Father John's Medicine

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The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are: A nutritive tonic and a wholesome medicine. Recommended for relief of coughs due to colds and throat irritation resulting from colds by its soothing effect on the throat.
Currently not on view
Date made
ca 1960
Father John's Medicine Company
Place Made
United States: Massachusetts, Lowell
Physical Description
cod liver oil (drug active ingredients)
gum arabic (drug active ingredients)
glycerin (drug active ingredients)
box: 9 1/4 in x 3 in x 1 3/4 in; 23.495 cm x 7.62 cm x 4.445 cm
bottle: 9 in x 2 7/8 in x 1 5/8 in; 22.86 cm x 7.3025 cm x 4.1275 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Gary P. and Sandra Baden
Tonics, Minerals & Vitamins
Catarrh, Cough & Cold Drugs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History


I used to take this everyday. I thought I remembered it being made with molasses? It is a shame you don’t have the original tonic (minus the dextromethorphan) and glass bottle. It was a rite of passage for many of us! You know plastic leaches chemicals into the mix. I ordered a bottle for a nasty cold and pleased to say it is “still good for what ails you!”.
I worked here at a kid in the 60s. The company was owned by the Fayes but was run by Gerry and George Donehue. Gerry was the president and George ran finance. When the Fayes died, Gerry and George inherited the business and the Faye home, a huge mansion off Andover St. The company hired many older people who worked part time. Many people swore by the medicine. A chemist at Umass Lowell tested the formula each week.
My mom gave us this medicine when me and my brothers and sister were little. She kept a bottle of this in the medicine cabinet, This stuff works, now I will be giving it to my grandkids.
My Grandmother made us take this every morning when we visited for summer vacation. Wanted to know if it can still be purchased?
My mom gave us this a kids as a preventive medicine before flu season. I swear to you I have only had the flu once I my life and that was after I moved out off her home. I still take it now and can't help but share its benefits with others when they ask.

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