Dunkley’s Celery Compound

Today, John L. Morrison is best known as the publisher of the muckraking Duluth Rip-Saw from 1918 to 1926, but his period of greatest fame occurred before that, when he was employed by the Duluth Evening Herald. Morrison was well-known regionally as a travel writer and nationally as an authority on the Canadian gold-mining regions.

In 1898, Morrison capitalized on his fame by endorsing Dunkley’s Celery Compound, a short-lived health tonic. In this Herald ad from May 10, 1898, Morrison testifies: “In connection with my work last season as a correspondent, I was compelled to travel 12,000 miles by rail, boat, stage and on foot. Broken rest, rough fare, exposure and high mental pressure saw my appetite leave me and my digestion become disordered. Prescription by regular physicians had absolutely no effect. I not only grew greatly alarmed, but expected at any time to have to give up my work.”

But as soon as he chugged some Dunkley’s, “the effect was almost magical … As the result of only four bottles, I am my old self again. My sleep is perfect, and my appetite rivals that of my boyhood days. My stomach seems as healthy as that of an infant … I credit Dunkley’s Celery Compound solely for the restoration of the desirable conditions.”

For me, the most interesting part of the ad is the drawing, which is one of only three depictions of Morrison I have unearthed. He’s about 35 years old here.

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