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Jay T. Last Collection of Medicine Prints and Ephemera: Finding Aid
priJLC_MED  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Administrative Information
  • Access
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Jay T. Last Collection of Medicine Prints and Ephemera
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1750-approximately 1929
    Bulk dates: 1850-1910
    Collection Number: priJLC_MED
    Collector: Last, Jay T.
    Extent: approximately 4,030 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: 626-405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of Medicine Prints and Ephemera contains over 4,000 printed items related to medical, dental, and vision products and services in the United States from approximately 1750 to 1929, with the bulk of the content dating from 1850 to 1910. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included. The collection deals with medical and drug-related advertising and practice including the tools, equipment, and supplies used by the medical field in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This includes the wide and varied assortment of patent medicines that proliferated during this time.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on June 16, 2017.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of Medicine Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the Medicine prints and ephemera were transferred to the Library between 2010 and 2012.

    Background

    The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 200,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Scope and Content

    The Jay T. Last Collection of Medicine Prints and Ephemera contains over 4,000 printed items related to medical, dental, and vision products and services in the United States from approximately 1750 to 1929, with the bulk of the content dating from 1850 to 1910. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included. The collection deals with medical and drug-related advertising and practice including the tools, equipment, and supplies used by the medical field in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This includes products and services relating to human health care and the remedies to treat, relieve, and cure medical, dental, and vision conditions as prescribed or administered by doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and quack practitioners often affiliated with patent medicine manufacturers, drug companies, hospitals, asylums, institutes, and/or sanitariums.
    Materials are arranged in two series: small-size items (11 x 14 inches or less) and large-size items (more than 11 x 14 inches). Small-size items are described broadly at the series level; large-size items and select small-size items are fully inventoried with printers, artists, and publishers indexed by name. The collection includes 30 large-size items comprised mainly of advertising prints and leaflets. Small-size items number approximately 4,000 and contain a variety of materials, including trade cards, product labels, stationery, calendars, booklets, leaflets, periodicals, and printed billheads and letterheads (with and without manuscript text). Of note are over 150 product labels for remedies offered by Dr. A. De Fontaine of Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1840-1850, and approximately 100 items of advertising ephemera for products made by C. I. Hood & Co. of Lowell, Massachusetts.
    The collection supports various fields of research relating to medical and drug-related merchandising, advertising, and practice in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This includes the wide and varied assortment of patent medicines that proliferated during this time. The images provide a rich visual resource for studying the history of American medical practitioners, methods, and materials, as well as a perspective on ailments and illnesses common during this period. As graphic materials, the collection highlights developing techniques and trends in printmaking while documenting the artists, engravers, lithographers, printers, and publishers involved in the creative process.

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Jay T. Last Collection   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    The Huntington Library Historical Prints Collection contains two related items (priHHC_MED_0000021 ; priHHC_MED_0000022) that are listed in the "Related Materials" section at the beginning of Series II in this finding aid.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in the following two series:
    • Series I. Medicine Prints and Ephemera (small size)
    • Series II. Medicine Prints and Ephemera (large size)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Genres

    Billheads.
    Calendars.
    Certificates.
    Chromolithographs.
    Ephemera.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Engravings.
    Handbills.
    Intaglio prints.
    Leaflets (printed works)
    Letters (Correspondence).
    Letterheads.
    Lithographs.
    Manuscripts.
    Printed ephemera.
    Prints.
    Relief prints.
    Trade cards.
    Views.

    Subjects

    Advertising -- Drugs.
    Advertising -- Medicine.
    Boys -- Pictorial works.
    Buildings -- Pictorial works.
    Children -- Pictorial works.
    Girls -- Pictorial works.
    Industrial buildings -- Pictorial works.
    Landscapes -- Pictorial works.
    Medicine.
    Men -- Pictorial works.
    Patent medicines.
    Sick -- Pictorial works.
    Storefronts -- Pictorial works.
    Women -- Pictorial works.

    Printer, Publisher, Artist Index

    The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented in the fully-cataloged items in this collection.
    Anderson, Walter W.
    Aspinwall, Horatio G.
    Bannan, Benjamin, 1807-1875
    Calvert Lithographing Co. (Detroit, Mich.)
    Cosack & Co.
    Crosby, Charles H., 1819-1896
    Haehnlen, Jacob, 1824-
    Hanford, Albert, 1807-1883
    Hawkins, Ezekiel C.
    Hop Pill Mf'g Co.
    J. Ottman Lithographic Company
    King, W. A. (Artist)
    Longacre & Co.
    Queen & Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Reed, Edwin O., approximately 1824-
    Samuel Bowles and Company
    Sarony, Major & Knapp Lith.
    Shields, C. (Printer)
    Stevens, H. R.
    Theo. Leonhardt & Son
    Thomas & Eno
    Thoubboron, J.
    Tobin, M. F.
    William H. Forbes & Company