Douche with a smile in addition to a Coke
bottle with Little Doozee.
Read also an Australian ad for douche apparatus
in a banned publication, about 1900. See instructional material for an American company that sold douche equipment and
menstrual cups at Tupperware-like parties in women's
Read 1930s criticism of douching liquids
Zonite and Lysol.
Booklets menstrual hygiene companies made
for girls, women and teachers - patent medicine
- a list of books and articles about menstruation
See early tampons and a list of tampons on this site - at least the ones I've cataloged.
The Intimate Side of a Woman's Life by
Leona W. Chalmers
Book (hard cover with dust jacket), 128 pages, 1937
Pioneer Publications, Inc., Radio City, New York, U.S.A.
Gynecology, women, cup, health, menstruation, beauty, period, feminine,
vaginal hygiene, douche, period, cycle, cleanliness, bath, odor, body, medicine,
pain, loveliness, exercise, pain, sick, feminine, cosmetics, sanitary pad,
Basically, this book explains how to attract men
by keeping certain parts of your body spic and span - you know which
ones. But Mrs. Chalmers will gladly tell you again and again and
again. And again.
That's it! That's the book!
Well, the douching recommendations are part of the long history of killing
and/or douching out sperm: contraception. Sponges performed a similar service as did at least
But she also introduced to the U.S.A. probably the first
soft rubber menstrual cup, I think a real advance; she thinks so
too and will tell you about it.
Her own lively writing is the best way to appreciate this bundle of
energy - energy derived as she believed from keeping herself clean?
Below: The front of the dust
Mrs. Chalmers's armpit gets its own section - OK, your armpit.
Hers are fine.
Look at the back cover (at right): I'm struck by the association of
a Dr. W. S. Pugh - Pyoo, meaning "It stinks!"
- with a book whose theme - , well, that's the theme, from hair to
breath to armpit to vulva and vagina! Don't look at ME that way; Mrs. Chalmers
wrote the book! I'm just the humble male transmitter of her silly opinions.
Page after page she will make you GASP, often for air!
Below: The back
of the dust cover. I enlarged it make it easier to read.
It seems suspect that Dr. Pugh praises a book he's heavily involved
Wonderfully vague euphemism: "cleanliness
of 'the parts.'"
"The one sentence in this work 'A woman's body is constructed in such a way as to make
her a breeder of disease unless she keeps herself immaculately clean' is sufficient reason for this work. She states 'Every
husband appreciates a clean, lovely wife'. [sic] In this sentence the Author
points to one of the fundamentals of divorce. If
it were not for unclean, unlovely wives divorce would be cut to a minimum." Lysol relied on
threatened divorce for business.
Below: The front
Below: The back flap
"Precious organs" stirs memories
of the "precious bodily fluids" from
the movie Dr. Strangelove.
Below: Title page
(p. iii). Two pages before this one is a page with only the title. Each
page measures about 5 3/16 x 8" (about 12.8 x 20.2 cm).
Frank Netter was a famous medical illustrator.
See another famous one from that era.
Below: In the year this book appeared The American Journal of Nursing dismissed it in
a short hurrumph
(Nov. 1937, vol. 37, issue 11, p. 1298). Some excerpts [I added the red
"Though the author claims that 'all information is accurate and
authentic according to the latest medical research[,]' some of the theories
advanced seem to this reviewer to be in direct opposition to those accepted
by recognized authorities in gynecology." [About douching,
for example:] "Dr. Crossen, in his latest edition of Gynecology for
Below: As part of an offer for Chalmers's menstrual cup, now called Tassette,
the Sunday Herald (Bridgeport, Conn., Nov. 8, 1959) ran this boxed
ad offering a reduced pamphlet version of the
book on the left side of page C3. Right under the paper's name at the top
readers found its motto: No Fear -- No Favor - The People's Paper.
With one exception I've kept the line lengths of the ad, thus the odd
"In healthy women the constant use of douches or the routine use
of them for indefinite periods is not advisable. They are not required
for mere cleanliness; in fact, they may interfere in a measure with the
normal germicidal vaginal contents, which nature has provided to to keep
the vagina in a healthy condition and to protect the structures above."
[That's today's view.]
[About Mrs. Chalmers's menstrual cup, the
reviewer quotes Dr. Emil Novak's book The Woman Asks the Doctor (Chalmers
also uses Novak as an authority):]
Only a limited number of women could wear these
appliances. They could not be used in young unmarried girls, in
married women who as a result of previous pregnancies have considerable
relaxation of the vagina, or in women with excessive bleeding. [Note the
assumption that unmarried means not having had sexual intercourse, an assumption
invalid today and then, but which upheld a certain moral standard.]
[The final blow:]
It seems erroneous to base health habits exclusively on a desire for
"That irresistable power which lovely women
have over strong forceful men" when one reflects that the majority
of our habits are well established before we reach adolescence.
Most nurses who are asked by their patients to recommend a book will
prefer one which is written by a recognized medical authority. [Do I hear
"Ouch!" caused by stepping on toes?]
FREE BOOKLET FOR
WOMEN ONLY [Oh, boy, that's catnip for, um, certain guys! See another shamelessly provocative ad, from 1892.]
"AN INTIMATE SIDE
OF A WOMAN'S LIFE"
A fascinating, informative 20
page booklet by the noted author
on feminine hygiene, Mrs. Leona
Chalmers. It tells about an
amazing NEW METHOD which
does away completely with tam-
pons or sanitary pads. Praised
by dancers, actresses
[who also praised early tampons]
and thousands of women in all walks of
life. SEND NO MONEY. Limited
supply of booklets.
Send for this fascinating Booklet
Write to Mrs. Leona Chalmers,
requesting a copy of her famous
booklet "An Intimate Side of a
Woman's Life." You will be
amazed and intrigued at what
this booklet discloses. There is
no obligation or cost to you.
MAIL COUPON TODAY
Mrs. Leona Chalmers
TASSETTE, 170 Atlantic Square
Please send me the booklet "An Inti-
mate Side of a Woman's Life". [sic] I
understand that there is absolutely
no cost or obligation on my part
In the same month and year a much slicker ad for
Tassette appeared in Ebony, p. 148, a magazine aimed at the African-American
market. It might surprise you to see many whites in the ads. Articles within
use the capitalized words Negro and White.
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