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Library Tapes Veggie Records With Grant

If you ever get tired of listening to your Bruce Springsteen records, Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library has something a little different for you: tapes of 81 World War II-era phonograph records advertising Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound.

A pharmaceutical company that bought the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Co. recently gave the library a $1700 grant to make tapes of the records to better preserve them.

Eva Mosely, curator of manuscripts at the Schlesinger Library and coordinator of the project, said the advertisements and radio programs dating back to the 1940's are valuable to researchers.

"The content of the records serves to document the history of patent medicine, women's health, advertising, mass communication, and popular culture," Mosely said.

Cooper Labs, the Palo Alto firm that acquired the Pinkham in 1969, continues to market the compound in Puerto Rico through Cooper Vision Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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Pinkham began selling her 'medicine' in 1873, winning satisfied customers with such crowd-pleasing ingredients as black cohosh, true and false unicorn, liferoot plant, dandelion, and the ever-popular pleurisy root--with a whopping dose of alcohol thrown in "purely as a solvent."

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