It’s often distressing to read 19th century advertisements. Our great-great grandparents were just as desperate (and gullible) when it comes to certain aspects of the human condition. Hair loss, for example.
Weight-loss was just as big a topic back then as it is now, though body image was not quite so awful.
Nobody likes a crying baby. Parents don’t like their kids to be in pain or distress, and strangers are often pretty intolerant. Do a google search and you’ll see that this is a perennial problem with no easy solution. Sometimes babies just cry. Sometimes babies get really sick, and they scream. Sometimes overwrought caregivers are driven to extremes. There is no excuse for that, but it happens. It happened then, too.
What’s most disturbing about the 19th century is how unaware they were of the dangers of doping their children. Have a look at this handy dandy cure for the crying baby available at every drugstore.
It’s a challenge to stay in the mindset of your characters when you’re writing historical fiction. An intelligent, sensible person who truly believes that there’s nothing dangerous about smoking, or a little laudanum is just what the baby needs, that is sometimes hard to pull off. I consider it a kind of anachronism to pretend a character understood something that was just not knowable at the time, but I struggle with it.
Of course there were quacks who knew very well that what they were selling would do nobody any good. For instance this cure for male weakness. Note the positioning.
….or want to write fiction, or are interested in the process of writing fiction:
Insomnia drove me to do some work, but weariness kept me from actually writing. So I spent an hour going through old posts on craft (plot, pov, characterization, etc etc), and I’ve organized them into something I hope is usable.
It’s incomplete, but it’s a start.
You’ll find the index to these posts under “writing and craft” in the menu just under the top banner. Please let me know if you run into any problems.