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Sarah Bernhardt's cold prevention recipe

previous: New York, Jan. 24, 1892

26 West 31st Street, NY
Feby 7th 1892

Dear daughter Neppie,

Enclosed I send you a recipe to make "sedative water" for sponging the body over after a bath. It prevents taking colds and (as the ingredients tell you) is very strengthening. I tried it last night for the first time, slept like the proverbial "top" and feel almost free from the pains in my joints and limbs this Morning.

For [grandson] Edward I would take half a teacup full of hot water and add a tablespoon full of the mixture. Rub him all over and wipe him dry with a towel very briskly. I think it would also be very good for you – strengthen the muscles and keep the cold out and give you an appetite. Try it - and for [Neppie's husband, EJP's son] Albert  after a drill or fire. He will likely need it after performance on the 22nd.

Miss [Maud] Harrison obtained the recipe from Sarah Bernhardt and she tells me she has been using it for sometime and has never had a cold since using it, though very subject to them before, as I know. I expect to grow quite young under its influence, judging by my feelings this morning after one application.

I enclose one dollar to have it made up, with my best wishes that it will be beneficial to you all. Love and Kisses to you, Edward & Albert from your loving Mother

A paper in EJP’s handwriting, is headed

A recipe from the great: Sarah Bernhardt

A preventive from colds – for external use

2 oz – Spirits of camphor

2 oz – Spirits of ammonium

2 cups of alcohols

Cup of sea salt

Dissolve Sea Salt in boiling water. Put in quart bottle. Add the other ingredients and fill up the bottle with hot water. Wet a sponge and apply all over the body. After a bath is the best time to use it  

I think this might be good for Edward – a tablespoonful will be enough to use at a time, or even less for him. Do not put it on his face. He might not like it, though it would not impair him.

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) French actress who made her American debut at Booth’s Theatre in 1880. Toured America 9 times. Except on rare occasions, in later years, she always performed in French. Her celebrated roles included Frou-Frou and La Tosca. The New York Times index of theater reviews include a number of plays in October- December 1891 and Theodora Jan 5 1892.

What are the chances that EJ Phillips (and/or Maud Harrison) saw Sarah Bernhardt act? 

Sarah Bernhardt/s autobiography Memories of my Life 1923 [Oxford Companion Theatre]
Sarah Bernhardt Pages  http://www.sarah-bernhardt.com/
Skinner, Cornelia Otis, Madame Sarah,   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005WBP5/...

Sarah Bernhardt in Sister Carrie http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/volpe/theater/theater/bernhardt.html 

next: New York, Feb. 5, 1892

Last revised March 13, 2005

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