[To the Twentieth-Century Annex at merrycoz.org]

Ah, the things people use as bookmarks! This advertisement for Say-Yo Mint Jujubes was printed on transparent paper and eventually folded into a bookmark for an early 19th-century children’s book. When, exactly? Currently unknown. I haven’t yet discovered when Walker & Co. operated in New York City, nor when this brand was available. Confectioners were making jujube lozenges by the middle of the nineteenth century, and pedal bicycles were invented by 1861; but bicycling didn’t really come into its own until the 1890s, when improved bicycles turned the sport into a craze worthy of mention in a candy ad.

And, the advertiser is careful to inform us, a Say-Yo Mint Jujube was “a confection not a medicine.” That the jujubes apparently eased dry mouths, quieted coughs, settled stomachs, and unblocked intestinal tracts was just a fully-described-but-carefully-de-emphasized bonus. This is, in fact, an advertisement with something for everyone: a list of ingredients, a pledge of quality, an exploration of medicinal value, an appeal to the faddish. And, for the 21st-century reader, the charming loquaciousness of early advertising.


Say-Yo ad, with text below
ON SALE EVERYWHERE

SAY-YO MINT JUJUBES

Are clean and pure. They are made with care by expert workmen, and are composed of gum arabic, licorice and granulated sugar, flavored with mint, all of which, singly are beneficial, and combined, as we offer them, are most efficacious in all conditions requiring relief.

Bicyclists endorse them as more acceptable and beneficial than chewing gum. They keep the mouth moist and sweet.

A CONFECTION

Smokers and public speakers find them invaluable.

One placed in the mouth at night when retiring will prevent that annoying dryness of the throat so prevalent with many, and ensure a restful sleep. They leave no unpleasant taste when awakening.

As an effective remedy for coughs and throat irritation they are unequalled.

Taken freely they act as a mild and effective laxative. They quickly remove attacks of indigestion.

They are better than all the so-called cough drops. If not on sale in your neighborhood, send 5 cents in postage stamps, and we will mail a package.

NOT A MEDICINE.

Wallace & co. Manufacturers of
CHOCOLATES & CONFECTIONS
For the Fine Retail Trade and a Discriminating
Public.
OFFICE AND FACTORY,       RETAIL,
160-166 Monroe Street,       10 Cortland Street,
NEW YORK CITY.

To the Twentieth-Century Annex at merrycoz.org
Copyright 2004-2016, Pat Pflieger