Monday, August 23, 2010

Good for What Ails You - Part 2

Another metamorphic trade card (approx. 1880) for your amusement:

Oh, the poor man! But just flip back the bottom of the card and he's cured - and dancing!

I also find it interesting that this card was printed by Donaldson Brothers in Five Points, New York. There is no longer a Five Points, New York. It was such a terrible crime-ridden slum in new York City that it was razed in 1885-95. Five Points had the highest murder rate in New York and in the world. It was swampy and full of crowded tenement housing, insects, and vermin. One tenement building with 1,000 residents was reputed to have an average of one murder a night for 15 years until it was torn down in 1852. The entire area was dominated by rival gangs, including the Bowery Boys. This was also the location of the infamous Tombs prison. Charles Dickens described the area in his 1842 work, American Notes.  Oh, I couldn't help myself; I've gone off on a tangent.  Anyway, I'm not sure why Donaldson Bros. decided to locate there (cheap labor?) but they were a major printer of postcards and trade cards.


  1. Refreshing way to learn about new drugs. I'm getting tired of all the pharmaceutical ads on TV.

  2. Oh, this card brings back memories: First, of the 'metamorphic' back pages of the old 'Mad' magazines. Also, of the Bowery Boys I am familiar with, which was 'Sach', 'Slip' and the rest of the crew from the 40's and 50's comedy movies that were Saturday morning TV fodder when I was a kid- never knew there was actually a nasty gang they were named after...
    More relevant to the post, Donaldson Bros. may have been located in the hood before it turned into a slum and then just stuck it out, there are plenty of examples of successful, legitimate businesses that operate out of neighborhoods you would be afraid to walk around.

  3. That advertising verse . . . priceless!:} Jack/Youngstown

  4. Hilarious card with an interesting story!

  5. This post gives me a different perspective. The next time I read the news headlines, I'll not feel near as depressed. The good old days weren't near as good as we'd like to believe....



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