“A single bottle of tonic to cure diabetes, cancer, ulcers and dizziness. Raisins and currants for Christmas mince meat pies. Midwifery courses taught by a certified female doctor, $30 a term. A souvenir stone from the Hill Cumorah, “guaranteed genuine,” mailed from New York for 25 cents.
“This list represents just a sampling of the goods and services advertised to Utah frontier women in the Woman’s Exponent, the preeminent woman’s newspaper published in Salt Lake City from 1872 to 1914 to share local and general news, household tips and educational materials. Thanks to an ongoing project by the BYU Office of Digital Humanities and the Harold B. Lee Library, anyone can now explore life in nineteenth-century Utah through a new searchable, browsable database of the newspaper’s ads.
“Studying advertisements is a bit like digging through the trash because it’s really the part of history that was never meant to be a historical record,” said BYU digital humanities professor Jeremy Browne, who wrote software to categorize the Exponent’s 4,000 ads by industry, vendor and date. “The ads have a certain authenticity to them that we don’t get elsewhere. The project’s purpose is to take one aspect of the newspaper that is more approachable and make it accessible to the general public.”
You can learn more in an article by Christie Allen in the BYU News at https://news.byu.edu/intellect/curious-about-utahs-frontier-women-browse-byus-new-database-of-womens-newspaper-ads.