Twenty Seven Years Knowledge of Painless Childbirth
Atlanta, Georgia: Bradford Regulator Company, . 6 x 3-1/4 inches. pp + wrappers. Stapled white wrappers printed in black, with b&w halftone portrait of Mrs. E. D. Plank to front wrapper and halftone illustration of a healthy baby boy (demonstrating the efficacy of Mother's Friend) to rear wrapper. Staples a bit rusty, with light staining to surrounding area; split to spine foot; small loss to upper corner throughout and lower corners of last two leaves. Good.
Promotional booklet for Mother's Friend, a drug-free linament for pregnant women that purportedly eases pregnancy discomfort, lessens labor pains, and helps women regain their figures after childbirth. The star of piece is Mrs. E[llen] D[akin] Plank (1836-1927), who is described as an early pioneer to California on the overland trail in 1858, and whose experiences of suffering and hard work have made her both a tireless nurse/ midwife and a proponent of Mother's Friend for the past 27 years:
"The trip from Illinois to the Pacific Coast was made by ox and horse train. It was beset with many dangers and hardships. Perilous and swollen streams were forded, for in those days there were no bridges west of the MIssissippi River. At every turn was the constant menace of savage Indians, and the treacherous half-breeds, while of her own race were the renegades, whose depredations were even more terrible. ¶ The trip from Illinois lasted for several weeks, and was a replica of many told by other pioneers. Many exciting things happened to school Mrs. Plank in the stern ways of the west at that time. ... It was just such experiences as this that quickly brought Mrs. Plank from a young and inexperienced girl into a mature woman of excellent judgment."
In 1876, Mrs. Plank supposedly devoted herself to nursing, and ten years later again traversed the continent, this time to go to Georgia to nurse her daughter through pregnancy. There, she supposedly discovered the usefulness of Mother's Friend, and wrote a letter to the company praising it; additional testimony from her attests to its reliability over all her years of nursing, etc. "Mrs. Plank's experience with this wonderful preparation can be taken advantage of by women of today. Mother's Friend has been used in her own family, and she has seen it used by many of her patients and friends. With this intimate knowledge of the efficacy of the preparation, she sincerely endorses it, and suggests its use to all expectant mothers."
A description of the linament and how it is used follows, as well as a few additional testimonies and suggestions about where and how to purchase it.
An intriguing use of the traditional California overland narrative to bolster the authority of an older woman's recommendation for a quack medicine. It is worth noting that although the geographical part of Mrs. Plank's history appears to be true -- she was indeed born in Hancock, NY, in 1836, was married and a resident of Yolo County by the 1870 census, and lived at 4001 Sacramento Avenue, as the booklet attests -- she is not listed as a nurse or midwife in the census records for either 1900 or 1910; in 1910 her occupation ("Appartments") appears to be as a landlady or perhaps building manager.
Not located in ATWATER, nor in OCLC.