See ads 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!
Read the full text of the 1935 Canadian edition
of Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday, probably identical to the American edition.
More ads for teens (see also introductory
page for teenage advertising): Are you in the know? (Kotex napkins and Quest napkin powder, 1948, U.S.A.),
Are you in the know? (Kotex
napkins and belts, 1949, U.S.A.)Are you in
the know? (Kotex napkins, 1953, U.S.A.),
Are you in the know? (Kotex
napkins and belts, 1964, U.S.A.), Freedom
(1990, Germany), Kotex (1992, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Pursettes (1974, U.S.A.), Saba (1975, Denmark)
See early tampons and a list of tampon on this site - at least the ones I've cataloged.
Vagina Day at the
University of Delaware
Some Long Island women cut flour
bags into strips for . . . .
Logo scanned from my t-shirt. The other side of the
Spread the word
The logo sits at the bottom of the shirt, below the belt.
Last Tuesday I manned a table with information about this museum at
a celebration of women at a university an hour
by train from here, spending an afternoon meeting interesting and friendly
Thanks, Megan Jenkins, Litza Stark, Rachel Meyer
and many others for giving me and the many exhibitors an opportunity to
show and discuss topics fundamental to women, like childbirth, breast feeding
and menstruation, and for being such good company!
I was surprised at the range of majors represented by the folks operating
the event, not all women's studies students, as I had assumed. For example,
Megan Jenkins plays the flute and is weighing studying musical composition
in graduate school next year. Litza Stark majors in computer science; she
recently spent six weeks in Morocco and baked some tasty and thought-provoking
cookies for V-Day (as did Megan), the dates in them being an inspiration
from her trip.
Next week I hope to put a picture of the event on this page.
At Vagina Day a woman told me a story her over-90-year-old grandfather
- that's father - told her about his childhood.
His father owned a bakery in Long Island,
New York, and probably during the 1910s and 1920s his sisters and mother
- he was the youngest in the family - cut strips from empty flour bags
to make washable menstrual pads for themselves. [Note from 2007: The German
Nobel Prize winning writer Günter Grass tells in his autobiography
Peeling the Onion how his father cut newspaper into strips for the
family's toilet paper. The family was poor.]
I suspect women have always used anything absorbent and cheap for menstrual
pads, and probably still do in America and elsewhere (see and read more
about washable pads). Women could buy washable
pads since at least the early twentieth century - the Sears,
Roebuck & Co. catalog sold them in 1902 and 1908, (at least), for
example - and companies sold belts to hold them since at least 1891 (in
the catalog from Jordan, Marsh & Co. in
Boston, for example) - but throwaway pads probably didn't become widely
available until Kotex starting advertising them,
By the way, the visitor was amazed he told her the story but couldn't
remember the context in which he told it, maybe because she was so startled.
She hopes to muster the courage to ask her grandmother about it!
A black photographer from the Chicago Tribune newspaper accompanied
a reporter to the physical museum a few years ago and told me he often saw
menstrual rags drying on clotheslines in the 1950s in the poor section of
Chicago where he grew up.
He and his under-ten-years-old friends used to guess which women were
menstruating, which they could detect by seeing the bulk of a rag between
a woman's legs - most women's nightmare (to be
detected menstruationg, that is), according to advertisers!
And I had no idea women menstruated until the boy next door told me
when I eleven!
Cultural attitudes about tampons: Procter &
Gamble tries to expand tampon use in other countries
A visitor sent me a terrific
article from the Wall Street Journal about a fascinating topic I have
often discussed on the site: tampon use around the
world, and how it's almost nonexistent in Latin countries and Japan,
among others. And how a company tries to create a new market - a tough job
Tambrands was not able to do a few years ago on its own.
I worked with a Hispanic man with two grown children, one a woman, who
saw a tampon for the first time in his life when he looked at a comic tampon
award two women in my office gave me when I started the museum.
The article tells how P&G is training women
in Mexico to show others how a tampon works and some facts about
menstruation. Tampax did the same thing when it started in 1936 and for
Look at a chart salespeople used in the 1930s to show women what the
Wix tampon (a predecessor of Tampax; Tampax bought the company in the 1930s)
is and how to use it.
Fear of losing one's virginity by using a tampon
is a big barrier to getting young women in
many countries to use it. See an American
Tampax ad addressing this.
And doctors themselves seem to know little about
The writer faults P&G for not mentioning the
possibility of toxic shock syndrome to the potential customers, a condition
that has drastically declined in the U.S.A. The company stopped making tampons
until its acquisition of Tambrands a few years ago because of the association
of its Rely tampon with
the TSS crisis around 1980.
Read the article!
Letters to your MUM
Question about John Lowan, M.D., author
of The Science of a New Life
I greatly admire your Web site. It manages to be both scholarly and
I am writing to ask you if you could possibly help me find information
about John Lowan M.D., the author of "The Science
of a New Life." Do you know of any reliable biographies, primary
sources published in the 1870s, or other academic works that deal with
this man? [No, but knowledgeable readers please e-mail
My main interest is in finding out how influential his book was in
the 1870s. I want to find out:
1. how many copies his book sold when
it was first published,
2. how he adopted Sylvester Graham's dietary
and sexual views,
3. and if he really did have mail correspondence with Cady
Stanton and Wm.
Thank you for your time.
(a history student at a university in California)
Is Penis Day every day everywhere? A woman
in the United Kingdom writes:
I don't know if this true in the U.S.A., but for many, many men in
Britain EVERY DAY IS PENIS DAY. In fact, the
world revolves around penises (or peni), especially their own. I think
it will take more than one Vagina Day to redress the balance.
[I mused about a theoretical Penis
Day last week, and I report on Vagina Day at the University of Delaware,
Gee, is there a spot on the page for a link?
I would like to offer my Web site (http://www.DoctorG.com) for inclusion
in your links. It is a site dedicated to helping people create sexual relationships
that will allow them to enjoy peace of mind, whatever their circumstances,
to better love and be loved by others and to build families and communities
that support positive and nurturing relationships.
A link to your site can be found at http://www.DoctorG.com/DrGLinks.htm.
Suggested link text:
The G Zone <http://www.doctorg.com> -Insightful articles, tools & toys for satisfying
sexual relationships from Dr. Gary Schubach, sex educator and authority
in the area of the Grafenberg spot and female ejaculation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Gary Schubach, Ed.D., A.C.S.
Do you want to show items from this museum?
Please contact me if, on behalf
of an organization, you want to temporarily show items from this museum
and are able to pay the shipping expenses, or if you have a good idea about
where the museum can set up permanently.
All this depends on availability of items. Right now an American television
network; Opening Closed Doors,
in Texas; and, for a day, the University of Delaware, have chunks of the
If you're willing to pay my shipping expenses, and if I can skip work,
you can also listen to me, live, talk endlessly about this endlessly interesting
A TV production company asks, "Did you celebrate
If you had a party or created a ritual to celebrate your first period,
we would be interested in hearing your story and seeing your videos, pictures.
This would be for possible inclusion in a television documentary called
Reinventing Rituals, Coming of Age in a Modern World
for Vision Television, in Canada.
Series consultant is Ron Grimes, internationally recognized expert
on ritual and the author of numerous books on ritual including his most
recent, Deeply Into the Bone, Reinvented Rite of
These three one hour specials, Coming of Age
in the Modern World; Marriage Separation and
Divorce; and Birth and Death are co-production
between Northern Lights Television in Toronto and Ocean Entertainment in
Halifax for Vision Television Network. They will air on Vision TV, a Canadian
specialty channel whose mandate is to cover multi-faith, multicultural
stories about the human spirit.
Reinventing Rituals will explore exotic cultures and ceremonies that
may, on the surface, bear little resemblance to the hallmarks of our own
lives. We will witness dramatic initiation ceremonies from Africa, complex
funerals from New Guinea, and elaborate wedding and courtship rituals from
South America. Viewers will become acquainted with traditional rites from
many different cultures, contemporary and historic.
However, at the core of this series are the North Americans who are
exploring new ways to mark transitions. We'll meet parents who are preparing
to spend their children out in the mountains to spend grueling days and
nights in initiation ceremonies; individuals who are approaching the end
of life determined to design all aspects of their own funerals; and expectant
couples who are redefining appropriate behaviour in the birthing room.
This series is about these men and women and their quest to reinvent traditional
rites of passage; but it's also about the connections that can be drawn
between these modern pioneers and their counterparts in other times and
Program #1 The Bridge: Coming of Age in the Modern
Reinventing Rites of Passage.
Reinventing Rituals is a compelling series of television documentaries
that explore the dramatic resurgence in ritual and how it is being interpreted
or recreated in order to give meaning to our lives.
From first menstruation ceremonies to vision quests, traditional societies
have used ritual to help young people mark and make the transition from
adolescence to adulthood. All but abandoned by Western culture, initiation
rituals are suddenly becoming more popular.
The increasing profile of street gangs, drug wars, and teenage promiscuity
in our communities have contributed to rising the popularity of the coming
of age rituals. Many parents fear that if they do not provide an initiation
scenario their children will initiate themselves using sex, drugs or dangerous
behaviour. By enrolling their children in complex and often dramatic initiation
rites, families can help young people make the difficult transition to
adulthood. In this program we meet youth at the National Rites of Passage
Institute in Cleveland Ohio who have spent the past year in a coming of
age program. And then we'll join up with teenagers who've enrolled in a
10 day-long program outside Calgary, Alberta as they prepare to spend three
If you are interested and/or need more information,
Deannie Sullivan Fraser
SNAIL MAIL: Ocean ENTERTAINMENT, SUITE 404, 1657 BARRINGTON STREET,
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA B3J 2A1
You have privacy
What happens when you visit this site?
I get no information about you from any
source when you visit, and I have no idea who you
are, before, during or after your visit.
This is private - period.
Do You Have Irregular Menses?
If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome
[and here's a support association for it].
Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham
and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked
me to tell you that
Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome
(PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of
reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility
and is linked to diabetes.
Learn more about current
research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's
Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University
- or contact Jane Newman.
If you have fewer than six
periods a year, you may be eligible to participate
in the study!
New this week: Menstrual-pad
belt ad from the Jordan, Marsh & Co. catalog
(Boston, U.S.A., 1891) - humor
© 2007 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any
of the work on this Web site in any manner
or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected
violations to firstname.lastname@example.org