Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters – Augusta & New York
William H. Tutt
29 January 2015
Back in August 2011, I had the opportunity to visit with Mike Newman and his extraordinary bottle collection outside of Augusta, Georgia. You can read three historical posts below where I tried to capture the depth and quality of his rooms of wonderful bottles:
During this visit I had the chance to see two extraordinary bitters, that being the Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters and the Old Carolina Bitters. Both are pictured above, standing proudly together.
I followed up on the Old Carolina Bitters (read post). Today we are going to follow up on the Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters. All of the pictures in this post are from Mike Newman and they were recently provided to Bill Ham who is updating the Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters listing for the forthcoming Bitters Bottlers Supplement 2.
Picture Comments from Mike Newman
“You noticed a broken example next to my good yellow one. I dug this bottle with Augusta, Georgia embossed on it many years ago. There is only one perfect example known, which was purchased for $4,000 over twenty-five years ago by Walter Smith. I had always assumed (incorrectly) that the only difference between the two was the city embossing on a third panel. After comparing them this morning, I see that the embossed panels are in an entirely different order. I am sending some photos, which should show the difference. It turns out that Augusta, GA is embossed on the panel opposite of Golden Eagle Bitters, where Dr. Tutt’s was embossed on my example. The Dr. Tutt’s embossing now shows up on the third panel between Golden Eagle Bitters and Augusta, GA. The variant without Augusta, GA embossed typically comes in a medium amber color, with my example being the only one known in a honey yellow color. I am guessing that there are maybe a half dozen undamaged examples known without the city name. My bottles measures 9 1/4 inches in height with a 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches square base. The neck is 2 inches long, meaning it measures 7 1/4 inches from base to where neck begins.”
The present Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles and Bitters Bottles Supplement is as follows:
T 71 f // DR. WM. H. TUTT’S // f // GOLDEN EAGLE / BITTERS //
9 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 (6 1/4) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, 2 sp, Extremely rare.
T 71.7 DR. WM. H. TUTT’S // AUGUSTA, GA// GOLDEN EAGLE / BITTERS // f //
9 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 (6 1/4) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, 3 sp, Extremely rare.
Same as T 71 except AUGUSTA, GA. appears on a third panel.
Bill Ham will be updating the listings when some additional measurements are obtained. The new entry for the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 will direct to the “T” section for “TUTT’S” as one might suspect that this might have originally be cataloged under “G” for “GOLDEN”.
GOLDEN EAGLE / BITTERS
See DR. WM. H. TUTT’S GOLDEN EAGLE BITTERS
Dr. William Henry Tutt
William H. Tutt was born in Augusta, Georgia on August 31, 1823 and was a wealthy druggist and prominent physician in the south. He would graduate from the Augusta Medical College and later amass a sizable fortune as he became a manufacturer of patent medicines in both Augusta and New York City.
He would sell his concoctions by using well-placed advertisements in national newspapers for Dr. Tutt’s Liver Pills, Dr. Tutt’s Expectorant, Dr. Tutt’s Sarsaparilla and Queens Delight (pictured above), Dr. Tutt’s Improved Hair Dye and of course Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters, the main topic of this post. A few of those advertisements from New York are represented below.
Dr. Tutt first started in the drug business in Augusta in 1850 or so and soon moved to 264 Broad Street taking on Robert Henry Land as a partner with Wm. H. Tutt & Land – Druggists. Dr. Tutt remained in the drug business until he moved to New York City in 1873 and engaged in the manufacture of proprietary medicines on a larger and broader scale. While in New York he retained his Augusta drug business as W. H. Tutt & Remsen. This was probably his wife’s father or brother as Dr. Tutt married Miss Harriet Remsen Bell in 1847. Although most of Tutt’s concoctions appeared to be manufactured in his New York plant, many bear Augusta’s name, indicating strong personal ties with his place of birth. Dr. Tutt moved his family back to Augusta in 1888 but continued his business in New York until he sold it in the mid 1890s.
The Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters with the Augusta embossing was most likely made first, probably in 1869 or 1870. It is extremely rare. The advertisement above shows 500 cases available of Dr. Tutt’s Golden Eagle Bitters, along with 100 cases each of Hostetters and Plantation Bitters.
On May 28, 1888 Tutt purchased the four acre Hillside estate of Mrs. Anna McKinne Winter in Augusta for $12,500. He would then build the Bon Air, as a summer retreat from New York for his family. This expansive four story Victorian inspired architecture would next become a winter resort for eastern millionaires and was named The Bon Air Hotel, opening on December 2, 1889, on the “Hill” overlooking Augusta. Tutt was also instrumental in the development of the Augusta Canal. Dr. Tutt would die on March 15, 1898 in Augusta but is remembered today.
1823: William H. Tutt born in Augusta, Georgia, August 21, 1823.
1847: Dr. William H. Tutt marries Miss Harriet Remsen Bell of Lincoln County.
1854: Dr. W. H. Tutt, Druggist – The Southern Business Directory and General Commercial Advertiser
1859: William H. Tutt, member Augusta, Georgia City Council
1860: W. H. Tutt, Apothecary, age 37, Augusta Ward 1, Richmond, Georgia – United States Federal Census
1870: Tutt & Land, Druggists, Augusta, Georgia
1872-1874: William H. Tutt, Patent Medicines, 18 Platt – Goulding’s Business Directory of New York
1877: W. H. Tutt & Remsen (William H. Tutt and Rem Remsen), res. Elizebeth New Jersey, druggist, 264 Broad – Shoals’ Directory of the City of Augusta
1878: William H. Tutt, pills, 35 Murray – New York City Directory
1882: W. H. Tutt & Remsen (William H. Tutt and Rem Remsen), ret druggist, 812 Broad – Augusta, Georgia City Directory
1883: William H. Tutt, drugs, 35 Murray – New York City Directory
1898: Dr. William H. Tutt death (see below) March 15, 1898.