Eskay’s Albumenized Food, Philadelphia, PA

In an era where childhood obesity is a major health concern and people argue about the relative merits of baby formula versus breast feeding, it can be hard to recall that at one time, simply getting enough calories into undernourished babies was a real problem (and still is for many people today). And children routinely died from the “summer complaint,” which was basically “diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk” (which has become less of an issue since pasteurization of milk became legally required). So in the true spirit of Victorian industrialism, many dedicated chemists, entrepreneurs and regular hucksters went to work, inventing baby foods and making outlandish claims, to fill this global need. Along with Justus von Liebig, Henri Nestle and Gustav Mellin, a man named Frank Baum invented an infant food which, for reasons I’ve been unable to find, became known as Eskay’s Albumenized Food.

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Bottle embossed "Eskay's Albumenized Food"

Bottle embossed “Eskay’s Albumenized Food”

From Mothers and Medicine: A Social History of Infant Feeding, 1890–1950 by Rima D. Apple, 1987

From Mothers and Medicine: A Social History of Infant Feeding, 1890–1950 by Rima D. Apple, 1987

From Don't Kill Your Baby: Public Health and the Decline of Breastfeeding in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries by Jacqueline H. Wolf, 2001

From Don’t Kill Your Baby: Public Health and the Decline of Breastfeeding in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries by Jacqueline H. Wolf, 2001

From Canadian Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volume 9, 1901

From Canadian Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volume 9, 1901

From Diseases Of Infancy And Childhood: Their Dietetic, Hygienic, And Medical Treatment : A Text Book Designed For Practitioners And Students In Medicine By Louis Fischer, 1918

From Diseases Of Infancy And Childhood: Their Dietetic, Hygienic, And Medical Treatment : A Text Book Designed For Practitioners And Students In Medicine By Louis Fischer, 1918

 

The Monthly Cyclopædia Of Practical Medicine. v.1-21, v.22, no. 1-5, Aug. 1887-Apr. 1908

The Monthly Cyclopædia Of Practical Medicine. v.1-21, v.22, no. 1-5, Aug. 1887-Apr. 1908

Pages from booklet advertising Eskay's albumenized food, undated

Pages from booklet advertising Eskay’s albumenized food, undated

1899 Ad Eskays Albumenized Food

1899 Ad Eskays Albumenized Food

1902 Ad for Eskays Food

1902 Ad for Eskays Food

1902 Ad For Eskay Baby Food

1902 Ad For Eskay Baby Food

1904 Ad for Eskays Food

1904 Ad for Eskays Food

1904 Ad for Eskays Food

1904 Ad for Eskays Food

1906 Ad for Eskay's Food

1906 Ad for Eskay’s Food

1906 Ad for Eskay's Food

1906 Ad for Eskay’s Food

1907 Ad for Eskays Food

1907 Ad for Eskays Food

1908 Ad Emery Ray Evans Plain City Eskays Food

1908 Ad Emery Ray Evans Plain City Eskays Food

cause

Ad Eskays Albumenized Food, undated

Ad for Eskay's Albumenized Food, undated

Ad for Eskay’s Albumenized Food, undated

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About Jessica

I am the supervisor of the analysis of the archaeological collection recovered from the Old Main excavation.
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