• “Jumbo Feeds Baby Castoria,” ca. 1885. Jumbo the Elephant "endorsed" a variety of consumer goods. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Jumbo feeds baby Castoria
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Advertisement on verso: Centaur Liniment is unquestionably the most nearly instantaneous cure of pains, burns, swells, galls and lameness upon man and beast that the world has ever known. Date supplied by cataloger. P. T. Barnum.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • An advertisement for Watkins Liquid Shampoo and Hair Tonic. Vaudeville star Myrtle Huntley lent her image to Watkins products. Courtesy of the Winona County Historical Society via Minnesota Digital Library.

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    Watkins product advertisement, Winona, Minnesota
    • Creator
    • Huntley, Ben A
    • Description
    • Advertisement for Watkins Liquid Shampoo and Hair Tonic with Myrtle Huntley posed with her long hair down and holding a bottle of Watkins hair tonic.
    • Rights
    • This image may not be reproduced for any reason without the express written consent of the Winona County Historical Society.
    • Partner
    • Minnesota Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Winona County Historical Society

  • Carter's Liver Bitters advertisement featuring Sarah Bernhardt, ca. 1885. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Carter's Liver Bitters will make you eat - Sarah Bernhardt
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date supplied by cataloger. Carter Medicine Co.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • Roving reporter Nellie Bly lent her name and image to a variety of products, including this lithographed gameboard which highlights her journey around the world in 1889-1890. Courtesy of David Rumsey.

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    The "World's globe circler". (Gameboard, based on Jules Verne's Around the world in 80 days)
    • Date
    • 1890
    • Creator
    • New York World.
    • Description
    • This very graphic, lithographed gameboard is about journalist Nellie Bly's trip around the world in 1889-1890. Mounted on a heavy cardbord, backed with black paper, with decorative gold border. Game shows squares for each of the 73 days of her journe... more
      This very graphic, lithographed gameboard is about journalist Nellie Bly's trip around the world in 1889-1890. Mounted on a heavy cardbord, backed with black paper, with decorative gold border. Game shows squares for each of the 73 days of her journey arranged in a circular pattern, flanked with images of Nellie Bly and Jules Verne are illustrated in the top left and right corners, Nellie's ship and train are pictured in the lower corners. It is embellished with illustrations from the remarkable character's journey. Spaces show where she was on the voyage, twisting in a nautilus-type spiral, at the center of which is Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. See note field above. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

Patent medicine advertisements appeared in the back pages of American newspapers and magazines and were also distributed via pamphlets and full-color trade cards. Patent medicines were often sold via rigorous advertising campaigns. A number of themes consistently emerged in patent medicine advertising. These included images that portrayed Native Americans as purveyors of secret herbal remedies, images of “learned medical advisors” who were often scholarly-looking white men, and a large number of celebrity endorsements.

Various nineteenth century notables such as the reporter Nellie Bly, the actress Sarah Bernhardt and the widely-recognized Jumbo the Elephant all lent their names to various patent medicine concoctions. Patent medicine advertising also employed a number of gimmicks to ensure repeat customers. These included giveaways such as pamphlets and cardboard novelties, games, jokes, cartoons, and puzzle cards.