The Face Of Ho Chi Minh: A Time Magazine Direct Mail Piece

By Ray Schultz

Marketing guru Ron Jacobs has observed that “Consumers don’t have the patience anymore to read an eight-page direct mail letter.” True, and they probably don’t even have what it takes to read a four-page one.

But they must have had it in 1966, because that’s when Time magazine sent the following four-pager.

Like the classic Time letters from the 1940s and ‘50s, this one is a historical artifact. It introduces Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, to the American people. Then it goes on to quote Marshall McLuhan, mention both LBJ and Jimmy Hoffa in passing, and explain—in some detail—the benefits of Time.

The envelope features a line drawing of a pair of sandals, with this copy: “The wearer of these sandals said: “Americans don’t like long, inconclusive wars. This is going to be a long, inconclusive war.”

Inside, at the top of the letter, is a compelling image of Ho Chi Minh. Unfortunately, I have only a black-and-white Xerox copy, and did not write down the color of these illustrations. I suspect it was red.

Having found this letter in the Time Inc. archive, I am sad to report that it was one of the last of its type. That very year, Time started sending charmless, computer-generated sweepstakes letters, although Bill Jayme’s long Cool Friday letter was mailed into the 1970s.

There were no handwritten notes attached to this one, so I don’t know who wrote it, or how it pulled. And I wonder how many people, even those who snapped up the offer, made it all the way through. But here it is: One of the last great long letters written by Time’s direct mail masters. Enjoy.

Dear Reader: 

The frail, goat-bearded comrade is in remarkable health.

At 76 he is ruddy-cheeked and cheerful. He dresses in –cream-colored, mandarin-style uniforms and “Ho Chi Minh scandals” carved from automobile tires. His tastes are exquisite. He smokes American cigarettes and dines on a rare delicacy called “swallow’s nest” – a marriage of sea algae and swallow’s saliva. 

In 1962 Ho Chi Minh said: “We held off the French for eight years. We can hold off the Americans for at least that long. American’s don’t like long, inconclusive wars. This is going to be a long, inconclusive war.”

Drenched by a monsoon rain, a leathery U.S. Marine sergeant and his platoon wait in the swampy dark outside a wretched hamlet where V.C. are reported hiding. Finally a wan moon reappears. Its dim light glints on weapons carried by four fleeing figures heading out of the village. The marines open fire. A grenade explodes.  

Says the sergeant: “I hate this goddamned place like I never hated any place before, but I’ll tell you something else: I want to win here more than I ever did in two wars before.”

Right now the war in Viet Nam is neither popular nor unpopular with most Americans. It is simply confusing.

But as U.S. commitment deepens, personal involvement becomes apparent to each of us. And it becomes expedient to know all the risks, reasons and alternatives. To know the facts.

And that is one of the reasons why I am sending you this special invitation to enroll as a regular TIME reader, at a special introductory rate:

. . . 17 weeks of TIME for only $1.87. (Just 11 cents an issue.)

But (you may ask) why do I want to read a newsmagazine? And why TIME?

Let me explain why…

In 1923 TIME initiated the newsmagazine idea.

It was a new technique of newsgathering and a new format for presenting the news which offered the reader a multiplicity of news stories each week about all kinds of human activity, within a unified structure.

There was also a consistent “tone of voice” throughout TIME’s pages. Because it was different from all other news media of the era, a new form of journalism had been introduced.

Today TIME’s way of presenting the news conforms completely with the way we live. It is as integral to our society as the electric and electronic wonders that surround us.

The newsmagazine form offers an integrated mosaic picture of our time…

Says Professor Marshall McLuhan, Canada’s social catalyst: “The newsmagazine form is pre-eminently mosaic in form presenting a corporate image of society in action…The reader of the newsmagazine becomes much involved in the making of meanings for this corporate image…”

After assembling what McLuhan calls “the crucial commodity of information” through many channels and from many sources, TIME prints only the most significant of that week’s news, news of greatest human interest. From all directions, covering all facets.

It is then up to the reader to assemble this mosaic of the news and discover for himself what it means…and by doing so becoming involved in his world in a way never before possible.

The reader begins to know who he is, what he is doing, and what it means to be a member of this particular society at this particular moment in history.  

Thus the newsmagazine is recognized as a modern, efficient and essential tool of communication.

But how does this happen? How does the reader receive sufficient information each week to formulate his own meanings?

If you know TIME (and most people do) you know that it covers the news each week completely in23 separate sections. Among them: The Nation, The World, People, Education, Law, Religion, Medicine, Art, Modern Living, Music, Sport, Science, Show Business, Theater, U.S. Business, World Business Cinema, Books.

Each section of Time is also composed as a mosaic…

Take “Medicine” for example. In six consecutive issues TIME published the important news about infectious diseases, orthopedics, metabolic disorders , cardiology, physiology, parasitic diseases, gynecology, cancer, neurology, doctors, diagnosis, bacteriology, gastro-enterology.  

In a single issues under “U.S. Business” there were stories on the economy, profits, auto, advertising, government, mining, banking. The following issue carried news of housing, publishing, publishing, communications, corporations, steel, money, retailing, oil, industry. And the next: shipping, airlines, finance, Wall Street, aviation, insurance, taxes.

One week recently under the heading “The Nation” TIME reported on President Johnson’s Hawaii Conference; the $3.39 billion foreign aid package; Senator Dirksen’s filibuster; Jimmy Hoffa; a wicked snowstorm; California’s Governor Pat Brown; Wyoming’s Governor Clifford Hansen; Mississippi’s Governor Paul Johnson; the Hudson River Valley; and the new head of all military construction in Viet Nam: Brig. Gen. Carroll Dunn.

TIME connects you with the world through a fascinating, complex, modern grapevine of information…

TIME’s staff of editors, writers, researchers and technicians scans the world to amass each week’s fund of new information. They read and translate millions of words, examine thousands of pictures, sift ideas, opinions, quotations, figures, reports….trimming, fitting, checking and transfixing it all into just about 125 columns of news and news-pictures each week. (TIME is a magazine for busy people.)

Each week too, there is an important Cover Story, a TIME Essay (on some subject as controversial as the Divorce Laws, or the Homosexual in America), and a color portfolio. With listings of what’s best in theater, movies, records, books, television.

Only an organization of TIME’s stature, structure and dimension could expend this amount of energy and effort.

But what is just as important: Time is a lot of fun to read … it often reads like fiction, humor or biography…

You can follow the exciting thriller 9reported from TIME’s Paris Bureau): “L’Affaire Ben Barka”, a sensational spy-murder-police scandal that has rocked France as the Dreyfus case did a the turn of the century.

You can play TIME’s new game of “barrendipity” (in contrast to “serendipity”, or the art of finding somewhere where you least expect to find it). Barrendipity is the art of not finding something where you might expect to find it: Danish pastry in Denmark, frankfurters in Frankfurt, English muffins in England, or baked Alaska in Alaska.

You can gain intimate knowledge of a great artist. From TIME’s Cover Story on pianist Arthur Rubenstein, who says:

“I’m passionately involved in life; I love its change, its color its movement. To be alive, to be able to speak, to see, to walk, to have houses, music, paintings – it’s all a miracle. I have adopted the technique of living life from miracle to miracle. Music is not a hobby, not even a passion with me. Music is me.”

With this weekly fund of news, insight, sidelight and background . . . you sense the unpredictable variety of life itself.

Writes Professor Marshall McLuhan: “By using our wits, we can translate the outer world into the fabric of our being.”

TIME helps you “translate.”

There is no set rule about how to read TIME. Some begin at the beginning. Others start from the back. What interests each man and woman is incalculable. So TIME tries to provide as much of interest and value to as many interested people as possible.

As the artists of 6th century Ravenna arranged mosaic tesserae according to size, contour and direction to create monumental designs, so TIME presents the design of our times.

Why not partake of this experience?

Our invitation is enclosed. It enrolls you at once as a TIME reader and brings TIME to your home or office regularly – for 17 weeks at only $1.87 (just 11 cents an issue).

Just put the card in the mail to me today – it’s already postage-paid.

And thank you.

Cordially,

Putney Westerfield

Circulation Director

Honduran Gold

By Ray Schultz

The United States was in a rare period of felicity in 1899. It had won the Spanish American War, taking over the remnants of the Spanish empire. William McKinley, a pro-business Republican with a benign nature, was in the White House; prosperity reigned. The automobile had been invented, the airplane would follow, and people could buy cylinders containing recorded songs like ”I Guess I’ll have to Telegraph My Baby,” by Arthur Collins. But nobody was more optimistic than the lucky few who received pink Express Mail circulars from Honduras at the start of the year.

These were for the Honduras national Lottery (aka the Louisiana Lottery). They offered 12 monthly drawings, each featuring a $30,000 grand prize and hundreds of lesser awards. They were sent by private Express Mail because it was a crime for lottery operators to use the U.S. Post Office. And, of course, they didn’t go to everyone: They went only to lottery enthusiasts—to the fools who had previously bought tickets from the company that had opened for business during Reconstruction.

In 1868, Louisiana was occupied by federal troops, and run by corrupt Republicans, “ignorant Negroes cooperating with a gang of white adventurers, strangers to our interests and our sentiments,” one Southern editor wrote, reflecting the racism of the time and place. Among the newcomers was a 31 year-old Baltimorean named Charles T. Howard. Some people said Howard inflated his Confederate war record, but it didn’t matter, for he had something in short supply in Louisiana: capital. It was provided by the New York gambler John Morris, and Howard liberally dispensed it to the Republicans in the legislature. His hosts rewarded him with an exclusive 25-year charter to operate a lottery, and made it a crime for anyone else to even start one. And the company was exempted from all taxes, except for a $40,000-a-year contribution to the state educational fund.

At first, the Louisiana Lottery sold chances mostly through policy shops in the state: the daily drawings were “the special curse of the colored population,” one observer wrote. But it soon moved into the mails, largely thanks to Dr. Maxmillian A. Dauphin, appointed by Howard as president in 1873.

Dauphin was born in 1837 in Alsace Lorraine, and emigrated to the United States at age 16 with a brother. But the siblings separated after arriving, and Maxmillian ended up friendless in New Orleans. He attached himself to Dr. Sam Choppin, “then the center of one of the most brilliant social, professional and political coteries.” and under his sponsorship became a physician. Then he went into business.

Dauphin knew that the lottery would never realize its full potential until it dominated the Yankee market, which it did within a few years. Next to New Orleans, Washington was the most lucrative city. The Lottery offered tickets at cigar stores, hotels, saloons and barber shops, and through bootblacks and newsboys in the streets. And, of course, it peddled them by mail, so many that Bin “D,” in the Washington post office was assigned to Dauphin, and clerks worked into the night, using “express wagons and furniture cars to haul the outgoing mail,” one account reported.

It was similar in New York and Chicago, where lottery agents mailed tens of thousands of packages a month, containing letters, certificates, logos, entry forms and tickets, all promising “grand” and “extravagant” prizes. One package sent in New York in 1880 said: .“No seed, no harvest.” The Lottery’s mailings pulled in $30,000 a day, or almost $11 million a year. And they constituted 45 percent of the entire business of the New Orleans post office.

The drawings were held in an ancient hall in New Orleans, with an alligator paddling around a pool outside. They were under the “personal supervision” of two venerated Confederate generals: Jubal T. Early and G.T. Beauregard. General Beauregard “was of large stature, but the progress of years weighed heavily upon him, and his shoulders were bent so as to throw his florid face, with its full white hirsute covering, forward towards the floor. Gray-blue eyes, fierce and penetrating, gleamed beneath bushy, overhanging brows. A suit of Confederate gray clothing, well cut and near, covered the aged man.” Then there was Jubal Early, “clad in black, and a handsome face crowned by now-white closely cropped hair was poised proudly above an elegant, dignified form.”

The generals were each paid tens of thousands of dollars a year to stand on stage once a month and “preside.” The drawings featured blindfolded boys from a local orphanage, wearing knickers, and were conducted before men who were “redolent of rum and tobacco and poor bathing facilities, and had no taste or money for clean raiment,” according to one eyewitness account. “With the utmost solemnity, Croupier Early proceeded to blindfold the boy beside him,” wrote another witness. “Located near the brazen drum, Croupier Beauregard, with corresponding gravity, tied a white handkerchief over the eyes of his juvenile assistant.”

The drawing began. Jubal drew the white paper from the encircling black rubber tube. “In measured tones he read the number, 48,146. The voice of General Beauregard was likewise measured and somewhat harder in its timbre when he called the figures on the white slip of paper which he drew from the little black tube: ‘200’ he said.” What it meant was the holder of ticket 48,146 had won $200.”

Several larger prizes were drawn, including jackpots of $100,000 and $300,000, but no winner came up to claim them, causing groans in the gallery. With good reason: One third of the tickets in the drum were unsold, still owned by the Lottery, which meant that the bettors were playing against the house. And the house did well. Government lotteries in Europe distributed up to 85% of their ticket money in prizes; the Louisiana Lottery kept more than half.

In 1890, Congress passed a law making it a felony to use the mails to conduct a lottery. Unlike previous bills, this one made it an offense to even to patronize a lottery by mail. President Benjamin Harrison signed it, and his Postmaster General, the retail magnate John Wanamaker, vowed to enforce it.

So Dauphin bypassed the mails, employing private express deliverers and removing he criminal taint for customers. His ads advised players to “remit currency by express at our expense. Give full address and make signature plain.” But the pressure and his rich New Orleans diet must have gotten to him, for in December 1890 Dauphin died at age 53 after a brief illness. Charles Howard was dead, too, having been thrown from a horse.

Paul Conrad, former chief clerk of the Lottery and part owner of an ice company, took over. The lottery office in Canada mailed thousands circulars over the border. They announced that “recent changes in the United States Postal regulations have rendered it preferable to more closely consult the interest of our Canadian patrons by establishing a branch office in Canada.”

At this point, the Supreme Court of Louisiana was deciding a case over whether to renew the Lottery charter or put it on a ballot referendum. The court, heavily subsidized by the Lottery, ruled to renew, and Conrad quickly got out a mailing hailing the victory. The pamphlet contained return express envelopes addressed to the New Orleans National Bank, again bypassing the Post Office. Worse, in John Wanamaker’s view, it was designed to look like a newspaper, and it was duly mailed at the second class rates for publishers.

Still, the publicity was bad for business. And in 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the anti-lottery laws. Conrad had one more trick: He relocated the Lottery to Honduras, again bypassing U.S. post office. “The Congress of the United Sates having lately passed laws prohibiting the use of mails to all Lotteres, we use the Express companies in answering correspondents snd sending Lists of Prizes to the U.S.A.”

The prices were as follows: Whole tickets, $2; Halves $1; Quarters 50C; Eighths 25C. The pieces also specified: “No order filled for less than one dollar.”

It’s not clear if Conrad was still involved (or even alive) at this point. Purchasers were advised to send their mail to E.J. Demarest, of Puerto Cortez, Honduras, C.A., care of Central American Express, in Port Tampa City, Florida.

The circulars also warned recipients to avoid fraudulent lotteries. “BEWARE of any lottery which claims to be drawn anywhere in the United States,” they said. “Buyers are cautioned against dishonest loteries. Fake lotteries give vendors thirty or forty cents on every dolllar for selling their tickets, therefore, an unscruplous vendor wll help their sale because it increases his profit.”

It’s not clear if the Honduras operation lasted far into the 20th Century: It probably didn’t. In 1901, during the first year of his second term, William McKinley was assassinated. His succssor, Theodore Roosevelt started an era of heavy federal regulation. And few of the old junk mail pirates survived.

Black Mail: How the Nazis Used Direct Mail In America

By Ray Schultz

To the untutored, 1940 probably seemed like just another year ending in a zero. The movies Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were playing around the country. On the radio, one heard Frank Sinatra singing with the Tommy Dorsey band. But some people were not consoled by such entertainment. The Germans were overrunning Europe, the Jews were in peril. And at home, there was a struggle between isolationists like Charles A. Lindbergh, whose comments were tinged with anti-Semitism, and those who felt the U.S. had to help defeat Hitler.

Henry Hoke was in the latter category. The 46 year-old Baltimore native and Wharton graduate was a direct mail expert. He had run the industry’s trade group, The Direct Mail Advertising Association, and he published a magazine called The Reporter of Direct Mail Advertising. He was ever on the alert for frauds who abused the medium. And he felt he had uncovered just such a group.

The Nazis.

Yes, the Germans were using the U.S. mails to spread propaganda, and Hoke, whose son Pete had isolationist circulars shoved under his door at Wharton, took it on himself to expose them. As he wrote later, in a book titled Black Mail, “the German government, through mail issued by specified agencies to selected lists, was attempting to divide the country so that the United States would be helplessly unprepared for future military attack.”

Could he cite examples? Sure. For one, “the German Library of Information guided by Matthias F. Schmitz (assisted by George Sylvester Viereck), issued about 90,000 copies of a semi-weekly, well printed and written Facts in Review to ministers, school teachers, editors of college papers, legislators, publishers,” Hoke wrote in May 1940 in his magazine. “Purpose: to sell the National Socialist ideology and to prevent preparedness against attack.”

Then he added that “the German Railroads Information Office, guided by Ernest Schmitz, issued about 40,000 weekly mimeographed bulletins to hotel mangers, travel agencies, stock brokers, bankers and ‘small business men,’” to “convince Americans that the Nazi system of doing business was best.”

Hoke wasn’t done: “The American Fellowship Forum, guided by Friedrich E. Auhagen, assisted by George Sylvester Viereck, Lawrence Dennis, and others, issued pamphlets or bulletins to a ‘cultural class,’—educators, civic leaders, authors and a selected list of persons who might be sold the idea that the German mind was filled with nothing but the milk of human kindness for all humanity.”

It took courage to write that, even for an American tucked safely at home in Garden City, Long Island. E. Schmitz, from the German Railroads Information Office, wrote to demand that Hoke retract these “slanders,” and assured him that if he did, “a waiver will be given, releasing you and your publication from further claim.” Hoke noted that the letter “had been sent to my home…not to my office.” Were the Germans trying to intimidate him?

If they were, it didn’t work. Instead, Hoke published his exchange with Schmitz in a special mailing—“I refuse to be intimidated by you or by any German controlled organization. I refuse to have my family intimidated,” he wrote. And he got more outspoken as he realized the scope of the German operation.

“For the first time, it was possible to show how the Nazis had built a large mailing list (estimated at 250,000) of German Americans with relatives in Germany…how Japanese boats brought hulls full of printed material from Hamburg, Munich, Berlin…how these pieces were delivered under International Postal Union Treaties free of charge by the United States. (Under International Postal Treat, the country of origin retains the postage collected,” he wrote in Black Mail. “The country of delivery delivers free. A wash-out transaction to avoid bookkeeping).”

But the Germans were only part of it. Hoke found that Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, the Montana Democrat who had broken with Roosevelt over his court-packing plan, was sending out isolationist mail under his free Congressional frank. Analyzing the addressing on the envelopes, Hoke traced the pieces to a German group: the Steuben Society, Also sending seemingly pro-Hitler mail, for free, was Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY), who in 1938 had met with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Europe, and reportedly said that Germany’s demands in Poland were “just,” according to Hoke.

Hoke, who was not Jewish, deplored the anti-Semitism expressed by many isolationists. “On April 25, 1941, in Omaha, Nebraska, Charles B Hudson, violently anti-Semitic publisher, admitted to reporters that he had distributed isolationist speeches under the Congress free mailing franks of Senators Worth Clark of Idaho, Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri and Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, and Representatives Oliver of Maine and Bolton of Ohio,” he reported.

Hoke wrote to Wheeler: “Unaddressed franked mail under your signature and under that of former Representative Jacob Thorkelson of Montana, has been distributed by your violent adherent Donald Shea at his anti-Semitic meetings and by Nazi-loving, Jew-baiting Joe McWilliams at Christian Front meetings. Recipients were instructed to address the franked envelopes and dump them into the nearest postal box, without payment of postage.”

Of course, isolationists had a right to circulate their views, although not under franked mail, Hoke argued. Wheeler fought back. “I am not seriously concerned about Mr. Hoke’s misrepresentations,” he wrote in a letter. “In the first place, Mr. Hoke is interested in direct mail advertising, as he himself says, and is opposed to the use of the franking privilege on general principles.”

Sen. Wheeler then claimed that “Mr. Hoke makes no reference to the fact that those in Government who apparently favor our intervention in foreign war sent out under various Congressional franks some 2,00,000 pieces of mail all over the United States, much of it distributed by the pro-interventionist committees and organizations.”

Wheeler also falsely wrote that Hoke was employed by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai Brith, as if that discredited him. Meanwhile, Hoke reported that the supposedly good name of the Order of the Purple Heart was being used as a cover in the scheme.

Events moved quickly. Franklin Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third term in November 1940. On June 2, 1941, Hoke wrote, “a friend beside a news ticker called me on the ‘phone to beat the headlines…’Henry, you ought to be glad to know,’ he said, ‘the President of the United States has just issued an executive order closing the German Railroads…the German Library of Information…and the German Consulates.’”

Hoke was pleased, although this crusade had practically wrecked his business. But he kept after the Nazi sympathizers, using the techniques of his trade to undo them. For instance, friends wrote flattering letters to the appeasers, using dummy names, and soon received isolationist letters addressed to those names, fueling his investigative reporting. And more was to follow.

“We learned from a girl who worked in a locked and guarded room on the top floor of the Ford Building at N. 1710 Broadway in New York City that Ford Motor Car Company employees were compiling a master list of appeasers, anti-Semites, pro-Nazis and Fascists from fan mail addressed to Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, to former Senator Rush Holt and to Representative Hamilton Fish,” Hoke wrote.

He added that “the lists, when compiled, were delivered to Bessie Feagin, circulation manager of Scribner’s Commentator. That explained how some of the dummy names used in writing to radio orators eventually got on the list of the American First Committee and Scribner’s Commentator. But why the Ford organization? But why…a lot of things?”

Feagin was eventually hauled before a grand jury, as were many others, including Hamilton Fish. “No one knows what Hamilton Fish told the Grand Jury on December 5, 1941,” Hoke said. “Someone was pulling every possible string to have the case buried.”

Two days passed. Then: “Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, just as our little family sat down to dinner…the flash we feared came over the radio…Pearl Harbor!”

Myth has it that the country pulled together at that moment, but Hoke knew better. Isolationists blamed Roosevelt for the war, inferring that Japan was in its rights to attack. “Remember…these were statements made by Americans on the Sunday night of December 7, 1941…the blackest day in American history,” Hoke wrote. “Made by the same Americans who for months had been mimicking and distributing the printed propaganda of the enemy.”

And they continued. “By the fall of 1943…the volume of black mail had grown to alarming proportions and was increasing rapidly,” Hoke charged. “The average citizen, when told about it still said, “I don’t believe it.” He didn’t see many of the Hate Sheets of the vermin press—or he may have seen only one or two which he passed off as “crack-pot.’” Hoke cited several anti-Semitic publications, like The Defender, Destiny and The Mothers of Sons Forum Bulletin.

There were victories along the way: Multiple indictments for sedition and other crimes. Some resulted in convictions, including that of George Hill, secretary to Hamilton Fish. Hill was “that certain man,” sought by Hoke, who ran the massive propaganda operation. “He was convicted of perjury—but the evidence proved him guilty of conspiracy with Viereck and Dennet to use the Government Printing Office and the Congressional franking privilege for the dissemination of Nazi and Fascist propaganda,” Hoke wrote.

Then there was the case of George Sylvester Viereck, who had failed to register as a foreign agent. Hoke recorded the scene:

“11:30 P.M. Judge Lawes appears and the courtroom is filled with an air of dignity…and tension. The jury walks in a semi-circle at the side of the bench. Viereck stands before the jury and glares. The clerk reads each count and the foreman answers—‘Guilty’…six times. Vierecks lawyer asks that the jury be polled. Viereck glares at each juror as the question is put six times, an the answer six times is ‘Guilty.’ Seventy-to times Viereck hears his ‘fellow citizens’ say the word ‘Guilty.’ The big marshal standing behind George Sylvester Viereck takes out his handcuffs and the Nazi agent goes out through the back door. Court adjourned.”

Henry Hoke lived until 1970. His son Pete took over the magazine, and changed its name to Direct Marketing. Pete’s son Hank is now in charge of the Hoke operation. To paraphrase James Agee, let us now praise Henry Hoke for his selfless campaign. Why did he do it? “Because some people, some place…are running a campaign to destroy Democracy,” he wrote, concluding Black Mail. “Our destiny is better than that. Our boys and girls deserve a better future. Fight against this black mail. If we do not…we’ll not know the sweet of Freedom until we have lost it.”

Riding the Rails

By Ray Schultz

Spare me your three-word tweets: I yearn for the day when publishers sent four-page direct mail letters. They were worth reading whether you responded or not.

Take this stirring note written by the copywriter Frank Johnson. It’s for a book on railroads offered by American Heritage magazine.

The letter is dated Dec. 30, 1974, but readers probably didn’t get it until the calendar year 1975. If I’m reading it correctly, in fact, the book wasn’t available until that summer.

Hmnn, I wonder if the volume was even written when the letter went out: The single-spaced missive almost serves as an outline or proposal. Did American Heritage plan to go forward only when it had sufficient orders? (Hardly an uncommon practice in those days).

It’s hard to know now. In Frank Johnson’s files, the piece is identified only as RR letter – final, 11/13. And there’s no information on response. But one thing’s for sure: This letter is a richly enjoyable piece of Americana. And it could only have been written by someone who grew up in Ohio, listening to those railroad whistles. Here’s Frank Johnson at his absolute best.

 December 30, 1974

If you’re old enough and lucky enough, you can remember lying in bed as a child and hearing, far off, the whistle of a steam locomotive as it pounded through the night. The wail was hoarse, mournful, inimitable. And once upon a time it was a siren song for any youngster.

You could imagine the engineer, red bandana around his neck, eyes riveted on the gleaming rails ahead, wind-blown and ruddy in the glow from the open fire door. You envied – oh, how you envied – the impossibly glamorous travelers in the spruce train behind, eating five-course feasts in the spotless dining car, ice tinkling in their wine buckets. Or snug in their berths behind swaying green curtains in the long Pullmans, each car lettered with its name. “Someday,” you told yourself, “”Someday ….” It was magic.

Someday, lackaday. Such high-style overland travel is almost gone, as someone has said, with the wind. But as all of us who remember can tell all of us who were a bit too young, railroads were once magic carpets for Americans. The miraculous iron horse changed our modes of life more radically than any mechanical device before or since, from steel plows to airplanes.

Railroads are obviously an important part of the American experience That’s one reason why our editors are now at work on a first-rate, expertly written and illustrated history of the subject.

But I’m inviting you to look at the completed book for ore reasons than its “importance.” As you already now a proper history of railroads is bound to include invention, skullduggery, wild economics, outrageous politics, dashing adventures, and a motley cast of characters. A great history of American railroads, I think you’ll agree, should also include a touch of the magic you – or your parents, and theirs – once felt.

And that touch will be evident in our forthcoming AMERICAN HERITAGE HISTORY OF RAILROADS IN AMERICA. Here I’d like to tell you about the book, make some heady claims, and offer to prove them by sending you a copy late this summer, on approval, and at a good bargain.

To get the magic as well as the facts of that important, colorful story into one illustrated book calls for someone who has an intimate knowledge of America’s history, and more than a bit of railroading experience. Ideally, this historian should also have ready access to the archives of railroad pictures and art; and the ability to write with precision, economy, and wit.

Not by happenstance, our author with all those qualifications built in is Oliver Jensen. For two decades he has been the editor of the world’s biggest and best-known history magazine, American Heritage. All his life he has been railroad buff. And he founded and is chairman of the Valley Railroad of Essex, Connecticut. It features antique steam engines and restored wooden coaches.

He starts with the achievement of the wonderful 19th-century “locomotive engine”: For the first time, you could move across the land without using leg power of some sort! That thought simply hadn’t occurred to right-thinking people since the world began. Even the idea of an “engine” was new in 1830, when The Best Friend of Charleston, the first practical U.S-built locomotive, began to haul goods and people. (So new that six months later, The Best Friend’s unsuspecting fireman, annoyed by the hissing safety valve, sat on it to gain a few quiet moments … his and the boiler’s last.)

But wonder turned to love, and to avarice, in short order “Railroad fever” brought a mania for wildcat railroad enterprises … and a push of rails to the new western states. “West” in the 1830’s an ‘40’s meant Ohio Indiana, Illinois. And access to their rich lands quickly emptied New England’s hardscrabble farms of ambitious young men, and built the first railroad city: Chicago.

Early on, you’ll come across familiar names in new roles. For example, that foxy young railroad lawyer, Abraham Lincoln of the Illinois Central; U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, espousing the virtues of a southern route for the projected transcontinental railroad; Peter Cooper, racing a horse with his Tom Thumb engine; John Quincy Adams, escaping injury in the firs train wreck; and Andrew Carnegie as a young train dispatcher.

A B.&O. train was stopped by John Brown’s men during the bloody raid at Harpers Ferry. Once released, the conductor wired the first news of Brown’s threatened rail blockade – and U.S. Marines were rushed to the rescue, by train. From the Civil War on, railroads were to be part and parcel of all military strategies.

But not even war could stop the drive west. Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act on July 1, 1862, chartering two companies to complete the first Atlantic-to-Pacific rail link. “The Great Highway of Nations between OCCIDENT and ORIENT,” as the ads had it, was completed just seven years later. What rousing stories there are to tell about railroading in the 1860’s: The stolen “General” and the great locomotive chase, Promontory Point and the golden spike, the real emergency that tested the first air brake ….

RAILROADS IN AMERICA will put you on scene at these historic occasions, with fine reproductions of wartime Brady and Gardner photos; with paintings and sketches made by artists who followed the Irish and Chinese track layers into the Rockies; with a moving picture essay of Lincoln’s funeral train; with enticing posters (“83 hours, coast to coast!”), and photos of spidery trestles and tangled wrecks.

The whole saga of our railroads is one of the most picturesque – and best-pictured – in America’s history. So the 300-and-more carefully chosen illustrations in the book are remarkably evocative windows to the past.

You’ll see how the notorious railroad robber barons o the late 19th century were often viciously lampooned by press cartoonists. And you can understand why they were so cordially hated: Among other tyrannies, U.S .cavalrymen were used to break a strike that had been called because the Pullman Company cut its workers’ wages, but not the rents fro the Pullman-owned tenements. There were reasons aplenty by the turn of the century for America’s biggest business to become our most stringently regulated one as well.

But of course railroads were also an economic force that simply coined capital, built cities, populated our plains, made a national market, and cud take you anywhere in the U.S.A. – Key West, Death Valley, Pike’s Peak – in posh style. So by and large, although there was plenty to complain about, there was more to love America’s passion for railroads continued well into the 1930’s.

A chapter looks at the great “name” trains, such as The 20thCentury Limited, The Overland Limited, The Santa Fe Chief – and the music and literature and art they inspired. Another shows you the workmen: the lordly engineer; the fireman, with his giraffe-necked oil can; the busy conductor, turnip watch in hand; the lantern-swinging brakemen; the sledge-hammering trackmen, called gandy dancers ….

Then a couple of spectacular chapters lead you through the crowded bell-echoing palaces we once had for depots, up the long red carpets, and aboard sinfully luxurious cars – with pump organs to sing around, plush an inlaid-rosewood décor barbers, shoe shines, and blue stories in the men’s lounges, already blue with the smoke of fine havanas. And the dining cars, the menus, the service! Wait till you see these pictures.

An 1870’s guidebook advised the rail traveler to “sit and read, play games, and indulge in social conversation and glee.” And so we did. But the “glee,” and the boarding stocks, and the dragon-like locomotives that grew from big to huge to gargantuan – such excitements, obscured some problems. By World War I, seven major “combinations” controlled the country’s key rail systems. Like their steam engines, they were massive, impressive, and doomed.

World War II gave the monsters a brief, busy respite from the attacks of the subsidized competition and the dry rot of rigid managements and archaic laws and too-soft featherbeds for labor. Then came the years of “last trips” and abandonments, of rust and recrimination and nostalgia. The pictures here are exceptional.

And the last chapter, if not a “happy” ending, is a most hopeful one for all of us who wish this once-lovely way to go would get going again. What’s the most fuel-efficient, prettiest device for moving tons of goods and crowds of people across the U.S.A.?

Listen for that whistle. It’s beginning to sound again.

Meanwhile, I can promise you a wonderful trip through history with THE AMERICAN HERITAGE HISTORY OF RAILROADS IN AMERICA. To see an early copy of the $27.50-retail book, with an option on the lowest price we can offer, $19.95, return the enclosed form promptly. There’s also a most elegant, and slipcased, de luxe edition. See the form.

Of course we’ll guarantee the special price, regardless of inflation; and the book is fully returnable if it doesn’t whistle your tune.* But I’m sure it will. And thank you!

Sincerely,

Paul Gottlieb

President

*Speaking of steam whistles and tunes. SONGS AND SOUNDS OF THE GREAT DAYS OF STEAM is both title and description of a rousing stereo record we’ll have available for buyers of the book. The enclosed folder describes it.

 

 

 

 

Calling Western Union

By Ray Schultz

Direct mailers have often tried and failed to find alternative delivery systems. But they were offered one in the early 20th century by a trusted brand name.

“The Western Union Telegraph Company has a complete messenger service for delivering telegrams,” manager J.A. Rudd told Printers’ Ink magazine in an interview published on Sept. 30, 1903.

That said, Rudd announced that this service had been expanded to include advertising matter. It would cover “more than 30,000 cities, towns and villages in every part of the United States.”

As Rudd explained, two developments drove this move. First, the company realized that its messengers had too much time on their hands.

“They came to the offices at eight in the morning, uniformed and ready for work, but the rush did not begin until eleven o’clock, and at three it was over,” Rudd said. “This left five or six hours of time during which they were unoccupied.”

Second was the fact that the Post Office had excluded some publications from second-class privileges.

“The express companies could not handle mail matter, and many publishers were at a loss for methods of distributing their periodicals,” Rudd explained.

So Western Union stepped into the breach, delivering samples, advertising literature, catalogs and “any other matter that we could profitably handle,” Rudd said. “Our service is not based on weight, like that of the Post Office, but on individual deliveries, and we are able to distribute small packages at rates far below those of the express companies.”

Case in point: “A publication weighing one pound, which is the minimum weight of most monthly magazines and trade journals,” Rudd said. “The government carries such a publication for one cent at second-class rates, or eight cents third-class. We deliver it for one cent, and get a signed receipt in each case. The latter is turned into the publisher.”

Rudd continued that, “for a publication weighing five pounds we charge four cents, saving a penny on second-class rates, and thirty-five cents on third-class, under which catalogues are mailed.”

And samples? One patent medicine seller “had a remedy which he was sending by mail, selling it at twenty-five cents,” Rudd said. “Postage came to twelve cents, eating up his profit. Consignments of this remedy were shipped to our distributing centres, and when the manufacturer received an order a bottle was delivered and twenty-five cents collected form the addressee. This service cost five cents, including return of money and receipt.”

Thanks to clients like this one, there was so much work that “we are now putting on boys who work wholly at delivering,” Rudd added.

Western Union even offered mailing lists. “We have made no attempt to furnish addresses to our customers, but our books contain thousands of cable addresses, and we also have lists of wholesale and retail houses throughout the country,” Rudd stated. “These lists, under certain conditions, are accessible to responsible customers.”

It’s not clear how long this service lasted. But there was one false note in Rudd’s presentation.

“There are thousands of people right here in New York who have never received a telegram, and delivery by telegraph messenger is an event,” Rudd said.

That’s a little dubious. As I recall, a telegram was a frightening thing for an average person to get—it usually meant a death in the family.

The Schlock That Wouldn’t Die

By Ray Schultz

I recently had breakfast with a filmmaker whose masterworks include 2000 Maniacs, The Gore Gore Girls, and Blood Feast, the first movie in which “people died with their eyes open.”

The producer of those splatter classics, now eating yogurt and cereal in a hotel coffee shop, was Herschell Gordon Lewis, a direct mail copywriter and an inspiration to anyone who wants to have fun as well as make a living.

“The technique I learned of how to cause an unsuspecting yokel to come into a theater has served me well in my dotage years in direct marketing,” he confessed.

I couldn’t resist asking how a person goes from being a footnote in movie history to a junk mail legend. Herschell had already worked as an English professor, a disk jockey, and a general ad person, when he started making low-budget gore flicks in Chicago in the 1960s (he just happened to own a half interest in a studio that did commercials and government training films). His first was Blood Feast, which was also the first movie in which fiends “reached in a girl’s mouth and pulled out her tongue.”

Hard to top, wouldn’t you say? But he tried, in follow-up blood fests like Color Me Blood Red and She Devils on Wheels. Men were sliced and diced, white-mini-skirted women were crucified (literally), and Lewis won himself a loyal cult following. A year or two ago, he showed up at a horror film festival in Milan to find the audience singing along—in English–with the opening song for 2,000 Maniacs:

There a story you should know

From a hundred years ago

And a hundred years we waited now to tell

Now them Yankees come along and they’ll listen to this song

They’ll quake in fear to hear this rebel yell

Yeah—ha!

Herschell wrote and sang the soundtrack song himself, and still gets a small royalty– “about $30 every six months, a symbol of what I call the Schlock That Wouldn’t Die.”

Unfortunately, Herschell’s film career faded as distributors went bankrupt and the big studios came in with “more advanced skills in killing people onscreen.” (They didn’t have to splatter ketchup on the walls). And his advertising business took a nose-dive when a client went belly-up owing six figures.

Reduced to arguing with schlemiels about $40 typesetting charges, Herschel was ready to listen when asked to write a direct mail package for the Women of the Century series of collector plates from the Bradford Exchange.

Talk about landing on your feet: He showed a knack for selling collector’s items, and was soon given other assignments by Bradford. By this time, Herschell had gotten another break (the most important one of his life): his marriage to Margot, an agency colleague, who now became his partner in charge of the business end.

The pair moved on to the Calhoun Collector’s Society, where their projects included The Creation, a 12-plate series telling the Genesis story, and the Bethlehem Christmas Plate, which has to rank somewhere near Blood Feast in the Lewis canon.

To get the Bethlehem plate off the ground, Margot found a porcelain factory in Israel near the Lebanese border, then tried to find someone to authenticate the plate. But the best she could do was the Archimandrite Gregorious, an Orthodox prelate whose role in life appeared to be greeting the tour busses and asking for money. His picture, complete with black robe and hat, appeared on the plates, although “we had to airbrush the sunglasses,” Herschell says.

But it sold. “After two years, the Archimandrite was recalled or fired or what I don’t know. But we kept using his name, and he was immortalized. Right now, as we talk, he is hanging on somebody’s wall.”

Herschell confessed that “it’s possible to develop cynicism based on some of the things we market successfully. But there’s a big difference between cynicism and contempt.” One thing that appalls him is when he sees copywriters treating financial offers “in a light-hearted manner. I say, ‘Hold it there, fella, people take their investments seriously. When you make a joke out of it, you make a joke out of your proposition.’”

POSTSCRIPT: Herschell returned to filmmaking late in his career. Whatever he did, he was first to admit that none of it would have been possible without Margot. Now there’s an enduring marriage.

 

Time Was

By Ray Schultz

Time Inc, not even two years old and decades away from algorithms, sent personalized direct mail letters to businessmen in the 1920s. Take this piece identified in the files only as “before 25.” It went to Alexander Jones, of Market Street, Philadelphia. Since Time magazine debuted in 1923, that gives you some idea of the timeframe.

The letterhead says “Time,” and lists the address as East Thirty-ninth Street New York.” Here’s the direct mail letter:

 Dear Mr. Jones:

 Because TIME is particularly a magazine for people how are not “magazine readers”; for people who have little time to take up with new fads; it seemed to the publishers of TIME that the usual methods of subscription solicitation by mail and advertisements would not bring the new-magazine to the attention of those for whom it was primarily intended—the busy man and woman of affairs.

The publishers, therefore, asked a leading citizen and TIME subscriber in several large cities the great favor of suggesting the names of persons in his city to whom he thought the news-magazine would be of interest. Mr. Edward M. Bok in Philadelphia, Mr. William Allen White in Kansas, Mr. Robert Underwood Johnson in New York, Mr. Bernard M. Baruch, Mr. Otto Bannard were kind enough to give us the names of such people in their respective communities. The judgment of these men in this instance has been most effectively upheld.

The specimen issues of TIME sent to the busy persons whom they suggested have resulted in almost 100% enthusiastic subscribers—an unparalleled response. It is with a feeling of confidence that we have sent you the several issues of TIME. Whether or not you are in a position at the moment to enter a subscription we trust that TIME has afforded you as much pleasure in reading as we have had in sending them to you.

The enclosed card bears your name and address and requires only your signature to bring TIME for the next year. If you will return it promptly we shall take care to see that there is o gap in the delivery of your copies. The card is stamped ready for mailing. It will be a great pleasure to consider you as a subscriber.

Cordially yours,

 Briton Hadden

PRESIDENT

 

Alexander Jones Esq.,

Market Street,

Philadelphia, Pa.

 

Cleanse Thyself

By Ray Schultz

Suffering from cancer or leukemia? Had a stroke or two? Don’t despair, friend. You can reverse these illnesses with a common syrup: a miracle cure that can also help you rebound from heart attacks, diabetes and everything else right down to post-nasal drip.

So said a classic direct mail piece that promoted a “nine-day inner cleansing and blood wash.” It was sent some years ago by the brilliant copywriter Eugene Schwartz.

How could he get away with this baloney without bringing the Federal Trade Commission down on his head?

It’s simple. Gene never offered the actual products: Rather, he peddled a book that told about them. And under the so-called Mirror Image rule, you can’t get in trouble for selling a book as long as your marketing copy accurately describes what’s in the volume.

Granted, he didn’t mention the book until the second-to-last paragraph in the four-page letter signed by one I.E. Gaumont. And he qualified the offering with this notice on the bottom of the very first page:

“The statements contained in this book express the opinions of the author, who is not a medical doctor.” Who knows if he was forced into including that?

Gene Schwartz has been dead for over 20 years, but there is much to learn from his copywriting approach: it wasn’t wordsmithing, but vision, to steal a phrase from the late Andi Emerson.

Mind you, Gene believed in naturalistic healing, claiming that it helped him recover from his own stroke in 1978. And his “authors” were real people, who believed in the cures they were hyping.

Who was Gene Schwartz? The six-foot-four legend from Montana was known as much for his art collection and service on museum boards as he was for his direct mail copy. (Click here for his bio). But he was one of the greatest copywriters who ever lived. And here he is at his best. (There’s a bad visual of the letter at the bottom).

Health Researcher Claims

“YOU CAN CURE ALMOST ANY DISEASE PERMANENTLY AND BY YOURSELF

RIGHT IN YOUR OWN HOME ‘THE NATURAL WAY’ WAY” with the “Miraculous” healing Power of internal Baths:

Painlessly! Without Drugs or Costly, Medical Treatments! You’ll Never have a sick day, he says!

Dear Friend:

I want to tell you about a mighty and powerful weapon for healing and warding off disease: THE “MIRACULOUS” HEALING POWER OF internal BATHS! It’s all part of my 9-day Inner Cleansing and Blood Washing method!

I feel it is my duty as a humanitarian to pass on my life changing discovery of the NINE-DAY INNER CLEANSING AND BLOOD WASH FOR RENEWED YOUTHFULNESS AND HEALTH TO those unfortunate people suffering from disease!

Internal Baths are fabulous! They are the most powerful weapons against obesity and produce “impossible” cures at times. No dangerous drugs or injections with their serious side effects. No costly medical treatments or tedious regimes No pains. This system can be life-saving when illness strikes, even help you survive heart attacks!

*With the “magic” healing power of Internal Baths, you’ll never have a sick day in your life – when used with the NINE-Day CLEANSING AND Blood WASH! Patients who have recovered completely from illness after using this 9-day method swear by it! It will conquer disease in almost all cases, and free your body of accumulated poisons that make you sick, in only 9 days!

Here’s what happens during the 9 days of cleansing:

*It will rid your body of poisonous wastes (toxins) that have accumulated and formed a lining around your intestinal wall – causing disease

*It will reverse the aging process, and increase your longevity by 20 years!

*It will reduce your weight without dieting or the use of drugs – and keep you slim during your lifetime!

*It is a positive way to avoid ever having a heart attack. It may keep you alive even if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke!

*It will heal arthritis if not in the advanced stages!

*It will lessen the intake of insulin by diabetics!

*It will restore masculine vigor and put energy back in your sex life!

*It will overcome low blood sugar!

*It will aid in normalizing high blood sugar!

*It will overcome post nasal drip!

*It will overcome an urge to urinate too frequently

…and still that’s just the beginning!

SECRET DISCOVERY REVEALED!

At this writing, I am 84 years young. When I first began my investigations, I was in a state of broken health. I suffered from bronchitis, shortness of breath, sinusitis, gastritis, acidosis, high blood pressure, constipation, chronic fatigue, backache, obesity, and hay fever. Then, about 35 years ago I discovered the NINE-DAY CLEANSING AND BLOOD WASH!

Today, at 84, I am a well preserved individual, hale and hearty, mind sharp as a razor and productive. I am erect in stature, with a youthful 34-inch waist, a full crop of silver-white hair an no wrinkles on my face.

My wife, Connie, at the young age of 70 “going on 50,” hasn’t been to a medical doctor in about 20 years. I did not have occasion to see a doctor until I was 65 when I thought it best to start having check-ups. I’ve only had one brief illness in 3 years.

What is the secret!

Inner cleansing! You see, my studies revealed to me that many illnesses seem connected with cell stagnation. If your nose is “stuffed up” or congested, or if you experience congestion in your throat or chest, it indicates that there is an accumulation of stagnant matter within you…sinus trouble, bronchitis, asthma, or colitis, is the result of stagnation. So are arthritis and skin eruptions.

All this can be prevented by giving the body an opportunity to cleanse and purify itself, and then rebuilding the body and its cells with proper nourishment.

FOUR NATURAL BLOOD WASHING FOODS WITH HEALING POWER!

During the 9 “Cleansing Days,” you’ll be eating certain foods I recommend. During this time, you will also begin the action which will effect a good, thorough wash of your bloodstream. You’ll simply begin to sip certain fresh juices.

What are these foods? There are several, but during my years of research. I have singled out FOUR NATURAL BLOOD-WASHING FOODS WITH HEALING POWER that play an important part in healing, curing, and preventing disease.

You may be skeptical, but remember, the NINE-DAY Inner Cleansing and Blood Wash which I take yearly, has warded off common ailments and most pernicious diseases. It has kept me in the best of health throughout the years..and I am 84. If I merely told you the names of these foods you might not be impressed. But wait till you see what doctors, nutritionists, scientists, researchers, an users themselves say!

BLOOD WASHING FOOD #1: NATURE’S CURATIVE WONDER FOOD!

One of these foods, a common syrup, is in my opinion, an Unheralded Cancer Fighter. I believe it will not only close the door on cancer in general, but is especially helpful in cases of leukemia, strokes, ulcers, arthritis, varicose veins, and menopause 

*James P. was in a state of broken health, unable to do even the lightest work. He was suffering from a growth in the bowels, blocked bronchial tubes, constipation, indigestion, pyorrhea, sinus trouble, and weak nerves. In addition, he was losing weight, and his hair and turned white – despite medical treatment. On hearing of a remarkable cure with this syrup, he decided to try it himself. And not only did the growth in his bowels disappear, together with all the other troubles, but his hair actually regained its original color (he was over 60 at the time). 

Others, apparently, have had the same remarkable results, including a man with a fibroid growth of the tongue, and another with cancer of the knee. Reputedly, tumors in various parts of the body have withered away without any other measures than taking this syrup. (No cancer cure is claimed, and reputable medical help is advised, of course, in all cases.)

*A “MIRACLE RECOVERY” FROM TWO STROKES! It is widely thought that when a person has had two strokes the third will be fatal – and yet it need not be so. Mr. K., an elderly man, had had two strokes and was completely paralyzed on one side. He then tried this syrup. The result was that he recovered the use of all his limbs and became completely fit, much to the astonishment of his doctor.

*SPECTACULAR CURES OF ARTHRITIS! Elaine B., 60, had severe arthritis in her knees and hip joints. She was in a great deal of pain and was unable to walk without assistance. Finally, she tried this syrup. One week later, she could swing her legs and flex her knees painlessly! Mr. J., an elderly man, could barely hobble with canes. After using this syrup for four weeks, he threw away his canes!

This common syrup can be obtained at any health food store or supermarket at negligible cost. There is nothing like it for prevention of these diseases I always take my quota of this syrup every day. I strongly recommend that you do the same. It’s a must! Several men who had been denied driver’s licenses because of heart trouble were put on treatment with this syrup. After six weeks they got their licenses. A woman afflicted with recurrent heart attacks took this syrup and the attacks subsided!

BLOOD WASHING FOOD #2: A WONDER BEVERAGE!

It has been said that there are a number of ailments that will automatically disappear after taking this beverage in a certain manner. It is made of the most health-giving fruit that exists.

It has been said that there are a number of ailments that will automatically disappear after taking this beverage in a certain manner. It is made of the most health-giving fruit that exists.

Reduction of weight without dieting will be achieved permanently if this beverage is taken a few times a day. It will burn up the surplus fat. It retards the onset of old age…renders the urine normal thus counteracting a too-frequent urge to urinate)…it promotes digestion because it is very much like a digestive juice! 

Observers have been quite astonished to see how forgetfulness in old people partially or wholly disappears through the practice of taking this beverage. Excessive bleeding can be reduced to a minimum in the case of an operation, and the healing process greatly quickened, if the patient takes this beverage. In cases of frequent nose-bleeding due to some unknown cause, a drink of this beverage with each meal will soon put a stop to the trouble. Sore throats – even of the streptococcus type – can be cured with astonishing rapidity, often in one day, by taking this beverage as a gargle. Tickling coughs and laryngitis will rapidly disappear. It regulates menstruation and is very beneficial to women. Belching can be cured or greatly lessened by taking this beverage.

BLOOD WASHING FOOD #3: A FOOD FOR HEALING!

Here is another syrup that is a most effective remedy for insomnia, emphysema, shortness of breath, sinusitis, asthma, and chronic fatigue. Combined with a certain beverage I tell you about it, it is most beneficial to those suffering from various heart troubles, hay fever, colitis, arthritis, neuritis, and many other common ailments. It is a natural laxative, and one of nature’s most powerful germ killers.

Russian medico-scientists have shown that it will cure a condition as serious as gastric ulcers. One doctor wrote: “In heart weakness I have (this syrup) to have a marked effect in reviving heart action and keeping the patients alive.”

BLOOD WASHING FOOD #4: A 3,000-YEAR-OLD MIRACLE MEDICINE!

This vegetable is the oldest known “home remedy.” It has long been used to rid the body of parasites and in the healing of disease. According to an old news item, “in test tube experiments Virile bacilli that can be killed only after hours of boiling in water die, after one hour of exposure to (this vegetable).”

This vegetable’s almost miraculous antiseptic power is an aid of high blood pressure, asthma, emphysema, colds, gas, gall stones, bronchitis, infections, hardening of the arteries, mucus, elimination, sinus trouble, and many other maladies. It has been widely used in restoring masculine vigor. It clears the blood of excess sugar as effectively as an oral drug. It has remarkable preventive powers and healing powers and offers protection against heart disease.

POWERFUL WEAPONS YOU CAN USE TO OVERCOME MAJOR DISEASES!

The diligent use of these 4 foods, with their extensive curative properties, healing powers, and remarkable preventive powers, will aid tremendously in “healing the body” in my opinion. They are all part of my NINE-DAY INNER CLEANSING AND BLOOD WASH FOR RENEWED YOUTHFULNESS AND HEALTH!

SEND TODAY FOR FREE TRIAL COPY!

Mail the enclosed card for your FREE trial copy. You have 15 days to discover all the incredible health-building secrets that will bring amazing youthfulness to your body: honor the invoice for four easy payments $6.98 pus applicable state tax, postage handling – or return the book and owe nothing.

 Sincerely yours

 I.E. Gaumont

 REWARD BOOKS

Health & Self Improvement

 IMPORTANT NOTICE [appearing at bottom of first page of letter):

The statements contained in this book express the opinions of the author, who is not a medical doctor. These opinions may, in certain cases, be contrary to those of the medial professions, and are based on experiences which may not be representative of results that can be expected for others. The publisher suggests that you do not attempt to make a self-diagnosis based on the symptoms referred to. Many of those symptoms can be caused be more than one condition, and these conditions cannot be self-diagnosed by the lay person. Where cancer may be involved, early diagnosis and treatment may be critical. In all cases, early diagnosis and treatment by a competent medical practitioner is advisable and, in some case, may be essential.schwartz letter

Golden Cities

By Ray Schultz

Geographic segmentation was no big thing fifty years ago. What was new was the ability to tailor the copy to the area. Take this direct mailing done by Time magazine.

The letters contained a sort of glorified Johnson Box at the top, printed in gold, asking questions that concerned the reader’s city. Below that box, they were the same.

Here are two samples. One focuses on Boston, the other on Cleveland. I assume that other cities were also targeted, but I only have these two letters.

To put things in context, these pieces were dated Feb. 17, 1964 ten days after the Beatles arrived in America and eight days before Cassius Clay, soon to be Muhammad Ali, won the heavyweight championship. Lyndon Johnson had been president for three months in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, and later that year would win a full term by beating Barry Goldwater.

The envelopes were postmarked Lincoln, Nebraska and were identified in the Time archive by the cities to which they were going.

Did the computer play a role in this direct mail campaign? Hard to say. Time Inc did conduct personalized computer mailings to doctors that very year, but it was a long time before this became a regular practice.

Let’s start with the Boston version. Is there anyone there who remembers these worries? Old-timers will recall that the MBTA was called the M.T.A. in those days.

Who will be Ted Kennedy’s opponent in the Senate contest? / What is the outlook for Boston’s tax rate? / When will we have an answer to the nagging on-street parking problem—are theft-proof meters the solution? / Why should the M.T.A. be extended to the South Shore? / Where will the Celtics finish the season? / How corrupt is Massachusetts—and can the crime commission do anything to correct it?

 Now here’s the Cleveland variation.

Who will be Ohio’s favorite son at the Democratic National Convention? / What are the prospects for this year’s Cleveland Indians team? / When did the term “diffusion” come up in connection with school integration? / Where is the first apartment building in Erieview to be erected?  / Why are Shaker Heights residents protesting the proposed construction of the Clark Freeway? / How does Senator Stephen Young feel about John Glenn’s 1960 voting record?

What follows is the body of the direct mail letter, which was identical in each case:

February 17, 1964

Dear Reader: 

Questions like these, of largely local interest illustrate something that’s also true of national or international issues. It’s essential to have more than just a few raw facts; it’s important to know the background.

These same questions also help show why, in reporting the news from every field, TIME has always done something more than give a plain recital of the facts. Naturally it starts of with the eyewitness story; but when the event is big news, the eyewitness may be standing too close to get the full significance. TIME stands back, examines the causes, digs out other pertinent facts, relates it to other events. TIME also knows the personalities involved.

As a way of following the news, TIME makes sense – because it makes sense of the news.  

It’s not just the international news that you find all the more understandable. To give a few examples from other fields – if a report on a dramatic discovery takes you beyond the door that’s just been unlocked, you’re beginning to understand the real meaning of the discovery itself. Events in Washington can be better judged if the issues are clearly spelled out. Explore, instead of just recount, new developments in education and you od justice to their fundamental importance.

In TIME’s other news departments also, even in the briefest reports, you find you get more out of the news, because TIME looks at sit with a penetrating, appraising eye.

It’s the reason why many leaders in business and the professions in communities across the country vote TIME their favorite magazine the most important magazine in the U.S. today. TIME reports with the intelligence, accuracy, and consciousness that the leadership community needs and demands.

If, so far, you’ve only read an occasional copy of TIME, we hope you’ll take advantage of an invitation we offer here and now to read TIME regularly at a special introductory rate. Return the card and we’ll send you

20 weeks of TIME For $1.97 (that’s only 10 cents a copy).

No need to sign or check it. Just drop it in the mail – today.

Cordially,

Putney Westerfield

Circulation Director

Show the Money

By Ray Schultz

History doesn’t tell us much about A. Paisley. All we know is that he lived in Gloucester, Mass., and that a letter was sent to him there in 1837.

Most mail was dropped into the system without postage in those days; the recipient had to pay. And few did. Why would they? Some unpaid letters contained news of deaths in the family, but others were sent as jokes—the victim would pay 25 cents for an envelope full of manure. But this one was paid, so Paisley probably opened the “envelope,” a folded-over sheet sealed by a red-wax wafer. And when he did, he found a letter from Sylvester’s Exchange & Commission of New York.

“I beg leave to submit to your attention to the annexed – Our brilliant Schemes to be drawn in the month of March either of which professes attractions far superior to any Scheme yet laid before you,” announced the handwritten note. “Early notice is thus given that my most distant correspondents may not be disappointed.”

Behold an early example of junk mail. Like today’s ad letters, it was full of hype, promising that the advertused lotteries were ““beautiful, grand, splendid and brilliant.” It even had what is now called a privacy policy: “All communications strictly confidential.”

In 1827, Congress passed a law prohibiting local postmasters from working as lottery agents—no longer could they dispense handbills in return for a percentage of the sales. So the lottery barons started mailing directly to the rubes; by 1830, if you believe the later claims, they even had an agency in New York to facilitate this “circular advertising.”

So great was the outcry against lotteries that most northern states gave up theirs. But tickets for border and Southern state lotteries were sold in shops and by mail by firms like Wood, Eddy & Co., of Wilmington; Egerton & Bros. of Baltimore; and the combine of Archibald McIntyre and John Barentse Yates, of New York. And they required education on how to do businss by mail. For example, Egerton & Bros. explained that “we invariably answer letters by return mail, enclosing the Tickets in a proper envelope, observing the strictest confidence and after the Drawing is over we send the Official Printed Drawing, duly certified to by the State Officer, and Managers with a written explanation of the result.” Smallwood Co. promised that its tickets would be returned in “strong safety envelopes.”

The average person learned that he had mail when he saw his name in a newspaper listing. Or he found out when he visited the post office, usually a dark general store with tools and bacon hanging from the ceiling. Then he had to pay the postage. General Zachary Taylor refused to pay for the letter informing him he had been nominated for the Presidency of the United States. And even the lottery companies wouldn’t pay: B.B. Mars & Co. of Baltimore warned customers: “No unpaid letters received in our office.”

But this all changed when Congress passed the Postal Reform Act of 1855. Magazines and newspapers excepted, senders now had to pay in advance. And the lottery operators were happy to educate people about it. “From and after 1st April 1855, prepayment, either by stamps, stamped envelope, or in money, is compulsory,” Emory & Co. advised its customers.

What is more, envelopes could be now registered and tracked for a fee. Thus enabled, the lottery promoters papered the country with offers, almost all containing an apology:

“Trusting you will not find us intrusive…”

“We crave your indulgence for intruding on your valuable time…”

“We accidentally met with your address…”

***

William France was a “common drunk” who rigged a lottery so that he won the grand prize himself. And he used the name of a competitor, Murray, Eddy & Co., for one of his own mailings. That firm complained that it was “being daily robbed by a man who, at the same time, swindles the public and makes the Post Office Department the innocent accomplice of his guilt.”

Not that Murray, Eddy & Co. was any better. Its main offering, the Kentucky Lottery, had been chartered in 1838 to improve the water supply in Frankfurt, Kentucky—a project long since completed.

France and others like him invented devices that would later become standard in the trade. In 1861, Schoofield & Co., of Baltimore, sent a mailing for the Delaware State Lotteries. It went in a small brown envelope with Schoolfield’s name and post office box stamped on it—one of the first return envelopes. The note that went with it implied that a prize was a sure thing.

“Dear Sir: From what we can learn of Public Sentiment we are satisfied that there exists a strong feeling against Lotteries in Your State – and desiring to remove all such prejudices by selling a good Prize to some influential person in your locality who will give it publicity, – we take the liberty to enclose you a Scheme of the Consolidated Lottery of Delaware Drawing April 24th – Class 68.”

Another agent said that he was “anxious to sell you a prize and create an excitement in your neighborhood.” And that evolved into this: “We are confident that if a good Prize was sold by us to some person in your neighborhood who would show the money and give it publicity that it would greatly extend our business and add to our reputation as Prize sellers. For this purpose, we have thought proper to tender you the Prize upon condition that you will use your influence among your acquaintances in our favor.”

Not all these letters explicitly stated that the person would win. But they inferred it, and by 1865 the mails were flooded with letters offering prizes to people who would show the money.