Trade Card, circa 1880 – 1896.
Price: $12.00 Size: 2 and 5/8 x 4″
A rendition of a young woman in traditional dress, probably modified by the artist’s imagination. No indication of what country or region she might represent.
Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil was a patent medicine and “cure-all” sold in the U.S. and Canada from the 1850’s to the early 1900’s. The term eclectric, (not an actual word) was either a combination of eclectic and electric, (Wikipedia has an entry for Eclectic medicine which fits with the product being a conglomeration of items including botanicals) or derived from the word, electric. (See the first link above and note the lightning bolts on the label that surround the hand raised in triumph.)
And maybe I’m easily amused, but I get a kick out of the sometimes slightly odd phrasing in old ads; this one being a prime example with its “bold” statement, “You May Want It.”
The stamp on the reverse tells us that druggist, Alden A. Heath of Hallowell, Maine, carried this product in his store. Here’s one of his advertisements in the 1886 Hallowell business directory; and just because it’s so nice, the directory’s cover page (love the publisher’s tangle of initials, the extra “etc.”, the intricate corner pieces).
Alden A. Heath was born March 8, 1854 in Whitefield, Maine, son of John Heath and Abby (Palmer) Heath. By the 1880 Federal Census he was married to Mary F. (maiden name unknown). He died August 4, 1899 in South Berwick, Maine. Obituary below:
Sources: “Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil.” Museum of Health Care at Kingston – Research Collection Catalogue. mhc.andornot.com. (accessed October 1, 2023).
“Eclectic medicine.” n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclectic_medicine (accessed October 1, 2023).
Sullivan, Catherine (May 1984). “Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil.” Parks Canada Research Bulletin: 3 – via Parks Canada History. (accessed September 28, 2023).
Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Thomas%27_Eclectric_Oil (accessed September 28, 2023).
Year: 1880; Census Place: Hallowell, Kennebec, Maine; Roll: 481; Page: 287A; Enumeration District: 096. (Ancestry.com).
W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Augusta, Hallowell & Gardiner Directory, 1886-7. (Ancestry.com).
Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; 1892-1907 Vital Records; Roll Number: 26. (Ancestry.com).
Kennebec Journal. (Augusta, Maine). August 8, 1899. Tuesday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).