New acquisitions January 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021

As we enter a new year we have been busy acquiring new and interesting items for the collection. One of our core collecting areas from our inception was Women's Studies which we have broadened over the years to be Gender and Sexuality studies, and a number of our new items reflect this. 

Safety First Guarantee Consent Card 

Safety First Guarantee Consent Card

Although perhaps originally created as a satirical item, this consent card from ca. 1930's points to many of the concerns around consent today. The "undersigned female" agrees that she is willingly entering into sexual intercourse with another partner, and states that she is above the age of consent, not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is not being coerced.

Interestingly, a mention is also made of women's sexual pleasure and the card states that she is entering into the contract because she wants to have sex as much as her partner does. 

Forms like these circulated for approximately 30 years and have been observed in use for soldiers overseas during the Korean War. 

Va-Jel advertisementVa-Jel brochure

This Va-Jel advertising pamphlet from ca. 1925 advertises the scientific method of birth control and women's hygeiene- Va-Jal germicidal jelly and Va'Antiseptic douche. Both products claim to provide a new freedom for women who can direct their own lives through voluntary motherhood. 

Some of the claims of the germicidal jelly are that it was effective to insure youthful faces, effective as a preventive against disease, effective as a prophylactic, and heals the delicate membranes and tissues in the vaginal tract. There is also an emphasis in the pamphlet on the importance of a "better, more healthful race" something that we often see in birth control materials of this era many times linked to eugenics. 

Interestingly, the claims of Va-Jel were not believed by all and in 1936 Va-Jel was charged with misbranding of Va-Jel and Va'Antiseptic and had to pay 50$ restitution. 

We hope you enjoyed this peek at some of our new items and you will join us next month for more!

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