned to me
marked "unclaimed," of which one was marked "Name not in the dictory,"
another "No such postoffice in the state" and a third "Deceased." The
eighth man wrote that the Golden Medical Discovery had cured his cough
and blood-spitting, adding: "It is the best lung medisan I ever used for
lung trubble." The last man said he took twenty-five bottles and was
cured! Two out of nine seems to me a suspiciously small percentage of
traceable recoveries. Much stress has been laid by the Proprietary
Association of America through its press committee on the suit brought
by R. V. Pierce against the Ladies' Home Journal, the implication being
(although the suit has not yet been tried) that a reckless libeler of a
noble and worthy business has been suitably punished. In the full
appreciation of Dr. Pierce's attitude in the matter of libel, I wish to
state that in so far as its claim of curing consumption is concerned his
Golden Medical Discovery is an unqualified fraud.

[IMAGE ==>] {053}

One might suppose that the quacks would stop short of trying to deceive
the medical profession in this matter, yet the "consumption cure" may
be found disporting itself in the pages of the medical journals. For
instance, I find this advertisement in several professional magazines:

"McArthur's Syrup of Hypophosphites has proved itself, time and time
again, to be positively beneficial in this condition [tuberculosis]
in the hands of prominent observers, clinicians and, what is more,
practicing physicians, hundreds of whom have written their admiring
encomiums in {054}its behalf, and it is the enthusiastic conviction of
many that _its effect is truly specific_" Which, translated into lay
terms, means that the syrup will cure consumption. I find also in the
medical press "a sure cure for dropsy," fortified with a picture worthy
of Swamp-Root or Lydia Pinkham. Both of these are frauds in attempting
to foster the idea that they will _cure_ the diseases, and they are
none the less fraudulent for being advertised to the medical profession
instead of to the laity.

Is there, then, no legitimate advertising of preparations useful in
diseases such as tuberculosis? Very little, and that little mostly in
the medical journals, exploiting products which tend to build up and
strengthen the patient. There has recently appeared, however, one
advertisement in the lay press which seems to me a legitimate attempt
to push a nostrum. It is reproduced at the beginning of this article.
Notice, first, the frank statement that there is no specific for
consumption; second, that there is no attempt to deceive the public into
the belief that the emulsion will be helpful in all cases. Whether or
not Scott's Emulsion is superior to other cod-liver oils is beside the
present question. If all patent medicine "copy" were written in the same
spirit of honesty as this, I should have been able to omit from this
series all consideration of fraud, and devote my entire attention to the
far less involved and difficult matter of poison. Unhappily, all of
the Scott's Emulsion advertising is not up to this standard. In another
newspaper I have seen an excerpt in which the Scott & Bowne Company come
perilously near making, if they do not actually make, the claim that
their emulsion is a cure, and furthermore make themselves ridiculous by
challenging comparison with another emulsion, suggesting a chemical test
and offering, if their nostrum comes out second best, _to give to the
institution making the experiment a supply of their oil free for a
year_. This is like the German druggist who invented a heart-cure and
offered two cases to any one who could prove that it was injurious!

Consumption is not the only incurable disease in which there are good
pickings for the birds of prey. In a recent issue of the New York Sunday
_American-Journal_ I find three cancer cures, one dropsy cure, one
"heart-disease soon cured," three epilepsy cures and a "case of
paralysis cured." Cancer yields to but one agency--the knife. Epilepsy
is either the result of pressure on the brain or some obscure cerebral
disease; medicine can never cure it. Heart disease is of many kinds, and
a drug that may be helpful in relieving symptoms in one case might be
fatal in another. The same is true of dropsy. Medical science knows no
"cure" for paralysis. As space lacks to consider individually the nature
of each nostrum separately, I list briefly, for the protection of those
who read, a number of the more conspicuous swindles of this kind now
being foisted on the public:

     Rupert Wells' Radiatized Fluid, for cancer.
     Miles' Heart Disease Cure.
     Miles' Grand Dropsy Cure.
     Dr. Tucker's Epilepsy Cure.
     Dr. Grant's Epilepsy Cure.
     W. H. May's Epilepsy Cure.
     Dr. Kline's Epilepsy Cure.
     Dr. W. 0. Bye's Cancer Cure.
     Mason's Cancer Cure.
     Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People,

which are advertised to cure paralysis and are a compound of green
vitriol, starch and sugar.

Purchasers of these nostrums not only waste their money, but in many
cases they throw away their only chance by delaying proper treatment
until it is too late. {055}

Properly, a "cure" known as Bioplasm belongs in this list, but so
ingenious are its methods that it deserves some special attention. In
some of the New York papers a brief advertisement, reading as follows,
occupies a conspicuous position.

"After suffering for ten years the torture that only an ataxic can know,
Mr. E. P. Burnham, of Delmar, N. Y., has been relieved of all pain and
restored to health and strength, and the ability to resume his usual
pursuits, by an easily obtained and inexpensive treatment which
any druggist can furnish. To any fellow-sufferer who mails him a
self-addressed envelope Mr. Burnham sends free this prescription which
cured him."--Adv.

Now, people who give away something for nothing, and spend money
advertising for a chance to do it, are as rare in the patent medicine
business as out of it, and Delmar, N. Y., is not included in any map of
Altruria that I have learned of E. P. Burnham, therefore, seemed worth
writing to. The answer came back promptly, inclosing the prescription
and explaining the advertiser's purpose:

"My only motive in the notice which caught your attention is to help
other sufferers. _You owe me nothing. I have nothing to sell_. When
you are benefited, however, if you feel disposed and able to send me
a contribution to assist me in making this great boon to our
felow-sufferers better known it will be thankfully received and used for
that purpose."

I fear that Mr. Burnham doesn't make much money out of grateful
correspondents who were cured of locomotor ataxia by his prescription,
because locomotor ataxia is absolutely and hopelessly incurable. Where
Mr. Burnham gets his reward, I fancy, is from the Bioplasm Company, of
100 William street, New York, whose patent medicine is prescribed for
me. I should like to believe that his "only motive is to help other
sufferers," but as I find, on investigation, that the advertising agents
who handle the "Burnham" account are the Bioplasm Company's agents, I am
regretfully compelled to believe that Mr. Burnham, instead of being of
the tribe of the good Samaritan, is probably an immediate relative of
Ananias. The Bioplasm Company also proposes to cure consumption, and is
worthy of a conspicuous place in the Fraud's Gallery of Nostrums.

Even the skin of the Ethiop is not exempt from the attention of the
quacks. A colored correspondent writes, asking that I "give a paragraph
to these frauds who cater to the vanity of those of my race who insult
their Creator in attempting to change their color and hair," and inclose
a typical advertisement of "Lustorene," which "straightens kinky, nappy,
curly hair," and of "Lustorone Face Bleach," which "whitens the darkest
skin" and will "bring the skin to any desired shade or color." Nothing
could better illustrate to what ridiculous lengths the nostrum fraud
will go. Of course, the Lustorone business is fraudulent. Some time
since a Virginia concern, which advertised to turn negroes white, was
suppressed by the Postoffice Department, which might well turn its
attention to Lustorone Face Bleach.

There are being exploited in this country to-day more than 100 cures,
for diseases that are absolutely beyond the reach of drugs. They
are owned by men who know them to be swindles, and who in private
conversation will almost always evade the direct statement that their
nostrums will "cure" consumption, epilepsy, heart disease and ailments
of that nature. Many of them "guarantee" their remedies. They will
return your money if you aren't satisfied. And they can afford to. They
take the lightest of risks. The real risk is all on the other side.
It is their few pennies per bottle against your life. Were the facile
patter by which they lure to the bargain a menace to the pocketbook
alone, one might regard them only as ordinary {056}followers of light
finance, might imagine them filching their gain with the confidential,
half-brazen, half-ashamed leer of the thimblerigger. But the matter
goes further and deeper. Every man who trades in this market, whether he
pockets the profits of the maker, the purveyor or the advertiser, takes
toll of blood. He may not deceive himself here, for here the patent
medicine is nakedest, most cold-hearted. Relentless greed sets the trap
and death is partner in the enterprise.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Feb. 17, 1906. {057}

Advertising and testimonials are respectively the aggressive and
defensive forces of the Great American Fraud. Without the columns of the
newspapers and magazines wherein to exploit themselves, a great majority
of the patent medicines would peacefully and blessedly fade out of
existence. Nearly all the world of publications is open to the swindler,
the exceptions being the high-class magazines and a very few independent
spirited newspapers. The strongholds of the fraud are dailies, great
and small, the cheap weeklies and the religious press. According to
the estimate of a prominent advertising firm, above 90 per cent, of
the earning capacity of the prominent nostrums is represented by their
advertising. And all this advertising is based on the well-proven
theory of the public's pitiable ignorance and gullibility in the vitally
important matter of health.

Study the medicine advertising in your morning paper, and you will find
yourself in a veritable goblin-realm of fakery, peopled with monstrous
myths. Here is an amulet in the form of an electric belt, warranted
to restore youth and vigor to the senile; yonder a magic ring or a
mysterious inhaler, or a bewitched foot-plaster which will draw the
pangs of rheumatism from the tortured body "or your money back"; and
again some beneficent wizard in St. Louis promises with a secret philtre
to charm away deadly cancer, while in the next column a firm of magi
in Denver proposes confidently to exorcise the demon of incurable
consumption without ever seeing the patient. Is it credible that a
supposedly civilized nation should accept such stuff as gospel? Yet
these exploitations cited above, while they are extreme, differ only
in degree from nearly all patent-medicine advertising. Ponce de Leon,
groping toward that dim fountain whence youth springs eternal, might
believe that he had found his goal in the Peruna factory, the Liquozone
"laboratory" or the Vitæ-Ore plant; his thousands of descendants in
this century of enlightenment painfully drag themselves along poisoned
trails, following a will-o'-the-wisp that dances above the open graves.

Newspaper Accomplices.

If there is no limit to the gullibility of the public on the one hand,
there is apparently none to the cupidity of the newspapers on the other.
As the Proprietary Association of America is constantly setting forth in
veiled warnings, the press takes an enormous profit from patent-medicine
advertising. Mr. Hearst's papers alone reap a harvest of more than half
a million dollars per annum from this source. The Chicago _Tribune_,
which treats nostrum advertising in a spirit of independence, and
sometimes with scant courtesy, still receives more than $80,000 a year
in medical patronage. Many of the lesser journals actually live on
patent medicines. What wonder that they are considerate of these
profitable customers! Pin a newspaper owner down to the issue of fraud
in the matter, and he will take refuge in the plea that his advertisers
and not himself are responsible for what appears in the advertising
columns. _Caveat emptor_ is the implied superscription above this
department. The more shame to those publications {058}which prostitute
their news and editorial departments to their greed. Here are two
samples, one from the Cleveland _Plain-Dealer_, the other from a
temperance weekly, Green Goods "Cable News."

The "Ascatco" advertisement, which the Plain-Dealer prints as a
cablegram, without any distinguishing mark to designate it as an
advertisement, of course, emanates from the office of the nostrum, and
is a fraud, as the _Plain-Dealer_ well knew when it accepted payment,
and became partner to the swindle by deceiving its readers. Tne Vitæ-Ore
"editorial" appears by virtue of a full-page advertisement of this
extraordinary fake in the same issue.

Whether, because church-going people are more trusting, and therefore
more easily befooled than others, or from some more obscure reason, many
of the religious papers fairly reek with patent-medicine fakes.
Take, for instance, the _Christian Endeavor World_, which is the
undenominational organ of a large, powerful and useful organization,
unselfishly working toward the betterment of society. A subscriber who
recently complained of certain advertisements received the following
reply from the business manager of the publication:

"Dear Sir:--Your letter of the 4th comes to me for reply. Appreciating
the good spirit in which you write, let me assure you that, to the best
of our knowledge and belief, we are not publishing any fraudulent
or unworthy medicine advertising. We decline every year thousands of
dollars' worth of patent-medicine advertising that we think is either
fraudulent or misleading. You would be surprised, very likely, if you
could know of the people of high intelligence and good character who are
benefited by these {059}medicines. We have taken a great deal of pains
to make particular inquiries of our subscribers with respect to this
question, and a very large percentage of them are devoted to one or
more well-known patent medicines, and regard them as household remedies.
Trusting that you will be able to understand that we are acting
according to our best and sincerest judgment, I remain, yours very

"The Golden Rule Company,

"George W. Coleman, Business Manager"

Running through half a dozen recent issues of the _Christian Endeavor
World_, I find nineteen medical advertisements of, at best, dubious
nature. Assuming that the business management of the _Christian Endeavor
World_ represents normal intelligence, I would like to ask whether it
accepts the statement that a pair of "magic foot drafts" applied to the
bottom of the feet will cure any and every kind of rheumatism in any
part of the body? Further, if the advertising department is genuinely
interested in declining "fraudulent or misleading" copy, I would call
their attention to the ridiculous claims of Dr. Shoop's medicines,
which "cure" almost every disease; to two hair removers, one an "Indian
Secret," the other an "accidental discovery," both either fakes or
dangerous; to the lying claims of Hall's Catarrh Cure, that it is "a
positive cure for catarrh" in all its stages to "Syrup of Figs," which
is not a fig syrup, but a preparation of senna; to Dr. Kilmer's Swamp
Root, of which the principal medicinal constituent is alcohol; and,
finally, to Dr. Bye's Oil Cure for cancer, a particularly cruel swindle
on unfortunates suffering from an incurable malady. All of these, with
other matter, which for the sake of decency I do not care to detail
in these columns, appear in recent issues of the _Christian Endeavor
World_, and are respectfully submitted to its management and its

Quackery and Religion.

The Baptist Watchman of Oct. 12, 1905, prints an editorial defending the
principle of patent medicines. It would be interesting to know whether
the back page of the number has any connection with the editorial. This
page is given up to an illustrated advertisement of Vito-Ore, one of
the boldest fakes in the whole Frauds' Gallery. Vitæ-Ore claims to be
a mineral mined from "an extinct mineral spring," and to contain free
iron, free sulphur and free magnesium. It contains no free iron, no free
sulphur, and no free magnesium. It announces itself as "a certain and
never-failing cure" for rheumatism and Bright's disease, dropsy,
blood poisoning, nervous prostration and general debility, among other
maladies. Whether it is, as asserted, mined from an extinct spring
or bucketed from a sewer has no bearing on its utterly fraudulent
character. There is no "certain and never-failing cure" for the diseases
in its list, and when the _Baptist Watchman_ sells itself to such an
exploitation it becomes partner to a swindle not only on the pockets
of its readers, but on their health as well. In the same issue I find
"Piso's Cure for Consumption,"

"Bye's Cancer Cure,"

"Mrs. M. Summer's Female Remedy,"

"Winslow's Soothing Syrup," and "Juven Pills," somewhat disguised here,
but in other mediums openly a sexual weakness "remedy."

A correspondent sends me clippings from _The Christian Century_, leading
off with an interesting editorial entitled "Our Advertisers," from which
I quote in part:

"We take pleasure in calling the attention of our readers to the high
grade of advertising which _The Christian Century_ commands. We shall
continue to advertise only such companies as we know to be thoroughly
reliable. During the past year we have refused thousands of dollars'
{060}worth of advertising which other religious journals are running,
but which is rated 'objectionable' by the better class of periodicals.
Compare our advertising columns with the columns of any other purely
religious journal, and let us know what you think of the character of
our advertising patrons."

Whether the opinion of a non-subscriber will interest _The Christian
Century_ I have no means of knowing, but I will venture it. My opinion
is that a considerable proportion of its advertisements are such as any
right-minded and intelligent publisher should be ashamed to print, and
that if its readers accept its endorsement of the advertising columns
they will have a very heavy indictment to bring against it. Three
"cancer cures," a dangerous "heart cure," a charlatan eye doctor, Piso's
Consumption Cure, Dr. Shoop's Rheumatism Cure and Liquozone make up
a pretty fair "Frauds' Gallery" for the delectation of _The Christian
Century's_ readers.

[IMAGE ==>] {060}

As a convincing argument, many nostrums guarantee, not a cure, as they
would have the public believe, but a reimbursement if the medicine is

Liquozone does this, and faithfully carries out its agreement.
Electro-gen, a new "germicide," which has stolen Liquozone's advertising
scheme almost word for word, also promises this. Dr. Shoop's agreement
{061}is so worded that the unsatisfied customer is likely to have
considerable trouble in getting his money back. Other concerns send
their "remedies" free on trial, among these being the ludicrous "magic
foot drafts" referred to above. At first thought it would seem that
only a cure would bring profit to the makers. But the fact is that most
diseases tend to cure themselves by natural means, and the delighted and
deluded patient, ascribing the relief to the "remedy," which really has
nothing to do with it, sends on his grateful dollar. Where the money
is already paid, most people are too inert to undertake the effort of
getting it back. It is the easy American way of accepting a swindle as a
sort of joke, which makes for the nostrum readers ready profits.

Safe Rewards.

Then there is the "reward for proof" that the proprietary will not
perform the wonders advertised. The Liquozone Company offer $1,000, I
believe, for any germ that Liquozone will not kill. This is a pretty
safe offer, because there are no restrictions as to the manner in which
the unfortunate germ might be maltreated. If the matter came to an
issue, the defendants might put their bacillus in the Liquozone bottle
and freeze him solid. If that didn't end him, they could boil the ice
and save their money, as thus far no germ has been discovered which
can survive the process of being made into soup. Nearly all of the
Hall Catarrh Cure advertisements offer a reward of $100 for any case
of catarrh which the nostrum fails to cure. It isn't enough, though one
hundred times that amount might be worth while; for who doubts that Mr.
F. J. Cheney, inventor of the "red clause," would fight for his cure
through every court, exhausting the prospective $100 reward of his
opponent in the first round? How hollow the "guarantee" pretence is, is
shown by a clever scheme devised by Radam, the quack, years ago, when
Shreveport was stricken with yellow fever. Knowing that his offer could
not be accepted, he proposed to the United States Government that he
should eradicate the epidemic by destroying all the germs with Radam's
Microbe Killer, offering to deposit $10,000 as a guarantee. Of course,
the Government declined on the ground that it had no power to accept
such an offer. Meantime, Radam got a lot of free advertising, and his
fortune was made.

No little stress is laid on "personal advice" by the patent-medicine
companies. This may be, according to the statements of the firm, from
their physician or from some special expert. As a matter of fact, it is
almost invariably furnished by a $10-a-week typewriter, following
out one of a number of "form" letters prepared in bulk for the
"personal-inquiry" dupes. Such is the Lydia E. Pinkham method. The
Pinkham Company writes me that it is entirely innocent of any intent to
deceive people into believing that Lydia E. Pinkham is still alive, and
that it has published in several cases statements regarding her demise.
It is true that a number of years ago a newspaper forced the Pinkham
concern into a defensive admission of Lydia E. Pinkham's death, but
since then the main purpose of the Pinkham advertising has been to
befool the feminine public into believing that their letters go to a
woman--who died nearly twenty years ago of one of the diseases, it is
said, which her remedy claims to cure.

The Immortal Mrs. Pinkham.

True, the newspaper appeal is always "Write to Mrs. Pinkham," and this
is technically a saving clause, as there is a Mrs. Pinkham, widow of the
son of Lydia E. Pinkham. What sense of shame she might be supposed to
suffer in the perpetration of an obvious and public fraud is presumably
{062}salved by the large profits of the business. The great majority
of the gulls who "write to Mrs. Pinkham" suppose themselves to be
addressing Lydia E. Pinkham, and their letters are not even answered by
the present proprietor of the name, but by a corps of hurried clerks and

You get the same result when you write to Dr. Hartman, of Peruna, for
personal guidance. Dr. Hartman himself told me that he took no active
part now in the conduct of the Peruna Company. If he sees the letters
addressed to him at all, it is by chance. "Dr. Kilmer," of Swamp-Root
fame, wants you to write to him about your kidneys. There is no Dr.
Kilmer in the Swamp-Root concern, and has not been for many years. Dr.
T. A. Slocum, who writes you so earnestly and piously about taking care
of your consumption in time, is a myth. The whole "personal medical
advice" business is managed by rote, and the letter that you get
"special to your case" has been printed and signed before your inquiry
ever reached the shark who gets your money.

An increasingly common pitfall is the letter in the newspapers from some
sufferer who has been saved from disease and wants you to write and get
the prescription free. A conspicuous instance of this is "A Notre
Dame Lady's Appeal" to sufferers from rheumatism and also from female
trouble. "Mrs. Summers," of Notre Dame, Ill., whose picture in the
papers represents a fat Sister of Charity, with the wan, uneasy
expression of one who feels that her dinner isn't digesting properly,
may be a real lady, but I suspect she wears a full beard and talks in
a bass voice, because my letter of inquiry to her was answered by the
patent medicine firm of Vanderhoof & Co., who inclosed some sample
tablets and wanted to sell me more. There are many others of this class.
It is safe to assume that every advertising altruist who pretends to
give out free prescriptions is really a quack medicine firm in disguise.

One more instance of bad faith to which the nostrum patron renders
himself liable: It is asserted that these letters of inquiry in the
patent medicine field are regarded as private. "All correspondence
held strictly private and sacredly confidential," advertises Dr. R. V.
Pierce, of the Golden Medical Discovery, etc. A Chicago firm of letter
brokers offers to send me 50,000 Dr. Pierce order blanks at $2 a
thousand for thirty days; or I can get terms on Ozomulsion, Theodore
Noel (Vitæ-Ore), Dr. Stevens' Nervous Debility Cure, Cactus Cure,
women's regulators, etc.

With advertisements in the medical journals the public is concerned only
indirectly, it is true, but none the less vitally. Only doctors read
these exploitations, but if they accept certain of them and treat their
patients on the strength of the mendacious statements it is at the peril
of the patients. Take, for instance, the Antikamnia advertising which
appears in most of the high-class medical journals, and which includes
the following statements:

    "Do not depress the heart.
     Do not produce habit.
     Are accurate--safe--sure."

These three lines, reproduced as they occur in the medical journals,
contain five distinct and separate lies--a triumph of condensed
mendacity unequaled, so far as I know, in the "cure all" class. For an
instructive parallel here are two claims made by Duffy's Malt Whiskey,
one taken from a medical journal, and hence "ethical," the other
transcribed from a daily paper and therefore to be condemned by all
medical men.

Puzzle: Which is the ethical and which the unethical advertisement?

[IMAGE ==>] {063}

"It is the only cure and preventative [sic] of consumption, pneumonia,
grip, bronchitis, coughs, colds, malaria, low fevers and all wasting,
weakening, diseased conditions." {064}

"Cures general debility, overwork, la grippe, colds, bronchitis,
consumption, malaria, dyspepsia, depression, exhaustion and weakness
from whatever cause."

All the high-class medical publications accept the advertising
of "McArthur's Syrup of Hypophosphites," which uses the following
statement: "It is the enthusiastic conviction of many (physicians) that
its effect is truly specific." That looks to me suspiciously like a
"consumption cure" shrewdly expressed in pseudo-ethical terms.

The Germicide Family.

Zymoticine, if one may believe various medical publications, "will
prevent microbe proliferation in the blood streams, and acts as an
efficient eliminator of those germs and their toxins which are already
present." Translating this from its technical language, I am forced to
the conviction that Zymoticine is half-brother to Liquozone, and if the
latter is illegitimate at least both are children of Beelzebub, father
of all frauds. Of the same family are the "ethicals" Acetozone and
Keimol, as shown by their germicidal claims.

Again, I find exploited to the medical profession, through its own
organa, a "sure cure for dropsy."

"Hygeia presents her latest discovery," declares the advertisement, and
fortifies the statement with a picture worthy of Swamp-Root or Lydia
Pinkham. Every intelligent physician knows that there is no sure cure
for dropsy. The alternative implication is that the advertiser hopes to
get his profit by deluding the unintelligent of the profession, and
that the publications which print his advertisement are willing to hire
themselves out to the swindle.

In one respect some of the medical journals are far below the average of
the newspapers, and on a par with the worst of the "religious" journals.
They offer their reading space for sale. Here is an extract from a
letter from the _Medical Mirror_ to a well-known "ethical firm":

"Should you place a contract for this issue we shall publish a 300-word
report in your interest in our reading columns."

Many other magazines of this class print advertisements as original
reading matter calculated to deceive their subscribers.

Back of all patent medicine advertising stands the testimonial. Produce
proofs that any nostrum can not in its nature perform the wonders that
it boasts, and its retort is to wave aloft its careful horde or letters
and cry:

"We rest on the evidence of those we have cured."

The crux of the matter lies in the last word. Are the writers of those,
letters really cured? What is the value of these testimonials? Are
they genuine? Are they honest? Are they, in their nature and from their
source, entitled to such weight as would convince a reasonable mind?

Three distinct types suggest themselves: The word of grateful
acknowledgement from a private citizen, couched in such terms as to
be readily available for advertising purposes; the encomium from some
person in public life, and the misspelled, illiterate epistle which is
from its nature so unconvincing that it never gets into print, and which
outnumbers the other two classes a hundred to one. First of all,
most nostrums make a point of the mass of evidence. Thousands of
testimonials, they declare, {065}just as valuable for their purposes as
those they print, are in their files. This is not true. I have taken
for analysis, as a fair sample, the "World's Dispensary Medical Book,"
published by the proprietors of Pierce's Favorite Prescription, the
Golden Medical Discovery, Pleasant Pellets, the Pierce Hospital, etc. As
the dispensers of several nostrums, and because of their long career in
the business, this firm should be able to show as large a collection of
favorable letters as any proprietary concern.

Overworked Testimonials.

In their book, judiciously scattered, I find twenty-six letters twice
printed, four letters thrice printed and two letters produced four
times. Yet the compilers of the book "have to regret" (editorially) that
they can "find room only for this comparatively small number in this
volume." Why repeat those they have if this is true? If enthusiastic
indorsements poured in on the patent medicine people, the Duffy's Malt
Whiskey advertising management would hardly be driven to purchasing
its letters from the very aged and from disreputable ministers of the
gospel. If all the communications were as convincing as those published,
the Peruna Company would not have to employ an agent to secure
publishable letters, nor the Liquozone Company indorse across the face
of a letter from a Mrs. Benjamin Charters: "Can change as we see fit."
Many, in fact I believe I may say almost all, of the newspaper-exploited
testimonials are obtained at an expense to the firm. Agents are
employed to secure them. This costs money. Druggists get a discount
for forwarding letters from their customers. This costs money. Persons
willing to have their picture printed get a dozen photographs for
themselves. This costs money. Letters of inquiry answered by givers
of testimonials bring a price--25 cents per letter, usually. Here is a
document sent out periodically by the Peruna Company to keep in line its
"unsolicited" beneficiaries:

"As you are aware, we have your testimonial to our remedy. It has been
some time since we have heard from you, and so we thought best to
make inquiry as to your present state of health and whether you still
occasionally make use of Peruna. We also want to make sure that we have
your present street address correctly, and that you are making favorable
answers to such letters of inquiry which your testimonial may occasion.
Remember that we allow 25 cents for each letter of inquiry. You have
only to send the letter you receive, together with a copy of your reply
to the same, and we will forward you 25 cents for each pair of letters.

"We hope you are still a friend of Peruna and that our continued use
of your testimonial will be agreeable to you. We are inclosing stamped
envelope for reply. Very sincerely yours,

"The Peruna Drug Manufacturing Company,

"Per Carr."

And here is an account of another typical method of collecting this sort
of material, the writer being a young New Orleans man, who answered an
advertisement in a local paper, offering profitable special work to a
news paper man with spare time:

"I found the advertiser to be a woman, the coarseness of whose features
was only equaled by the vulgarity of her manners and speech, and whose
self-assertiveness was in proportion to her bulk. She proposed that I
set about securing testimonials to the excellent qualities of Peruna,
which she pronounced 'Pay-Runa,' for which I was to receive a fee of $5
to $10, according to the prominence of 'the guy' from whom I obtained
it. This I declined {066}flatly. She then inquired whether or not I was
a member of any social organizations or clubs in the city, and receiving
a positive answer she offered me $3 for a testimonial, including the
statement that Pay-Runa had been used by the members of the Southern
Athletic Club with good effects, and raised it to $5 before I left.

"Upon my asking her what her business was before she undertook the
Pay-Runa work, she became very angry. Now, when a female is both very
large and very angry, the best thing for a small, thin young man to do
is to leave her to her thoughts and the expression thereof. I did it."

[IMAGE: ==>] {066}

No Questions Desired.

{067} Testimonials obtained in this way are, in a sense, genuine; that
is, the nostrum firm has documentary evidence that they were given;
but it is hardly necessary to state that they are not honest. Often
the handling of the material is very careless, as in the case of Doan's
Kidney Pills, which ran an advertisement in a Southern city embodying
a letter from a resident of that city who had been dead nearly a year.
Cause of death, kidney disease.

In a former article I have touched on the matter of testimonials
from public men. These are obtained through special agents, through
hangers-on of the newspaper business who wheedle them out of congressmen
or senators, and sometimes through agencies which make a specialty of
that business. A certain Washington firm made a "blanket offer" to a
nostrum company of a $100 joblot of testimonials, consisting of one
De Wolf Hopper, one Sarah Bernhardt and six "statesmen," one of them a
United States senator. Whether they had Mr. Hopper and Mme. Bernhardt
under agreement or were simply dealing in futures I am unable to say,
but the offer was made in business-like fashion. And the "divine Sarah"
at least seems to be an easy subject for patent medicines, as her
letters to them are by no means rare. Congressmen are notoriously easy
to get, and senators are by no means beyond range. There are several
men now in the United States Senate who have, at one time or another,
prostituted their names to the uses of fraud medicines, which they do
not use and of which they know nothing. Naval officers seem to be easy
marks. Within a few weeks a retired admiral of our navy has besmirched
himself and his service by acting as pictorial sales agent for Peruna.
If one carefully considers the "testimonials" of this class it will
appear that few of the writers state that they have ever tried the
nostrum. We may put down the "public man's" indorsement, then, as
genuine (documentarily), but not honest. Certainly it can bear no weight
with an intelligent reader.

Almost as eagerly sought for as this class of letter is the medical
indorsement. Medical testimony exploiting any medicine advertised in the
lay press withers under investigation. In the Liquozone article of this
series I showed how medical evidence is itself "doctored." This was
an extreme instance, for Liquozone, under its original administration,
exhibited less conscience in its methods than any of its competitors
that I have encountered. Where the testimony itself is not distorted, it
is obtained under false pretences or it comes from men of no standing in
the profession. Some time ago Duffy's Malt Whiskey sent out an agent to
get testimonials from hospitals. He got them. How he got them is told
in a letter from the physician in charge of a prominent Pennsylvania

"A very nice appearing man called here one day and sent in his card,
bearing the name of Dr. Blank (I can't recall the name, but wish I
could), a graduate of Vermont University. He was as smooth an article as
I have ever been up against, and I have met a good many. He at once
got down to business and began to talk of the hospitals he had visited,
mentioning physicians whom I knew either personally or by reputation. He
then brought out a lot of documents for me to peruse, all of which were
bona fide affairs, from the various institutions, signed by the various
physicians or resident physicians, setting forth the merits or use of
'Duffy's Malt Whiskey.' He asked if I had ever used it. I said yes, but
very little, and was at the time using some, a fact, as I was sampling
what he handed me. He then placed about a dozen small bottles, holding
possibly two ounces, on the table, and said I should keep it, and he
would send me two quarts free for use here as soon as he got back."

Getting a Testimonial from a Physician.

{068} "He next asked me if I would give him a testimonial regarding
Duffy's Whiskey. I said I did not do such things, as it was against
my principles to do so. 'But this is not for publication,' he said. I
replied that I had used but little of it, and found it only the same as
any other whisky. He then asked if I was satisfied with the results as
far as I had used it. I replied that I was. He then asked me to state
that much, and I very foolishly said I would, on condition that it was
not to be used as an advertisement, and he assured me it would not be
used. I then, in a few words, said that 'I (or we) have used and are
using Duffy's Malt Whiskey, and are satisfied with the results,' signing
my name to the same. He left here, and what was my surprise to receive
later on a booklet in which was my testimonial and many others, with
cuts of hospitals ranging along with people who had reached 100 years by
use of the whisky, while seemingly all ailments save ringbone and spavin
were being cured by this wonderful beverage. I was provoked, but was
paid as I deserved, for allowing a smooth tongue to deceive me. Duffy's
Malt Whiskey has never been inside this place since that day and never
will be while I have any voice to prevent it. The total amount used at
the time and before was less than half a gallon."

This hospital is still used as a reference by the Duffy people.

Many of the ordinary testimonials which come unsolicited to the
extensively advertised nostrums in great numbers are both genuine and
honest. What of their value as evidence?

Some years ago, so goes a story familiar in the drug trade, the general
agent for a large jobbing house declared that he could put out an
article possessing not the slightest remedial or stimulant properties,
and by advertising it skillfully so persuade people of its virtues that
it would receive unlimited testimonials to the cure of any disease for
which he might choose to exploit it. Challenged to a bet, he became a
proprietary owner. Within a year he had won his wager with a collection
of certified "cures" ranging from anemia to pneumonia. Moreover, he
found his venture so profitable that he pushed it to the extent of
thousands of dollars of profits. His "remedy" was nothing but sugar. I
have heard "Kaskine" mentioned as the "cure" in the case. It answers the
requirements, or did answer them at that time, according to an analysis
by the Massachusetts State Board of Health, which shows that its
purchasers had been paying $1 an ounce for pure granulated sugar.
Whether "Kaskine" was indeed the subject of this picturesque bet, or
whether it was some other harmless fraud, is immaterial to the point,
which is that where the disease cures itself, as nearly all diseases
do, the medicine gets the benefit of this _viæ medicatriæ naturæ_--the
natural corrective force which makes for normal health in every human
organism. Obviously, the sugar testimonials can not be regarded as very
weighty evidence.

Testimonials for a Magic Ring.

There is being advertised now a finger ring which by the mere wearing
cures any form of rheumatism. The maker of that ring has genuine letters
from people who believe that they have been cured by it. Would any one
other than a believer in witchcraft accept those statements? Yet they
are just as "genuine" as the bulk of patent medicine letters and written
in as good faith. A very small proportion of the gratuitous indorsements
get into the newspapers, because, as I have said, they do not lend
themselves {069}well to advertising purposes. I have looked over the
originals of hundreds of such letters, and more than 90 per cent, of
them--that is a very conservative estimate--are from illiterate and
obviously ignorant people. Even those few that can be used are rendered
suitable for publication only by careful editing. The geographical
distribution is suggestive. Out of 100 specimens selected at random
from the Pierce testimonial book, eighty-seven are from small,
remote hamlets, whose very names are unfamiliar to the average man of
intelligence. Only five are from cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
Now, Garden City, Kas.; North Yamhill, Ore.; Theresa, Jefferson County,
N. Y.; Parkland, Ky., and Forest Hill, W. Va., may produce an excellent
brand of Americanism, but one does not look for a very high average of
intelligence in such communities. Is it only a coincidence that the
mountain districts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, recognized
as being the least civilized parts of the country, should furnish a
number of testimonials, not only to Pierce, but to Peruna, Paine's
Celery Compound and other brands, out of all proportion to their
population? On page 65 {065} is a group of Pierce enthusiasts and a
group of Peruna witnesses. Should you, on the face of this exhibit,
accept their advice on a matter wholly affecting your physical welfare?
This is what the advertiser is asking you to do.

Secure as is the present control of the Proprietary Association over the
newspapers, there is one point in which I believe almost any journal may
be made to feel the force of public opinion, and that is the matter of
common decency. Newspapers pride themselves on preserving a respectable
moral standard in their news columns, and it would require no great
pressure on the part of the reading public (which is surely immediately
interested) to extend this standard to the advertising columns. I am
referring now not only to the unclean sexual, venereal and abortion
advertisements which deface the columns of a majority of papers, but
also to the exploitation of several prominent proprietaries.

Recently a prominent Chicago physician was dining _en famille_ with a
friend who is the publisher of a rather important paper in a Western
city. The publisher was boasting that he had so established the
editorial and news policy of his paper that every line of it could be
read without shame in the presence of any adult gathering.

"Never anything gets in," he declared, "that I couldn't read at this
table before my wife, son and daughter."

The visitor, a militant member of his profession, snuffed battle from
afar. "Have the morning's issue brought," he said. Turning to the second
page he began on Swift's Sure Specific, which was headed in large black
type with the engaging caption, "Vile, Contagious Blood Poison." Before
he had gone far the 19-year-old daughter of the family, obedient to
a glance from the mother, had gone to answer an opportune ring at the
telephone, and the publisher had grown very red in the face.

"I didn't mean the advertisements," he said.

"I did," said the visitor, curtly, and passed on to one of the extremely
intimate, confidential and highly corporeal letters to the ghost of
Lydia E. Pinkham, which are a constant ornament of the press. The
publisher's son interrupted:

"I don't believe that was written for me to hear," he observed. "I'm
too young--only 25, you know. Call me when you're through. I'll be out
looking at the moon."

Relentlessly the physician turned the sheet and began on one of the
Chattanooga Medical Company's physiological editorials, entitled "What
{070}Men Like in a Girl." For loathsome and gratuitous indecency, for
leering appeal to their basest passions, this advertisement and the
others of the Wine of Cardui series sound the depths. The hostess lasted
through the second paragraph, when she fled, gasping.

"Now," said the physician to his host, "what do you think of yourself?"

The publisher found no answer, but thereafter his paper was put under
a censorship of advertising. Many dailies refuse such "copy" as this of
Wine of Cardui. And here, I believe, is an opportunity for the entering
wedge. If every subscriber to a newspaper who is interested in keeping
his home free from contamination would protest and keep on protesting
against advertising foulness of this nature, the medical advertiser
would soon be restricted to the same limits of decency which other
classes of merchandise accept as a matter of course, for the average
newspaper publisher is quite sensitive to criticism from his readers. A
recent instance came under my own notice in the case of the _Auburn_ (N.
Y.) _Citizen_, which bought out an old-established daily, taking over
the contracts, among which was a large amount of low-class patent
medicine advertising. The new proprietor, a man of high personal
standards, assured his friends that no objectionable matter would be
permitted in his columns. Shortly after the establishment of the new
paper there appeared an advertisement of Juven Pills, referred to above.
Protests from a number of subscribers followed. Investigation showed
that a so-called "reputable" patent medicine firm had inserted this
disgraceful paragraph under their contract. Further insertions of the
offending matter were refused and the Hood Company meekly accepted the
situation. Another central New York daily, the _Utica Press_, rejects
such "copy" as seems to the manager indecent, and I have yet to hear of
the paper's being sued for breach of contract. No perpetrator of unclean
advertising can afford to go to court on this ground, because he knows
that his matter is indefensible.

Our national quality of commercial shrewdness fails us when we go into
the open market to purchase relief from suffering. The average American,
when he sets out to buy a horse, or a house, or a box of cigars, is a
model of caution. Show him testimonials from any number of prominent
citizens and he would simply scoff. He will, perhaps, take the word of
his life-long friend, or of the pastor of his church, but only after
mature thought, fortified by personal investigation. Now observe the
same citizen seeking to buy the most precious of all possessions, sound
health. Anybody's word is good enough for him here. An admiral whose
puerile vanity has betrayed him into a testimonial; an obliging and
conscienceless senator; a grateful idiot from some remote hamlet; a
renegade doctor or a silly woman who gets a bonus of a dozen photographs
for her letter--any of these are sufficient to lure the hopeful patient
to the purchase. He wouldn't buy a second-hand bicycle on the affidavit
of any of them, but he will give up his dollar and take his chance of
poison on a mere newspaper statement which he doesn't even investigate.
Every intelligent newspaper publisher knows that the testimonials which
he publishes are as deceptive as the advertising claims are false. Yet
he salves his conscience with the fallacy that the moral responsibility
is on the advertiser and the testimonial-giver. So it is, but the
newspaper shares it. When an aroused public sentiment shall make our
public men ashamed to lend themselves to this charlatanry, and shall
enforce on the profession of journalism those standards of decency in
the field of medical advertising which apply to other advertisers, the
Proprietary {071}Association of America will face a crisis more
perilous than any threatened legislation. For printers' ink is the very
life-blood of the noxious trade. Take from the nostrum vendors the means
by which they influence the millions, and there will pass to the limbo
of pricked bubbles a fraud whose flagrancy and impudence are of minor
import compared to the cold-hearted greed with which it grinds out its
profits from the sufferings of duped and eternally hopeful ignorance.


Reprinted from Collier's Weekly, Nov. 4, 1905. {072}

     "Here shall the Press the People's rights maintain.
     Unawed by influence and unbribed by gain."

     --Joseph Story: Motto of the Salem Register.

_Would any person believe that there is any one subject upon which the
newspapers of the United States, acting in concert, by prearrangement,
in obedience to wires all drawn by one man, will deny full and free
discussion? If such a thing is possible, it is a serious matter, for we
rely upon the newspapers as at once the most forbidding preventive and
the swiftest and surest corrective of evil. For the haunting possibility
of newspaper exposure, men who know not at all the fear of God pause,
hesitate, and turn back from contemplated rascality. For fear "it might
get into the papers," more men are abstaining from crime and carouse
to-night than for fear of arrest. But these are trite things--only, what
if the newspapers fail us? Relying so wholly on the press to undo evil,
how shall we deal with that evil with which the press itself has been
seduced into captivity?_

In the Lower House of the Massachusetts Legislature one day last March
there was a debate which lasted one whole afternoon and engaged some
twenty speakers, on a bill providing that every bottle of patent
medicine sold in the state should bear a label stating the contents of
the bottle. More was told concerning patent medicines that afternoon
than often comes to light in a single day. The debate at times was
dramatic--a member from Salem told of a young woman of his acquaintance
now in an institution for inebriates as the end of an incident which
began with patent medicine dosing for a harmless ill. There was humor,
too, in the debate--Representative Walker held aloft a bottle of Peruna
bought by him in a drug store that very day and passed it around for
his fellow-members to taste and decide for themselves whether Dr.
Harrington, the Secretary of the State Board of Health, was right when
he told the Legislative Committee that it was merely a "cheap cocktail."

The Papers did not Print One Word.

In short, the debate was interesting and important--the two qualities
which invariably ensure to any event big headlines in the daily
newspapers. But that debate was not celebrated by big headlines, nor any
headlines at all. Yet Boston is a city, and Massachusetts is a state,
where the proceedings of the legislature figure very large in public
interest, and where the newspapers respond to that interest by reporting
the sessions with greater fullness and minuteness than in any
other state. Had that debate {073}been on prison reform, on Sabbath
observance, the early closing saloon law, on any other subject, there
would have been, in the next day's papers, overflowing accounts of
verbatim report, more columns of editorial comment, and the picturesque
features of it would have ensured the attention of the cartoonist.

Now why? Why was this one subject tabooed? Why were the daily accounts
of legislative proceedings in the next day's papers abridged to a
fraction of their usual ponderous length, and all reference to the
afternoon debate on patent medicines omitted? Why was it in vain for the
speakers in that patent-medicine debate to search for their speeches
in the next day's newspapers? Why did the legislative reporters fail to
find their work in print? Why were the staff cartoonists forbidden to
exercise their talents on that most fallow and tempting opportunity--the
members of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts gravely tippling
Peruna and passing the bottle around to their encircled neighbors, that
practical knowledge should be the basis of legislative action?

I take it if any man should assert that there is one subject on which
the newspapers of the United States, acting in concert and as a
unit, will deny full and free discussion, he would be smiled at as an
intemperate fanatic. The thing is too incredible. He would be regarded
as a man with a delusion. And yet I invite you to search the files of
the daily newspapers of Massachusetts for March 16, 1905, for an account
of the patent-medicine debate that occurred the afternoon of March 15 in
the Massachusetts Legislature. In strict accuracy it must be said that
there was one exception. Any one familiar with the newspapers of the
United States will already have named it--the Springfield _Republican_.
That paper, on two separate occasions, gave several columns to the
record of the proceedings of the legislature on the patent-medicine
bill. Why the otherwise universal silence?

The patent-medicine business in the United States is one of huge
financial proportions. The census of 1900 placed the value of the annual
product at $59,611,355. Allowing for the increase of half a decade of
rapid growth, it must be to-day not less than seventy-five millions.
That is the wholesale price. The retail price of all the patent
medicines sold in the United States in one year may be very
conservatively placed at one hundred million dollars. And of this one
hundred millions which the people of the United States pay for patent
medicines yearly, fully forty millions goes to the newspapers. Have
patience! I have more to say than merely to point out the large revenue
which newspapers receive from patent medicines, and let inference do the
rest. Inference has no place in this story. There are facts a-plenty.
But it is essential to point out the intimate financial relation between
the newspapers and the patent medicines. I was told by the man who for
many years handled the advertising of the Lydia E. Pinkham Company that
their expenditure was $100,000 a month, $1,200,000 a year. Dr. Pierce
and the Peruna Company both advertise more extensively than the Pinkham
Company. Certainly there are at least five patent-medicine concerns
in the United States who each pay out to the newspapers more than one
million dollars a year. When the Dr. Greene Nervura Company of Boston
went into bankruptcy, its debts to newspapers for advertising amounted
to $535,000. To the Boston _Herald_ alone it owed $5,000, and to so
small a paper, comparatively, as the Atlanta _Constitution_ it owed
$1,500. One obscure {074}quack doctor in New York, who did merely an
office business, was raided by the authorities, and among the papers
seized there were contracts showing that within a year he had paid to
one paper for advertising $5,856.80; to another $20,000. Dr. Humphreys,
one of the best known patent-medicine makers, has said to his
fellow-members of the Patent Medicine Association: "The twenty thousand
newspapers of the United States make more money from advertising
the proprietary medicines than do the proprietors of the medicines
themselves.... Of their receipts, one-third to one-half goes for
advertising." More than six years ago, Cheney, the president of the
National Association of Patent Medicine Men, estimated the yearly amount
paid to the newspapers by the larger patent-medicine concerns at twenty
million dollars--more than one thousand dollars to each daily, weekly
and monthly periodical in the United States.

[IMAGE ==>] {074}

Silence is the Fixed Quantity.

Does this throw any light on the silence of the Massachusetts papers?

Naturally such large sums paid by the patent-medicine men to the
newspapers suggest the thought of favor. But silence is too important a
part of the patent-medicine man's business to be left to the capricious
chance of favor. Silence is the most important thing in his business.
The ingredients of his medicine--that is nothing. Does the price of
goldenseal go up? Substitute whisky. Does the price of whisky go up? Buy
the refuse wines of the California vineyards. Does the price of opium go
too high, or the public fear of it make it an inexpedient thing to use?
Take it out of the formula and substitute any worthless barnyard
weed. But silence is the fixed quantity--silence as to the frauds he
practices; silence as to the abominable stewings and brewings that enter
into his nostrum; silence as to the deaths and sicknesses he causes;
silence as to the drug fiends he makes, the inebriate asylums he fills.
Silence he must have. So he makes silence a part of the contract.

Read the significant silence of the Massachusetts newspapers in the
light of the following contracts for advertising. They are the regular
printed form used by Hood, Ayer and Munyon in making their advertising
contracts with thousands of newspapers throughout the United States.

On page 80 [IMAGE ==>] {080} is shown the contract made by the J. C.
Ayer Company, makers of Ayer's Sarsaparilla. At the top is the name of
the firm, "The J. C. Ayer Company, Lowell,, Mass.," and the date. Then
follows a blank for the number of dollars, and then the formal contract:
"We hereby agree, for the sum of............ Dollars per year,........to
insert in the............. published at............... the advertisement
of the J. C. Ayer Company." Then follow the conditions as to space to be
used each issue, the page the advertisement is to be on and the position
it is to occupy. Then these two remarkable conditions of the contract:
"First--It is agreed in case any law or laws are enacted, either state
or national, harmful to the interests of the T. C. Ayer Company, that
this contract may be canceled by them from date of such enactment, and
the insertions made paid for pro-rata with the contract price."

This clause is remarkable enough. But of it more later. For the present
examine the second clause: "Second--It is agreed that the J. C. Ayer Co.
may cancel this contract, pro-rata, in case advertisements are published
in this paper in which their products are offered, with a view to
substitution or other harmful motive; also in case any matter otherwise
detrimental to the J. C. Ayer Company's interest is permitted to appear
in the reading columns or elsewhere in the paper."

This agreement is signed in duplicate, one by the J. C. Ayer Company and
the other one by the newspaper.

All Muzzle-Clauses Alike.

That is the contract of silence. (Notice the next one, in identically
the same language, bearing the name of the C. I. Hood Company, the
other great manufacturer of sarsaparilla; and then the third--again in
identically the same words--for Dr. Munyon.) That is the clause which
with forty million dollars, muzzles the press of the country. I wonder
if the Standard Oil Company could, for forty million dollars, bind
the newspapers of the United States in a contract that "no matter
detrimental to the Standard Oil Company's interests be permitted to
appear in the reading columns or elsewhere in this paper."

Is it a mere coincidence that in each of these contracts the silence
{076}clause is framed in the same words? Is the inference fair that
there is an agreement among the patent-medicine men and quack doctors
each to impose this contract on all the newspapers with which it deals,
one reaching the newspapers which the other does not, and all combined
reaching all the papers in the United States, and effecting a universal
agreement among newspapers to print nothing detrimental to patent
medicines? You need not take it as an inference. I shall show it later
as a fact.

[IMAGE ==>] {076}

"In the reading columns or elsewhere in this paper." The paper must not
print itself, nor must it allow any outside party, who might wish to
do so, to pay the regular advertising rates and print the truth about
patent medicines in the advertising columns. More than a year ago, just
after Mr. Bok had printed his first article exposing patent medicines,
a business man in St. Louis, a man of great wealth, conceived that it
would {077}help his business greatly if he could have Mr. Bok's article
printed as an advertisement in every newspaper in the United States.
He gave the order to a firm of advertising agents and the firm began in
Texas, intending to cover the country to Maine. But that advertisement
never got beyond a few obscure country papers in Texas. The contract of
silence was effective; and a few weeks later, at their annual meeting,
the patent-medicine association "Resolved"--I quote the minutes--"That
this Association commend the action of the great majority of the
publishers of the United States who have consistently refused said false
and malicious attacks in the shape of advertisements which in whole or
in part libel proprietary medicines."

I have said that the identity of the language of the silence clause
in several patent-medicine advertising contracts suggests mutual
understanding among the nostrum makers, a preconceived plan; and I
have several times mentioned the patent-medicine association. It seems
incongruous, almost humorous, to speak of a national organization of
quack doctors and patent-medicine makers; but there is one, brought
together for mutual support, for co-operation, for--but just what
this organization is for, I hope to show. No other organization ever
demonstrated so clearly the truth that "in union there is strength." Its
official name is an innocent-seeming one--"The Proprietary Association
of America." There are annual meetings, annual reports, a constitution,
by-laws. And I would call special attention to Article II of those

"The objects of this association," says this article, "are: to protect
the rights of its members to the respective trade-marks that they may
own or control; to establish such mutual co-operation as may be required
in the various branches of the trade; to reduce all burdens that may
be oppressive; to facilitate and foster equitable principles in the
purchase and sale of merchandise; to acquire and preserve for the use
of its members such business information as may be of value to them; to
adjust controversies and promote harmony among its members."

That is as innocuous a statement as ever was penned of the objects of
any organization. It might serve for an organization of honest cobblers.
Change a few words, without altering the spirit in the least, and a body
of ministers might adopt it. In this laboriously complete statement
of objects, there is no such word as "lobby" or "lobbying." Indeed, so
harmless a word as "legislation" is absent--strenuously absent.

Where the Money Goes.

But I prefer to discover the true object of the organization of the
"Proprietary Association of America" in another document than Article
II of the by-laws. Consider the annual report of the treasurer, say
for 1904. The total of money paid out during the year was $8,516.26.
Of this, one thousand dollars was for the secretary's salary, leaving
$7,516.26 to be accounted for. Then there is an item of postage, one
of stationery, one of printing--the little routine expenses of every
organization; and finally there is this remarkable item:

Legislative Committee, total expenses, $6,606.95.

Truly, the Proprietary Association of America seems to have several
{078}objects, as stated in its by-laws, which cost it very little, and
one object--not stated in its by-laws at all--which costs it all its
annual revenue aside from the routine expenses of stationery, postage
and secretary. If just a few more words of comment may be permitted on
this point, does it not seem odd that so large an item as $6,606.95,
out of a total budget of only $8,516.26, should be put in as a lump sum,
"Legislative Committee, total expenses"? And would not the annual report
of the treasurer of the Proprietary Association of America be a more
entertaining document if these "total expenses" of the Legislative
Committee were carefully itemized?

[IMAGE ==>] {078}

Not that I mean to charge the direct corruption of legislatures. The
Proprietary Association of America used to do that. They used to spend,
according to the statement of the present president of the organization,
Mr. F. J. Cheney, as much as seventy-five thousand dollars a year. But
that was before Mr. Cheney himself discovered a better way. The fighting
of public health legislation is the primary object and chief activity,
the very raison d'etre, of the Proprietary Association. The motive back
of bringing the quack doctors and patent-medicine manufacturers of the
United States into a mutual organization was this: Here are some
scores of men, each paying a large sum annually to the newspapers. The
aggregate of these sums is forty million dollars. By organization, the
full effect of this money can be got and used as a unit in preventing
the passage of laws which would compel them to tell the contents of
their nostrums, and in suppressing the newspaper publicity which would
drive them {079}into oblivion. So it was no mean intellect which devised
the scheme whereby every newspaper in America is made an active lobbyist
for the patent-medicine association. The man who did it is the present
president of the organization, its executive head in the work of
suppressing public knowledge, stifling public opinion and warding off
public health legislation, the Mr. Cheney already mentioned. He makes
a catarrh cure which, according to the Massachusetts State Board of
Health, contains fourteen and three-fourths per cent, of alcohol. As
to his scheme for making the newspapers of America not only maintain
silence, but actually lobby in behalf of the patent medicines, I am glad
that I am not under the necessity of describing it in my own words.
It would be easy to err in the direction that makes for incredulity.
Fortunately, I need take no responsibility. I have Mr. Cheney's own
words, in which he explained his scheme to his fellow-members of the
Proprietary Association of America. The quotation marks alone (and the
comment within the parentheses) are mine. The remainder is the language
of Mr. Cheney himself:

Mr. Cheney's Plan.

"We have had a good deal of difficulty in the last few years with the
different legislatures of the different states.... I believe I have a
plan whereby we will have no difficulty whatever with these people. I
have used it in my business for two years and know it is a practical
thing.... I, inside of the last two years, have made contracts with
between fifteen and sixteen thousand newspapers, and never had but one
man refuse to sign the contract, and my saying to him that I could not
sign a contract without this clause in it he readily signed it. My point
is merely to shift the responsibility. We to-day have the responsibility
on our shoulders. As you all know, there is hardly a year but we have
had a lobbyist in the different state legislatures--one year in New
York, one year in New Jersey, and so on." (Read that frank confession
twice--note the bland matter-of-factness of it.) "There has been a
constant fear that something would come up, so I had this clause in my
contract added. This is what I have in every contract I make: 'It is
hereby agreed that should your state, or the United States Government,
pass any law that would interfere with or restrict the sale of
proprietary medicines, this contract shall become void.'... In the
state of Illinois a few years ago they wanted to assess me three hundred
dollars. I thought I had a better plan than this, so I wrote to about
forty papers and merely said: 'Please look at your contract with me and
take note that if this law passes you and I must stop doing business,
and my contracts cease.'" The next week every one of them had an article,
and Mr. Man had to go....

I read this to Dr. Pierce some days ago and he was very much taken up
with it. I have carried this through and know it is a success. I know
the papers will accept it. Here is a thing that costs us nothing. We
are guaranteed against the $75,000 loss for nothing. It throws the
responsibility on the newspapers.... I have my contracts printed and
I have this printed in red type, right square across the contract, so
there can be absolutely no mistake, and the newspaper man can not say
to me, 'I did not see it.' He did see it and knows what he is doing. It
seems to me it is a point worth every man's attention.... I think this
is pretty near a sure thing.

[IMAGE ==>] {080}


The gist of the contract lies in the clause which is marked with
brackets, to the effect that the agreement is voidable, In case any
matter detrimental to the advertiser's interests "Is permitted to appear
in the reading columns, or elsewhere, in this paper." This clause,
in the same words, appears in all three of these patent-medicine
advertising contracts. The documents reproduced here were gathered
from three different newspapers in widely separated parts of the United
States. The name of the paper in each case has been suppressed in order
to shield the publisher from the displeasure of the patent-medicine
combination. How much publishers are compelled to fear this displeasure
is exemplified by the experience of the Cleveland _Press,_ from whose
columns $18,000 worth of advertising was withdrawn within forty-eight
hours. {081}

I should like to ask the newspaper owners and editors of America what
they think of that scheme. I believe that the newspapers, when they
signed each individual contract, were not aware that they were being
dragooned into an elaborately thought-out scheme to make every newspaper
in the United States, from the greatest metropolitan daily to the
remotest country weekly, an active, energetic, self-interested lobbyist
for the patent-medicine association. If the newspapers knew how they
were being used as cat's-paws, I believe they would resent it. Certainly
the patent-medicine association itself feared this, and has kept this
plan of Mr. Cheney's a careful secret. In this same meeting of the
Proprietary Association of America, just after Mr. Cheney had made the
speech quoted above, and while it was being resolved that every other
patent-medicine man should put the same clause in his contract, the
venerable Dr. Humphreys, oldest and wisest of the guild, arose and said:
"Will it {082}not be now just as well to act on this, each and every one
for himself, instead of putting this on record?... I think the idea is
a good one, But really don't think it had better go in our proceedings."
And another fellow nostrum-maker, seeing instantly the necessity
of secrecy said: "I am heartily in accord with Dr. Humphreys. The
suggestion is a good one, but when we come to put in our public
proceedings, and state that we have adopted such a resolution, I want to
say that the legislators are just as sharp as the newspaper men.... As
a consequence, this will decrease the weight of the press comments.
Some of the papers, also, who would not come in, would publish something
about it in the way of getting square....."

[IMAGE ==>] {082}

This contract is the backbone of the scheme. The further details, the
organization of the bureau to carry it into effect--that, too, has been
kept carefully concealed from the generally unthinking newspapers,
who are all unconsciously mere individual cogs in the patent-medicine
lobbying machine. At one of the meetings of the association, Dr. R. V.
Pierce of Buffalo arose and said (I quote him verbatim):... "I would
move you that the report of the Committee on Legislation be made a
special order to be taken up immediately... that it be considered
in executive session, and that every person not a member of the
organization be asked to retire, so that it may be read and considered
in executive session. There are matters and suggestions in reference to
our future action, and measures to be taken which are advised therein,
that we would not wish to have published broadcast over the country for
very good reasons."

Now what were the "matters and suggestions" which Dr. Pierce "would
not wish to have published broadcast over the country for very good
reasons?" {083}

Can Mr. Cheney Reconcile These Statements?

Letter addressed to Mr. William Allen White, Editor of the Gazette,
Emporia, Kan.

By Frank J. Cheney.

Dear Sir--

I have read with a great deal of interest, to-day, an article in
Colliers illustrating therein the contract between your paper and
ourselves, [see p. 18--Editor.] {018}Mr. S. Hopkins Adams endeavored very
hard (as I understand) to find me, but I am sorry to say that I was not
at home. I really believe that I could have explained that clause of
the contract to his entire satisfaction, and thereby saved him the
humiliation of making an erratic statement.

This is the first intimation that I ever have had that that clause was
put into the contract to control the Press in any way, or the editorial
columns of the Press. I believe that if Mr. Adams was making contracts
now, and making three-year contracts, the same as we are, taking into
consideration the conditions of the different legislatures, he would be
desirous of this same paragraph as a safety guard to protect himself, in
case any State did pass a law prohibiting the sale of our goods.

His argument surely falls flat when he takes into consideration the
conduct of the North Dakota Legislature, because every newspaper in that
State that we advertise in hid contracts containing that clause. Why
we should be compelled to pay for from one to two years' advertising or
more, in a State where we could not sell our goods, is more than I can
understand. As before stated, it is merely a precautionary paragraph to
meet conditions such as now {084}exist in North Dakota. We were
compelled to withdraw from that State because we would not publish our
formula, and, therefore, under this contract, we are not compelled to
continue our advertising.

Extract from a speech delivered before the Proprietary Association of

By Frank J. Cheney.

"We have had a good deal of difficulty in the last few years with the
different legislatures of the different states.... I believe I have a
plan whereby we will have no difficulty whatever with these people. I
have used it in my business for two years, and I know it is a practical
thing.... I, inside of the last two years, have made contracts with
between fifteen and sixteen thousand newspapers, and never had but one
man refuse to sign the contract, and by saying to him that I could not
sign a contract without this clause in it he readily signed it. My point
is merely to shift the responsibility. We to-day have the responsibility
of the whole matter upon our shoulders....

"There? has been constant fear that something would come up, so I had
this clause in my contract added. This is what I have in every contract
I make: 'It is hereby agreed that should your State, or the United
States government, pass any law that would interfere with or restrict
the sale of proprietary medicines, his contract shall become void.'...
In the State of Illinois a few years ago they wanted to assess me three
hundred dollars. I thought I had a better plan than this, so I wrote to
about forty papers, and merely said: 'Please look at your contract with
me and take note that if this law passes you and I must stop doing
business, and my contracts cease.' The next week every one of them had
an article.... I have carried this through and know it is a success. I
know the papers will accept it. Here is a thing that costs us nothing.
We are guaranteed against the $75,000 loss for nothing. It throws the
responsibility on the newspapers.... I have my contracts printed and I
have this printed in red type, right square across the contract, so
there can be absolutely no mistake, and the newspaper man can not say to
me, 'I did not see it.' He did see it and knows what he is doing. It
seems to me it is a point worth every man's attention.... I think this
is pretty near a sure thing."

To illustrate: There are 739 publications in your State--619 of these
are dailies and weeklies. Out of this number we are advertising in over
500, at an annual expenditure of $8,000 per year (estimated). We make a
three-year contract with all of them, and, therefore, our liabilities in
your State are $24,000, providing, of course, all these contracts were
made at the same date. Should these contracts all be made this fall
and your State should pass a law this winter (three months later)
prohibiting the sale of our goods, there would be virtually a loss to us
of $24,000. Therefore, for a business precaution to guard against just
such conditions, we add the red paragraph referred to in Collier's.

I make this statement to you, as I am credited with being the originator
of the paragraph, and I believe that I am justified in adding this
paragraph to our contract, not for the purpose of controlling the Press,
but, as before stated, as a business precaution which any man should
take who expects to pay his bills.

Will you kindly give me your version of the situation? Awaiting an early
reply, I am,

Sincerely yours,


[IMAGE ==>] {083}

[IMAGE ==>] {084}

Valuable Newspaper Aid.

{085} Dr. Pierce's son, Dr. V. Mott Pierce, was chairman of the
Committee on Legislation. He was the author of the "matters and
suggestions" which must be considered in the dark. "Never before," said
he, "in the history of the Proprietary Association were there so many
bills in different state legislatures that were vital to our interests.
This was due, we think, to an effort on the part of different state
boards of health, who have of late years held national meetings, to make
an organized effort to establish what are known as 'pure food laws.'"
Then the younger Pierce stated explicitly the agency responsible for the
defeat of this public health legislation: "We must not forget to
place the honor where due for our uniform success in defeating class
legislation directed against our legitimate pursuits. The American
Newspaper Publishers' Association has rendered us valued aid through
their secretary's office in New York and we can hardly overestimate the
power brought to bear at Washington by individual newspapers."... (On
another occasion, Dr. Pierce, speaking of two bills in the Illinois
Legislature, said: "Two things operated to bring these bills to the
danger line. In the first place, the Chicago papers were almost wholly
without influence in the Legislature.... Had it not been for the active
co-operation of the state outside of Chicago there is absolute certainty
that the bill would have passed.... I think that a great many members
do not appreciate the power that we can bring to bear on legislation
through the press.") But this power, in young Dr. Pierce's opinion, must
be organized and systematized. "If it is not presumptuous on the part of
your chairman," he said modestly, "to outline a policy which experience
seems to dictate for the future, it would be briefly as follows"--here
the younger Pierce explains the "matters and suggestions" which must
not be "published broadcast over the country." The first was "the
organization of a Legislative Bureau, with its offices in New York or
Chicago. Second, a secretary, to be appointed by the chairman of the
Committee on Legislation, who will receive a stated salary, sufficiently
large to be in keeping with such person's ability, and to compensate him
for the giving of all his time to this work."

"The benefits of such a working bureau to the Proprietary Association,"
said Dr. Pierce, "can be foreseen: First, a systematic plan to acquire
early knowledge of pending or threatened legislation could be taken up.
In the past we have relied too much on newspaper managers to acquaint us
of such bills coming up.... Another plan would be to have the regulation
formula bill, for instance, introduced by some friendly legislator, and
have it referred to his own committee, where he could hold it until
all danger of such another bill being introduced were over, and the
Legislature had adjourned."

Little wonder Dr. Pierce wanted a secret session to cover up the frank
{087}naïveté of his son, which he did not "wish to have published
broadcast over the country, for very good reasons."

[IMAGE ==>] {086}


This letter was sent by the publishers of one of the leading newspapers
of Wisconsin to Senator Noble of that state. It illustrates the method
adopted by the patent-medicine makers to compel the newspapers In each
state to do their lobbying for them. Senator Noble introduced a bill
requiring patent-medicine manufacturers to state on their labels the
percentage of various poisons which every bottle might contain. Senator
Noble and a few others fought valiantly for their bill throughout
the whole of the last session of the Wisconsin Legislature, but were
defeated by the united action of the newspaper publishers, who, as this
letter shows, exerted pressure of every kind, Including threats, to
compel members of the Legislature to vote against the bill.

In discussing this plan for a legislative bureau, another member told
what in his estimation was needed. "The trouble," said he--I quote
from the minutes--"the trouble we will have in attempting to buy
legislation--supposing we should attempt it--is that we will never know
what we are buying until we get through. We may have paid the wrong man,
and the bill is passed and we are out. It is not a safe proposition, if
we consider it legitimate, which we do not."

True, it is not legitimate, but the main point is, it's not safe; that's
the thing to be considered.

The patent-medicine man continued to elaborate on the plans proposed
by Dr. Pierce: "It would not be a safe proposition at all. What this
association should have... is a regularly established bureau.... We
should have all possible information on tap, and we should have a list
of the members of the legislature of every state. We should have a list
of the most influential men that control them, or that can influence
them.... For instance, if in the state of Ohio a bill comes up that is
adverse to us, turn to the books, find out who are members of the
legislature there, who are the publishers of the papers in the state,
where they are located, which are the Republican and which the
Democratic papers.... It will take money, but if the money is rightly
spent, it will be the best investment ever made."

The Trust's Club for Legislators.

That is about as comprehensive, as frankly impudent a scheme of
controlling legislation as it is possible to imagine. The plan was put
in the form of a resolution, and the resolution was passed. And so the
Proprietary Association of America maintains a lawyer in Chicago, and
a permanent secretary, office and staff. In every state it maintains
an agent whose business it is to watch during the session of the
Legislature each day's batch of new bills, and whenever a bill affecting
patent medicines shows its head to telegraph the bill, verbatim, to
headquarters. There some scores of printed copies of the bill are made,
and a copy is sent to every member of the association--to the Peruna
people, to Dr. Pierce at Buffalo, to Kilmer at Birmingham, to Cheney at
Toledo, to the Pinkham people at Lynn, and to all the others. Thereon
each manufacturer looks up the list of papers in the threatened state
with which he has the contracts described above. And to each newspaper
he sends a peremptory telegram calling the publisher's attention to the
obligations of his contract, and commanding him to go to work to defeat
the anti-patent-medicine bill. In practice, this organization works with
smooth perfection and well-oiled accuracy to defeat the public health
legislation which is introduced by boards of health in over a score of
states every year. To illustrate, let me describe as typical the
history of the public health bills which were introduced and defeated
in Massachusetts last year. I have already mentioned them as showing how
the newspapers, obeying that part of their contract which requires
them to print nothing harmful to patent medicines, refused to print
any account of the exposures which were made by several members of the
Legislature during the debate of the bill. I wish here to describe their
obedience to that other clause of the {088}contract, in living up to
which they printed scores of bitterly partisan editorials against the
public health bill, and against its authors personally; threatened with
political death those members of the Legislature who were disposed to
vote in favor of it, and even, in the persons of editors and owners,
went up to the State House and lobbied personally against the bill. And
since I have already told of Mr. Cheney's author-ship of the scheme, I
will here reproduce, as typical of all the others (all the other large
patent-medicine concerns sent similar letters and telegrams), the letter
which Mr. Cheney himself on the 14th day of February sent to all
the newspapers in Massachusetts with which he has lobbying
contracts--practically every newspaper in the state:

"Toledo, Ohio, Feb. 14, 1905.


"----- Mass.


"Should House bills Nos. 829, 30, 607, 724, or Senate bill No. 185
become laws, it will force us to discontinue advertising in your state.
Your prompt attention regarding this bill we believe would be of mutual

"We would respectfully refer you to the contract which we have with you.


"Cheney Medicine Company."

Now here is the fruit which that letter bore: a strong editorial against
the anti-patent-medicine bill, denouncing it and its author in the most
vituperative language, a marked copy of which was sent to every member
of the Massachusetts Legislature. But this was not all that this one
zealous publisher did; he sent telegrams to a number of members, and a
personal letter to the representative of his district calling on that
member not only to vote, but to use his influence against the bill, on
the pain of forfeiting the paper's favor.

Now this seems to me a shameful thing--that a Massachusetts newspaper,
of apparent dignity and outward high standing, should jump to the
cracking of the whip of a nostrum-maker in Ohio; that honest and
well-meaning members of the Massachusetts Legislature, whom all the
money of Rockefeller could not buy, who obey only the one thing
which they look on as the expression of the public opinion of their
constituents, the united voice of the press of their district--that
these men should unknowingly cast their votes at the dictate of a
nostrum-maker in Ohio, who, if he should deliver his command personally
and directly, instead of through a newspaper supine enough to let him
control it for a hundred dollars a year, would be scorned and flouted.

Any self-respecting newspaper must be humiliated by the attitude of
the patent-medicine association. They don't ASK the newspapers to do
it--they ORDER it done. Read again Mr. Cheney's account of his plan,
note the half-contemptuous attitude toward the newspapers. And read
again Mr. Cheney's curt letter to the Massachusetts papers; Observe the
threat, just sufficiently veiled to make it more of a threat; and the
formal order from a superior to a clerk: "We would respectfully refer
you to the contract which we have with you."

And the threat is not an empty one. The newspaper which refuses to
aid the patent-medicine people is marked. Some time ago Dr. V. Mott
{089}Pierce of Buffalo was chairman of what is called the "Committee on
Legislation" of the Proprietary Association of America. He was giving
his annual report to the association. "We are happy to say," said
he, "that though over a dozen bills were before the different State
Legislatures last winter and spring, yet we have succeeded in defeating
all the bills which were prejudicial to proprietary interests without
the use of money, and through the vigorous co-operation and aid of the
publishers. January 23 your committee sent out letters to the principal
publications in New York asking their aid against this measure. It is
hardly necessary to state that the publishers of New York responded
generously against these harmful measures. The only small exception was
the _Evening Star_ of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., the publisher of which, in a
very discourteous letter, refused to assist us in any way."

Is it to be doubted that Dr. Pierce reported this exception to his
fellow patent-medicine men, that they might make note of the offending
paper, and bear it in mind when they made their contracts the following
year? There are other cases which show what happens to the newspaper
which offends the patent-medicine men. I am fortunate enough to be
able to describe the following incident in the language of the man who
wielded the club, as he told the story with much pride to his fellow
patent-medicine men at their annual meeting:

"Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Proprietary Association," said Mr.
Cooper, "I desire to present to you a situation which I think it is
incumbent on manufacturers generally to pay some attention to--namely,
the publication of sensational drug news which appears from time to time
in the leading papers of the country.... There are, no doubt, many of
you in the room, at least a dozen, who are familiar with the sensational
articles that appeared in the Cleveland _Press_. Gentlemen, this is a
question that appeals to you as a matter of business.... The Cleveland
Press indulged in a tirade against the so-called 'drug trust.'... (the
'drug trust' is the same organization of patent-medicine men--including
Pierce, Pinkham, Peruna, Kilmer and all the well-known ones--which I
have referred to as the patent-medicine association. Its official name
is the Proprietary Association of America.) "I sent out the following
letter to fifteen manufacturers" (of patent medicines):

"'Gentlemen--Inclosed we hand you a copy of matter which is appearing
in the Cleveland papers. It is detrimental to the drug business to have
this matter agitated in a sensational way.

In behalf of the trade we would ask you to use your influence with the
papers in Cleveland to discontinue this unnecessary publicity, and if
you feel you can do so, we would like to have you wire the business
managers of the Cleveland papers to discontinue their sensational
drug articles, as it is proving very injurious to your business.
Respectfully, E. R. Cooper.'

"Because of that letter which we sent out, the Cleveland Press received
inside of forty-eight hours telegrams from six manufacturers canceling
thousands of dollars' worth of advertising and causing a consequent
dearth of sensational matter along drug lines. It resulted in a loss
to one paper alone of over eighteen thousand dollars in advertising.
Gentlemen, when you touch a man's pocket, you touch him where he lives;
that principle {090}is true of the newspaper editor or the retail
druggist, and goes through all business."

The Trust's Club for Newspapers.

That is the account of how the patent-medicine man used his club on
the newspaper head, told in the patent-medicine man's own words, as he
described it to his fellows. Is it pleasant reading for self-respecting
newspaper men--the exultant air of those last sentences, and the worldly
wisdom: "When you touch a man's pocket you touch him where he lives;
that principle is true of the newspaper editor..."?

But the worst of this incident has not yet been told. There remains the
account of how the offending newspaper, in the language of the bully,
"ate dirt". The Cleveland _Press_ is one of a syndicate of newspapers,
all under Mr. McRae's ownership--but I will use Mr. Cooper's own words:
"We not only reached the Cleveland _Press_ by the movement taken up
in that way, but went further, for the Cleveland _Press_ is one of a
syndicate of newspapers known as the Scripps-McRae League, from whom
this explanation is self-explanatory:

"'Office Schipps-McRae Press Association.

"'Mr. E. R. Cooper, Cleveland, Ohio:

"'Mr. McRae arrived in New York the latter part of last week after a
three months' trip to Egypt. I took up the matter of the recent cut-rate
articles which appeared in the Cleveland _Press_ with him, and to-day
received the following telegram from him from Cincinnati: 'Scripps-McRae
papers will contain no more such as Cleveland _Press_ published
concerning the medicine trust--M. A. McRae.'

"'I am sure that in the future nothing will appear in the Cleveland Press
detrimental to your interests.

"'Yours truly,

"'F. J. Carlisle.'"

This incident was told, in the exact words above quoted, at the
nineteenth annual meeting of the Proprietary Association of America.

I could, if space permitted, quote many other telegrams and letters from
the Kilmer's Swamp Root makers, from the Piso's Cure people, from all
the large patent-medicine manufacturers. The same thing that happened
in Massachusetts happened last year in New Hampshire, in Wisconsin,
in Utah, in more than fifteen states. In Wisconsin the response by the
newspapers to the command of the patent-medicine people was even more
humiliating than in Massachusetts. Not only did individual newspapers
work against the formula bill; there is a "Wisconsin Press
Association," which includes the owners and editors of most of the
newspapers of the state. That association held a meeting and passed
resolutions, "that we are opposed to said bill... providing that
hereafter all patent medicine sold in this state shall have the formula
thereof printed on their labels," and "Resolved, That the association
appoint a committee of five publishers to oppose the passage of the
measure." And in this same state the larger dailies in the cities took
it on themselves to drum up the smaller country papers and get them
to write editorials opposed to the formula bill. Nor was even this
the measure of their activity in response to the command of the patent
medicine association. I am able to give the letter which is here
reproduced [see page 86]. {086} It was sent by the publisher
of one of the largest daily papers in Wisconsin to the state senator
who {091}introduced the bill. In one western state, a board of health
officer made a number of analyses of patent medicines, and tried to have
the analyses made public, that the people of his state might be warned.
"Only one newspaper in the state," he says in a personal letter, "was
willing to print results of these analyses, and this paper refused them
after two publications in which a list of about ten was published.

In New Hampshire--but space forbids. Happily there Is a little silver in
the situation. The legislature of North Dakota last year passed, and the
governor signed a bill requiring that patent-medicine bottles shall
have printed on their labels the percentage of alcohol or of morphin or
various other poisons which the medicine contains. That was the first
success in a fight which the public health authorities have waged
in twenty states each year for twenty years. In North Dakota the
patent-medicine people conducted the fight with their usual weapons,
the ones described above. But the newspapers, be it said to their
everlasting credit, refused to fall in line to the threats of the
patent-medicine association. And I account for that fact in this way:
North Dakota is wholly a "country" community.

It has no city of over 20,000, and but one over 5,000. The press of the
state, therefore, consists of very small papers, weeklies, in which
the ownership and active management all lie with one man. The editorial
conscience and the business manager's enterprise lie under one hat. With
them the patent-medicine scheme was not so successful as with the more
elaborately organized newspapers of older and more populous states.

Just now is the North Dakota editor's time of trial. The law went into
effect July 1. The patent-medicine association, at their annual meeting
in May, voted to withdraw all their advertising from all the papers in
that state. This loss of revenue, they argued self-righteously, would
be a warning to the newspapers of other states. Likewise it would be
a lesson to the newspapers of North Dakota. At the next session of the
legislature they will seek to have the label bill repealed, and they
count on the newspapers, chastened by a lean year, to help them. For the
independence they have shown in the past, and for the courage they will
be called on to show in the future, therefore, let the newspapers of
North Dakota know that they have the respect and admiration of all
decent people.

"What is to be done about it?" is the question that follows exposure of
organized rascality. In few cases is the remedy so plain as here. For
the past, the newspapers, in spite of these plain contracts of silence,
must be acquitted of any very grave complicity. The very existence of
the machine that uses and directs them has been a carefully guarded
secret. For the future, be it understood that any newspaper which
carries a patent-medicine advertisement knows what it is doing. The
obligations of the contract are now public property. And one thing more,
when next a member of a state legislature arises and states, as I have
so often heard: "Gentlemen, this label bill seems right to me, but I can
not support it; the united press of my district is opposed to it"--when
that happens, let every one understand the wires that have moved "the
united press of my district." {092}

The Following are Extracts and Abstracts from Various Articles in the
Ladies Home Journal?


A great show of frankness was recently made by a certain "patent
medicine." The makers advertised that they had concluded to take the
public into their confidence, and that thereafter they would print a
formula of the medicine on each bottle manufactured.

"There is nothing secretive about our medicine," was the cry. "We have
nothing to hide. Here is the formula. Show it to your physician."

Then comes the formula: This herb and that herb, this ingredient
and that ingredient, and the formula winds up, "etc." All good,
old-fashioned, well recognized drugs were those which were
mentioned--all except the "etc."

A certain Board of Pharmacy had never heard of a drug called "etc.," and
so made up Its mind to find out.

And the "etc." was found to be 3.76 per cent of cocain!--just the
simple, death-dealing cocain!--From _The Ladies' Home Journal_,
February, 1906.


One of the most disgusting and disgraceful features of the patent
medicine business is the marketing of letters sent by patients to patent
medicine firms. Correspondence is solicited by these firms under the
seal of sacred confidence. When the concern is unable to do further
business with a patient it disposes of the patient's correspondence to
a letter-broker, who, in turn, disposes of it to other patent medicine
concerns at the rate of half a cent, for each letter.

This Information was made public by Mark Sullivan in the _Ladies' Home
Journal_ for January, 1906.

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An advertisement showing how the names to orders sent to "Patent
Medicine" concerns are offered for sale or rent to be used by others.

Yet we are told how "Sacredly Confidential" these letters are regarded
and held. (The advertisement is from the _Mail Order Journal_, April,

Says Mr. Sullivan: "One of these brokers assured me he could give me
'choice lots' of 'medical female letters'... Let me now give you, from
the printed lists of these 'letter brokers' some idea of the way in
which these {093}'sacredly confidential' letters are hawked about the
country. Here are a few samples, all that are really printable:

"'55,000 Female Complaint Letters' Is the sum total of one Item, and
the list gives the names of the "medicine company" or the "medical
institute" to whom they were addressed. Here is a barter, then, in
55,000 letters of a private nature, each one of which, the writer
was told, and had a right to expect, would be regarded as sacredly
confidential by the "doctor" or concern to whom she had been deluded
into telling her private ailments. Yet here they are for half a cent

"Another batch of some 47,000 letters addressed to five 'doctors' and
'institutes' is emphasized because they were all written by women! A
third batch is:

"'44,000 Bust Developer Letters'--letters which one man in a "patent
medicine" concern told me were "the richest sort of reading you could
get hold of."

"A still further lot offers: '40,000 Women's Regulator Letters'--letters
which in their context any woman can naturally imagine would be of the
most delicate nature. Still, the fact remains, here thy are for sale."

Is not this contemptible?

In the same article Mr. Sullivan exposes the inhuman greed of patent
medicine concerns that turn into cold cash the letters of patients
afflicted with the most vital diseases.

To quote Mr. Sullivan again: "All these are made the subject of public
barter. Here are offered for sale, for example: 7,000 Paralysis Letters;
9,000 Narcotic Letters; 52,000 Consumption Letters; 3,000 Cancer
Letters, and even 65,000 Deaf Letters. Of diseases of the most private
nature one is offered here nearly one hundred thousand letters--letters
the very classification of which makes a sensitive person shudder."

An Appeal To The American Woman.

"If the American woman would withhold her patronage from these secret
nostrums the greater part of the industry would go to pieces. I do
not ask any woman to take my word for this. Let me give her a personal
statement direct from one of these manufacturers himself--a 'doctor' to
whom thousands of women are writing to-day, and whose medicines they are
buying by the hundreds of thousands of bottles each year. I quote his
own statement, word for word:

"'Men are "on" to the game; we don't care a damn about them. It is the
women we are after. We have buncoed them now for a good many years, and
so long as they remain as "easy" as they have been, and we can make them
believe that they are sick, we're all right. Give us the women every
time. We can make them feel more female troubles In a year than they
would really have if they lived to be a hundred.' ".--From "Why 'Patent
Medicines' are Dangerous," Edward Bok, Ladies' Home Journal, March,


It is the "repeat" orders that make the profit. Referring to a certain
patent medicine that had gone to the wall a nostrum agent said that It
failed because "it wasn't a good repeater." When these men doubt whether
a new medicine will be a success they say: "I'm afraid it wouldn't be a

"_Cure_ rheumatism" said a veteran patent medicine man considering
the exploitation of a new remedy; "good Heavens, man, you don't want a
remedy that _cures_ 'em. Where would you get your 'repeats'? You want to
get up a medicine that's full of dope, so the more they take of it the
more they'll want."--From "The Inside Story of a Sham," _Ladies' Home
Journal_, January, 1906.


In the January, 1906, issue of the _Ladies' Home Journal_ Mark Sullivan
contributes an article on the business of securing from well-known
people testimonials indorsing and praising nostrums. Mr. Sullivan
learned that three men, rivals in trade, make a business of securing
these indorsements. They are known as "testimonlal-brokers."

A representative of a patent medicine who was anxious to exploit his
preparation through the press approached one of these brokers and made
arrangements for the delivery of one hundred signed testimonials from
members of {094}congress, governors and men high in the Army and Navy.
The following is the memorandum of the agreement as drawn up by the

"Confirming my talk with Mr. ------, I will undertake to obtain
testimonials from senators at $75 each, and from congressmen at $40,
on a prearranged contract.... A contract for not less than $5,000 would
meet my requirements In the testimonial line.... I can put your
matter in good shape shortly after congress meets if we come to an
agreement.... We can't get Roosevelt, but we can get men and women of
national reputation, and we can get their statements in convincing form
and language..."

It was for this reason that years ago Mrs. Pinkham, at Lynn, Mass.,
determined to step in and help her sex. Having had considerable
experience in treating female ills with her Vegetable Compound, she
encouraged the women of America to write to her for advice in regard to
their complaints, and being a woman, it was easy for help ailing sisters
to pour into her ears every detail of their suffering.

No physician in the world has had such a training, or has such an amount
of information at hand to assist in the treatment of all kinds of female

This, therefore, is the reason why Mrs. Pinkham, in her laboratory at
Lynn, Mass., Is able to do more for the ailing women, of America than
the family physician.' Any woman, therefore, is responsible for her own
suffering who will not take the trouble to write to Mrs. Pinkham for

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The way in which the testimonial is actually obtained is thus described
by the broker:

"The knowing how to approach each individual is my stock-in-trade. Only
a man of wide acquaintance of men and things could carry it out. Often
I employ women. Women know how to get around public men. For example,
I know that Senator A has a poverty-stricken cousin, who works as a
seamstress. I go to her and offer her twenty-five dollars to get the
senator's signature to a testimonial. But most of it I do through
newspaper correspondents here in Washington. Take the senator from
some southern state. That senator is very dependent on the Washington
correspondent of the leading newspaper in his state. By the dispatches
which that correspondent sends back the senator's career is made or
marred. So I go to that correspondent. I offer him $50 to get the
senator's testimonial. The senator may squirm, but he'll sign all right.
Then there are a number of easy-going congressmen who needn't be seen at
all. I can sign their names to anything, and they'll stand for it. And
there are always a lot of poverty-stricken, broken-down Army veterans
hanging around Washington. For a few dollars they'll go to their old
Army officers on a basis of old acquaintance sake and get testimonials."

It goes without saying that such testimonials are a fraud on the
purchaser of the medicine thus exploited.

"Not one in a thousand of these letters ever reaches the eyes of the
'doctor' to whom they are addressed. There wouldn't be hours enough in
the day to read them even if he had the desire. On the contrary, these
letters from women of a private and delicate nature are opened and read
by young men and girls; they go through not fewer than eight different
hands before they reach a reply; each in turn reads them, and if there
is anything 'spicy' you will see the heads of two or three girls get
together and enjoy (!) the 'spice.' Very often these 'spicy bits' are
taken home and shown to the friends and families of these girls and men!
Time and again have I seen this done; time and again have I been handed
over a letter by one of the young fellows with the remark: 'Read this,
isn't that rich?' only to read of the recital of some trouble into which
a young girl has fallen, or some mother's sacred story of her daughter's

"Then, to cap the climax of iniquity, with some of these houses these
names and addresses are sold at two, three or five cents a name to firms
in other lines of business for the purpose of sending circulars. As
a fact, often the trouble is not taken to copy off the names and
addresses, but the letters themselves, with all their private contents,
are sold!

"This is the true story of the 'sacredly confidential' way in which
these private letters from women are treated!"--Statement of a man who
spent two years in the employ of a large patent medicine concern, as
told in "How the Private Confidences of Women Are Laughed At." Edward
Bok, _Ladies' Home Journal,_ November, 1904.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Great American Fraud - The Patent Medicine Evil" ***

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