Recently the Rubenstein Library received an inter-library loan request that was quite appropriate for a drowsy Friday afternoon: Fatigue: What It Is and How to Overcome It, by Dr. Donald Anderson Laird. This short pamphlet, collected as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, was published in 1934 as part of the Master Bedding salesman’s training course.
Dr. Laird describes fatigue as “a diminished capacity for doing work, and diminished capacity for enjoying life,” and describes symptoms as irritability, bad temper, nervousness, and peplessness.
If you are pepless or suffering from other symptoms of late-semester fatigue, here are some suggestions from the booklet:
“The bed equipment should be used by the housewife for a few minutes several times during the day. It is not essential to sleep, but to lie down on a cushion that makes it possible to relax.”
“Sometimes excitement from the day makes it difficult to relax, even on a well-designed sleep cushion. The condition will be helped by a sleeping room that is designed and decorated to promote calming down emotionally by the judicious use of blues and greens.”
“The muscular relaxation coaxed by the bed cushion, in fact, will help mental calming down, just as a good way to overcome anger is to try to smile and not act angry.”
While this pamphlet was published almost 80 years ago and some of the advice seems less than scientific, this section seemed especially appropriate even today:
“The present generation probably needs at least better sleep than the previous generations. Radio programs, sleep-disturbing night noises from traffic, a greater assortment of time and energy consuming evening pleasures made possible by electricity all probably keep us from getting as much sleep as our fathers did. Then the emotional strain of modern high speed automobile traffic, and the present gnawing apprehension caused by the depression, also conspire to make us need the safety-valve of dreams as never before.”
Replace “radio programs” with “the internet” and “evening pleasures made possible by electricity” with “smartphones,” and that sentence is quite modern sounding.
The final section of the pamphlet gives advice to the Master Bedding salesman on prescribing the appropriate kind of mattress just as a doctor would prescribe a medicine. Naturally, the booklet warns against selling the cheapest mattress: “One’s bed is in reality one’s best friend, and to practice false economy at its expense is indeed false reasoning.” You wouldn’t be cheap with your best friend, would you?
Smile, paint your bedroom blue, and lie down for a bit. Doctor’s orders.
If you’d like to learn more, the Rubenstein Library also holds the companion pamphlet in the Master Bedding salesman’s training course: A New Mattress Era by Marvin C. Lindeman.
Post contributed by Rachel Penniman, Rubenstein Library Assistant for Research and Technical Services.
Search The Devil’s Tale
Tag Cloud2011acquisitions 2012acquisition 2013acquisition advertisements advertising African American history archives artistsbooks civilwar conservation diaries digitization documentary dorisduke dukehistory durham durhamhistory economists events film fullframe games Haiti Heschel holidays human rights letterhead literature longcivilrights madmen Mad Men madmenmondays medicine movediary move prep movinghom photography recipes renovation rubensteinstaff scrapbooks sports students women's history zines
The Devil’s Tale Archive
- Frost family genealogy and history, 1975 and undated. November 21, 2014
- Edward S. Ransom letters, May, November 1863. November 21, 2014
- William Clark Missouri Territory treasury receipts, 1810, 1815. November 21, 2014
- Harry L. Mitchell printed materials on the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, 1972-1974 and undated. November 20, 2014
- Mulligan family papers, 1864-1880 and undated. November 20, 2014
- Ireland's miseries: their cause. From the Plough, the loom, and the anvil, for September, 1852 November 21, 2014
- Reflections upon the conduct of human life : with reference to the study of learning and knowledge : in a letter to the excellent lady, the Lady Masham November 21, 2014
- General order, no. 1 November 21, 2014
- Der Prairiefuchs : eine Erzählung aus dem Amerikanischen (Volume c.1) November 7, 2014
- Ferdinand Lasalle : ein Roman al fresco (Volume Bd.1 c.1) November 7, 2014