Newspaper ads as peaceful moments in an otherwise chaotic world

Posted on July 27, 2011 by


I spend a good deal of time sifting through newspapers in search of articles that uniquely describe events of the war, or offer perspectives not found elsewhere. Even so, as I scroll through the microfilm, I don’t bypass the advertisements. There seems to be a peculiar, perhaps ironic, peace in most of the ads. It’s as if the clock has turned back to the time before the war… in fact, some of the ads are identical to those found in the late 1850s.

Anyway, take a look at the following advertisement (scanned in two parts to offer a large enough scan for all to read a little easier). I found it in an issue of Hagerstown’s Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, from 150 years ago, this summer.

Of course, while women appear to be the primary target audience, “EVERY family” should want to partake and benefit in some way from the incredible medicinal qualities of fermented juice of sambucus (elderberry).

Truth be known, however, sambucus wine was but one of Alfred Speer’s many varieties… as can be seen in the write-up on his Find-a-Grave page.

So, I wonder how successful Druggist C.W. Smith was in his sales of Speer’s wine to Washington County residents, and what sort of clientele purchased the product. I suppose we’ll never know, but still find the ad to offer some soothing quality, as I move about articles focused on the turmoil of the time.

Just a little light reading for the day.

*For just a little more about Speer and his wine, see here, here, and here.