Advertising Food, Medicine, and Health Care Products

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Alkon, Ava. “Late 20th-Century Consumer Advocacy, Pharmaceuticals, and Public Health: Public Citizen’s Health Research Group in Historical Perspective.”  PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 2012.

American Medical Association.  Nostrums an d Quackery: Articles on the Nostrum Evil and Quackery, Reprinted, With Additions and Modifications, From the Journal of the American Medical Association.  2nd ed.  Chicago: American Medical Association, 1912.

        Extremely useful three volume set of brief articles about a huge variety of patent medicine products.  The AMA took great interest in running the most egregious patent medicine advertisers out of business during the period in which the medical profession was modernizing and establishing professional standards.  Most of these articles were published in JAMA and were geared toward debunking the claims or exposing the dangers of a specific product.  The collection includes many illustrations.  There is no source which makes patent medicine ads from the Progressive Era more readily available for convenient study.  

Anderson, Erin.  “Molded Magic: Advertising the ‘Joys of Jell-O’ to the Modern American Housewife, 1920-1945.” PhD dissertation, University of Wyoming, 2014.

Apple, Riva D.  “They Need it Now: Science, Advertising, and Vitamins, 1925-1940.”  Journal of Popular Culture 22 (Winter 1988): 65-84.

Apple, Rima Dombrow.  Vitamania: Vitamins in American Culture.  New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Archer, Sarah.  The Midcentury Kitchen: America’s Favorite Room, from Workspace to Dreamscape, 1940s-1970s. New York: Countryman Press, 2019.

Armstrong, David.  The Great American Medicine Show.  New York: Prentice Hall, 1991.

Asquith, Kyle.  “From Consumers of Food to Participants in the ‘Modern Consumer Marketplace.’”  Advertising & Society Review 16:1 (2015).

Bader, Louis, and Sidney Picker.  Marketing Drugs and Cosmetics.  New York: Van Nostrand, 1947.

Beard, Fred, and Anna Klyueva.  “George Washington Hill and the ‘Reach for a Lucky’ Campaign.”  Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 2:2 (2010): 148-165.

Berridge, Virginia, and Kelly Loughlin, eds.  Medicine, the Market, and Mass Media: Producing Health in the Twentieth Century.  New York: Routledge, 2004.

Bingham, A. Walter.  Snake Oil Syndrome: Patent Medicine Advertising.  Hanover, Mass.: Christopher, 1994.

Branyan, Helen B.  “Medical Charlatanism: The Goat Gland Wizard of Milford, Kansas.”  Journal of Popular Culture 25 (Summer 1991): 31-37.

Burt, Elizabeth V.  “From ‘True Woman’ to ‘New Woman’: An Analysis of the Lydia Pinkham ‘Animated Ads’ of 1890.”  Journalism History 37:4 (Winter 2012): 190-206.

Burt, Elizabeth V.  “Class and Social Status in the Lydia Pinkham Illustrated Ads, 1890-1900.”  American Journalism 30:1 (Winter 2013): 87-111.

Cassedy, James H.  “Muckraking and Medicine: Samuel Hopkins Adams.”  American Quarterly 16:1 (Spring 1964): 85-99.

Corzine, Nathan Michael.  “Right at Home: Freedom and Domesticity in the Language and Imagery of Beer Advertising, 1933-1960.”  Journal of Social History 43:4 (Summer 2010): 843-866.

Cramp, Arthur J.  “Modern Advertising and the Nostrum.”  American Journal of Public Health 8 (1918): 756-758.

Cramp, Arthur, M.D.,  Nostrums and Quackery and Pseudo-Medicine.  Chicago: American Medical Association, 1936.

Davis, Joshua Clark. From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

Deutsch, Tracey.  Building a Housewife’s Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Donohue, Julie.  “A History of Drug Advertising: The Evolving Roles of Consumers and Consumer Protection.”  Milbank Quarterly 84:4 (2006): 659-699.

Emery, Elizabeth. “Viral Marketing: Mariani Wine Testimonials in Early French and American Newspaper Advertising.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 39:2 (May 2017)L 117-129.

Endres, Kathleen L.  “Strictly Confidential’: Birth-Control Advertising in 19th Century City.” Journalism Quarterly 63 (1986):748-51. 

Engelman, Elysa R.  “The Face that Haunts Me Ever: Consumers, Retailers, Critics, and the Branded Personality of Lydia E. Pinkham.”  PhD dissertation, Boston University, 2003.

Feitz, Lindsey. “Democratizing Beauty: Avon’s Global Beauty Ambassadors and the Transnational Marketing of Femininity, 1954–2010.”  PhD dissertation, University of Kansas, 2010.

Friedman, Lester D., ed.  Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media.  Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

Gabriel, Joseph M. “Restricting the Sale of ‘Deadly Poisons’: Pharmacists, Drug Regulation, and Narratives of Suffering in the Gilded Age.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 9 (July 2010): 313–336.

Gambrill, Eileen.  Propaganda in the Helping Professions.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Gardner, Martha N., and Allan M. Brandt.  “The Doctors’ Choice is America’s Choice: The Physician in US Cigarette Advertisements, 1930-1953.” American Journal of Public Health 96:2 (2006): 222-232.

Gerald, Michael C. “The Rise and Fall of Celebrity Promotion of Prescription Products in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.” Pharmacy in History 52:1 (2010): 13–23.

Green, Thomas.  “Tricksters and the Marketing of Breakfast Cereals.”  Journal of Popular Culture 40:1 (2007): 49-68.

Greene, Jeremy A., and David Herzberg.  “Hidden in Plain Sight: Marketing Prescription Drugs to Consumers in the Twentieth Century.” American Journal of Public Health 100: 5 (2010): 793-803.

Hajdik, Anna. “A ‘Bovine Glamour Girl’: Borden Milk, Elsie the Cow, and the Convergence of Technology, Animals, and Gender at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.” Agricultural History 88 (Fall 2014): 470–490.

Hall, Kristin, “Selling Sexual Certainty? Advertising Lysol as a Contraceptive in the United States and Canada, 1919–1939,” Enterprise and Society, 14 (March 2013), 71–98.

Halliwell, Martin.  Therapeutic Revolutions: Medicine, Psychiatry, and American Culture, 1945-1970.  New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013.

Hamilton, Shane.  “The Economies and Conveniences of Modern-Day Living: Frozen Foods and Mass Marketing, 1945-1965.” Business History Review 77:1 (2003): 33-60.

Hansen, Bert. Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America.  Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009.

Hawkins, Richard A.  “Advertising and the Hawaiian Pineapple Canning Industry, 1929-1939.” Journal of Macromarketing 29:2 (2009): 172-192.

Hechtlinger, Adelaide.  The Great Patent Medicine Era, or Without Benefit of a Doctor.  New York: Grossett & Dunlap, 1970.

Herzberg, David L. “Designer Consciousness: Medicine, Marketing, and Identity in American Culture from Miltown to Prozac.”  PhD dissertation, University of Wisconsin- Madison, 2005.

Herzberg, David. “‘Will Wonder Drugs Never Cease!’: A Prehistory of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.” Pharmacy in History 51 (no. 2, 2009): 47–56.

Hisano, Ai.  “Selling Food in Clear Packages: The Development of Cellophane and the Expansion of Self-Service Merchandising in the United States, 1920s-1950s.” International Journal of Food Design 2:2 (October 2017): 153-166.

Holbrook, Stewart H.  The Golden Age of Quackery.  New York: Macmillan, 1959.

Hollis, Tim.   Part of a Complete Breakfast: Cereal Characters of the Baby Boom Era. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2012.

Horrocks, Thomas A.  Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Almanacs and Health Advice in Early America.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008.

Hoy, Suellen.  Chasing Dirt: The American Pursuit of Cleanliness.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Hurley, Andrew.  “From Hash House to Family Restaurant: The Transformation of the Diner and Post-World War II Consumer Culture.”  Journal of American History 83:4 (March 1997): 1282-1308.

Janik, Erika.  Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine.  Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

Johnson, Emily. “Who Would Know Better Than the Girls in White? Nurses as Experts in Postwar Magazine Advertising, 1945-1950.” Nursing History 20 (2012): 44-71.

Jones, Joseph P., and Earnest L. Perry Jr. “Smoke and Mirrors: The Chicago Defender, Tobacco Sponsorship, and the Health of the African American Public Sphere.” Journalism History 48, no. 4 (2022): 303-323. 

Juhnke, Eric S.  Quacks and Crusaders: The Fabulous Careers of John Brinkley, Norman Baker, and Harry Hoxsey.  Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2002.

Lawson, Cedric.  “Patent Medicine Advertising and the Early American Press.” Journalism Quarterly 14 (December 1937): 333-341.

Lee, R. Alton.  The Bizarre Careers of John R. Brinkley.  Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2002.

Lemberger, Joseph L.  Drugstore Memories: American Pharmacists Recall Life Behind the Counter.  Madison: American Institute for the History of Pharmacy, 2002.

Lonier, Terri.  “Alchemy in Eden: Entrepreneurialism, Branding, and Food Marketing in the United States, 1880-1920.”  Enterprise & Society 11:4 (December 2010): 697-710.

McGrath, Maria.  Food for Dissent: Natural Foods and the Consumer Counterculture Since the 1960s.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2019.

McGuigan, Lee.  “Proctor & Gamble, Mass Media, and the Making of American Life.” Media, Culture & Society 37:6 (2015): 887-903.

Mangun, Kimberly, and Lisa M. Parcell. “The Pet Milk Company ‘Happy Family’ Advertising Campaign.” Journalism History 40 (Summer 2014): 70–84.

Marcellus, Jane.  “Nervous Women and Noble Savages: The Romanticized Other in Nineteenth Century US Patent Medicine Advertising.”  Journal of Popular Culture 41:5 (October 2008): 784-808.

Myers, Paul, and Lisa Mulikin Parcell. “Beauty and the Bran: Kellogg’s Campaign to ‘Correct Faulty Elimination’ and Conquer the Cereal Industry.” Journalism History 48:4 (October 2022): 324-348.

Nelson, Michelle R., Susmita Das, and Regina Jihea Ahn.  “A Prescription for Health: (Pseudo) Scientific Advertising of Fruits and Vegetables in the Early 20th Century.”  Advertising & Society Quarterly 21:1 (Spring 2020).

Nichols, John E.  “Publishers and Drug Advertising, 1933-38.”  Journalism Quarterly 49 (Spring 1972): 144-147.

Pfaff, Daniel W.  “Joseph Pulitzer II and Advertising Censorship, 1929-1939.”  Journalism Monographs no. 77 (July 1982).

Rees, Jonathan. The Chemistry of Fear: Harvey Wiley’s Fight for Pure Food.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021.

Rosenberg, John. “Barbarian Virtues in a Bottle: Patent Indian Medicines and the Commodification of Primitivism in the United States, 1870–1900.” Gender and History 24 (August 2012): 368–388.

Royer, George, Melissa G. Ocepek, and William Aspray.  “Food Fights for Freedom: A Critical Reading of Food Advertisements from Ladies’ Home Journal During the Second World War.”  Advertising & Society Review 15:4 (2015).

Rubin, Lawrence C.  “Merchandising Madness: Pills, Promises, and Better Living Through Chemistry.”  Journal of Popular Culture 38 (November 2004): 369-383.

Sarch, A.  “Those Dirty Ads: Birth Control Advertising in the 1920s and 1930s.”  Critical Studies in Mass Communication 14:1 (March 1997): 31-47.

Schlink, Frederick J.  Eat, Drink, and Be Wary.  New York: Consumer’s Research, 1935. 

Schudson, Michael. “Symbols and Smokers: Advertising, Health Messages, and Public Policy.” Edited by Robert L. Rabin. In Smoking Policy: Law, Politics, and Culture, edited by Stephen D. Sugarman, 208-225. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Schweitzer, Marlis.  “The Mad Search for Beauty”: Actresses’ Testimonials, the Cosmetics Industry, and the “Democratization of Beauty.”  Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 4:3 (July 2005): 255-292.

Scott, Linda M.  “Woodbury Soap: Classic Sexual Sell or Just Good Marketing?”  Advertising & Society Review 16:1 (2015).

Shapiro, Laura. Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America. New York: Viking, 2004.

Smith, F. L. “Quelling Radio’s Quacks: The FCC’s First Public-Interest Programming Campaign.” Journalism Quarterly 71:3 (1994): 594-608. 

Smith, Ralph Lee.  The Health Hucksters.  New York: Crowell, 1960.

Stage, Sarah.  Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women’s Medicine.  New York: Norton, 1979.

Stallings, S.  “From Printing Press to Pharmaceutical Representative: A Social History of Drug Advertising and Promotion.”  Journal of Drug Issues 22:2 (Spring 1992): 205-219.

Stanonis, Anthony J., ed.  Dixie Emporium: Tourism, Foodways, and Consumer Culture in the American South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008.

Starr, Paul.  The Social Transformation of American Medicine.  New York: Basic Books, 1982.

Steinberg, Salme H.  Reformer in the Marketplace: Edward W. Bok and the Ladies Home Journal.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979.

        Brief but useful study of Edward W. Bok, influential editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The LHJ was one of the first important magazines to stop running patent medicine ads.  Bok worked with Will Irwin and Samuel Hopkins Adams to publish a series of important muckraking articles on the “patent medicine curse.”  This series uncovered many of the secret recipes formulas and listed ingredients, which often included alcohol or various narcotics.  In his position as the editor of this influential women’s magazine, Bok was able to promote reform effectively.  LHJ was a prime outlet for advertising geared toward women. The study illuminates some of Bok’s other crusades, as well as highlighting the limits of his activism.  Bok, for example, did not support women’s suffrage.  See also Chapter 30 of Bok’s autobiography, The Americanization of Edward Bok.

Stillings, Dennis, and Nancy Roth.  “When Electroquackery Thrived.” IEEE Spectrum 15 (November 1978): 56-61.

Stump, Tyler S.  “More Than Luck: Lucky Strike Advertising During the George Washington Hill Years, 1926-1946.”  PhD dissertation, University of Maryland, 2015.

Telser, Lester G.  “Advertising and Cigarettes.” Journal of Political Economy 70:5 (October 1962): 471-499.

Thomas, Courtney I. P.  In Food We Trust: The Politics of Purity in American Food Regulation.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014. 

Thomas, Samuel J.  “Nostrum Advertising and the Image of Woman as Invalid in Late Victorian America.”  Journal of American Culture 5:3 (Fall 1982): 104-112.

Tomes, Nancy.  “Merchants of Health: Medicine and Consumer Culture in the United States, 1900-1940.”  Journal of American History 88:2 (September 2001): 519-547.

Tomes, Nancy.  Remaking the American Patient: How Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine Turned Patients into Consumers.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Veri, Maria.  “Got Athletes?: The Use of Male Athlete Celebrity Endorsers in Early Twentieth-Century Dairy Industry Promotions.”  Journal of Sport History 43:3 (Fall 2016): 290-305.

Vo Phun, Juily Iyn.  “Health Brokers: Chinese Herbal Doctors, Medical Tourism, and Medical Advertisements in Southern California, 1900-1941.”  Amerasia Journal 43:2 (2017): 47-78.

Ward, John, and Christian Warren, eds.  Silent Victories: The History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth Century America.   New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.  (a couple chapters touching on advertising)

Weber, Margaret.  “The Cult of Convenience: Marketing and Food in Postwar America.” Enterprise & Society 22:3 (September 2021): 605-634.

Wilson, Bee.  Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Witherspoon, Elizabeth. M.  “Courage of Convictions: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Times, and Reform of the Pure Food and Drug Act, 1933-1937.”  Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 75:4 (Winter 1998): 776-788.

Young, James Harvey.  The Toadstool Millionaires:  A Social History of Patent Medicines in America Before Federal Regulation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Young, James Harvey.  The Medical Messiahs: A Social History of Health Quackery in Twentieth Century America.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967.

Zeide, Anna.  Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018.

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