Friday, January 4, 2019

Dyeing, Are You?

Updated 6 January 2019

girl on left with white dress and doll carriage gazes after girl on right wearing red dress with blue sash under red parasol while walking small light tan dog

Dyeing, are you? What you need is Kidney Wort and Diamond Dyes!

Historic New England, a great resource for your research, has Diamond Dye colors:

The reverse has additional information:

In Emily Hayes' story "Cousin John's Extravagant Wife," from which our introductory image is excerpted, making do with what you have using Diamond Dyes is the theme:

girls in park on left over children at play around table; on right is young man in morning cloak talking to young woman in blue dress on rocking chair

This free PDF [ ] also advertises a cure for your various ailments in true Victorian fashion. Let us introduce you to a colorful world on the cheap!

Kidney-Wort "acts at the same time on the Kidneys, Liver and Bowels"

The Wells, Richardson Building still stands in Burlington. Photographers Street View has two images of the facade. The authors favorite originated on page 59 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection, which has additional information on the Wells, Richardson Company:

street lamp and bronze-leaved tree on left, rusty red brick building reflected in paned glass picture window
Well, Richardson & Co. reflected
Here's a look at the Victorian-era facade of this building as well as more advertising for Wells, Richardson, both from Waymarking:

black & white sketch of Wells, Richardson Building with horse-drawn vehicles in foreground
Using buildings as billboards was common Victorian practice.

advertising claims potion is to be used "as a nerve tonic, as an alterative (blood purifier), as a laxative and as a diuretic"
 Notice the absence of an ingredients list. This tonic was 21% alcohol.
Additional trade card images and further details can be found on SeeSaw by Liza Cohen.

The application and associated documents presented for registration of the Wells, Richardson complex of buildings onto the National Register of Historic Places contains fascinating commentary on the history of the business and its products. Below are some abstracts:

"High Victorian Italianate style, 1883...."

Window cleaning under way across the street from Wells, Richardson & Co. complex
Well of Reflection. Google Street View, Aug 2017.
Well, Richardson & Co. history, patent medicine manufacturer

Additional corporate history and trade cards can be found in the Arnold Collections at:

Want still more information on the founders of Wells, Richardson with many additional images from Company publications and more Wells, Richardson trade cards, too? We recommend the blog published in September 2018 by Malcolm A. Goldstein