Thursday, February 27, 2014

Keep this handy if you (time travel and) have malaria or liver woes

Modern business cards can be pretty sleek and snazzy. But, other than the fact that we can now design and print them with computers, their basic form and function hasn't changed much since the introduction of lithography in the 19th century.1

The card pictured above does what it needs to do. It tells you the doctor's name, what he treats (malaria, chills, fever, liver complaint, dyspepsia and indigestion), and where he's located (907 Broadway in New York).2

The card even offers a backup plan if you can't get to Dr. James: Head for C.N. Crittenton at 115 Fulton Street.

C.N. Crittenton was Charles Nelson Crittenton (1833-1909), a maker of drugs and patent medicines. According to Wikipedia:
"Born in Henderson in Jefferson County, New York, Crittenton went into the drug business in New York City in 1861. However, after 1882, when his 4-year-old daughter Florence died of scarlet fever3, he devoted his time and wealth to the establishment of the Florence Night Mission to 'rescue' prostitutes, and later Crittenton homes for homeless and unfortunate girls and their infant children. In 1898 the National Florence Crittenton Mission received a federal charter to carry on this work. Of these mission homes more than 70 were organized in Mr. Crittenton's lifetime."
1. For an excellent history of visiting and business cards, see this April 2012 Design Float Blog post.
2. Daytonian in Manhattan offers a neat history of The Warren Building, which takes up Nos. 903-907 on Broadway in Manhattan.
3. Scarlet fever was just mentioned a few days ago here, in "A child's traced and colored pictures from long ago."

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