The Toadstool Millionaires:
A Social History of Patent Medicines
in America before Federal Regulation

James Harvey Young PhD

This book, originally published in 1961, chronicles the rise of the patent medicine trade from its beginnings in colonial America until passage of the first federal food and drug law. Dr. Young (1915-2006) was a social historian whose special interest was the development of food and drug regulation in America. He served for many years as a professor of history at Emory University and also wasas a member of the FDA National Advisory Food and Drug Council. The book is reproduced with the kind permission from him and the publisher, Princeton University Press.

Contents

 Preface
 Acknowledgements
 PART ONE: EARLY DAYS

 1.

"At the Sign of Galen's Head": English patent medicines in colonial America

 2.

Galvanising Trumpetry: American independence in the realm of pseudo-medicine

 3.

Vials and Vermifuges: The expansion of American nostrums during the early 19th century

 4.

"The Old Wizzard." Thomsonianism, a democratic system of patented medication

 5.

Hercules and Hydra: The first significant critique of patent medicines

 6.

Purgation Unlimited: Patent medicines and the press
 PART TWO: HEYDAY

 7.

"To Arms! To Arms!!" and After: The Civil War, its aftermath, and the great boom

 8.

The Great Outdoors: Patent medicine advertising by paint and poster

 9.

St. George and the Dragon: The patent medicine almanac

 10.

"A Microbe Is a Microbe": Quackery and the germ theory
PART THREE: THEMES

 11.

The Pattern of Patent Medicine Appeals: An analysis of the psychology of patent medicine advertising

 12.

Medicine Show: The linking of entertainment to nostrum promotion
PART FOUR: LEGISLATION

 13.

"The Great American Fraud": Acceleration of the patent medicine critique

 14.

Dr. Wiley's Law: The passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906
PART FIVE: EPILOGUE

 15.

Half a Century Later: Sobering continuities in the realm of patent medicines.
A Note on the Sources 

This page was revised on November 15, 2006.