Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills   By:

Book cover

Robert B. Shaw's insightful dive into the history of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills is a comprehensive and engaging journey through the tangled web of the 19th-century patent medicine industry. Shaw skillfully uncovers the captivating story behind the rise and fall of one of America's most notorious patent medicine manufacturers, shedding light on both the deceptive marketing practices employed and the gullibility of the American public during this era.

With meticulous research and a keen eye for detail, Shaw constructs a vivid narrative that transports readers back to a time when elixirs and tonics promised miraculous cures for a myriad of ailments. Through a series of detailed anecdotes and historical analysis, he reveals the captivating tale of Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, a brand that emerged as one of the most successful and controversial players in the patent medicine trade.

What sets this book apart is Shaw's ability to seamlessly intertwine the personal stories of the key individuals involved in the Comstock Patent Medicine Business with the broader socio-cultural context of the time. By delving into the backgrounds and motivations of these individuals, Shaw brings to life the complex personalities and forces that shaped the industry, exposing the greed, deception, and exploitation that thrived in the name of profit.

Moreover, Shaw explores the impact of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business on American society, revealing the damaging effects of relying on unregulated, potentially harmful remedies. Through accounts of public backlash, evolving advertising approaches, and emerging legislation, he presents a compelling case for the importance of consumer protection and the need for transparent, evidence-based medicine.

One aspect that may leave some readers wanting is Shaw's occasional digressions into the wider history of medicine and related societal issues, at times steering away from the central focus of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business. While interesting, these tangents occasionally clutter the narrative flow, making it harder to follow the main thread of the book.

Despite this minor flaw, History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills is an illuminating and well-researched work that sheds light on a fascinating, yet often overlooked, chapter in American history. Shaw's engaging storytelling, combined with his critical analysis of the patent medicine industry, provides readers with a deeper understanding of the deceptive practices and repercussions that still resonate in contemporary society.

Overall, Shaw's book offers a captivating glimpse into a bygone era, reminding us of the importance of questioning the claims made by charismatic self-proclaimed "doctors," and serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers lurking behind the enticing promises of quick fixes and miracle cures. Whether you are drawn to history, medicine, or the societal impact of capitalism, this book is an essential read.

First Page:


by Robert B. Shaw Associate Professor, Accounting and History Clarkson College of Technology Potsdam, N.Y.


COVER: Changing methods of packaging Comstock remedies over the years. Lower left: Original packaging of the Indian Root Pills in oval veneer boxes. Lower center: The glass bottles and cardboard and tin boxes. Lower right: The modern packaging during the final years of domestic manufacture. Upper left: The Indian Root Pills as they are still being packaged and distributed in Australia. Upper center: Dr. Howard's Electric Blood Builder Pills. Upper right: Comstock's Dead Shot Worm Pellets.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Shaw, Robert B., 1916

History of the Comstock patent medicine business and of Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills. (Smithsonian studies in history and technology, no. 22)

Bibliography: p.

1. Comstock (W.H.) Company. I. Title. II. Series: Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian studies in history and technology, no. 22.

HD9666.9.C62S46 338.7'6'615886 76 39864

Official publication date is handstamped in a limited number of initial copies and is recorded in the Institution's annual report , Smithsonian Year... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books