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Dr. James Cook Ayer (1818-1878) of Lowell, Massachusetts was one of the wealthiest patent medicine makers in Nineteenth Century America. Ayer was famous for both his Sarsaparilla and his Cathartic Pills.
We’ve looked at several examples of American Victorian trade cards advertising for Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, but here’s one for Ayer’s Pills—clearly marketing them to young ladies.
The front of the card has a very attractive illustration of several healthy looking young girls and adolescent young ladies—all of whom look very healthy. They hold a banner which reads:
“THE LITTLE FAVORITES”
AYER’S PILLS – SUGAR COATED
Sadly, the reverse of the card has been damaged. The card was once glued into an album. This is to be expected since these cards were collected for that purpose. Frankly, it’s rare to find one that isn’t ruined on the back. Since it was removed from the album, only part of the original text remains as you can see in the photo below. However, let’s see if we can’t piece some of it together.
THE LITTLE FAVORITES
Charming group of smiling girls
Bright and happy as the day,
With your winsome eyes and curls,
Always frolicksome and gay, --
Surely, surely never ache
Did those lovely forms distress –
Never physic did you take
But the _________ens answered, “Yes!”
Just like __________le, we
Have our troubles and our ills
But, we cure them, don’t you see? –
With those sugar-coated pills.
That’s the reason everywhere
Through the country, they are famed, --
That the Pills of Doctor Ayer
“Little Favorites” are named.”
The popularity of Ayer’s Pulls has steadily increased
________ demand for them exceeds that of all others
________ which their purely vegetable components are
____, their mildness and efficacy, their delicate sugar-
coating, and adaptability to family use have made them
Pills, par excellence. The People’s Medicine.
Created by Dr. J.C. Ayer & Co., Lowell, Mass.
Sold by all Druggists and Dealers in Medicine
Ayer’s Sarsaparilla Makes _________________ng.