Edward William Bok (18631930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.
Cleaning Up the Patent-Medicine and Other Evils
IN 1892 The Ladies Home Journal announced that it would thereafter accept no advertisements of patent medicines for its pages. It was a pioneer stroke. During the following two years, seven other newspapers and periodicals followed suit. The American people were slaves to self-medication, and the patent-medicine makers had it all their own way. There was little or no legal regulation as to the ingredients in their nostrums; the mails were wide open to their circulars, and the pages of even the most reputable periodicals welcomed their advertisements. The patent-medicine business in the United States ran into the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The business is still large; then it was enormous.
Into this army of deceit and spurious medicines, The Ladies Home Journal fired the first gun. Neither the public nor the patent-medicine people paid much attention to the first attacks. But as they grew, and the evidence multiplied, the public began to comment and the nostrum makers began to get uneasy.
The magazine attacked the evil from every angle. It aroused the public by showing the actual contents of some of their pet medicines, or the absolute worthlessness of them. The Editor got the Womens Christian