Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 341

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 341

Temperance Union into action against the periodicals for publishing advertisements of medicines containing as high as forty per cent alcohol. He showed that the most confidential letters written by women with private ailments were opened by young clerks of both sexes, laughed at and gossiped over, and that afterward their names and addresses, which they had been told were held in the strictest confidence, were sold to other lines of business for five cents each. He held the religious press up to the scorn of church members for accepting advertisements which the publishers knew and which he proved to be not only fraudulent, but actually harmful. He called the United States Post Office authorities to account for accepting and distributing obscene circular matter.

He cut an advertisement out of a newspaper which ended with the statement:

  Mrs. Pinkham, in her laboratory at Lynn, Massachusetts, is able to do more for the ailing women of America than the family physician. Any woman, therefore, is responsible for her own suffering who will not take the trouble to write to Mrs. Pinkham for advice.

Next to this advertisement representing Mrs. Lydia Pinkham as “in her laboratory,” Bok simply placed the photograph of Mrs. Pinkham’s tombstone in Pine Grove Cemetery, at Lynn, showing that Mrs. Pinkham had passed away twenty-two years before!

It was one of the most effective pieces of copy that the magazine used in the campaign. It told its story with absolute simplicity, but with deadly force.

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