Marjorie May, three booklets, 1935 main page
See a Teacher's kit (complete,
early 1950s, Personal Products Corp., U.S.A.) and A
Teaching Guide for Menstrual Hygiene (cover,
1962, Personal Products Corp., U.S.A.)
See a Kotex ad advertising a Marjorie May
booklet. See many more similar booklets.
See a Modess True or False? ad in The American
Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley
in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
Tampax Satin Learner's Kit (for menstruation), 2001, in
three languages (English, French, Spanish)
Trousse de l'étudiante, Estuche de Aprendizaje
Guía de Instrucciones para el Estuche de Aprendizaje
de Tampax (español | français | English)
Companies (and other organizations) making menstrual products sometimes
produced, and produce, literature for women and girls - and boys, for sex
education - to explain menstruation, menarche, "the
facts of life," and company products.
As far as I know the first booklets appeared in the 1920s, at least
in America (read an early Kotex booklet). Professor
Joan Brumberg, of Cornell University, has written about how the teaching
of the facts of menstruation passed from the family in the early 19th century
to the schools and then to the companies, which sent its
information to the schools. And girls who start with the product supplied
by a company in school seldom change their brand. So it's an important step
for companies to interest the schools in their teaching material.
In the U.S.A., schools started using kits containing booklets, pads
and then tampons from companies probably in the 1940s, and more recently
accompanied by videos. Because of people's concerns about girls losing their
virginity and for other reasons, which the booklet here talks about (and
dismisses), certain groups of customers often shunned tampons - Catholics,
especially in the 1930s and 1940s, and Hispanics and Asians. Read a 1940s report about these concerns (and others) and
see a Tampax ad about virginity and tampons.
And see a very early Tampax tampon.
An interesting difference between this kit and pre-1980 kits is the
booklet's explanation of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a disease associated
with tampons since the 1980s although it also occurs in many places outside
the vagina. But read even earlier concerns about tampons and disease (in
the form of Rely tampons) in these newspaper
articles from 1975-76.
Copyright 2006 Harry Finley