According to Rochelle Frank, author of Early-Patent-Medicines-A-Dose-of-Deception “Swamp Root, perhaps because of its name, seems to fall into the same category as snake oil. It appears to suggest something exotic, mysterious, and not easily attainable.
The image of Dr. S. Andral Kilmer M.D., appeared on all packages, labels, books and promotions. The distribution of his products was so widespread that his face was more recognizable than that of the president in many parts of the country.
Swamp Root, in it’s many forms and variations was by far Dr. Kilmer’s most famous product, however he also lent his face to the promotion of Dr. Kilmer’s Ocean Weed Heart Remedy, Dr. Kilmer’s Indian Cough Cure, Dr. Kilmer’s Female Remedy, described as “The great Blood Purifier and System Regulator” as well as “The only Herbal Alternative and Depurative Ever Discovered, Specifically Adapted to female Constitutions….”) and Dr. Kilmer’s Prompt Parilla Liver Pills.”
Bottle embossed “Dr Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney Liver and Bladder Remedy, Binghamton, N.Y. U.S.A.”
Bottle Embossed “Sample Bottle Dr Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney Cure Binghamton, N.Y.”
Dr. Kilmer’s Guide To Health – 1890. “Although his name is never mentioned in this publication, it is quite likely that this was one of the first advertising efforts by Willis Sharpe Kilmer following his brief study at Cornell University.
This publication is also rare in that it discusses Dr. S. Andral Kilmer’s medical career extensively, including qualifications, treatment methods, and even provides his office hours. By 1892, he was no longer closely affiliated with “Dr. Kilmer & Co.”
Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root trade card, 1880’s
Advertisement from the Brooklyn Eagle, early 1900s.
Dr. Kilmer & Company advertised heavily in druggist catalogs.
Advertisement from Christian Work: Illustrated Family Newspaper, Volume 68, 1900
Advertisement from “Primary Education”, Vol 7, 1899.
Dr. Kilmer’s swamp-root almanac and weather forecasts for 1928. Binghamton, NY: Dr. Kilmer & Co., [ca. 1927]