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Gavitt Medical Company (1868-1967) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Gavitt Medical Company (1868-1967)


Historical Note:

The Gavitt Medical Company was formed about 1868 from W. W. Gavitt's work as an agent for Dr. Perkins Medical Co. of Washington, D. C. Based in Topeka, the Gavitt company sold medical products to customers all over the United States. The most popular product was a laxative, Gavitt's System Regulator, which was sold through direct mail and by agents. The company  rose to prominence in 1889 when Harry E. Gavitt, William's son, reorganized the company. The company closed in 1967.

William Wellington Gavitt was born on 9 February 1840 in Delaware county, Ohio, the son of Rev. Ezekiel Stanton and Elizabeth (Miller) Gavitt. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1862, moving to Topeka, Kansas in 1867 where he organized a real estate and coal business. In 1869 he commenced his banking and loan career. He married Jennie Ledie Spangle (b. 15 June 1853, d. 04 Feb 1899) on 23 June 1873. They had three children: Harry Ezekiel, Corrington Spangle, and Elizabeth (Gavitt) Brunt. William was the president of W.W. Gavitt and Company, the Gavitt Loan and Investment Company, the W. W. Gavitt Medical Company, and the W. W. Gavitt Printing and Publishing Company at the time of his death on 11 January 1922.

Harry Ezekiel Gavitt was born in Topeka, Kansas, 01 January 1875. He graduated from Washburn Law School, and took private courses in medicine, pharmacy, and chemistry from the University of Kansas. He re-organized the Gavitt Medical Co., founded by his father. In 1903, he invented the game Gavitt's Stock Exchange which became so popular by 1904 he sold partial interest in it to Parker Brothers, allowing them to refine and publish it under the name of Pit. He married Edith Snyder (1879-1936) on 17 May 1905. In 1934, Harry was manager of the W. W. Gavitt Printing and Publishing Co. and vice-president of the Topeka State Bank. He died in 1954.

Sources:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13877460/william-wellington-gavitt quoting information from Builders of Topeka, 1934

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13877484/harry-ezekiel-gavitt quoting information from Builders of Topeka, 1934

https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/patent-medicines/12165

http://etext.ku.edu/view?docId=ksrlead/ksrl.kc.wwgavittsmedical.xml;route=ksrlead;brand=ksrlead;query=

https://onbeyondholcombe.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/w-w-gavitt-medical-co/

Note Author: Cindy Von Elling





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