From the Collection

Sense of Smell Day

A brown paper medicine bottle package that is torn at the top and features an illustrated headshot of a bald, mustachioed man, standing upright and photographed on a plain white background.

On April 24th, we celebrate Sense of Smell Day, and revel in the ability to perceive the wonderful sweet and savoury smells that fill our world.   Along with the good smells, of course, come the bad – and this bottle of Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root medicine (994.5.14) seems to be a prime candidate for the latter, with pungent ingredients such as “Venice Turpentine” and “Valerian Root” all extracted into a rather alcoholic compound.   This bottle likely dates from after 1906, as the U.S. government passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, prohibiting the use of some words such as “cure” on quasi-medicinal products such as Swamp Root.

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