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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lydia E. Pinkham and The Menopausal Woman

"Yours for Health" Lydia E. Pinkham

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, women wrote to strangers for gynecological advice and they received hand-written responses in return.  Oh my goodness, where to begin?  Firstly, let me state that page two is missing so, after many complicated directions, once Nora is told to "lie on (her) face" we are sadly left to our imaginations as to remainder of the instructions.  We are still trolling our archives in the off-chance it exists because I really want to know what to comes next.

Secondly,  can you believe the opening line?  Isn't it just fantastic?  "Dear Friend:  Unless the womb is adhered I do not think an operation will be necessary."  No "how are you" or "thank you for writing".  It really is let's get to the point and sort this out for you.  In a way, that is good but it is an odd bedside manner.  I suppose the news is good though--no operation, but how the hell would they know from Lynn, MA to Carroll, NY?

Of course, I researched Mrs. Lydia Pinkham and though it seems like she is personally writing to my great-great grandmother, indeed she is not.  She died in 1883 and this letter was written in 1901.  I wonder if Nora knew that?  This personal touch is amazingly good marketing.  Lydia's family did take over the business and from what I have read, Lydia was never a proponent of operating so the letter writer in this case is properly toeing the company line.  Lydia was very much into natural remedies in her methodology and her Vegetable Compound is renowned.  In fact, it is still available today from a company in St. Petersburg, FL*.  But mostly, in modern times, she is the stuff of satirical folk songs**.


Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Co.
Proprietors of
Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound

April 18, 1901

Mrs. S. F. Cass.

    Dear Friend: 

    Unless the womb is adhered I do not think an operation will be necessary.  My Vegetable Compound is excellent for all womb troubles, it strengthens the muscles and ligaments of the womb and helps to hold it in its place.  It also strengthens the whole system. 
    Take my Compound in liquid form with alternate doses of my Blood Purifier making two does of each a day.
    Bowels must move daily, if sluggish, take my Liver Pills.  If hard to move it may require in connection with the Liver Pills, injections of warm soapy water or Glycerine Suppositories.
      Bathe back with equal parts alcohol and warm water.  Keep skin active by frequent baths.
    Do not overwork.
    Use sitz baths two or three times a week.
    Take an Anderson Vaginal Capsule, size number 2 and prepare as per enclosed slip.
    These capsules inserted into the vagina, medicated with Glycerine and Dr. Anderson’s Prescription (which is a powder) will support the womb.  Let it remain twenty four hours.
    Then remove and cleanse the womb with an injection of one quart of hot water and Laxative (?) as per directions on box.
    Upon the removal of the tampon, after cleansing the womb, immediately insert another capsule as before. 
    Lie on the face while in-

??????????????????? :-(

Editor's Note:

  In no way is this an endorsement, just an FYI.

** Love, love, love Pete Seeger so I included the version above but the English
     group The Scaffold actually had a hit with their version.

I'd say poor Nora but she certainly survived whatever was troubling her and, as for privacy, she chose to keep the letter and it has survived 110 years.

To Market, To Market

A Day in the Life: May 21st

(Aged 14)
Wea.                                           THU. MAY 21, 1896               Ther.

Went to school. 

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                            SAT. MAY 21, 1898               Ther.

Worked in A.M. in P.M.  Unkle Gibs folks came down + I stayed over to grandma’s + stayed all night with her too.  Ma came over about 3 o’clock.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             SUN. MAY 21, 1899               Ther.

In A.M. went over to grandma’s.  In P.M. went up the hollow to S.S. then up to M.C. Grout’s with Frank Warn then down to the burg to church in the eve.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              MON. MAY 21, 1900                 Ther.

Worked planting potatoes.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              TUE. MAY 21, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               WED.  MAY 21, 1902             Ther.

Dragged for corn ground.  Went to factory.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              THU.  MAY 21, 1903                  Ther.

Am to have a half interest in meat market with John Lawson.

Cuts of beef (obviously). 


Editor's Note:  Some days are just more exciting than others.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Suits You, Sir"

A Day in the Life: May 20th

(Aged 14)
Wea.                                            WED. MAY 20, 1896               Ther. 

Went to school.  Went up to  Hiram Scott’s after some potatoes + up to Andrew Warn’s after some corn.

(Aged 16)
Wea.  rainy                                  FRI. MAY 20, 1898               Ther.

Frank Warn + I went hunting killed a good many birds + one rabbit.  There is a social up to Irwin Cowan’s to night + a surprise party on Aunt Addie.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             SAT. MAY 20, 1899               Ther.

Pa + I went to town got me a new suit of clothes cost $10.  Planted the potatoes we got of Johnson.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              SUN. MAY 20, 1900                 Ther.

Stayed at home all day.  In eve Alice + I took a drive around through Kennedy and Falconer got home at 1:30 A.M.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              MON. MAY 20, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               TUE.  MAY 20, 1902             Ther.

Alice + I went to Jamestown.  I had the mortgage of F. Kineston, Jr. recorded.  Got me a light suit of clothes.  $6.94.  Gave Alice $5.  I spent $8.23

Big Red Gib cow came in--heifer calf.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              WED.  MAY 20, 1903                  Ther.

Dragged corn ground + finished drilling had about 11 acres.  Erve went to Corydon to get his brother.


Editor's Note:  It seems to be a good day for buying suits of clothes.  I wonder if their were sales in May?  It also looks like Allen's hunting has improved.

I find it odd we don't hear more about Aunt Addie.  She is Frank's sister and also married to an Eccles brother.  Only one of her children survives though so maybe she finds it hard to be around her sister Mary (May) and brother-in-law Gib because they are so fertile. 

By now, you know how I love to speculate and suppose.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

A Day in the Life: May 19th

(Aged 14)
Wea. rainy                                  TUE. MAY 19, 1896               Ther.  69

 Went to school.

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                            THU. MAY 19, 1898               Ther.

Worked all day for pa cutting potatoes + drawing manure he is to give me .25 cents.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             FRI. MAY 19, 1899               Ther.

Drove to school.  John Glaspy went home sick so we can’t go up to Lakewood tomorrow.  Got a letter from Mable + Verna White.  Got pa’s chickens from Erie White’s incubator.  Out of 120 eggs 22 chickens were hatched.  In eve wrote a letter to Mable White telling her I couldn’t come up tomorrow.
Image found here

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              SAT. MAY 19, 1900                 Ther.

Went to factory.  Pa went to town with Wygren with the wool.  In P.M. went up on Joel Harrington’s to a ball play.  In eve went to the burg with Eddie Towns.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              SUN. MAY 19, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               MON.  MAY 19, 1902             Ther.

Went to factory.  Drew 2 loads of manure + got some hay over to pa’s.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              TUE.  MAY 19, 1903                  Ther.

Dragged corn ground.


Editor's Note: Wow, now I really get that saying.  Of course, I always understood it to mean some eggs don't hatch so don't think six eggs equals six chicks but I had no idea how many actually don't hatch.  And, nothing really is certain.  After all the drama with Frank going into Allen's trunk to read his letters before ultimately giving permission for him to visit Mable White, John Glaspy falls ill and the whole adventure is off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberries in May

A Day in the Life: May 18th

(Aged 14)
Wea. rainy                                MON. MAY 18, 1896               Ther. 

Went to school.  Pa found his tobacco in the cellar.

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                         WED. MAY 18, 1898               Ther.

Went over to Leon Page’s to see his wheel he just got one.  Pa + Ma went to town.  At noon I went down to school + played till it called.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             THU. MAY 18, 1899               Ther.

Drove to school.  Wrote a letter to Mabel White + Effie went home.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              FRI. MAY 18, 1900                 Ther.

Planted potatoes in A.M.  In P.M. went fishing with Elmer Warn + Herb Bragg.  In eve Frank Warn came down.  He stayed all night with me.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              SAT. MAY 18, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               SUN.  MAY 18, 1902                Ther.

Went to factory.  Pearle came down last night and went home today.  Chas. Slater helped me do chores last night + Jim this morning.  Had some strawberries the first this year pa got to town .08 cents per quart.

(Aged 21)

Wea.                                              MON.  MAY 18, 1903                  Ther.

Went to the burg to see about the meat market am going into it.  Erve dragged.  Sold Maud + Dandy to Joel Harrington for $300 + a gray horse.  Bot a Bay horse of Arnie Shaw $60.


Editor's Note:  It would appear Nora didn't have the heart to actually burn Frank's tobacco but she did make him hunt for it.

And wow to strawberries in May.  I wonder if they were grown in a hot house.  I thought the season was later for some reason.

Once again lots of horse trading going on. 

Wedding Wednesday - Richard & Jennifer

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary.  Time flies when you are having fun. <3

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Conduct in Question

A Day in the Life: May 17th

(Aged 14)
Wea.  rainy                                 SUN. MAY 17, 1896               Ther. 

Went over after grandma.  Ma + I went to church. Ma has either hid or burnt it up pa’s tobacco.  Unkle Gib, Aunt May, Luella, Frank + the baby was down.

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                           TUE. MAY 17, 1898               Ther.  80

Went to factory.  In P.M. went hunting but didn’t kill much.  Ma + Rollie went over to Ezra Thayer’s to see the new baby.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             WED. MAY 17, 1899               Ther.

Drove Effie’s horse to school and her, Aunt Maryann + Ma took mine to go to town to get Effie’s teeth.  Pa came up and got into my trunk and read all my letters while we were all away but thought they were all right.  Pa says I can go to Mable White’s on Saturday.

Actual Cass Farm Lock.  Was it the one on Allen's trunk?

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              THU. MAY 17, 1900                 Ther.

Planted potatoes.  In eve Alice Warn + I took a drive.  Got home at 12 o’clock.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              FRI. MAY 17, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               SAT.  MAY 17, 1902             Ther.

Gail halled (sic) 6 load of manure + went to Falconer about 3 o’clock.  Alice went over to pa’s.  Chas.  Slater + I fixed fence between Joel + I in A.M.  In P.M. I went up to Jim Fuller’s + got a heifer calf for $1.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              SUN.  MAY 17, 1903                  Ther.

Stayed at home Pa + Ma came up.


Editor's Note:  At 17, Allen appears the accommodating son, nephew and cousin by switching horses with the ladies so they can get Effie's new teeth.  Very gentlemanly.  However, when all this good will is playing out Frank is home ransacking Allen's personal letters.  What is he worried about finding?  And why wasn't Allen enraged when he found out his privacy was so violated?  This is a very telling entry.

First of all,  the prolific letter writing of the White sisters has piqued Frank's curiosity.  It seems Mabel has invited Allen over to visit but Frank is uncomfortable with what message that might send.  I feel like Frank was questioning the motives of the Whites more than of his son.  Was he worried Allen might become "trapped" by the one of the White sisters and prematurely engaged?   In the end he finds the letters hold no suggestion of peril and he tells Allen he can go.

I wonder if Frank felt shame or justification in his actions.  And as for Allen not reacting as I would, is it because he ultimately gets what he wants and is permitted to visit Mabel White?  Or is it because he really has no secrets to hide.  Maybe he was disappointed in his Dad but just not angry.

And yes, the irony is not lost on me that I feel ashamed of Frank's actions when not only am I reading Allen's diary entries, I am sharing them with an audience.

Tombstone Tuesday

I believe this Angel can be found in Old Forge, NY

Photo by Mary Kimball

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

A Day in the Life: May 16th

(Aged 14)
Wea.                                           SAT. MAY 16, 1896               Ther.

drawed two load of stone for the walls.   Pa commenced smoking again.

(Aged 16)
Wea. rainy                                 MON. MAY 16, 1898               Ther.

Went to factory.  It is raining hard.  In eve went down to burg + got Chas Slater’s tire that I sent for + to sell some calf skins but (?) them as they wouldn’t pay enough.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             TUE. MAY 16, 1899               Ther.

Rode my wheel to school it rained and pa came after me.  About 5:30 P.M.  Mr. Tower came here.  He is going to stay all night.  About 6:30 Aunt Maryann and Effie came.  Fen Bunce came down to see pa in eve.  Wrote a letter to Mable White.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              WED. MAY 16, 1900                 Ther.

Painted on the house in A.M.  In P.M. went to the burg with Mearle and got pa a box of cigars.  In eve Mearle + I went up to Frank + Elmer Warn’s.  Had a fine time.  Took some pictures.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              THU. MAY 16, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               FRI.  MAY 16, 1902             Ther.

Fixed the fence in the A.M. between Joel + I.  In P.M. Gail halled (sic) 2 load of manure.  Jim + Chas Slater fixed fence between Joel + I.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              SAT.  MAY 16, 1903                  Ther.

Drilled corn.  Went to the burg to see about getting into the meat market.


Editor's Note:  Is Allen keeping Joel in or out with that fence?  For what seems to be ages now Allen has been mending the fence between him and Joel (Harrington).  Others have even helped him but none of whom were Joel.  Is there some urgency to this sudden repair?  Okay, I'm joking I'm sure it has more to do with corralling animals than anything against Joel.  Seems to be a big job though.

What it sounds like

 What it was probably like.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Smiles

Priceless art surrounded them and yet Alice and Charlotte equally enjoyed standing on an air vent in the Louvre.

Copyright Diana Lucas Leavengood Photography

From Seed Drills to Aqualungs

A Day in the Life: May 15th

(Aged 14)
Wea.                                            FRI. MAY 15, 1896               Ther. 

Went to school.

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                            SUN. MAY 15, 1898               Ther.

Went to factory.  Elmer Warn + Bert came over + in P.M. we all went to S.S. + in eve we were all at church up the hollow.  I went over to grandma’s + ate supper.  Luella is there. Ma went over too.  Luella, Glen + Frank went home.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             MON. MAY 15, 1899               Ther.

Rode my wheel to school.  Got a letter from Mable White.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              TUE. MAY 15, 1900                 Ther.

Painted on the house some awful hot.  Ma + Grandma went to town.  Mary Bragg stayed here all night.  Took a picture of Lucy Thayer + Miss Davis.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              WED. MAY 15, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               THU.  MAY 15, 1902             Ther.

Worked fixing fence between Joel + I.  Jim planted his potatoes.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              FRI.  MAY 15, 1903                  Ther.

Dragged in A.M. in P.M. began drilling corn.

Jethro Tull--agriculturalist and inventor/improver of the seed drill


Ian Anderson of the rock band Jethro Tull

Editor's Note:  What a cool name for a band.  In the wiki article on the band though it doesn't seem like Ian Anderson had much to do with the choosing of it.  His gig booker chose it and the band kept it because it was the first time they were asked back someplace.