The Commercialisation of Medicine in the Popular Press: English Almanacs 1640-1700

Curth, Louise
April 2002
Seventeenth Century;Spring2002, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p48
Academic Journal
Modern historians generally link the commercialisation of medicine in England to the eighteenth-century ‘consumer revolution’. The rising number of advertisements for medically-related products and services in the seventeenth-century popular press, however, suggests that this was an earlier phenomenon. This article will argue that the introduction, growing acceptance, popularity and subsequent demand for proprietary drugs were a product of the seventeenth century. It is based on the evidence found in almanacs, which were cheap, annual publications that were produced in large numbers and distributed on a national basis. The advertisements that they carried provide valuable insights into the development, production and distribution of branded, pre-packaged nostrums in early modern England.


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