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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Postcard Thursday: Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup

"The Mother's Friend," pictured above, was actually a tincture of opium and was wildly popular in the United States in the 19th century.

Earlier this week, James had a story published in The Guardian that traced some of the history of opiate use in America, which goes back at least as far as the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower.

One opiate user was President Thomas Jefferson, who grew his own poppies on his Monticello estate. Though this part got cut from the final Guardian story, it turns out that Monticello was still growing poppies in the 1980s in its historic garden. One day in 1987, the DEA raided. They yanked out the poppies, removed the seeds from the gift store, and scared the living daylights out of everyone who worked there. The gift shop employees were so spooked they even removed all the t-shirts that sported an image of a poppy and burned them so that they couldn't be accused of promoting drug use.

You can read James's entire opiate piece -- including more about Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup -- at

* * * *


Thursday, April 21, at 6:30pm

we will be talking about Footprints in New York at
The Mid-Manhattan Branch of the New York Public Library

details to come


Read more about NYC history in


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