One of the items, I'd like to share with all of you. This one really intrigued me on many levels. Firstly, the advertisement for Mellin's Food, is a brand that I had not heard of. Secondly, who is this little girl, named Idella Mae Moon from Norman, Tennessee? Thirdly, I had never heard of "The National Magazine" before.
|From the Archives of Mitch Kinder|
Department of Progressive Advertisers
for the BABY
Idella Mae Moon, Norman, Tenn., a Mellin's Food Baby
A discouraged young mother wrote to us the other day and asked, if we really believed that Mellin's Food would help her baby. She said that she had already tried many different foods and methods, and baby was steadily growing worse.
We told her that we felt sure that Mellin's Food would help her baby, and we sent her a Sample Bottle of Mellin's Food and our beautiful book, "The Care and Feeding of Infants." We also told her just how to prepare the first few feedings of Mellin's Food and how to continue.
Now she writes that baby is doing splendidly .[S]He gains steadily, is happy all day long and things couldn't be better.
How about your little one? Let us send a Sample Bottle of Mellin's Food and the Book to you. Both are FREE. We know you ought to have them.
Mellin's Food Company Boston, Mass.
Don't fail to mention "The National Magazine" when writing to advertisers.
Let's start with The National Magazine. What is this magazine? When was it published? That will help us to establish the date of this advertisement. Joe Mitchell Chapple bought The Bostonian in 1896. He gave the magazine a new name and a new vision. In November of 1896, the magazine became known as The National Magazine. The name change signified the transformation from regional topics to those of national interest. This allowed for more general and broader topics to be published. It was written for the average reader and cost only 10 cents.The articles included primarily American subjects, then foreign topics that were deserving of our attention were added. It was highly illustrated and also included many short stories. Topics relating to women were also authored by women. An innovative idea at the turn of the century.
Examples of a few of the covers from the magazine are shown below. You can read an example of this magazine here.
|provided from Wikimedia Commons|
The Mellin Baby Food
Gustav Mellin was a chemist from London, England. He took the difficult formula from another chemist and perfected it to a degree where an average mother just needed to add water and milk to create a baby formula for mothers who could not nurse their babies. It was an extract of malt and wheat that could be kept in a clean and dry environment. This allowed the food to have a shelf life and be mobile to accommodate the lifestyle of the family. It was said that the food "would produce firm flesh, strong limbs, sound teeth and healthy bodies that defy disease." It was touted to give cow's milk all the nutritional value of breast milk. Later, the firm located a center in Boston to distribute the food to a worldwide market. This move was a very successful marketing tactic. The American market was open to a product of this type.
|Credit: Science Museum London|
Before Gerber babies ever appeared in the marketplace, Mellin Food conducted another successful marketing tactic with their advertising campaign. A Mellin Food advertisement typically displayed a picture of a healthy child and a glowing letter of endorsement from the child's mother. The ads covered all forms of media, mostly magazines. Each advertisement showcased a different photo of a beautiful child, their names and locations, sometimes the parent's names, and a testament to the product. By 1890, Mellin Food became the most popular infant food on the market. There are many examples of these on the internet, especially e-bay. Here are a few other examples of these Mellin babies. E-bay has the same advertisement you see above with Idella Mae Moon and the magazine is dated 1907.
The Baby Moon
Idella Mae Moon was born on the 23rd of February, 1906 to Abner Lafayette and Laura Moon in James County, Tennessee. She was eldest of 4 children. The Moon family lived and farmed in the same area their entire life, but the political address changed during the James County era: from Hamilton County to James County and back to Hamilton County again. In fact, the Moon family lived in an area where the name of the town also changed. It began as Norman's Store, then the name changed to Norman, then to Work, then to Friendship. The Friendship community lies south of the Salem community and bordered the Tennessee River on the west. This land contained rich, river bottom farmland.
The earliest known settlers into the area were William Denny, William T Moon, several other Moon families, and Simeon M Eldridge. Some of the other settlers in the area were Ford, Cooley, Thatcher, Rains, Irwin, Norman, Priddy, Henry, Malone, and McCreary.
Idella Mae married Marlin Rigsby between 1930-1935.They lived in the Hwy 58 area and she was a school teacher/librarian. She later married R L Kelley and lived in Ooltewah. She was the Ooltewah High School Librarian for many years. She died in 1997 at 91 years of age.. Although there may be information on the early Moon's, there is not much more known about the life of Idella Mae Moon, but we do know, that for a short while, she was the face of Mellin Foods.
If anyone knows any information that they would like to add concerning this story and the life of Idella Moon, please contact me with a message or comment below.