Yesterday I received a letter from Gilbert Enterprises in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. It was marked DO NOT BEND.
Inside it was another letter from 1969.
Isn’t it lovely? Can you imagine Dr. Dintenfass’s excitement? The double date stamp, the stamp itself, the picture on the left.
I turned it over.
I can’t find much about Ayerst Laboratories online. They were acquired by Wyeth in the early 1970s. They were a pharmaceutical company.
Anyway, I noticed that there was something inside the envelope.
A letter! I opened it out….
Obviously it’s a piece of direct mail, but I couldn’t help but get caught up in the author’s excitement about space flight, the achievement of the Astronauts and more. I also love the last paragraph – which is a deft acknowledgement of the underlying commercial purpose, but wafts that away for ‘another time.’
I had a look around the Internet for a bit more information about W. Boyd O’Connor. I couldn’t find much on him, either, but I did learn that mailings to mark significant events were a big part of what Ayerst Laboratories did. Here, for instance, is another envelope.
And here’s another….
I also found another letter from W. Boyd O’Connor.
This is an example of W. Boyd’s earlier work from 1965. The segue from the death of Herbert Hoover to “may we suggest that you give GRISTACIN an early trial in your patients with ringworm of the skin, hair and nails” is a bit clunky in my view. It starts to go wrong half way through the third paragraph. I prefer my letter. W. Boyd obviously hadn’t read the Direct Marketing Handbook in which it clearly states: ‘don’t combine a commemorative letter about a United States President with a sales pitch for ringworm treatment.’