Quack medicine advertising packet for Dr. Clark, Professor of Anatomical Pathology, and his Chronic Disease medicines. Dr. B. Clark.

Quack medicine advertising packet for Dr. Clark, Professor of Anatomical Pathology, and his Chronic Disease medicines

Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania: Dr. B. Clark, 1869. Unbound. This advertising packet for Dr. B. Clark’s Chronic Disease medicine includes a four-page advertising brochure (9” x 12”), a one-page manuscript instruction (8” x 10”) for preparing the “medicine,” a small printed prescription guide (3” x 3.5”), an apparently autographed advertisement for Dr. Clark featuring his portrait (6” x 5.5”), and a used envelope with Dr. Clark’s printed corner card from Scenery Hill, Washington County, Pennsylvania in the upper left corner. The envelope is addressed to Miss Nancy Carnahan, Chambersville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and is franked with one rose 3-cent and one lilac 24-cent stamps (Scott #65 and #70) that were canceled by pen. All but one of the enclosures are in nice shape; the signed advertisement has been trimmed at the bottom. The envelope shows some minor wear, mostly where opened along the left edge.

The 27 cents of postage on this envelope would have paid for a letter weighing up to 4.5 ounces, so it is likely that in addition to the enclosures it also included powdered medicine that Miss Carnahan had purchased, especially in light of Dr. Clark’s manuscript annotation to the preparation guidance, “write when you need more medicine inclosing $5.00. . . .”. Very good. Item #008976

Dr. Clark, who refrained from “questioning patients or allowing them to make any statement concerning their disease or symptoms,” claimed his medicines, which relied on considerable quantities of gin and sugar added by the patient, cured a wide range of problems including those related “Old and Married Men” with diseased “Lungs, Kidneys, Liver, Stomach, Bowels, Skin, Brain, Nerves, Muscles, Bones and all other organs.”

They also could cure “Young Men who suffer from Follies of the Age . . . who suffer from Nature’s violated laws [and as a result] avoided society . . . and pined away, dejected and despairing.”

Perhaps, Miss Carnahan purchased his medicine for its “peculiar benefit to young ladies budding into womanhood . . . [especially those suffering from] Bladder Affections . . ., Cramps, Deranged Menstruation, . . . Female Weakness and Female Irregularities [including] Uterine diseases of all grades.”

As of 2018, nothing similar from Dr. Clark is in the philatelic or ephemera trade. No institutional holdings per OCLC, and neither ABPC nor the Rare Book Hub list any auction records. There is only one brief mention of Dr. Clark on-line in an 1874 business directory for Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Quite a nice packet of ephemera produced by a phony physician to promote and distribute his quack medicines made all the more valuable by the use of the 24-cent stamp (Scott #70) on its forwarding envelope.

Price: $350.00

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