RB-0695 | Diseases of the Nervous System, and How to Cure Them - Paine's Celery Compound

Diseases of the Nervous System, and How to Cure Them - Paine's Celery Compound
Wells & Richardson Co.
1896, 19th century
24.7 x 17 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Booklet (3)
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Keys to History

Famous for its eye-catching ads seen throughout Canada during much of the 19th century, Paine's Celery Compound laid claim to a multitude of medicinal virtues. It was recommended for nervous disorders (especially for women), depression, liver complaints, rheumatism and digestive problems. In fact, though, this type of product was employed mainly as a stimulant or antiparasitic (against intestinal worms).

The manufacturer employed a fairly common sales tactic, distributing a free brochure that explained the product's benefits. Ads for remedies claiming similarly broad curative powers can be found on the Web today.

Some American companies went a step further, offering medical diagnosis by correspondence. Readers were asked to describe their illness or affliction in a letter, and, needless to say, the response recommended long-term treatment and promised a full cure. This was a prevalent practice.

D. Goulet, Le Commerce des maladies, (Quebec City: Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, Edmond De Nevers Collection, 1987), pp. 92-96, 109.

E. S. Turner, The Shocking History of Advertising<\I> (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1953), pp. 204-205.

  • What

    Advertising pamphlet published by Wells & Richardson to promote the "miraculous" properties of Paine's Celery Compound.

  • Where

    Printed in Montreal, this pamphlet was distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Similar publications were published in French for Canadian Francophones.

  • When

    This pamphlet was issued in 1896. Brochures of this sort were distributed by mail, on request, and widely used by the manufacturers of secret remedies in the late 19th century.

  • Who

    Paine's Celery Compound was made by Wells & Richardson of Burlington, Vermont. It was marketed chiefly to people suffering from nervous disorders.