Southern Spirits: Ghostly Voices from Dixie Land
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by Anonymous

from "Time" Monday, Apr. 17, 1939

The following short article names a partial list of the products sold nationwide during the 1930s by Keystone Laboratories. Keystone, The Reliable Company, based in Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the largest mail order suppliers of hoodoo and conjure good, as well as cosmetics for the African American market, during the 1930s. See also the similar article about D. Alexander of Brooklyn, N.Y. from the New York Times, dated 1925 and the similar article about Rev. Charles P. Colbert of Detroit, Michigan, from Time Magazine, dated 1939 .

Because this unknown author used terms unfamiliar to modern readers and employed spellings not commonly found in the literature of hoodoo, a few explanatory notes have been added [in brackets].

TRADE: Not Irresistible

Monday, Apr. 17, 1939

Federal Trade Commission's stipulation-of-the-week: "Keystone Laboratories, Inc., 491 South Third St., Memphis, trading as Memphis Mail Order House, Curio Products Company and White Line, will discontinue representing that Poreen Ointment, La Jac Lovin' Pink Cream for Dark Skins or La Jac Orange Beauty Glow Cream are skin foods or skin whiteners; that other of its products eliminate wrinkles; that La Jac Brite Skin Bleach will overnight, or in any stated time, make the skin five shades lighter or that Lucky Mojo, Good Luck Incense, Hindoo Mystic Love Perfume, Holy Oil with Live Loadstone or High John the Conqueror Root and other similar products bring good luck, love, romance, power, life, inspiration, easy money or irresistibility."

[According to Carolyn Morrow Long, in "Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce" (University of Tennessee Press, 2001), "The Keystone Chemical Company, later called Keystone Laboratories, was established in 1925 by Joseph Menke and Morris Shapiro ... [and] ... combined the sale of ethnic [i.e. African American] cosmetics with spiritual products.... Product development and marketing strategy were shared by Menke; his wife, Hilda; Morris Shapiro; and two vice presidents, Lista Wayman and Connie Clark. The products were formulated by a staff of chemists, one of whom, Jackson Green, was African American." (The prinicpals in the company were Jewish American.)].

This material is reprinted from

Time Magazine
April 17, 1939

also online at,9171,761110,00.html

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