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Corporate-produced menstruation information booklets

Identifier: MS-0904

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Content Description

This collection contains one, half-sized letter box of menstruation information booklets published in the United States between 1933 and 1969. The bulk of the material was published by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Johnson & Johnson company under their brands/subsidiaries, primarily the International Cellucotton Products Company and the Personal Products Corporation, respectively. The booklets focus on information relating to menstruation and the menstrual cycle, but also feature topics such as reproductive health, puberty, pregnancy, etiquette, and hygiene. The information is structured in the form of a mother- or sister-figure speaking to other mothers, daughters, sisters, etc. and contains information based on medical advice as well as social advice from the time. In addition to education-focused information, the booklets also contain advertisements and instructions for each company’s products: Kimberly-Clark's Kotex and Johnson & Johnson’s Modess. Each booklet includes various colored or black-and-white photographs, illustrations, and diagrams relating to the content.

Three of the booklets were published by other pharmaceutical/personal product companies including the Bristol-Myers Company, Glenbrook Laboratories of Sterling Drug Inc., and the Campana Company. These booklets feature similar information and visuals about menstruation, reproductive health, and hygiene.


  • Creation: 1933 - 1969

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information. This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Historical - Kimberly-Clark Corporation

The Kimberly-Clark Corporation was founded as Kimberly, Clark, and Company in Neenah, Wisconsin in 1872 by John A. Kimberly, Charles B. Clark, Frank C. Shattuck, and Havilah Babcock as a papermaking company. The company reincorporated twice to expand their mills and meet increasing demand for paper products: in 1880 as Kimberly & Clark Company and in the 1920s as the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. During World War I, the company developed cellucotton, a tissue made of creped cellulose wadding designed for treating wounds in place of surgical cotton. By the end of the war, the company began marketing cellucotton for use in disposable sanitary napkins and released its first feminine napkin, Kotex, in 1920. Throughout the 1920s, the company invested in disposable personal consumer products including sanitary items, handkerchiefs, and medical items among others. In order to more effectively market feminine sanitary products, the company created a separate subsidiary called International Cellucotton Products in the late 1920s which didn’t formally merge with the main company until 1955. The company expanded internationally from the 1950s to the 1970s, and by 1991 had transformed from a business paper producer to consumer paper production.


Heinrich, Thomas and Bob Batchelor.Kotex, Kleenex, Huggies: Kimberly-Clark and the Consumer Revolution in American Business. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004.

“Kimberly-Clark.” Wikipedia. June 13, 2022.

“Kimberly-Clark Corporation.” May 17, 2018.

Historical - Johnson & Johnson Company

The Johnson & Johnson Company was founded in 1886 by Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson, and Edward Mead Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey. From their founding through the early 20th century, Johnson & Johnson produced anti-septic medical and surgical products, such as cotton bandaging, first aid kits, and protective equipment before expanding into other personal care products. The company introduced the Modess sanitary napkin in 1927, followed by the MEDS tampon in 1940. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Johnson & Johnson further diversified into the medical products field, including the development of contraception products in the 1960s and 1970s. The company continued to develop more comfortable and inconspicuous feminine products from the 1960s to the present.


“Timeline of Our Story.” Johnson & Johnson. Accessed June 2, 2022.

Historical - Bristol-Myers Company

The Bristol-Myers Company was founded in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York by William McLaren Bristol and John Ripley Myers as a pharmaceutical company. During the early 20th century, the company produced over-the-counter drugs as well as toiletry products. In 1943, the company began expanding to develop prescription drugs as well as cosmetics products, formula and nutritional supplements, and household products. Bristol-Myers merged with the Squibb pharmaceutical company in 1989 to form Bristol-Myers Squibb which produces biopharmaceutical products.


Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed June 16, 2022.

“A Heritage of Improving Lives Through Innovation.” Bristol Myers Squibb.” Accessed June 16, 2022.

Historical- Campana Company

The Campana Company was founded in 1927 in Batavia, Illinois as a cosmetic and feminine products company. It was most famous for production of “Italian Balm” hand lotion, later renamed “Campana Balm” during the outbreak of World War II. In 1958, the company merged with Allied Laboratories which was then sold to Dow Chemical in 1960.


“The Campana Factory.” Wikipedia. Accessed June 16, 2022.

“Cosmetics.” Batavia Historical Society. Accessed June 16, 2022.

Historical- Sterling Drug, Inc.

Sterling Drug, Inc. was first founded in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1901 as Neuralgyline by William Weiss and Albert Diebold. The main products focused on pain-relievers until the company began acquiring other pharmaceutical companies throughout the rest of the century. The company rebranded in 1917 as Sterling Products and created the Winthrop Company to manufacture the ingredients for their products. In 1928 the company consolidated with the United Drug Company to form Sterling Drug, Inc. The company was dissolved in 1988 after it became a division within the Eastman Kodak Company.


Collins, Joseph C. and John R. Gwilt. “The Life Cycle of Sterling Drug, Inc.” Bulletin for the History of Chemistry 25, no. 1 (2000): 22-27.


0.19 Cubic Feet (1 half-size letter box (12.5 in. d x 10.5 in. h x 2.5 in. w))

Language of Materials



This collection consists of menstrual information booklets produced by sanitary product and cosmetic/pharmaceutical companies between 1933 and 1969. The majority of the booklets were produced by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Johnson & Johnson to advertise menstrual products and provide information about menstruation, reproductive health, and feminine hygiene.


The booklets are organized chronologically by decade.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Eclectibles in November 2020.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Julia Deros from May to June 2022.

Guide to the Corporate-produced menstruation information booklets
Julia Deros
2022 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA