Advertising Food, Medicine, and Health Care Products [index]

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. 

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

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

Berridge, Virginia, and Kelly Loughlin, edsMedicine, 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.

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.

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

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., edCultural 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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.