Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. No re-opening date is available at this time. Check our website and social media for updates.

Ovulen Oral Contraceptive

Ovulen Oral Contraceptive

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
The popularity of “the Pill” created a new market for pharmaceutical companies. For the first time, healthy women would be taking medication for an extended period of time. Pill manufacturers developed unique packaging in order to distinguish their product from those of their competitors and build brand loyalty. Packaging design often incorporated a “memory aid” to assist women in tracking their daily pill regimen, as well as styled cases to allow pills to be discreetly carried in bags and purses. The National Museum of American History’s Division of Medicine and Science’s collection of oral contraceptives illustrates some of the changes that the packaging and marketing of the Pill underwent from its inception in 1960 to the present.
G. D. Searle and Company of Chicago, Illinois, produced this Ovulen brand oral contraceptive for sale in Argentina during the 1960s. The regimen is in two silver blister packs of 10 pills, each inserted into a cardboard holder. The interior of the holder is divided into a five by five grid with a space for the day and date to be written by the user in each square. These oral contraceptives were distributed as a physician’s sample in Argentina.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
G. D. Searle and Company
place made
Argentina: Buenos Aires
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
diacetato de etinodiol, 1.0 mg (drug active ingredients)
mestranol, 0.1 mg (drug active ingredients)
overall: 6.5 cm x 13.5 cm x .9 cm; 2 9/16 in x 5 5/16 in x 3/8 in
overall. as stored: 3/8 in x 5 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; .9525 cm x 13.97 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Margaret Sanger Center
Birth Control/Contraception
Women's Health
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object