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Author Topic: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream  (Read 382455 times)

Alan Harris

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #285 on: September 29, 2012, 04:43:41 PM »

Also, bear in mind, that when we speak of a "switch" from flint to opal, or opal to clear, we may not have all the facts.  Was it an irrevocable switch?  Could switches ever be reversed back?  What are the reasons?  The last thing I want is to be coy here, but we are, as you say, rehearsing these scenarios.

Let me add that we're not at this point dismissing any possibilities. When the report comes, however, it must, I think, suggest probabilities, to the best that we've been able to interpret them.

I at first assumed these questions were rhetorical, but in case not, I will provide what comment I can.  "We may not have all the facts" is certainly right, and IMO we never will – unless someone finds a pile of cardboard boxes containing all of HA's production and sales records for all plants for 1902 to 1940, lol.  As to thinking that the ca. 1917 switch to "Opal Only" was not later reversed during the period of interest: pending review of further advertisements in journals and other publications, one of the reasons I currently think it was not reversed is that HA Catalog No. 1 was titled "Opal glassware: cold cream and ointment jars, patch boxes, druggists' sundries, etc.".  HA published this catalog from the late teens/early '20s until at least 1933 with the same title.  Examples from 1926 ("7th Edition, 2nd issue") and 1933 ("12th Edition") survive in West Virginia and New York libraries but I have not viewed one.  Searches have revealed numerous other HA catalogs for, e.g. Tableware, Fruit Jars, Fountain Tumblers, etc. but no others with title suggesting additional (non-opal) production of ointment/cream jars.  This alone, to me, has considerable weight on the scale of "probabilities" that you mention.

As to your other statement, "coy" is not a word I would normally use, and I certainly feel no desire to use it here.  However, lol, I will admit that your sequence of semi-leading questions does have a certain flavor of information held but not revealed.  You likely are not old enough for black-and-white TV shows, but as a child I often wondered how the poor witnesses felt while being grilled by Perry Mason, who alone had already solved the mystery.    :D
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 05:48:15 PM by Alan Harris »
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Mark Pearce

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #286 on: September 29, 2012, 10:06:50 PM »

If the Hazel-Atlas jar did in fact contain freckle cream or a cosmetic skin lightener of some kind, I believe it’s time to seriously consider it was a Kiribati woman who brought it to the island, rather than Amelia E.

It’s sad but true that Polynesian and Asian cultures value lighter skin tones over dark skin tones.  And of course- unfortunately- they are not alone.  For ample evidence of the wide-spread interest in ‘fair’ skin among Asians and Pacific Islanders, [and some reasons for it,] see-

http://www.city-data.com/forum/asia/1646010-why-tan-skin-not-considered-attractive-8.html

http://samoanwoman.com/tag/samoan-ideas-of-beauty/

Kiribati people, as it turns out, placed such a high value on light/fair skin that they confined brides-to-be in a darkened room inside of a 'ko' or 'bleaching house' for up to eighteen months before the actual marriage ceremony, to ensure the bride was not exposed to the darkening rays of the sun.  Who would argue these people would not clamor for a modern product that offered a way to speed up the ‘bleaching’ process- as freckle cream would?

Many brands of freckle cream were readily available via Australia and New Zealand in the 1930s- and even Dr. Berry’s very own concoction was exported from the USA to NZ in the early 1930’s, and perhaps later on.
 
The account, below, dates to the 1920s or 1930s and is from Sir Arthur Francis Grimble’s book 'Migrations, Myth and Magic from the Gilbert Islands' [published in 1972, Rosemary Grimble, editor.]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Grimble

http://www.janeresture.com/kculture/index.htm

Key lines IMHO –

"...though the formalities of the ko have long been abandoned, many Gilbertese (Kiribati) women to this day continue to bleach themselves in private...  they still attempt by artificial methods to hark back to the glorious ancestral types"

------------------------------------

“…Sometimes a maid might marry within a few weeks of coming to puberty, but far more often she would pass the next year or eighteen months in the ko, or bleaching house, where her skin might be whitened ere she became a bride. For this purpose a small house was built at a good distance from the family settlement and generally, but not always, on the eastern side of the island. From the eaves to the ground all round the house a screen of coconut leaf was hung; and in the interior a small cubicle of mats was rigged up on a light framework, leaving an alleyway of three or four feet clear between its sides and the outer screens. The deepest gloom reigned within this cubicle, and therein the girl must live, deprived of sunlight and unseen by the people. Only her parents and grandparents were allowed near her; her only constant companion was her adoptive grandmother, who attended to all her wants. She was allowed to wash and perform her toilet between the outer screen and the cubicle, but as soon as that was done she must retire again into the inner darkness. Thus she was obliged to live in utter manual idleness, since there was not enough light to guide her fingers at work, but to compensate for this she learned all the spells her grandmother could teach her, most of them being connected with love, healing and the culinary arts.

During this time of solitary confinement the girl's skin was carefully attended to. Every day at sunrise her body was rubbed over with the creamy juice expressed from the flesh of ripe coconuts, and when this was dry it was washed off with fresh water. At mid-day her ablutions were made in sea water, and at sunset the cream was again applied, left to dry and washed away. In addition to this she was constantly massaged from head to heel by her grandmother, coconut oil being used as an unguent; special care was given to the moulding of her arms, shoulders and breasts so that these might appear to advantage in the sitting dance.

After a few months of such treatment, in a seclusion which no sunray ever pieced, the rich and dusky olive tint left her skin, and she became pale with the dark paleness of some Spanish lady, who never leaves her house until sunset. One still has the chance of judging what her appearance may have been because, though the formalities of the ko have long been abandoned, many Gilbertese (Kiribati) women to this day continue to bleach themselves in private. The constant massage leaves the skin silken in texture, and the beauty of the subject, though no longer of a merry and full-blooded type, is certainly enhanced by etiolation.

To call a girl kamoa n te roki, i.e. an inhabitant of the bleaching-house (lit. contents of the screens) to this day, in allusion to the fairness of her skin, is to pay her the highest compliment,  nor would it be taken amiss by a man. The whole idea underlying the bleaching process is closely connected with a race-memory of certain ancestral gods who, like the famous Tangaroa of Polynesia, were fair of skin and of a marvellous beauty. These lived in Matang, a bourne of departed souls and one of the ancient fatherlands of the folk, and although their descendants have become dusky by intermarriage with Melanesian and [as I believe] negrito peoples, they still attempt by artificial methods to hark back to glorious ancestral types.

When the grandmother thought that her skin could be improved no further, the girl was conducted from the bleaching house to her home. There she was arrayed in festal ornaments and led by her mother and grandmother to a dance given in her honour, of which she was to be the central figure…”
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 09:34:56 AM by Mark Pearce »
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #287 on: September 29, 2012, 11:18:32 PM »

Mark and Alan...Wanting to know what your guys expertese is on this particular jar of Freckle ointment?  This particular jar was found in a antique store in the town I work in. It was found the same day I encountered the freckle cream box as shown throughout the net. Anyway, this particular jar had two different locations for a manufacturer on the side of the jar. Chicago and Paris??? If this is the case...then why wasn't there a listing for those two that  I posted the other night for manufacturers from the Hazel-Atlas Company. Maybe its possible that this jar came from another source overseas. I have to agree with Alan...that we wont get anywhere until we have a listing of bookwork, sales records, and etc. Anyway, give me your insight...thanks!!!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 07:04:37 AM by Randy Conrad »
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Alan Harris

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #288 on: September 30, 2012, 01:00:24 AM »

Mark and Alan...Wanting to know what your guys expertese is on this particular vile of Freckle ointment?  This particular vile was found in a antique store in the town I work in. It was found the same day I encountered the freckle cream box as shown throughout the net. Anyway, this particular vile had two different locations for a manufacturer on the side of the jar. New York and Paris??? If this is the case...then why wasn't there a listing for those two that  I posted the other night for manufacturers from the Hazel-Atlas Company. Maybe its possible that this jar came from another source overseas. I have to agree with Alan...that we wont get anywhere until we have a listing of bookwork, sales records, and etc. Anyway, give me your insight...thanks!!!

Wow, Randy, another puzzle.  I don't have any great insights to offer, only speculation.  It looks closer to the Dr. Berry jar in the 1936 Sears catalog than anything else.  Same shape outline and dark color -- but the lid is quite different and the label a little bit.  I have not noticed "Paris" on any label before.  But we do know the Dr. Berry ointment was being sold overseas by the '30's, so I guess it's not a huge surprise.  Based on the shape, color, and the "Paris", I would guess that it is a 1936 or later product.

I'm confused about the "New York" and "Paris" you mention: do those appear molded in the glass somewhere?  Or are you referring to the label, which to me appears to say "Chicago" and "Paris"?  I believe Chicago would be one of the known locations for the Berry Co. products.

Also, is there a Hazel-Atlas "H over A" mark on the bottom, or any other glass manufacturer's mark?
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #289 on: September 30, 2012, 07:15:33 AM »

Alan...Thanks for the catch. I do apologize for that mistake. It was Chicago!!!! Sorry bout! However, I don't know off hand if that small jar has hazel-atlas stamped on the bottom of it. I sent that on to Ric. It is of a milk-glass content! I'm really puzzled by the Paris thing though!!!
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dave burrell

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #290 on: September 30, 2012, 10:09:19 AM »

Alan...Thanks for the catch. I do apologize for that mistake. It was Chicago!!!! Sorry bout! However, I don't know off hand if that small jar has hazel-atlas stamped on the bottom of it. I sent that on to Ric. It is of a milk-glass content! I'm really puzzled by the Paris thing though!!!
I would not be puzzled. Its probably just marketing and making up exotic sounding cities to put on the label. Paris has been a high fashion culture center for 100 years. Of course any American maker would want to put the words Paris on a cosmetic bottle. It attracts women. Perfume makers and cosmetic designers to this day love to put the name paris on their products.
No huge mystery.

But This jar looks black.
Why do you say its milk glass colored, and since it is totally different than the artifact found what relevance do you see between this jar and the Niku jar?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #291 on: September 30, 2012, 10:18:19 AM »

If the Hazel-Atlas jar did in fact contain freckle cream or a cosmetic skin lightener of some kind, I believe it’s time to seriously consider it was a Kiribati woman who brought it to the island, rather than Amelia E.

That possibility was seriously considered from the moment we identified the jar as possibly having contained freckle cream.  There is no argument that, in Gilbertese tradition, fair skin was seen as desirable and it may be that women from the Gilbert Islands residing on Nikumaroro during the colonial period shared that prejudice but:
•  We've found nothing in the extensive historical record of the colony (some, but by no means all, of which is on the TIGHAR website) to suggest that they did.
•  In the many weeks of archaeological work in the regularly-inhabited parts of the island we've found many, many glass containers of various descriptions but never anything like the bottles we've found at the Seven Site.
• The jar at the Seven Site was clearly in a context that suggested association with the castaway.

You did not ask whether we had ever considered that an I-Kiribati woman might have brought the jar to the island.  You made the assumption that we hadn't and then proceeded to try to build a case based on generalities about Kiribati culture.  TIGHAR has looked at this question far more closely than you have and with infinitely more resources than are available to you.  Of course, no one can say for sure whether the jar was brought to the island by an I-Kiribati woman, or brought to the island by a Coast Guardsman hoping to trade it to a local woman for sexual favors, or that it fell out of a passing airplane and happened to land an break at the Seven Site (one fragment bouncing to where somebody cut up a turtle). What we can say for certain is that none of those explanations is as plausible as the jar being associated with the context in which it was found. 

TIGHAR's critics often try to dismiss our specific, exhaustively researched findings with vague generalities.  That's not a legitimate methodology and we won't entertain it on this forum. 
 
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Bill Roe

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #292 on: September 30, 2012, 11:23:28 AM »

....... (one fragment bouncing to where somebody cut up a turtle).

Just curious - are there still turtles on the island?  Also, "In the many weeks of archaeological work in the regularly-inhabited parts of the island..." did you find remains of any other turtles?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #293 on: September 30, 2012, 12:11:08 PM »

Just curious - are there still turtles on the island?

There are no terrestrial turtles on the island.  Sea turtles are common but they only come ashore to lay eggs.  They seem to prefer the windward side beach (the Seven Site is on the windward side of the island).


  Also, "In the many weeks of archaeological work in the regularly-inhabited parts of the island..." did you find remains of any other turtles?

No, but neither have we found fish bones or bird bones.  We've made a concerted effort to find any kind of fire pit or cooking area at house sites in the abandoned village but all we've found are places where there is some ash and charcoal.  We know the workers and their families ate fish, turtles, clams and occasionally birds but they apparently cleaned up after themselves and got rid of the garbage. Not a bad idea on an island with big populations of rats and crabs.

 
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #294 on: October 01, 2012, 12:01:16 AM »

Dave...the inner part of the jar is milk-glass colored! Its basically like the other milk glass ointment jars that we are seeing...except its small, and painted black on the outside. As for association with the artifact jar...I was merely going off the idea of wondering why Paris was labeled on the outside of this jar, and the supposed artifact jar that we assume was manufactured around 1917-1921 by association of the classified ad that was shown was made in Virginia. The places that were mentioned were not in Paris!!! What's even more baffling is this small black jar was found in an antique case that was centered around time frame of 1920. The case held items from a doctor back then. It was rather interesting to see!!!! So I wonder what the time frame of manufacturing was for this little small black jar. Also, another baffling thing is on the actual freckle ointment box that is shown on the website, New York is printed along with Chicago!!!
  Also, with the research that I've been doing at the Fort Hays State University Library...finding that Dr. C.H. Berry never sold his goods in the main spotlight...such as the New York Times, Kansas City Star, and the Saturday Evening Post, along with a few other women magazines back in that time frame. Thinking that I might had missed something...I searched volumes at random throughout the 1900's and found nothing. It was really puzzling!!! Anyway, however in the Pharmecutical Journals I did find it among every journal that I looked at during that time frame. Its as if only Drug Pharmacies sold his wares, such as the freckle cream and etc. So I'm trying to understand why he would put New York and Paris, on a label when he never manufactured there. Or did he? Anyway, very interesting!!!! Also, just for fun...here is a picture of a Dr. Berry Deodarant Can that I found on the web...Kinda neat!!!
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #295 on: October 01, 2012, 11:23:04 AM »

So if an I Kiribati women had said jar why was it found where it was found and why was it associated with other diverse objects such as a jack knife, buttons, zipper pull and the remains of camp fires, bird, fish and turtle bones.

Of course, just because a thing is next to another thing does not mean they are related - but in the case of the Seven Site we have a group of artifacts, faunals, and features that are anomalous to the sites known activities (Coast Guard target shooting and a failed coconut planting) and do appear to be consistent with the efforts of a western female castaway to survive in that environment.  The ointment pot jar is significant more because it fits that context than because it may have once contained freckle cream - but the fact it does seem to have contained freckle cream, and because the notion of a toxic ointment to make freckle fade is so weird, the freckle cream aspect of the whole thing has gotten way more press than it probably deserves.

For me the thing I am missing is the recent TIGHAR research which due i'm sure to Rics Hurculean schedule this past year has just not been sifted, sorted, graded and put out for the hungrey forum members to devour.  I just love the snippets that come from TIGHAR central when the debate hots up.

I feel your pain.  I'm working on an update for the TIGHAR website on debris field analysis as we speak.  Hoping to have it finished today and maybe up on the website later tonight.  It'll be worth the wait.
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #296 on: October 03, 2012, 10:09:24 PM »

Hi all. I'm back from my trip and wanted to add just a few discussion topics to this thread. (I was 4:07 in the Wineglass Marathon, just above the median. Thanks for asking, Bill Roe!) If my discussion here veers off the thread, someone I'm sure will correct me and put it somewhere else. Thanks in advance.

Ric has said in a media article on the freckle ointment, quoted earlier:
"This is one of several bottles that we’ve identified from the castaway campsite that seem to be and, in some cases, are very definitely personal care products that were marketed exclusively to women in the United States in the 1930s."

This statement rightfully does not confirm absolutes, but it does suggest possibilities. But what are the several bottles and what do they suggest in the aggregate?  Dave was right for noticing the absence of these details from many of the media's stories that appeared.

There WERE a good many details that may have been of interest. The EPAC has discussed them for years.  To address some of this gap between what the EPAC knew and what the Forum has been discussing, I have put together this simple database of bottles at the Seven Site (attached).

Here are some statistics that can be taken from the data:
- 7 of the 8 are known to be American in origin and all 8 could be American in origin.
- 4 of the 8 are 3 ounces or less in volume and appear to be personal care items.
- 4 of the 4 small personal care items are known to be American in origin.
- 2 of the 8 have a probable connection to the Coast Guard.
- 6 of the 8 have a possible association with the 1930s. 1 of them definitely does.
- 2 of the 8 have a strong connection to an American female.
- 6 of the 8 may be associated with the castaway, whose bones most likely lay on the same site  and
- 8 of the 8 were man-made!

These statistics as cited above are Ric's brainchild entirely. The numbers have changed a bit as we learned more about the bottles, but we would see these kinds of discussions regularly on EPAC in late 2010 and early 2011.

Joe Cerniglia
TIGHAR #3078CER
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #297 on: October 03, 2012, 11:12:06 PM »

Could someone refresh my memory as to what EPAC means? Also, kinda curious what the name of all the 8 bottles were that were found at the site? I already know what two of them were...but not sure of the others!
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #298 on: October 04, 2012, 05:02:29 AM »

Good stuff and the EPAC insight is appreciated.  Can you advise as to how the likelihood of a 'castaway association' among certain of these items was determined, other than by the articles being at the site?   
Thanks Jeff.  You and the rest can easily see why it's easy to get carried away and I don't intend to do that.  What I'm saying is that I can cite you reasons why the putative castaway is one of the possible associations for certain of the artifacts.  By no means does that mean I'm saying it is the only association. Also, a "no" in my database does not mean that there are no conditions you could imagine under which another group of people could be associated with this item.  The database I've set up is merely a convenient way to discuss it, a shorthand if you will.

Some, but my no means all, outlets in the media (and by media I include blogs and discussion groups, though whether I should may be another topic),  could take the database and say "6 of the 8 belonged to Amelia Earhart."  This would be a distortion.

Basically, when I use the word association, I'm saying no more than that "this could have been."   

Again, I've provided more details, but not all.  Hundreds of emails underlie this database. There are people on EPAC who would disagree with the categories and conclusions I've drawn.  The database is not EPAC's; it is my summary of EPAC's discussion, and it overlays a point of view.  I can get into more specifics of where the discussion with each piece went over time.  I may not be able to respond immediately today.  Last week I was on vacation and could really take the time to get into the details and respond very quickly.  This week I'm back at work.

I can see from the attached spreadsheet that some of those 'castaway' items bore evidence of being in the fire, are of the right era, etc. which suggests someone was doing something with them in a fire at some time, and that they could possibly fit a castaway situation.  It would be interesting, however, to understand what trait was found in common among those articles (possibly 6?) that would support an association with the castaway more strongly than the likelihood of some other use, or another means of arrival and deposit at the site.

I cannot draw a straight line with a single trait through all the artifacts.  The melted features of the green bottle and the beer bottle are most interesting.  The beer bottle has been determined by archaeologist Bill Lockhart to be prewar, export, and American.  The green bottle cannot be dated so precisely, but the fact it was found in the remains of a cooking fire with the same melted features suggests it is paired with the green bottle.  Others on EPAC have not been so effusive about this evidence. Tom King, for the sake of argument and equitability, suggested the scenario of a Coast Guardsman involved in the making of a distillery on the site from old bottles he (the Coast Guardsman) took from home.  He called him "Benny the Brewer".  This should underline the fact that we are very careful to construct alternate hypotheses to explain the bottles when we think the discussion has become too absolute.

The database is mine, but others could adapt it to suit their own hypotheses, or even to defend positions they don't necessarily hold but with which they would like to experiment.  This could be an interesting exercise.
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream
« Reply #299 on: October 04, 2012, 05:08:08 AM »

correction to above post:  "The green bottle cannot be dated so precisely, but the fact it was found in the remains of a cooking fire with the same melted features suggests it is paired with the beer bottle."

Joe Cerniglia
TIGHAR #3078CER
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