New York: Julius Schmid, Inc., [circa 1940s]. Broadsheet, 8.5'' x 11'' approx. Printed recto only. Paper uniformly age-toned; light edgewear and faint chipping to edges; one larger chip to upper edge. Very good minus. Very good -. Item #23481
"Friendly warning" against the illegal sale of prophylactic rubber goods (condoms), issued by condom manufacturer Julius Schmid, presumably to discourage his competitors: "Your community is one of a great number in which a local ordinance specifically provides that the legal sale or distribution of such articles must be confined to licensed physicians and drug stores only...[R]efusal to obey the law will most certainly result in prosecution."
The German-born Schmid emigrated to the United States in his late teens, began selling skin condoms out of his New York apartment, and fell victim to the Comstock Law and the NYC vice squad in 1890. Following his jail term, he incorporated as Julius Schmid, Inc, and developed the first popular vulcanized rubber condom to be successfully sold in the U.S. As the manufacturer of Sheik and Ramses brands, Schmid sold prophylactics in great numbers to the European Allies in World War I (the U.S. and Great Britain being the only combatant nations not supplying contraceptives to their troops.) In 1918, following a ruling that doctors might prescribe condoms, their sale became legal -- though heavily restricted, as reflected by the text of this warning -- and officially approved for disease prevention only, not to prevent conception. A rare piece of ephemera from the history of sexuality and contraception.