Advertisements from the turn of the century are often funny or even a bit shocking. Back then, there was no regulation governing what manufacturers could say when marketing their products. They could make wild claims of almost supernatural success without anything to back it up.

This was the case for Golden Specific, an elixir that was said to be the cure (the only cure) for alcoholism. Golden Specific was manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio and marketed to women whose husbands drank. This particular ad stood out when because it goes a step beyond fantastic claims of success, by advising the buyers to administer it to their husbands by secretly spiking their coffee with it. Once in the subject’s system, some strange alchemy would take place and they would no longer want to drink. Like an anti-roofie.

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This is part 2 of a very American double-header!

Have you taken the 2020 census yet? I did a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised by how short it was. I remember it being very long and detailed in 2010, with questions like, “Do you carpool to work? If so, how many people are in your car pool?” Why does the government need to know that much information about me. I still don’t know the answer to that but nevertheless census records are really fascinating.

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If you lived in the country or in a small town in 1900, visiting the circus would be something you remembered for the rest of your life. For most people, it was a once-in-a-lifetime treat. The physical strain and rough living conditions of a farm or a mining camp were part of a brutal life, along with worries about having clothes warm enough to withstand the winter and food enough to stay alive. Children had little opportunity to be children. They had to work to help their families survive.

Imagine then what experiencing the circus would be like for someone living that way, and how they must have felt when they heard the music and saw the bright, spangled costumes. The first American zoo opened in Philadelphia in 1874, but most people had never been to nor heard of such a place. Witnessing the strange and fantastic animals parading into town would have thoroughly amazed them. 

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