for menarche-education booklets: Marjorie May's Twelfth
Birthday (Kotex, 1932), Tampax tampons (1970,
with Susan Dey), Personal
Products (1955, with Carol Lynley),
and German o.b.
tampons (lower ad, 1981)
And read Lynn Peril's series about
these and similar booklets!
puberty & menstruation booklet
Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday, 1929
(cover, pages 4, 11, 12-13, 14-15)
language! I don't know of
any child - or any adult! - who
would speak so formally and
correctly, especially to a parent.
Among other things, this probably
indicates the class of people
expected to read this booklet in
the 1920s, upper-middle
and above, because Kotex was not
cheap (see some
advertisements later), and it
elevates the tone of a "dirty"
topic, menstruation. There is also
a kind of stage English once
thought appropriate for writing;
perhaps this reflects that. Maybe
also it's just not written well!
By the way, you'll never read
the word menstruation
in this booklet, nor in any Kotex
ad from the 1920s. It would be a
valuable project for someone to
find the first mention of this
word in advertising. (A Kotex ad for the booklet
"As One Girl To Another" uses
the word in 1942, the earliest
mention I know of.)
Not that we have progressed so
far today. I don't believe you'll
hear that word on television
advertising in the U.S.A.
This copy of Marjorie May's
Twelfth Birthday is in the
collection of the Powerhouse
Museum, Sydney, Australia, and
is reproduced here with the kind
permission of the Curator of
Health and Medicine at that
© 1999 Harry Finley. It is
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