Charles Darwin

Early Evolutionists

Charles Darwin



Cigar box lithograph, New York

This lithograph was a cigar salesman's sample label; hence the prices at the bottom. The lithographer was F. Hepenheimer's Sons and the image was made in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Of course, Professor Darwin was never a professor.

Advertising card for Salvation Oil, Baltimore

This advertising card for Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup and Salvation Oil was one of many cards from the late 1800s (perhaps 1880s) to make reference to Darwin and the ancestry of humans. In this case, the reader is asked to "Take the month of your birth, follow the line through the maze, and thus settle the ancestral question a la Darwin."

Advertising card for J. H. Bunn's, Philadelphia

This advertising card for J. H. Bunn's Old Established Wall Paper Store makes reference to the first baby being a monkey. Note under the tail, "Darwin." Humorous cards such as this one reflect the movement of evolutionary ideas about human ancestry from the scientific community to society at large.

Advertising card for Blue Ribbon Cigar, St. Louis

This advertising card for Blue Ribbon Cigars was manufactured by Geo. Fehl B. R. C. CO. under patent number 537,441. By pulling on the tab, the policeman is transformed into a gorilla. This card thus emphasizes (while mocking) the evolutionary origin of humans from other primates and the process of evolutionary transformation.

Advertising Merchant's Gargling Oil

The same clever poem appears with two versions of an ape for Merchant's, a New York firm that sold liniments and oils. At left, an advertising card (obverse, A. M. Young, Watchmaker, Schenectady N.Y.). At right, the back cover of the Merchant's Gargling Oil Songster, a booklet with songs and advertising.

Advertising card for Frank Miller's Shoe Blackings

This late nineteenth century card, printed by Wimple & Company, New York, suggests a superior shine by showing a monkey using a boot as a shaving mirror. This is yet another reminder to the lay public of the hypothesized relationship between humans and other primates.