• A portrait of Lydia Pinkham, signed "Yours for Health," ca. 1885. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.  

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    Yours for health, Lydia Pinkham
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date supplied by cataloger.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "This treatise on the diseases of women is dedicated to the women of the world" was published by the Lydia Pinkham Medical Company in 1904. Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

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    This treatise on the diseases of women is dedicated to the women of the world : yours for health
    • Date
    • 1904
    • Rights
    • Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determin... more
      Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determining actual copyright status for any reuse of the material. less
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • "Home Nursing" pamphlet. Lydia Pinkham's product line extended to pamphlets with household hints and recipes. Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

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    Home nursing
    • Date
    • 1931
    • Rights
    • Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO KNOWN COPYRIGHT. This item is believed to be in the public domain but its copyright status has not been determined conclusively.
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NKC/1.0/
    • Partner
    • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • "Neighborly Advice" pamphlet, published by the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company in 1920. This pamphlet outlines the best practices for cleaning a pantry, mopping a floor, cleaning a refrigerator and laying out kitchen drawers. Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  

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    Neighborly Advice
    • Date
    • 1920
    • Rights
    • Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determin... more
      Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determining actual copyright status for any reuse of the material. less
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"When we hear of so many school girls and girls in stores and offices who are so often unfit to perform regular duties because of some derangement peculiar to their sex, may it not be that their mothers have been careless and through neglect failed to get for these daughters the one great remedy for such troubles, Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound?"

—Lydia Pinkham Medical Company, 1920 pamphlet

Perhaps the most famous purveyor of medicines for women was Lydia Pinkham. Born Lydia Estes in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1819, she married Mr. Pinkham in 1843 and subsequently raised a family. It was not until later that she produced her famous “vegetable compound” that would change her life and elevate women’s concerns to a national level. This compound was concocted from a recipe her husband obtained as part of the payment of a debt. The concoction was marketed as a “women’s tonic” and was promoted as relief for menstrual cramps and the discomforts of menopause. Lydia Pinkham’s compound debuted in 1875 and eventually her entire family was involved in its production. Her children filled bottles and folded advertisements.

Pinkham’s business flourished long after her death in 1883. An image of her was included on the bottles and helped perpetuated her image as a hardy and resourceful New Englander who was also a woman that other women could trust. Pinkham’s image was also distributed directly to druggists in the form of advertising cards, souvenir plates, and gift items.