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Hartman Collection, Duke University Library

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(detail) “Health First,” Kotex Company of Canada, Ltd, 1929.

The text of this ad echoes Progressive-era health reform, but the image of a well-dressed woman promotes a different message. It implies that Kotex Sanitary Napkins are the key to a lifestyle in which the wearer can look glamorous while menstruating. In fact, fashionable women were among the first to break with tradition, adopting disposable pads rather than reusable rag bandages. The ad frames public health concerns as a facet of modern, fashionable life.

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