Records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company, 1776-ca.1985 (inclusive), 1859-1968 (bulk)
Correspondence, financial records, pharmacological studies, advertising copy, etc., of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company.
- Majority of material found within 1859-1968
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Most of the collection is open to research. Series V is closed. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent272.76 linear feet ((203 file boxes, 36 cartons, 28 folio boxes, 83 folio+ boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 2 supersize boxes) plus 190 oversize volumes, 12 supersize folders)
The records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company document the daily operations of a manufacturing company from the late 1800s into the 1960s. Material includes financial records, advertising records and advertisements, research studies on the effectiveness of specific herbs and the Company's products in general, photographs, correspondence, legal records, pamphlets and a textbook published by the Company, actual products and their packaging, clippings and articles about Lydia Estes Pinkham and the Company, and a small amount of personal family papers. There are very few personal papers of Lydia Pinkham's; those that survive are quite fragile, and access copies are available on microfilm or photocopy. Early records of the Company include letters written from Dan Pinkham to his brother Will Pinkham while Dan was in Brooklyn selling the Compound (#3118). They include his daily budgets and observations about customers and druggists in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Complete records, including photographs, of the manufacturing process and formulae used in Pinkham products are in the collection, as well as labeling, packaging, and shipping records. There are records pertaining to the obscenity charges against Pinkham advertising (1900), investigations by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, audiotapes of radio advertisements, posters, architects' drawings, and novelties. Many fans of Pinkham products wrote testimonial letters to Lydia Pinkham, which were subsequently used to advertise Pinkham products; most of these letters were destroyed by the company to protect the writers' privacy; a few are included.
When the collection was originally processed in June 1973, material was numbered and filed by both size and type of item. Loose paper records are housed in folders and numbered in a sequential order beginning at #1 and continuing through #3372. Material bound into a volume or kept in a binder of any sort are referred to as volumes, and are also numbered sequentially from Vol. 1 to Vol. 600. Any of these volumes too large to be housed in a standard archival file box or carton are referred to as "oversize volumes" and noted in the inventory by an "o" after their number. Some additional records were donated and described in 1974; this material is described in Series VI, and the numbering schema follows that of Series I to Series III. In all cases, if folders needed to be broken up for ease of use, or if material had to be inserted into the numbering schema, "a," "b," and so on were added to the numbers. The inventory lists only the numbers of the folders or volumes; the container list must be consulted in order to determine the box that folder or volume is stored within. In 2015, additional processing was done on Series IV to facilitate digitization; see that series description for a more complete explanation of the numbering schema followed. In 2017, a more complete inventory of the collection was conducted, and many oversize volumes were then housed within boxes for preservation purposes.
Series I, FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1859-1968 (Folders #1-635, Volumes 1o-327ao), includes journals, ledgers, cash books and payroll records, as well as tax statements, invoices, inventories, and freight bills, for the American, Mexican, and Canadian operations of the Company. The financial records date from 1859 (when the Pinkham Compound was sold only privately), but from the company's incorporation in 1873 on are much more complete. Employee records, and records of the Lougee and Galen Pharmacal Companies (both Pinkham subsidiaries), orders, price lists, and stock records are also included. This series documents in great detail the daily financial operations of a manufacturing company from the late 1800s through the early 1960s. The series is arranged by type of record.
Subseries A, Journals and ledgers, 1881-1968 (Volume 1o - Volume 67o), contains bound volumes holding Pinkham Company financial transactions. Journals are leather-bound volumes that record chronological financial transactions made by the Pinkham Company. They are stamped with "Journal" on the spine, and were generally used for one or two years. Ledgers are bound volumes that list transactions with accounts (sales, purchases, etc.) over time by account name; each volume contains an alphabetical index in the front.
Subseries B, Cash books, 1859-1966 (Volume 68o - Volume 135o), contains bound volumes that detail cash transactions of the Pinkham Company. Most twentieth century records are divided into "cash paid" and "cash received" volumes.
Subseries C, Payroll, 1877-1966 (Volume 136o - Volume 169o), contains bound volumes that document the weekly and sometimes yearly salaries paid to employees through most of the Lydia Pinkham Company's history. Volumes are listed chronologically.
Subseries D, Advertising registers, 1911-1933 (Volume 170o - Volume 186o), contains volumes that track how much money the Pinkham Company spent on advertising. Ten volumes (Volume 184o - Volume 184ho) track detailed advertising spending done in each state between 1928 and 1932 by local periodical title.
Subseries E, Receipts, 1875-1888, 1946-1965 (Folders #1-45, Volume 187o - Volume 196o), includes receipts, invoices, tax statements, and freight bills. A number of bound volumes list invoices recorded from 1946 through 1965. Loose receipts date only from 1875 to 1888, and document the daily operations of the business. Receipts are from local Massachusetts businesses (Lynn, Boston, Malden) as well as those in New York and Providence; they include packaging and ingredients, as well as rail shipping and advertising costs. Many of these receipts are written on the pictorial letterhead popular in the mid-nineteenth century; images of products, factories, storefronts, and patriotic symbols are throughout. Also included are some personal Pinkham family receipts, including for poll taxes, furniture, and clothing. Loose receipts are organized by year (and sometimes by month within a year). In some cases all yearly receipts from a particular business are grouped together. Freight bills are receipts from railway lines, steamship companies, American Express, and other shipping companies.
Subseries F, Inventories and appraisals, 1883-1965 (Folders #46-130, Volume 198 - Volume 243), include stock and furniture inventories. Yearly inventories were usually taken each quarter, possibly in part for tax purposes. Stock and furniture inventories also include other parts of the administration of the business (blank books, books in advertising room, etc.). In addition to the factory in Lynn, stock and furniture inventories accounted for material in Canada, Chicago, and other sites. Stock and furniture inventories seem to have been created in-house, while building and fixture inventories were created by the American Appraisal Company. Some inventories include depreciation assessment. Arranged chronologically.
Subseries G, Statements, 1883-1962 (Folders #131-222, Volume 244o - Volume 283o), contains records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company's cash on hand. Statements are bank statements, monthly and yearly balance sheets. Journals are bound volumes with monthly statements written inside. Many statements are in binders, typed on looseleaf paper.
Subseries H, Audits and other reports, 1902-1936 (Folder #223, Volume 284 - Volume 304), contains descriptions of accounting methods, annual statements of business, and reports on examinations.
Subseries I, Taxes, 1913-1963 (Folders #224-370), contains correspondence, tax returns, charts and other documentation relating to the Pinkham Company's United States taxes. Also included is material on the firm's Canadian taxes, as well as a few folders on taxes paid in Mexico and England.
Subseries J, Investments, 1896-1957 (Folders #371-415), contains bills, correspondence with investment brokers, and investment statements.
Subseries K, Mexican branch financial records, 1933-1964 (Folders #416-462b), contains accounting reports, contracts, sales reports, and correspondence related to the Pinkham Company's business dealings in Mexico. Of note are receipts and correspondence relating to business conducted with the pharmaceutical chain Sanborns Mexico (#41-424).
Subseries L, General and miscellaneous records, 1917-1967 (Folders #463-626, Volume 305 - Volume 320ao), includes inter-office memos, quarterly reports, tax information, and information related to payments, loans, benefits, and bonuses to employees.
Subseries M, Galen Pharmacal Company records, 1933-1936 (Folders #627-632, Volume 321 - Volume 327), contains correspondence and financial documents (receipts, tax records, bank statements, etc.) from the Pinkham Company's dealings with the Galen Pharmacal Company.
Subseries N, Lougee Medicine Company records, 1887-1888 (Folders #633-635) primarily consists of correspondence received by the Lougee Medicine Company.
Series II, ADVERTISING RECORDS, ca.1844-1968 (Folders #636-2538, Volume 328o - Volume 409o), includes articles about the Pinkham company, reports of ad sales, extensive documentation of the company's newspaper and magazine advertisements, correspondence about advertisements and their costs, and art work used in advertisements. See also Series IV for oversize art work and advertisements.
Subseries A, Advertising studies, reports, and sales records, 1920-1967 (Folders #636-750, Volume 328o - Volume 343), includes specific examples of advertising campaigns produced by the Pinkham Company, as well as advertising plans, market surveys, advertising schedules, sales reports, advertising and marketing recommendations for newspapers and radio stations (and later television stations) across the United States and Canada, and clippings about advertising trends, both in general and in the particular case of the Pinkham Company.
Subseries B, Correspondence, contracts, and statements, 1873-1949 (Folders #751-801, Volume 344) includes correspondence and contracts with newspapers for advertising arrangements for the Pinkham Company. Also included are billing statements for newspaper advertisements for Pinkham Company products. Folders are listed chronologically.
Subseries C, Advertising in newspapers, periodicals, and books, ca.1875-1957 (Folders #802-833, Volume 345o - Volume 369o), contains samples of print advertisements for a variety of publications. Volume 345 to Volume 369o are large scrapbooks created by the company, with advertisement copy pasted in chronologically.
Subseries D, Advertising copy: test copies, 1879-1953 (Folders #834-2396, Volume 370o - Volume 378), includes test copies from United States and foreign newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and other periodicals, 1935-1950. These were sent to the Pinkham Company by their advertising agency, and in general, each folder contains one or more preliminary copies of each advertisement run. At the top of each sheet is the name of the advertising company, the type of publication the ad would run in (e.g. "newspapers"), the type of product being advertised, the size (often in column inches) the ad would run, and the period of time the ad would run. Some folder titles include the title or first line on the advertisement, others include merely the type of periodical in which the ad would run. Many ads ran with the same or similar titles, but at different sizes. Folders found empty in 1973 when the collection was initially processed and numbered were retained. While most of the subseries is mid-twentieth century advertising, a few volumes pertain to the Pinkham Company's nineteenth century roots: advertisements for Pinkham products can be found in a volume of photographic views of Lynn, Massachusetts (Volume #370o).
Subseries E, Photographic work, art work, and layouts, ca.1844-1939 (Folders #2397-2412), contains one tintype of Lydia Estes Pinkham, portrait artwork in a variety of formats, and a few folders of artwork produced for product packaging and advertising. See also Series IV for two folders of miscellaneous Pinkham art work.
Subseries F, Pinkham pamphlets and Text-Book, 1893-1962 (Folders #2413-2504, Volumes 379o-408), contains a number of pamphlets and small books published by the Lydia Pinkham Company to promote and advertise its products. Most of the individually listed pamphlets are found in the bound volumes, but are also housed and listed individually, as some of them differ from the bound pamphlets in some respects, such as editions or editorial marks. Also included are some individual pamphlets which are not found in the bound set. Lydia E. Pinkham's Private Text-Book upon Ailments Peculiar To Women, a somewhat more substantial publication than the pamphlets, was meant to provide educational information about menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and other reproductive matters to women, as well as to promote Pinkham products. Voice of Experience pamphlets (#2485-2488) were sponsored by Pinkham Company, written by radio host Marion Sayle Taylor (he billed himself as the "Voice of Experience"), and are mainly about child health and discipline.
Subseries G, Novelties and gifts, 1906-1968 (Folders #2505-2528, Volume 409o), contains samples of small gifts and novelties that were distributed with Pinkham products, or could be sent away for, often from an advertisement within a Pinkham pamphlet. Pamphlets that contained the advertisements for the specific novelties are noted when known. Folders #2506a-2508 include completed questionnaires sent in with an order for a knife or sewing kit; these include information about where customers bought Pinkham products, who recommended them, how long customers had been using them, and what they liked about them. Also included are small samples of Pinkham Company cosmetics and household supplies advertising Pinkham products.
Subseries H, Miscellaneous advertising, 1931-1950 (Folders #2529-2538), consists of glass negatives of advertisements, office documents and advertising records, a folder of litigation records, and lists of counter display and railway car advertising cards. See also Series IV for posters, car cards, phonograph records, and other miscellaneous material used in advertising.
Series III, GENERAL RECORDS, 1776-1967 (Folders #2539-3372, Volume 410o - Volume 600o), includes research studies on herbs and products; labeling, packaging, manufacturing, and shipping records; extensive documentation of the legal battle over control of the company between Aroline Pinkham Gove and the other Pinkham heirs; photographic documentation of the manufacturing process and other photographs; newsclippings, correspondence, miscellaneous business records, books and articles written about Lydia Pinkham, pamphlets and a textbook published by the Company, and family records. Also included in this series is correspondence regarding the obscenity charges against Pinkham advertising in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1900; the counterfeiting case of the same year; and government standards, inspection, and regulations regarding manufacture and advertising of patent medicine. The Text-Book on Ailments Peculiar to Women, in three languages, is also in this series.
Subseries A, Research studies, 1925-1960 (Folders #2539-2602, Volume 410o - Volume 417), includes data, correspondence, reports, and notes on the effects of herbs on various health conditions. Some of the studies were done by doctors and medical researchers before the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company was established, but many were done by the company's own Research Department in the twentieth century. Some portions of these studies have been closed to researchers for varying periods of time because names of patients are given (see Series V for a specific listing).
Subseries B, Manufacturing records, 1873-1957 (Folders #2603-2654b, Volume 418 - Volume 460), includes formulas, data, correspondence, and manufacturing records for the Company in general and also for individual products. Material in this series provides detailed information about the ingredients and procedures used in the production of Pinkham Company products.
Subseries C, Labeling, packaging, and shipping records, 1880-1960 (Folders #2655-2697d, Volume 462o - Volume 522o), includes correspondence, scrapbooks, records, ledgers, and samples of Pinkham product packaging. Material in this subseries contains thorough descriptions and depictions of labeling, bottling, and packaging procedures from the inception of the Pinkham Company through its maturity. Shipping records are primarily receipts and ledgers documenting product shipping.
Subseries D, Trade mark registration, 1882-1956 (Folders #2698-2809), contains correspondence and legal documentation regarding the registering of the Pinkham Company trademark in a variety of countries.
Subseries E, National City Bank records, 1927-1941 (Folders #2810-2819, Volume 523 - Volume 525), contains account statements, stock exchange data, and address books related to the Pinkham Company's accounts with National City Bank.
Subseries F, Photographs (business), 1876-1952 (Folders #2820-2898), contains photographs of the facilities, equipment, and employees of the Pinkham Company. Many of these photographs have been digitized. Some oversize photographs are listed in Series IV. Photographs of the Pinkham family can be found in Subseries G, Family Records.
Subseries G, Family records, 1776-1957 (Folders #2899-2964, Volume 526 - Volume 531), includes photographs, legal documents, scrapbooks, genealogy documents, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and other family papers. Material is generally grouped by individual, and is related mainly to Lydia Pinkham's children and grandchildren. Much of the material relates to Lydia Pinkham's grandson Arthur Wellington Pinkham (1879-1960) and his children. In addition to working for the Pinkham Company, Arthur Pinkham was president of the National City Bank of Lynn, Massachusetts. His genealogical research, at least partly conducted due to an interest in joining the Sons of the American Revolution, is included. See also Subseries H for newsclippings of several family members and Subseries I for more family correspondence.
Subseries H, Newsclippings, pamphlets, books on Lydia Estes Pinkham, 1892-1968 (Folders #2965-3041, Volume 532 - Volume 533, Volume 599o - Volume 600o), includes biographical material on Lydia Estes Pinkham, as well as reviews of books about her, including biographies by Jean Burton and Robert Collier Washburn. Newspaper articles about Pinkham family members and Pinkham Company employees are also included. The series also includes a few photographs featuring Pinkham family members. Most photographs have been digitized.
Subseries I, Miscellaneous business records, 1877-1967 (Folders #3042-3201), contains sales reports, business correspondence, by-laws of the Pinkham Company and other subsidiaries, some Board of Director's records, and a few advertising records. Some notable early records of the Company are included: partnership agreements, certificates of organization, and by-laws. A few folders (#3117-3118) contain 1870s correspondence between Daniel and William Pinkham. Several folders of material (#3171-3175) relate to a 1900 legal case against a man found to be counterfeiting Lydia E. Pinkham Company labels.
Subseries J, Business with government agencies, 1927-1950 (Folders #3202-3222), contains correspondence, minutes, and reports. Most of the items in this subseries relate to the Pinkham Company's interactions with the Federal Trade Commission or the Food and Drug Administration.
Subseries K, General and litigation, 1883-1961 (Folders #3223-3364, Volume 534), includes legal records, as well as some financial and business records and newsclippings. The bulk of this subseries consists of litigation documentation from the case between Lydia Pinkham's descendents for control of the Company. In addition to general court documents, documents in this series record the struggles and positions of the Pinkham family members, who fought to keep their Gove relatives from controlling the Company.
Subseries L, Reference material and correspondence books, 1841-1950 (Folders #3365-3372, Volume 535 - Volume 600o), includes medicinal reference books and notes, bound volumes containing outgoing correspondence, other business correspondence, architectural sketches of a Pinkham Company facility, a guidebook on packaging, and some records from litigation. All the items in the collection that are written in Lydia Estes Pinkham's own hand can be found here; most of these are closed due to fragility but researchers can use microfilm. These include an autograph book, signed by Frederick Douglass; a journal with notes from the Lynn anti-Slavery Society; and a handwritten journal with recipes, including for Vegetable Compound.
Series IV, OVERSIZE AND SUPERSIZE ITEMS, 1896-1951, n.d. (#1+ - 93+, 3372a-3372c), contains Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company products and packaging, advertising posters, counter displays, railroad car advertisements, photographs, architectural drawings, audiotapes, and other oversize material. Counter displays (#51+ - 84f+) are colorful advertisements for Pinkham Company products meant to stand on a store counter or in a window, sometimes holding the actual product. These color lithographs are mounted on cardboard, and most have a pop-out cardboard piece on their backs that enables them to stand. Some are quite large, and a few of these are made with attached side panels that were meant to create a standing display. Railroad car cards (#86o - 86f+) are thin cardboard rectangular signs that were manufactured in the 1920s and 1930s to fit in the advertisement windows on railway and subway cars. A number of actual Pinkham Company products are included in this series, sometimes along with their original packaging (#29m - 50m). Some of the small novelties and gifts in this series were offered by the Pinkham Company as an enticement to answer a questionnaire on the back of the Pinkham pamphlets. Other small novelties can be found in Series II (#2505-2528).
When the collection was originally processed in June 1973, all loose material that was too large for a standard-size archival box was listed in this series. Items were numbered sequentially, starting at #1; some numbers refer to one item, some to a folder of material. Most were originally listed with a suffix of "o," a generic "oversize" designation. Over time, when some of these items were more fully described, or broken into multiple descriptive units, "a," "b," and so on were added after the number when multiple items needed to be described. "31ao" is an example of what resulted. In 2015, much of the material in this series was rehoused, and item and folder descriptions were enhanced. During this process, some items were moved to a more appropriate folder size, or were split into multiple folders. Items have now been identified with an alphabetic suffix that corresponds to the four sizes of oversize folders in use at the Schlesinger Library. For example, what had previously been identified as item "25o" became three folders: "25o," "25af+" and "25bf+." Actual products and product packaging, most of which are not actually oversize material, have been given a suffix designation of "m" to identify them as memorabilia. Thus "34o" is now "34m." See also Series VI for two oversize folders of material (#92o-92af+). The series is roughly arranged by type of item; many descriptions begin with a format designation.
Most of Series IV has been digitized and is available online.
Series V, CLOSED ITEMS, 1930-1958 (Folders #c1-c37b, #501a-501c, Volume 602), includes some research studies from Series III that reveal patient names and have thus been closed. These items are indicated as closed in the General Records and Research studies section of the regular inventory. These items are boxed separately at the end of the collection.
Series VI, ADDENDA, 1877-1960 (Folders #3373-3459, Volume 603, #92ao-92bf+), includes material donated to the Schlesinger Library in June 1974 after the original collection was organized. Addenda includes complete records of the Board of Directors (1883-1954), and additional stockholder and secretarial records; further documents concerning the Gove-Pinkham struggles for control of the Company; papers relating to formula changes, advertising, financial matters, and the Jean Burton biography of Lydia E. Pinkham. Volume 603 and folders #3373-3383 contain records of the Board of Directors (minutes, correspondence, and memoranda). Folders #3373-3375 were removed from two oversize volumes labeled "Board of Directors" and remaining folders were unbound. Folders #3384-3387 contain records of stockholders (minutes, correspondence, memoranda). This material has been arranged to follow the arrangement of Series I through IV.
Photographs have been digitized and are available online.
Lydia Estes Pinkham (1819-1883) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the tenth of twelve children of Quakers William and Rebecca Estes. The Estes family were radical abolitionists, as well as admirers of (but never strict adherents to) Swedenborgian religious views. Lydia Estes was involved in the founding of Lynn's Freeman's Institute, and was active in its Anti-Slavery Society. She attended Lynn Academy, and then worked as a schoolteacher for a number of years. In 1843 she married Isaac Pinkham (1815-1889), they had four children: Charles Hacker (1844-1900); Daniel Rogers (1848-1881); William Henry (1852-1881); and Aroline Chase (1857-1939), later Aroline Pinkham Gove. Isaac Pinkham rarely held one job for long, and for thirty years the Pinkham family's financial welfare was dependent on the success of his various business ventures, as well as the local and national economies. The Pinkham family was rarely well off, and the Pinkham sons were in the habit of holding down jobs at a young age to help support the family.
There is little actual documentation of the beginnings of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company. Lydia Pinkham brewed home remedies, concoctions of herbs and alcohol, for menstrual pain and other health issues. The tight finances of the Pinkham family after the financial crash of 1873 apparently led her to ask for payment from those neighbors to whom she normally gave her remedy for free. In 1875 the Pinkham family realized the potential money-making opportunity in selling remedies, and worked together to produce, market, and sell Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. The Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company was officially founded in 1876.
Lydia Pinkham initially oversaw the creation and bottling of the product at her home, and her sons were involved in promotion of the product through distribution of handbills, and through direct appeals to pharmacists and other storekeepers. In 1877 the first newspaper advertisements ran for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. The Compound was advertised as a cure for "female maladies," which could include any or all of the following: menstrual cramps, headache, "female weakness" and nervousness associated with the menstrual cycle, hot flashes, depression, and other symptoms common during menopause. Eventually the Company developed and sold other products targeted to women's health, as well as more general ailments, such as hemorrhoids and acidic stomach.
Lydia Pinkham's sons Daniel and William were both instrumental in the early years of the company, primarily as traveling salesmen. Both young men died in 1881, which put a strain on Lydia, the larger family, and on the business. The remaining Pinkham children took more central roles in the Company. Charles Hacker Pinkham had married Jennie Barker Jones (1856-1933) in 1878; they had six children. Aroline Chase Pinkham married William H. Gove in 1882; they had four children. Lydia Pinkham's grandchildren would become as involved in the running of the company as their parents and uncles.
In 1882, the Company was incorporated, and a three-person Board of Directors was established. Stock was held equally by Charles Pinkham and Aroline Pinkham Gove, with Gove's husband Will and his brother-in-law Eugene Barry each holding a small amount. Lydia Pinkham received, and replied to, many letters from women who had bought the Compound, and excerpts of these letters were included in advertisements and in the Pinkham pamphlets as well. After Lydia's death in 1883, Jennie Barker Pinkham replied to these letters (though under the signature of Lydia Pinkham). Between 1883 and 1886 business boomed and the building of a new bottling plant and laboratory, located on Western Avenue in Lynn, was necessary in 1886.
Charles Pinkham ran the Lydia E. Pinkham Company between the deaths of his brothers in 1881 and his own death in 1900. The Goves shared in the profits as Directors, but did not help to run the business; however, they seized control after Charles' death, and Will Gove became president. This caused a permanent rift in the family between Charles Pinkham's children and Aroline Pinkham Gove and family, although the two factions found ways to coexist for many years.
The Goves gave Jennie Pinkham a seat on the Board of Directors and made her manager of the correspondence department. Her son Arthur Wellington Pinkham dropped out of Brown University to work for the Company. As Vice President, Arthur supervised foreign trade as well as manufacturing. Bill Gove, Aroline Pinkham Gove's son, ran the advertising department until his death in 1925, when his sister Lydia Pinkham Gove took over the Company advertising. Lydia Pinkham Gove inserted herself into the Company advertising, combining current images of herself with stock images of Lydia Pinkham to suggest the Company's products were still relevant. Lydia Pinkham Gove also used her early trans-continental airplane flight as an advertising ploy for the Pinkham Company. Her cousin Arthur disapproved of this type of direction for the Company and in 1936 filed an injunction to prevent her from interfering in the Company's business. The long and public legal fight between the two parts of the family drained money and prestige for the company, and was finally resolved in Arthur Pinkham's favor.
Beginning in the early twentieth century, the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company continued expanding its products and reach. The Company had manufacturing operations in Mexico and Canada as well as the United States, and its trademark was registered in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. However with the rise of professionalized medicine during the same period, women had less reason to turn to a herbal tonic for their health issues. After Arthur Pinkham's death in 1960, there was not a family member who saw a way forward for the Company. It was sold to Cooper Laboratories of Connecticut in 1968.
For more detailed information, see Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women's Medicine by Sarah Stage (Norton, 1979).
The collection is arranged in six series:
- Series I. Financial records, 1859-1968 (Folders #1-635, Volume 1o - Volume 327ao)
- Series II. Advertising records, ca.1844-1968 (Folders #636-2538, Volume 328o - Volume 409o)
- Series III. General records, 1776-1968 (Folders #2539-3372, Volume 410o - Volume 600o)
- Series IV. Oversize and supersize items, 1896-1951, ca.1985, n.d. (#1+ - 93+, 3372a-3372c)
- Series V. Closed items, 1930-1958 (#c1-c37b, #501a-501c, Volume 602)
- Series VI. Addenda, 1877-1960 (Folders #3373-3459, Volume 603, Oversize folders #92ao-92bf+)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 1503, 71-153, 73-158, 2002-M160, 2007-M155, 2011-M4
The records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company were deposited with the Schlesinger Library by her great-grandson, Daniel E. Pinkham, in 1968 and 1971. Additional records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company were deposited with the Schlesinger Library by Hermon Smith in November 1973. Several examples of original Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company product packaging were added to the collection between 2002 and 2011.
- Box 1: 1-16
- Box 2: 17-17s
- Box 3: 17t-18p
- Box 4: 18q-21b
- Box 5: 22-24a
- Box 6: 25-27a
- Box 7: 28-30b
- Box 8: 30c-37
- Box 9: 38-45
- Box 10: 46-51, Vols. 198-199
- Box 11: 52-63a
- Box 12: 64-84, Vol. 238
- Box 13: 85-102
- Box 14: 103-113
- Box 15: 114-130, Vol. 243
- Box 16: 131-132, Vol. 252-254
- Box 17: 133-139, Vol. 255-256
- Box 18: 140-146
- Box 19: 147-153
- Box 20: 154-160
- Box 21: 161-166
- Box 22: 167-170
- Box 23: 171-175
- Box 24: 176-180
- Box 25: 181-185
- Box 26: 186-195
- Box 27: 196-206
- Box 28: 207-211
- Box 29: 212-214a
- Box 30: 214b-217a
- Box 31: 217b-219c
- Box 31a: 220-222
- Box 32: Vols. 284-292
- Box 33: 223, Vols. 293-304
- Box 34: 224-234
- Box 35: 235-248
- Box 36: 249-261
- Box 37: 262-280
- Box 38: 281-294
- Box 39: 295-304
- Box 40: 305-313
- Box 41: 314-324
- Box 42: 325-337
- Box 43: 338-345
- Box 44: 346-355
- Box 45: 356-370
- Box 46: 371-382
- Box 47: 383-391
- Box 48: 392-402
- Box 49: 403-415
- Box 50: 416-427
- Box 51: 428-434
- Box 52: 435-443a
- Box 53: 443b-449b
- Box 54: 450-457
- Box 55: 458-462b
- Box 56: 463-475
- Box 57: 476-487
- Box 58: 488-501
- Box 59: 502-511, Vol. 305
- Box 60: 512-524
- Box 61: 525-537
- Box 62: 538-549
- Box 63: 550-559
- Box 64: 560-576, Vol. 308
- Box 65: 577-589
- Box 66: 590-602
- Box 67: 602a-617
- Box 68: 618-626
- Box 69: 627-632, Vols. 323, 326-327
- Box 69a: Vol. 321
- Box 70: 633-635
- Box 71: 636-645, Vol. 330
- Box 72: 646-653
- Box 73: 654-659
- Box 74: 660-661, Vols. 332-334
- Box 75: 662-668, Vols. 335-3388
- Box 76: Vols. 339-340
- Box 77: 669-672, Vols. 341-342
- Box 78: 673-682
- Box 79: 683-693, Vol. 343
- Box 80: 694-713
- Box 81: 714-724b
- Box 82: 725-728b
- Box 83: 729-750
- Box 84: 751-767
- Box 85: 768-772h
- Box 86: 772i-772r
- Box 87: 772s-773d
- Box 88: 774-785, Vol. 344
- Box 89: 785a-787
- Box 90: 787a-788c
- Box 91: 789-792b
- Box 92: 792c-799
- Box 93: 800-827
- Box 94: 828-833, Vols. 367-368
- Box 95: 834-891
- Box 96: 892-952
- Box 97: 953-1030
- Box 98: 1031-1098
- Box 99: 1099-1176
- Box 100: 1177-1248
- Box 101: 1249-1319
- Box 102: 1320-1380
- Box 103: 1381-1446
- Box 104: 1447-1520
- Box 105: 1521-1583
- Box 106: 1584-1652
- Box 107: 1653-1722
- Box 108: 1723-1785
- Box 109: 1786-1851
- Box 110: 1852-1925
- Box 111: 1926-1991
- Box 112: 1992-2063
- Box 113: 2064-2133
- Box 114: 2134-2206
- Box 115: 2207-2279
- Box 116: 2280-2350
- Box 117: 2351-2391
- Box 118: 2392-2395, Vols. 375-378
- Box 119: 2396-2412
- Box 120: 2413-2444
- Box 121: 2445-2468
- Box 122: 2469-2491
- Box 123: 2492-2500
- Box 124: Vols. 390-400, 402-408
- Box 124a: 2501-2504
- Box 125: 2505-2515
- Box 126: 2516-2528
- Box 127: 2530-2538
- Box 128: 2539-2564
- Box 129: 2565-2577
- Box 130: 2578-2589
- Box 131: 2590-2602, Vol. 417
- Box 132: 2603-2643
- Box 133: 2644-2654b, Vol. 418
- Box 134: 2654c, Vols. 419-423
- Box 135: Vols. 424-428
- Box 136: Vols. 429-432
- Box 137: Vols. 433-437
- Box 138: Vols. 438-443
- Box 139: Vols. 444-449
- Box 140: Vols. 450-456
- Box 141: Vols. 457-460
- Box 142: 2655-2681
- Box 143: 2682-2691, Vol. 461
- Box 144: 2691a-2696
- Box 145: 2697-2697d
- Box 146: 2698-2724
- Box 147: 2725-2739
- Box 148: 2740-2767
- Box 149: 2768-2787
- Box 150: 2788-2809
- Box 151: 2810-2819, Vols. 523-525
- Box 152: 2820-2833
- Box 153: 2834-2849
- Box 154: 2852-2866
- Box 155: 2867-2879
- Box 156: 2880-2898
- Box 157: 2899-2910, vol. 526
- Box 158: 2911-2930
- Box 159: 2931-2944, vol. 528-vol. 530
- Box 160: 2945-2964, vol. 531
- Box 161: 2965-2982
- Box 162: 2983-2994, vol. 532
- Box 163: 2995-3024, vol. 533
- Box 164: 3025-3056
- Box 165: 3057-3072
- Box 166: 3073-3101
- Box 167: 3102-3119, 3122
- Box 167a: 3123-3128
- Box 168: 3129-3157
- Box 169: 3158-3188
- Box 170: 3189-3211
- Box 171: 3212-3227
- Box 172: 3228-3242
- Box 173: 3243-3268
- Box 174: 3269-3278
- Box 175: 3279-3293
- Box 176: 3294-3318
- Box 177: 3319-3323
- Box 178: 3324-3339
- Box 179: 3340-3364, vol. 534
- Box 180: 3366-3371, vol. 535-vol. 538
- Box 181: 3372
- Box 181a: 3372
- Box 182: Vol. 539, Vol. 541-542, vol. 544-545
- Box 183: Vol. 548-Vol. 551
- Box 184: Vol. 555, Vol. 557
- Box 185: Series IV: 23b, 24b, 43m, 3372a-3372c
- Folio Box 186: Series IV: 28m, 28am, 33m, 34m
- Carton 187: Series IV: 29m, 30m, 31m, 31am, 36m, 37m, 41am, 49m, 50m, 94m, 96m, 97m
- Folio+ Box 188: Series IV: 30am, 32m, 35m, 36am, 37am, 45m, 45am, 45em, 47m, 95m
- Box 189: c1-c9, Vol. 602
- Box 189a: c10-c15, 501a-501c
- Box 190: c16-c25
- Box 190a: c26-c37b
- Box 190b: Vol. 379o-381o, 384o
- Box 190c: 3365, Vols. 401, 537-538, 556
- Box 191: Vol. 603, 3373-3380
- Box 192: 3381-3411
- Box 193: 3412-3452
- Box 194: 3453-3459
- Carton 195: Vols. 1o-3o
- Carton 195a: Vols. 4o-5o
- Carton 196: Vols. 6o-7o
- Carton 196a: Vols. 8o-9o
- Carton 197: Vols. 10o-11o
- Folio+ Box 197a: Vol. 37o
- Folio+ Box 197b: Vol. 38o
- Folio+ Box 198: Vols. 43o, 103o-106o
- Carton 199: Vols. 44o-46o
- Carton 199a: Vols. 47o-48o
- Carton 200: Vols. 49o-50o
- Carton 200a: Vols. 51o-52o
- Carton 201: Vols. 53o-55o
- Folio Box 201a: Vols. 58o, 59o
- Folio Box 201b: Vol. 66o
- Box 202: Vols. 68oa-68od, 69o-74o, 137o, 145o
- Folio+ Box 202a: Vol. 83o
- Folio+ Box 202b: Vol. 84o
- Folio+ Box 202c: Vol. 102o
- Folio+ Box 203: Vols. 107o, 108o, 135o, 139o
- Box 204: Vols. 138o, 138ao
- Folio+ Box 205: Vols. 152o, 153o
- Folio+ Box 206: Vols. 154o, 155o
- Folio+ Box 207: Vols. 156o, 160o, 161o, 167o, 168o
- Carton 208: Vols. 162o-166o
- Folio+ Box 209: Vols. 169o, 190o-192o
- Folio+ Box 209a: Vol. 180o
- Folio+ Box 209b: Vol. 181o
- Folio+ Box 209c: Vol. 183o
- Folio+ Box 209d: Vol. 188o
- Folio+ Box 210: Vols. 193o-196o, 201o
- Folio Box 210a: Vol. 197o
- Folio+ Box 211: Vols. 202o, 203o
- Folio+ Box 212: Vols. 204o, 205o
- Folio+ Box 213: Vols. 206o, 207o
- Folio+ Box 214: Vols. 208o, 209o
- Folio+ Box 215: Vols. 210o, 211o
- Folio+ Box 216: Vols. 212o, 213o
- Folio+ Box 217: Vols. 214o, 215o
- Folio+ Box 218: Vols. 216o, 217o
- Folio+ Box 219: Vols. 218o, 219o
- Folio+ Box 220: Vols. 220o-222o
- Folio+ Box 221: Vols. 223o-227o
- Folio+ Box 222: Vols. 228o, 229o
- Folio Box 222a: Vols. 230o, 231o
- Folio Box 223: Vol. 232o
- Folio Box 224: Vol. 233o
- Folio Box 225: Vols. 234o-236o
- Folio+ Box 225a: Vol. 244o
- Folio+ Box 226: Vols. 237o, 241o, 245o
- Folio Box 226a: Vol. 247o
- Folio Box 226b: Vols. 248o, 249o
- Folio Box 226c: Vol. 257o
- Carton 227: Vols. 246o, 250o, 251o, 258o
- Carton 227a: Vols. 259o-261o
- Carton 228: Vols. 262o-264o
- Carton 228a: Vols. 265o-267o
- Carton 229: Vols. 268o-271o
- Carton 299a: Vols. 272o-275o
- Carton 230: Vols. 276o-277o
- Carton 231: Vols. 278o-280o
- Carton 232: Vols. 281o-283o
- Carton 232a: Vols. 307o, 312o, 313o
- Folio+ Box 232b: Vol. 305o
- Folio+ Box 233: Vols. 306o, 309o-311o, 316o
- Carton 233a: Vols. 314o, 315o, 317o
- Folio+ Box 234: Vol. 320o
- Carton 234a: Vols. 318o, 319o, 320ao
- Carton 235: Vols. 322o, 324o, 325o
- Folio Box 235a: Vol. 331o
- Folio+ Box 236: Vols. 329o, 363o-366o, 369o
- Folio+ Box 236a: Vol. 345o
- Folio+ Box 236b: Vol. 346o
- Folio+ Box 236c: Vol. 347o
- Folio+ Box 236d: Vol. 348o
- Folio+ Box 236e: Vol. 349o
- Folio+ Box 236f: Vol. 350o
- Folio+ Box 236g: Vol. 351o
- Folio+ Box 236h: Vol. 352o
- Folio+ Box 236i: Vol. 353o
- Folio+ Box 236j: Vol. 354o
- Folio+ Box 236k: Vol. 355o
- Folio Box 236l: Vols. 356o, 357o
- Folio Box 236m: Vol. 358o
- Folio Box 236n: Vol. 359o
- Folio Box 236o: Vol. 360o
- Folio Box 236p: Vols. 361o, 362o
- Folio Box 236q: Vols. 371o, 372o
- Folio Box 236r: Vol. 373o
- Folio+ Box 236s: Vol. 374o
- Folio+ Box 236t: Vol. 374ao
- Carton 237: Vols. 410o-415o
- Folio+ Box 238: Vol. 389o
- Folio+ Box 238a: Vol. 389ao
- Folio+ Box 238b: Vol. 409o
- Folio Box 239: Vol. 416o
- Folio+ Box 239a: Vol. 464o
- Folio+ Box 240: Vols. 462o
- Folio+ Box 240a: Vols. 462ao
- Folio+ Box 241: Vols. 463o
- Folio+ Box 242: Vol. 465o
- Folio+ Box 243: Vol. 466o
- Folio+ Box 243a: Vol. 466ao
- Folio+ Box 244: Vol. 467o
- Folio+ Box 244a: Vol. 468o
- Folio+ Box 245: Vol. 469o
- Folio+ Box 245a: Vol. 469ao
- Folio+ Box 246: Vol. 470o
- Folio+ Box 246a: Vols. 471o, 472o
- Folio+ Box 247: Vols. 473o-485o
- Folio+ Box 248: Vol. 486o
- Folio+ Box 249: Vol. 487o
- Folio+ Box 249a: Vol. 487ao
- Folio+ Box 250: Vols. 488o, 489o
- Folio+ Box 251: Vols. 490o-498o
- Folio+ Box 251a: Vol. 499o
- Folio+ Box 251b: Vol. 500o
- Folio+ Box 251c: Vol. 501o
- Folio Box 251d: Vol. 502o
- Folio+ Box 251e: Vol. 505o
- Carton 252: Vols. 506o, 507o, 509o
- Folio Box 252a: Vol. 508o
- Folio+ Box 253: Vols. 503o, 504o, 509ao
- Folio+ Box 253a: Vol. 510o
- Folio+ Box 253b: Vol. 511o
- Folio+ Box 253c: Vol. 512o
- Carton 254: Vols. 514o-517o
- Carton 254a: Vols. 518o, 519o
- Carton 255: Vols. 520o-522o
- Folio Box 255a: Vol. 527o
- Folio+ Box 256: Vols. 540o, 540ao, 540bo, 595o, 598o
- Box 256a: Vol. 543o
- Box 256b: Vol. 546ao
- Box 256c: 547o
- Carton 257: Vols. 552o-554o, 554ao, 554bo
- Carton 258: Vols. 559o-565o
- Carton 259: Vols. 566o-572o
- Carton 260: Vols. 573o-579o
- Carton 261: Vols. 580o-587o
- Carton 262: Vols. 588o-594o
- Folio+ Box 262a: Vol. 597o
- Folio Box 262b: Vol. 599o
- Folio+ Box 262c: Vol. 600o
- Folio+ Box 263: Series IV: 16cf+, 17f+, 19f+, 25af+, 25bf+, 56af+, 56bf+, 59f+, 60f+, 61f+, 62f+, 62af+, 63f+, 68f+
- Folio Box 264: Series IV: 13f, 16af, 16bf, 20f, 21f, 21af, 64f, 65f
- Folio Box 265: Series IV: 66af, 66bf, 67f, 69f, 78f, 78af, 79f, 79af, 80f, 84af, 85hf
- Folio+ Box 266: Series IV: 76f+, 78bf+, 81f+, 85df+, 85gf+, 85kf+, 85of+, 85pf+, 86f+, 88f+, 89f+, 89af+, 92bf+
- Oversize Box 267: Series IV: 3o, 9ao, 9bo, 15o, 16o, 22o, 23o, 24o, 25o, 26o, 27o
- Oversize Box 268: Series IV: 84bo, 85o, 85ao, 85bo, 85co, 85eo, 85fo, 85io, 85jo, 85lo, 85mo, 85no, 92ao
- Supersize Box 269: Series IV: 52+, 53+, 54+, 55+, 71+, 72+, 75+, 77+
- Supersize Box 270: Series IV: 51+, 57+, 70+, 73+, 84+
- Folio+ Box 271: Series IV: 12f+, 14f+
- Folio Box 272: Series IV: 12af, 18f
- Folio Box 273: Series IV: 36bm, 38m, 39m, 41m, 42m, 44m, 45bm, 45cm, 45dm, 46m, 46am, 48m, 50am
- Oversize Box 274: Series IV: 83o
Processed: June 1973, June 1974
Updated and additional materials added: May 2015
- Business enterprises
- Cooking, American
- Herbs--Therapeutic use
- Journals (bookkeeping)
- Patent medicines--United States--History--19th century
- Patent medicines--United States--History--20th century
- Pinkham Pamphlets
- Text-Book on Ailments Peculiar to Women
- Women--Health and hygiene
- Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company. Records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company, 1776-ca.1985 (inclusive), 1859-1968 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA