This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.
Written in 1938, Bell Wood-Comstock’s Plain Facts for Young Women on Marijuana, Narcotics, Liquor and Tobacco offers advice for those ladies whose goal is to get married and settle down with children. Wood-Comstock wrote several books on advice for women, focusing on personal hygiene, raising children, and maintaining a feminine allure. Using a mix of motherly advice and medical information, Wood-Comstock suggests that smoking and drinking will lead women to premature aging, nervousness and divorce. Although at one point she explains that since men are allowed to drink and smoke women have the same rights, but then continues on to say that women are much more negatively affected than men and should be more careful.
Wood-Comstock doesn’t shy away from describing the negative aspects of heavy drug use, explaining the physical effects of addiction to substances like heroin and cocaine, and summing up with, “the path of the drug addict is the road to hell.” She also describes women whose lives have been ruined by drugs including a young woman of 22 is convicted of murder.
Included in this advice book are amusing illustrations to really accentuate Wood-Comstock’s stories. Whether showing the way alcohol affects the brain, or nicotine affects the nerves, the images lighten the message and the advice can be easier accepted.
Plain facts for girls and young women on narcotics, liquor, and tobacco / by Belle Wood-Comstock ; in collaboration with Alonzo L. Baker. Mountain View, Calif. : Pacific Press Pub. Association, c1938 is in Widener Library’s collection.
Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.