Munyon's Homeopathic Home Remedy Counter Display

Munyon's Homeopathic Home Remedy Counter Display

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Description
The American Art Works of Coshocton, Ohio produced this Munyon Home Remedy Company counter display case during the early 20th century. The metal box features a photograph of James Munyon holding his right index finger aloft and proclaiming in a banner below: “I would rather preserve the health of the nation than be its ruler.” Decorative panels on the sides of the box read: “The World’s best known remedies for over a quarter of a century” and “A separate Munyon Remedy for each disease.”
James M. Munyon (1848 - 1918) established his homeopathic medicine company in the early 1890s. Remedies included in this display box: Constipation Pellets, Morrowbone Nux Iron, Hay Fever Remedy, Bladder Remedy, Blood Remedy, Catarrh Remedy, Cold and Cough Remedy, Female Remedy, General Debility Remedy, Grippe Remedy, Heart Remedy, Kidney Remedy, Liver Remedy, Nerve Remedy, Neuralgia Remedy, Asthma Pellets, Colic and Crying Baby Remedy, Constipation Ointment, Cough Remedy, Croup Remedy, Fever Remedy, Headache Remedy, Laxative Paw-Paw Pills, Leucorrhea Tablets, Malaria and Chills and Fever Remedy, Measles Remedy, Pleurisy Remedy, Remedy for Rheumatic Fever, Sore Throat Remedy, Special Liquid Blood Cure, Stomachic Triturates, Vitalizer, Worm Remedy.
After the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, the Federal Government investigated many of Munyon's products. In 1911 they were judged "misbranded," and subsequently Munyon removed the name "Cure" from his homeopathic remedies.
This object is one of 39 objects from the Estate of Robert W. Vinson donated to the Smithsonian in 1958. Robert William Vinson (1872-1958), known as “Doc” or “Doc Willie” Vinson, ran Vinson’s Pharmacy in Rockville, Maryland, from the early 1900s until 1957. The store was built in the 1880’s and located on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Perry Street, across from the Montgomery County Court House, and was reported to be a popular gathering place for local politicians. It closed after Mr. Vinson’s death and many objects and furnishings, some dating to the years prior to Mr. Vinson’s ownership, were donated to the Montgomery County Historical Society Stonestreet Museum, as well as to the Smithsonian. An ornate 1914 soda fountain from the drugstore was installed in the Rockville public library. Highlights in the Smithsonian collection include glass apothecary bottles, a "Konseal" Filling and Closing Apparatus, and two pharmacy counter displays: “Munyon’s Homeopathic Home Remedies” and “German Household Dyes.”
Reference: Buglass, Ralph. Rockville, 2020. Print. (Images of America Series)
Object Name
homeopathic preparations, display, case
date made
ca 1918
maker
Munyon Home Remedy Company
The American Art Works
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Scranton
Physical Description
metal (case material)
paper (product samples material)
Measurements
overall: 13 5/8 in x 15 3/8 in x 12 7/8 in; 34.6075 cm x 39.0525 cm x 32.7025 cm
ID Number
MG.M-07379
catalog number
M-07379
accession number
220980
Credit Line
Estate of Robert Vinson, through Mr J. Vinson Peter
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Advertising
American Enterprise
Exhibition
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Comments

I own the metal cabinet (albeit in slightly rougher shape), and many of the boxes and bottles, many still with medicine. This Munyon was not my direct line, but in another family group. He grew his empire to include "Munyon's Island", a resort property in Florida, "Munyon's Lake Camp" at Rangeley Lakes in Maine, and even spread overseas to London, where the employee he sent to run that division wound up accused in a lurid adultery/murder case accused of the murder of his own wife. My father said his father knew "old Doc Munyon" and said he was a major league con man. The first time I ever saw these items, in a western museum in Colorado Springs, Co., I was completely fascinated and have been putting together the story out of the records I have found, and while he was unsavory, I find his story to be a very interesting read.
Prof Munyon was my Great, Great, Great, Great Uncle! I have the actually metal medicine cabinet shown above, as well as several bottles of never opened medications; Munyon's Female Cure, Kidney Cure, General Debility Cure and the Blood Cure.
That case with contents is so interesting! I am a pharmacist and was gifted a fabulous Munyons wooden counter display. It has a list of "cures" painted on the back on a metal sheet. A friend from Colorado found it in her mothers basement. Its in pretty rough shape, but maybe because its so old! Since it lists "cures", I'm guessing it is from before 1911 when that word was removed from his remedies.
I am the oldest son, generationally speaking, and the great grandson of James Monroe Munyon. I don't own one of the cabinets just yet but I do have a few trinkets of my own. I'd love to have the islands back!!! Lol I do own his pocket watch, given home by his son, at the time. Early 1900's piece. Fortunately, it contains an engraved inscription.
"My grandfather was one of the original FDA inspectors, and in his archive I found a reference to his seizing and destroying of this product when it was found in violation, as referenced above. This was in the late 30's, so clearly they kept trying to produce and sell it. Munyon Remedy Co., Scranton, PA. He had found the cases in Providence, RI. "

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