Saturday, May 17, 2014

Object of the Day: McElree's Wine of Cardui

Click on image for barnyard fun.

Each month of 1887, McElree’s Wine of Cardui issued a new trade card which featured a handy calendar as well as an attractive comic scene based on that month’s zodiac sign. Here’s one from my collection. This one was, obviously, for March of 1887 and it depicts the antics of Aries the Ram who seems to have upset the pastime of a gentleman artist. I’m sure that these cards did their job perfectly. They fit right into the Victorian mindset of collecting and offered the sort of endearing and bright imagery which was en vogue.

But, what is McElree’s Wine of Cardui? Let’s see if the reverse of the card has anything to tell us.

First of all, it reminds us that the April card will be out soon. And, then, it tells us a story. An insulting and condescending story of womanhood with loaded words such as the aforementioned “Womanhood,” “Period” and “Peculiar,” AND “Derangement.”

Our April Card will be ready on the 1st of the month. Call on
Your druggist for it.


     A wealthy planter in Georgia had two
daughters aged respectively 13 and 16 years.
the oldest became afflicted when passing to the
period of womanhood with serious derangements
peculiar to her sex. At first no attention was
paid to it, but when several months had passed
with no appearance of the usual signs, her
mother became alarmed. Physicians were sum-
moned, all the usual remedies were used and
everything that money and kind friends could
do, was done for her. A cough set in, her lungs
became involved and at the age of 19 years this
dearly loved daughter died.
     Closely following her death, the other
daughter became afflicted with precisely the
same symptoms as those of her elder sister at
her age. She suffered severe pains at the usual
time each month but nearly all external signs
were absent. After this had continued several
months with no improvement, the parents saw
no hope for their only remaining child. By
chance a pamphlet published by the Chatta-
nooga Medicine Company, of Chattanooga,
Tenn., fell into their hands. In it they read of
wonderful cures performed by McElree’s Wine
of Cardui or Woman’s Relief. They at once
sent for six bottles of the Wine, which they ad-
ministered to their daughter as directed. Great
was their joy when a decided improvement was
noticeable before a half dozen doses had been
taken, and in three months they reported a
complete cure. 
The young lady’s life was saved,
and she enjoys excent health.
     This wonderful new remedy is FOR SALE BY 
GEO. K. HOPKINS & Co., St. Louis, Mo. 

AH, what fun! Aries the ram! And, death by menses! Or lack thereof. Or something. Now, clearly, I’m not a woman, but if I were, I don’t think I’d want my “friends” to be doing anything about my “ladies’ days.” What exactly were these “kind friends” doing? No. Don’t think about it. And…well, what the hell? What’s going on in that second paragraph? And…and…”excent” isn’t a word! I…I… 

And, what was the calendar used for, then?  It all started off so pleasantly, and...

Oh…Aries the Ram. I don’t know.

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