Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You Never Know . . .

What you will find left behind in books – scraps of paper, notes, bookmarks, clipped newspaper or magazine articles, old photos.

And then there’s the totally unexpected “find”  like this brochure found while sorting through the library’s book sale table last week.

Reliable Birth Control, a 1930s pamphlet distributed by Lanteen Laboratories, incorporated in Illinois in August 1928.
The man shown on the cover wasn't a medical doctor of any type, but a professional model, according to author Andrea Tone in Devices & Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America. There was no Dr. Norman Carr of London. Lanteen had obtained the image from the stock collection of an advertising agency.

The imposingly-named Medical Bureau of Information on Birth Control, was a paper organization and a subsidiary of  Lanteen Laboratories.

This was a profitable deception. In the 1930s, Lanteen sold over 14 million copies at a cost of 10 cents each. The below ad is from the National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, Vol. 26, 1934-35. lanteen ad
NOTE: Eclectic medicine was a branch of American medicine which made use of botanical remedies along with other substances and physical therapy practices, popular in the latter half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Eclectic medicine is practiced in a modernized form today, mainly by medical herbalists and not physicians.

Lanteen Laboratories implied that methods used or recommended were “sure, safe, scientific” and “never fail.” The company offered various mechanical contraceptive devices for sale (condoms, cervical caps, etc.) and medicinal preparations for local application. The latter were all given the generic name “Lanteen” and differentiated by colors for specific groups of women:

Lanteen Green — for the bride or wives who have not yet borne children.  Lanteen Blue —  for the bride or the mother of one child. Lanteen Russet — for the mother of two or more . Lanteen Rose — for the middle-aged mother of several children.
Price ranges for Lanteen preparations ranged from $1.25 (Lanteen Green) to $2.50 (Lanteen Russet). While not costly by today’s standards, this was a significant amount during the 1920-1930s depression years in the U.S.

NOTE: Lanteen Laboratories was not affiliated with the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau started in 1923. This was the first legal birth control clinic in the U.S. opened in NYC by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

You never know WHAT you will find in a used book – maybe a LOT more than you ever wanted (or needed) to know – this week I found a 1999 hotel bill from the May Fair Inter-Continental Hotel in London. and someone’s W-2 form. (Both were discarded.)

The things you can find in books !
(Try doing
this with an electronic book.)


Elaine said...

You can be sure this brochure is not available electronically. It is enlightening to read some of these old publications. I think people relied mostly on magic back then, or at least magic would have had a better chance of curing their ailments. I have an old medical book, and oh my! It does make me feel fortunate to be alive now instead of them.

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, that is a find! I love how "positive" the brochure is. I guess there's some snake oil involved, too. :\

Sandra said...

i have bought many many used books and have found nothing but book marks, this is really really interesting info that i have not heard before. what a find. i do find all kinds of weird things as book marks but nothing like this.

grammie g said...

Hi Beatrice ..every interesting reading and find.!!
Obviously some people couldn't afford these products,like the neighbors where I grew up . They had a 8 girls and 2 sets of twins (girls) who died at birth!! lol
Who know what grandma's secret rememdy where, something that didn't get talked about in those days!!

Out on the prairie said...

I have had fun with finds from books.One slip was a graduation from a special class, and the people must have thought I was nuts trying to locate the owner.Add up what they made on just the pamphlets and they prospered well.

possum said...

I got a Kindle for Xmas... I really hate it, but I have to make a good show of using it. So, when I finish a book, you will not find it in the thrift store, nor can I loan it to friends... let alone leave any little notes in it for someone to find 70 years later!

Anonymous said...

How interesting!
I´ve never found anything in old books except for my grandmothers old cook book. She had cut out a recipe from a milk carton and placed it in her cook book. Not even half as interesting as for the things You find :-) :-)

Have a great day now!

Anvilcloud said...

Ah, the good old days. Hmmm ... not always.

Ginny said...

Just one more reason regular books are better than electronic. How did you ever find out about all this from just that flyer? Glad I wasn't around to need any services like that back then!! Peoople weren't as aware of sccam artists.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi folks, yes this really was quite an unexpected and interesting (to say the least) "find" in a book about construction!
Elaine, it does seem that people used to be more trusting of anything that even sounded important and the Medical Bureau of Information did seem like an imposing name.
Yes, Lois and Grammie G. trying to find info online about this group was a challenge and proved as interesting as the brochure. But I could not find any info on the effectiveness of these products.
Steve, I am always amazed at just how many slips of paper I've found in books - nothing like this before!
Christer, hope the recipe was a good one!
AC, yes not always the good old days.
Ginny, I spent a good amount of time online but did not find much more than included in the post. Perhaps it's because of the length of time that's passed. Still, what I did find was interesting enough to share.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Possum, I agree that an electronic book has so many "disadvantages" and you have named some of the biggest ones - so many reasons that I'm staying with books!

Ruth said...

That woman they describe would drive any sane person to use their product. Eleven pregnanies and nine children...! Interesting post.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ruth, I AGREE!

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