Mother Bailey’s Label Die Proof, American Bank Note Co. 1868


Rare quackery proof from the American Bank Note Company archives.

ethyl alcohol-powdered opium

A combination of alcohol and opium, this was used to ease the discomfort of teething babies (not to mention their parents) although too much “quieting” could have tragic consequences.

“Mothers sometimes wonder why their boys take so readily to cigarettes, or their daughters to cocaine, never thinking that the soothing syrup, or cough mixture given freely by themselves to their children developed a craving for something stronger later on. Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, advertised for years in church as well as secular papers as “invaluable for children,” is cited in the report for 1888 of the Massachusetts State Board of Health as containing opium; also Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral, Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup, Jayne’s Expectorant, Hooker’s Cough and Croup Syrup, Moore’s Essence of Life, Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup, and others too numerous to mention. The report says:

“The sale of soothing syrups, and all medicines designed for the use of children, which contain opium and its preparations should be prohibited. Many would be deterred from using a preparation known to contain opium, who would use without question a soothing syrup recommended for teething children.”

Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine
by Fritz Wilhelm Woll, Alfred Fournier, Martha M. Allen, 1900


Additional information


4.5" x 3.5"


several small spots on back, pencil notation


25c product label




circa 1868

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