Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Agnes Botanic Company

Here's a letter from Agnes Botanic Company on company letterhead--New York, 1885. I thought this was an interesting logo for a company, especially a botanical/patent medicine company.

So who was Agnes and what was it about her that her image would be deemed appropriate for a botanical company?

I found one (and the only) answer on a Web site for a current-day company with similar products to that of their namesake company from the 1880s: Sister Agnes Soap. Their FAQ offers some clues about their Agnes, informing us that she was a virgin saint martyred at age 10 or 12 and is the patron saint of girls. Don't know if that is the same Agnes, but the company uses a similar logo.

Looks like an interesting little company with a very creative and interesting looking Web site. I hope they are thought of in a better light than their counterparts in 1885. The following jab at patent medicine in general, and Agnes Botanic in particular, was included in the Chicago Medical Review, Volumes V and VI, January 1882 to December 1882:
Religious Newspapers And "Botanic Medicines."—Some benighted patent medicine man took the Alienist and Neurologist for a religious journal. The recent article of the editor on moral insanity doubtless led to this mistake, which, however, does not reflect credit on the patent medicine man's intelligence. The editor makes the following apt editorial reply:

"To the Agnes Botanic Company: The Alienist and Neurologist is not a religious journal, its editor is not a divine (that point at least is settled), and is not interested in disseminating the wonderful virtues of the ' Sister Agnes Herb Cure,' and consequently cannot engage to hand your communication ' to the principal newsdealer of our congregation.' "

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