The Toilet – Recipes from Godey’s Lady’s Book

While Godey’s Lady’s Book avoided mentioning the Civil War while it was occurring,  the effects, including scarcities of some products, of the war on its readership is hinted at in some articles.

This February 1863 item provides instructions for making several women’s toiletries at home.

  • POMADE DIVINE — Take a pound and a half of beef marrow, put it into spring water ten days, changing the water twice each day; then drain it, put it into a pint of rose-water for twenty-four hours, and drain it in a cloth quite dry. Then add storax, benjamin, cypress, and orris, of each one and a half ounce, half an ounce of cinnamon, two drachms of cloves and nutmeg, all finely powdered and well mixed with the marrow. Then put it into a pewter vessel with a top that screws on, and over that a paste, that nothing may evaporate. Hang the vessel in a copper of boiling water, and let it boil two hours without ceasing; then put it through fine muslin into pots for keeping, and when cold cover it closely. If a pewter vessel is not at hand, a stone jar; with a paste between two bladders, will do.
    Another receipt — Take four pounds of mutton suet, one pound of white wax, an ounce and a half each of essence of bergamot and essence of lemon, and half an ounce each of oil of lavender and oil of origanum. Melt the suet, and when nearly cold stir in the other ingredients. The origanum has considerable power in stimulating the growth of the hair.
  • HONEY WATER — Take a pint of proof spirit, as above, and three drachms of essence of ambergris; shake them well daily.
  • HUNGARY WATER — To one pint of proof spirits of wine put an ounce of oil of rosemary, and two drachms of essence of ambergris; shake the bottle well several times, then let the cork remain out twenty-four hours. After a month, during which time shake it daily, put the water into small bottles.
  • COLD CREAM — Take a quarter of an ounce of white wax, and shred it into a basin with one ounce of almond oil. Place the basin by the fire till the wax is dissolved; then add very slowly one ounce of rose-water, little by little, and during this beat smartly with a fork, to make the water incorporate, and continue beating till it is accomplished; then pour it into jars for use.
    Another receipt — Takeof best lard one pound, spermaceti four ounces; melt the two together, and add one ounce of rose-water, beating it as above directed.
  • RED LIP SALVE — Take of white wax, four ounces; olive oil, four ounces; spermaceti, half an ounce; oil of lavender twenty drops; alkanet root, two ounces. Macerate the alkanet for three or four days in the olive oil; then strain and melt in it the wax and spermaceti; when nearly cold, add the oil of lavender, and stir it till quite firmly set.
  • LAVENDER WATER — Take a pint of proof spirit, as above, essential oil of lavender, one ounce; essence of ambergris, two drachms. Put all into a quart bottle, and shake it extremely well.


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