Collections Curiosities Blog

Cosmetics and Wellness

Collections Curiosities is a monthly blog highlighting intriguing artifacts, books, and archival materials that staff, volunteers, and interns have discovered in Center collections and the Center Library. This month, SDAC Volunteer James Sinclair explores beauty and wellness products from a collection recovered from a historic-period site in Oceanside.

Ad for Pond’s face cream

Cosmetics and Wellness
Blog post and artifact drawings by SDAC Volunteer James Sinclair

Beauty and wellness products—from eyeliner to cough remedies—have been used since ancient Egypt. In the ninetheeth century, companies around the world began marketing their skin tonics and face powders to the public. These companies especially targeted women with products to make their skin glow and cuticles shine year after year, and some of those products are still sold to this day. Here are a few found in a Center collection recovered from a historic-period site in Oceanside.

Beauty

One-to-one scale drawing of a Pond’s jar made of milkglass. Though it could be either cold cream or vanishing cream, it is remarkably intact. Drawn with greyscale sakura pigma micron pens.

Well-known brands such as Pond’s and Vicks have been in production since the late nineteenth century. One artifact is a lidless glass jar of Pond’s cream. Without the lid, which has always been color-coded by product, it is hard to say exactly which product was found, but it is in excellent condition. Founded by Theron T. Pond around 1846, Pond’s originally sold witch hazel extract. By the 1910s the brand was also selling Vanishing Cream, Cold Cream, and Pond’s Healing Cream. These products were advertised to women especially during World War Two as a way to preserve their femininity while in the workforce, specifically factories.

One-to-one scale drawing of the Cara Nome astringent bottle done in pen

Another artifact is an intact Langlois Inc. astringent bottle from circa 1910 to 1920. The brand is most well-known for their perfumes (sold from 1910 to 1962), beauty creams, powders, and other cosmetics and toiletries. This particular bottle held the Cara Nome Skin Freshener, which was an astringent. It was used in conjunction with a cotton pad to remove old face cream and makeup from the face and was supposed to be used cold.

 

Digital rendition of a Cutex nail polish bottle. An iPad, Apple pen, and Procreate were used.

Another artifact is two tubes of Cutex nail polish. Founded by Northam Warren in 1911, Cutex originated as a liquid cuticle remover then added nail tints and lacquers to their product line. These specific tubes are from the 1930s, when reddish colors like coral or cardinal were popular. Nails were meant to match a woman’s outfit and/or lipstick to emphasize style and fashion, and often had a half-moon pattern at the tips and cuticle area. This is also a product heavily marketed to American women joining the workforce during World War Two, and it was advertised to protect their nails in the factory while looking stylish and feminine.

Wellness

Drawing of a Vicks VapoRub jar post 1911, to scale. Since this drawing is done in greyscale as well, it should be noted that this item is made of royal blue glass.

One artifact is a small blue jar of Vicks VapoRub. “Vicks Family Remedies” was founded in 1898, and its first product was Vicks Croup & Pneumonia Salve. Created by the founder Lunsford Richardson for his sick son, it was well-known for its unique “vapors”. The boy recovered, and in 1911, Richardson renamed the product that saved him “Vicks VapoRub”. Vicks went on to create a variety of wellness products such as nasal sprays, cough drops, and DayQuil/NyQuil.

Learn More

Cutex Nail Polish
http://cosmeticsandskin.com/companies/northam-warren.php

Pond’s face creams
https://www.ponds.com/us/en/about-ponds/our-heritage.html

Perfumes Manufactured by Langlois on Cleopatra’s Boudoir blog covering history of perfumes
https://cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.com/2014/01/langlois-perfumes.html

Vicks VapoRub
https://vicks.com/en-us/vicks-history

Collections Research

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will identify, design, and conduct an original research project that uses the Center’s archaeological collections. The intern will formulate a plan for public dissemination of the project results as a journal publication, a museum exhibit, or a public class or lecture. During the course of the research and dissemination planning, the intern will receive training in research design, collections management, artifact analysis, and exhibit design and production as appropriate to the selected project.

Archaeology Lab Positions

Volunteers will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. Center staff will instruct the volunteer on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Volunteers work in the Center’s Research Library, cataloguing materials and organizing on a computer-based system.

Marketing and Administrative Volunteers assist the Development Office or Administration Office with data entry, updating marketing materials and clerical tasks. Computer experience is a plus.

Docents welcome visitors and answer general questions regarding the Center and exhibits. Docents staff the gift shop and help out with administrative and curatorial tasks.

Volunteers support event activities at the Center, such as the Annual BBQ, lectures, workshops, and fundraising events. Be a part of the party!

Volunteer provide support for K-12 programs offered at the Center. These are fun, hands-on programs that kids really enjoy. Teaching experience is a plus, but not required. Background checks are required.

Collections Management

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. During the course of the internship, the intern will learn to identify artifacts and ecofacts common to the San Diego region, including lithics, ceramics, historical objects, and faunal, botanical, and mineral specimens. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and preventative conservation. In addition, the intern will become familiar with historical trends in archaeological practice in the San Diego area and will be introduced to current legal and ethical issues in archaeological curation as well as the concerns and rights of culturally affiliated groups with regard to archaeological materials.

Development and Marketing

Under the direction of Center staff, the intern will support the department in various activities, including, but not limited to, fundraising and grant research; e-newsletter development; social media marketing; tour web app content creation, integration, and management; and website maintenance. This internship will give the intern valuable, real-world experience in non-profit fundraising and marketing.

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology

Prospective Interns must have completed three courses: Introduction to GIS, GIS Database Management, and Intermediate/Advanced Methods in GIS. The intern will be assigned a project where they will create shapefiles and maps for curated archaeological collections, museum exhibits, and/or public outreach using ArcGIS 10.6. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological GIS laboratory procedures such as computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and database management.

Library Science

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will arrange and catalog materials in the Center’s library. During the course of the internship, the intern will take a leading role in the cataloging, sorting and storing of research files and creating user guides for these collections. Center staff will instruct the intern on archival procedures, computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Public Archaeology

With the assistance of Center staff, interns will research, design, and produce a project that educates the public about archaeology or a related field using the Center’s archaeological collections. Interns may create virtual museum exhibits and related activities, develop curricula for K-12 programs in line with current content standards, or plan and present a public class or lecture. Per approval, special projects of the intern’s choosing are also available. During the course of the research and planning, the intern will receive guidance as appropriate to the selected project.