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The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!

The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!

See our Buy It! page for more information!

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Lydia Pinkham
"For the female discomforts"

by J. Ruth Dempsey

"We'll drink a, drink a, drink
To Lydia Pink a, Pink a, Pink
The savior of the human ra-hay-hayce
She invented a medicinal compound
Whose effects God can only replace.

Now here's a story,
A little bit gory,
A little bit happy
A little bit sa - hah - had
Bout Lydia Pink and
Her medicinal compound
and how it drove her to the bad. . . "

Drinking song circa 1890s

Lydia Estes was born in 1819 in the small township of Lynn, Massachusetts. While she purported herself as a trained midwife and nurse, she appears to have been a school teacher in her home town. She became an avid member of the Female Anti-Slavery Society and was reported as a life-long friend of Frederick Douglass. In addition to slavery, she took up various causes including temperance, phrenology (a pseudoscience that supposedly read the character by feeling the various irregularities of the skull and scalp) and Grahamism (a form of evangelism) until 1843 when she married the wealthy Isaac Pinkham.

When Isaac's real estate fortune took a nose dive in 1875, Lydia began to market an herbal tonic. In what was then an advertizing innovation, Lydia placed her own matronly portrait on her patent nostrum, becoming associated with her product line in a way that would not be duplicated until Col. Harlan Sanders and Dave Thomas. She published articles and answered letters in ladies magazines and free pamphlets, giving out "sage" advice that always included a dose of "Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound."

Lydia Pinkham never saw the full effect of her medicinal empire, dying in 1883, but her Vegetable Compound made the family fortune, grossing $300, 000 annually by her death and peaking in 1925 to $3.8 million.

Containing such poetic ingredients such as unicorn root, black cohosh and fenugreek, the forty-proof mixture was registered with the U. S. Patent Office in 1876, where it made the family fortunes for the next fifty years until its final debunking by the Food and Drug Administration. The potion purported to cure cramps and the vapors (a dizzy state of oxygen deprivation usually produced by a too tight corset) as well as many gynecological complaints. Oddly, enough, this "Vegetable Compound" which has been the butt of many jokes and commentary may have actually saved some lives.

In 1876, the same year as the Vegetable Compound was patented, a prominent American physician was urging the removal of healthy ovaries as a treatment for vaginal cramps. Unfortunately for the women who went to their male doctor for such treatment, the mortality rate ran as high as 40 percent due to the unsanitary conditions and lack of proper antibiotics.

"Lydia died and went up to heaven,
All the church bells they did ri - hing - hing
She took with her Medicinal Compound
Hark! The herald angels sing!

So-oh drink a, drink a, drink
To Lydia Pink a, Pink a, Pink
The savior of the human ra-hay-hayce
She invented a medicinal compound
Whose effects God can only replace."


Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era by Autumn Stephens (Personal Note - this is a fun book to read!).

The Irish Rover's Greatest Hits (1984)

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:54:16 EDT

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