[Investigation of patent medicines by post]

Part of:
Wellcome Foundation Ltd
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


A collection of patent medicine literature and printed testimonials that appears to have been gathered covertly by Burroughs Wellcome & Co in the course of monitoring small advertisements to study cross-relationships between suppliers, and suppliers operating under more than one trading name.

It is not readily apparent whether the exercise was related to a specific legal case, although the time-span (1902-1903) co-incides with Thompson & Capper. Amongst the material is a hand-written note (stamped 25 October, 1902) from A E Warden, addressed to Mr Wellcome and Mr Smith, referring to "Tabloid" products and to producing "a large amount of evidence". Also, there are 18 typescript sheets listing names of advertisers, their addresses, and the products promoted, and noting, through close comparison, examples of bogus references, suppliers operating under more than one name, comparing handwriting and type of paper used, etc.

Amongst the material, the ailments for which patent remedies were sold include drunkenness, hair loss, blushing, and corpulency. The link with "Tabloid" investigation is suggested by, for example, literature for "Taylor's World-Renowned Anti-Fat Tabloids." Most material rests within the original envelope in which it was posted.



Physical description

1 box 3 tied bundles, plus 18 typescript sheets plus 1 sheet manuscript note.

Copyright note

Copyright assigned to the Wellcome Trust

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

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