Gavitt Medical Co. Records were donated to the University Archives at Kansas State University by Professor Charles Gardner Shaw in 1971. This collection is identified as accession number PC 1988.07.
The collection, consisting of 618 pieces of correspondence, is arranged chronologically within six folders. The material spans the period from Jun 1895 to Dec 1928 and, while the majority is from Kansas, letters arrived from many states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota and Colorado.
This collection consists of correspondence documenting sales of the Gavitt System Regulator.
The majority of the letters are requests to purchase the product, some detailing how they first
received the product and giving glowing testimonials of how it helped them:
"It has cured me of a bad case of Catarrh and heart disease, and is commencing to give me
Other letters are inquiries about becoming agents for the company, explaining that either the
correspondent is unaware of anyone selling their product in the area, or that the current agent
is unable to continue to provide adequate service for the area.
Probably the most significant correspondence in the collection are the reports which the agents
sent to the company's office in Topeka documenting the sales of the product. Many of these
reports were penned on the back of the correspondence from the company, providing valuable
insight into the times. The company letters include arguments for convincing the reluctant
buyer to purchase their product:
"Many say they employ a family physician after they get sick. The graveyards are full of
people who had family physicians called after they got sick. The time to take medicine is when
the disease first makes its appearance and the only way to take it is to have it in the house
handy at all times."
The company also provides advice on marketing, suggesting that agents target parents with sons
in the military:
"...we have not heard of a single case where the soldiers have had Malaria, Typhoid or Yellow
fever where they had a box of our System Regulator sent to them."
Interspersed throughout the collection are personal letters from the Shore family and friends. These letters document the events in the lives of the family and the communities of Alma, Clay Center, Emporia and White City, Kansas, including births, deaths, and assorted gossip. Of particular note is a letter from Jesse L. Shore to Kansas Secretary of State, George Clark, pointing out a error in the Session Laws of 1901, Chapter 420, and requesting that Mr. Clark check the actual bill to make sure it is correct. Mr. Clark's reply confirms that the error is in the bill as well and that the bill is invalid until the legislature meets again and can correct it.
Box Folder Description 01 01 1902 Jun - 1912 Oct 02 1902 Sep - 1912 Oct 03 1913 May - 1921 Nov 04 1922 Feb - 1927 Dec 05 1928 Jan - Jun 06 1928 Jul - Dec