Do you have a stomach ache, headache, cough, or any illness at all? If so, it must be catarrh related…or not. During the latter half of the 19th century, the famous Dr. Samuel Hartman, created his world-renowned proprietary medicine, Peruna. He launched a vigorous advertisement strategy, which included hundreds of endorsements from politicians, business professionals, and many other regular citizens. However, despite his boundless success at the dawn of the 20th century, a journalist named Samuel Hopkins Adams displayed the scandal of the Peruna medicine. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|July 29, 1885||By 1885, Dr. Samuel Hartman began to sell many prescriptions of Peruna and other medicines that are becoming widely popular.|
|July 27, 1898||Peruna has been “securing freedom from the grip of catarrh and makes loyal friends for the liberator” and Dr. Hartman encourages patients to buy his book, “Health and Beauty.”|
|December 17, 1902||Peruna company claims that half of the human illnesses are catarrh in nature, and that Peruna cures all forms of catarrh. Many people have endorsed the product.|
|March 7, 1903||Dr. Hartman personally claims a catarrhal “grip” has a great hold on America and “has found no remedy that equals Peruna for prompt action.”|
|February 5, 1905||The Ohio home of Peruna, “the greatest medicine plant in the world,” is built on a floor space of about seven acres.|
|October 20, 1906||Journalist, Samuel Hopkins Adams, in his Collier’s Weekly article claims Peruna and other patent medicines are frauds. Specifically, he claims that Peruna contains 28 percent of alcohol.|
|February 20, 1913||Dr. Hartman speaks out and claims that alcohol in Peruna is “an unjust criticism.”|
|December 11, 1914||The New-York Tribune calls out for a “need of law to curb quack ‘cures’” including Peruna.|
|January 6, 1915||Mr. Samuel Hopkins Adams again calls out patent medicines like Peruna, writing that advertisement cannot sell health.|
|February 1, 1918||Dr. Samuel Hartman, age 88, died of acute indigestion in his apartment at the Hartman hotel.|