The world changes in the blink of an eye. In the 21st century, we have the luxury of visiting scenes from history in books, film, and documents, with the safety and conveniences of modern life. Join me to examine the lives of our ancestors, imagine their experiences, and connect with their struggles and triumphs.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Fix for Female Diseases

Scammers, con artists, and quacks never perish; they only find new victims to prey upon and new cloaks of deception. Beware that which is too good to be true.
New England Farmer
Boston, Mass.
Saturday, June 12, 1896
Woman to Woman.
Women are being taught by bitter experience that many physicians cannot successfully handle their peculiar ailments known as female diseases.
Doctors are willing and anxious to help them, but they are the wrong sex to work understandingly.
When the woman of to-day experiences such symptoms as backache, nervousness, lassitude, whites, irregularity or painful menstruation, pain groins, bearing-down sensation, palpitation, “all gone” feeling and blues, she at once takes Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, feeling sure of obtaining immediate relief.
Should her symptoms be new to her, she writes to a woman, Mrs. Pinkham, Lynn, Mass., who promptly explains her case, and tells her free how to get well.
Indeed, so many women are now appealing to Mrs. Pinkham for advice, that a score of lady secretaries are kept constantly at work answering the great volume of correspondence which comes in every day. Each letter is answered carefully and accurately, as Mrs. Pinkham fully realizes that a life may depend upon her reply, and into many and many a home has she shed the rays of happiness.
Page from advertising recipe booklet

advertisements and recipe from recipe booklet


  1. Very interesting short blog article. I think the end of the 19th century, there was a growing awareness that male doctors did not know everything about women's health. I recently did a blog post series for my own blog, Mother Time Musings, about attitudes towards women's reproductive health in the 19th century and came across women physicians who were working during that time.



    1. Thanks, Tam. :)

      Yes, the understanding that women's health required more study began toward the end of the century. Unfortunately, the Victorian prudish attitude that attempted to blame women for their gender and the very existence, and repercussions, of sex led to a lot of misunderstanding and general ignorance of women's health. When a doctor cannot even physically examine a patient--often women were required to point to the area on a doll rather than have a doctor touch them--the doctor isn't likely to have a good understanding of the problem. They finally began to eschew those attitudes near the end of the century, but a lot of misinformation, myths, and quackery endured for a long time. I've seen a lot of pamphlets from WWII that still blamed women for STDs or men's "uncontrollable" desires.

      I've always found cultural attitudes about sex/gender/medicine and how they change and the things that prompt those changes incredibly interesting.