Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters


Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters

25 January 2016

Apple-Touch-IconARecently, two pictures of a very nice, labeled Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters was posted by Eric Gamache on the Antique Bitters Bottles Facebook page. This would be D 87 L in Bitters Bottles from C. C. Doty & Company in Bradford, Vermont.


When I isolate the label graphics and clean it up a bit, you can see an illustrated tree, bales of wheat, a standing bull and Vermont mountains surround by decorative framework. The typography, intertwined with the illustration, reads, “Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters” and “Freedom and Unity” which anchors the brand. Just love that title and these graphics. Beneath it reads, “The Great Family Medicine”, “Price $1.00 Dollar Per Bottle.”


It is interesting that there are two listings for this bottle in Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham. One being an earlier bottle than the other.

D 86 L… Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters
C. C. DOTY & CO ( au ) // c //
Bradford, Vermont
8 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 1 1/2 (6)
Oval, Amber, NSC
Aurora of the Valley (Vermont) December 15, 1866
D 87 L… Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Freedom and Unity Bitters
C. C. DOTY & CO ( au ) // c //
Geo. C. Goodwin & Co. Burr & Perry, General Agents, Boston, Mass.
8 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 1 1/2 (6)
Oval, Amber, NSC
Label: A Family Medicine

It seems like some of the known early bottle examples are either from the small town of Stoddard, New Hampshire, which for a 31-year period in the 19th century, was making some of the best medicines bottles and flasks in New England. Some bottle examples could also be from the Lyndeborough Glass Company in New Hampshire. Both locales, not too far from Bradford, Vermont.

A quick poke around the internet reveals this super nice picture below of the embossed C. C. DOTY & Co. bottle from Antique-Bottles.net.


C. C. Doty & Co. – Antique-Bottles.net

Here are two wonderful pictures below of the C. C. Doty & Co. bottle from Early Vermont Medicines. Looks like it is for sale!


C. C. Doty & Co. – Early Vermont Medicines


C. C. Doty & Co. – Early Vermont Medicines

Yet another picture below from ebay from a bottle that sold earlier this month, “Up for Bid this Nice Example of the C C Doty Medicine. The Mold for this Bottle was passed on to the Lyndeborough Glass Factory in New Hampshire when the Stoddard Glass Co. went out of Business in 1873. This is the Best Example I have ever seen and was in my Personal Collection for several decades and am now parting with for another to enjoy!”


C.C. Doty & Co. – ebay (ernewtz)

Here is a later labeled example below on ebay now.


C.C. Doty & Co. – ebay

Yet another example below that sold at Knotty Pines Antiques.


C.C. Doty & Co. – Knotty Pines Antiques

Here is a passage from the BOTTLES and EXTRAS article Patent Medicines of the Green Mountain State by Don Fritschel, “Still another is C.C. Doty & Company, of Bradford, Vermont, which produced “Mandrake Bitters”, “Cough Balsam”, “Pain Panacea”, as well as several other products. Their trademark bottle was amber, shaped like a Warner’s Safe, and simply embossed in an arch, C. C. DOTY & CO.”

From eBay, a label detail from a C. C. Doty & Co. Castor Oil bottle.


C. C. Doty & Co. Castor Oil bottle – Ebay

Joe Gourd Collection

A check with bitters ephemera authority Joe Gourd, yields the following super pieces in support of the post. From Joe, “First is a label from Doty’s bitters bottle. Next is an 1869 billhead and envelope. Both the label and billhead have patriotic symbols and language. The label carries the Vermont State Motto “Freedom and Unity”. The billhead shows an American Eagle and Congressional buildings. You will also notice that the billhead advertises Doty’s Vermont Bitters (V18), Cough Balsam and Pain Panacea. (Would like to know what the “ect. ect.” was)?”


The stamp on the envelope is also interesting. This 1869 3-cent stamp is the first image of a train that appears on a U.S. stamp. I found this additional information: Trains on US Stamps” – Joe


Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters label – Gourd Collection


Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters 1869 billhead – Gourd Collection


Dr. Doty’s Celebrated Mandrake Bitters 1869 envelope – Gourd Collection

Charles Curtis Doty

Not much is known about Charles Curtis Doty or C. C. Doty as he was commonly known as most of the records come from United States Federal Census reports.

Mr. Doty was born in Vermont about 1833 and married Martha Jane Mann on 16 September 1857. When he enlisted in the Civil War in 1863, he listed his occupation as a merchant. It is interesting that his bitters label had “Freedom and Unity” in the title as he must have truly believed in the northern Civil War cause or just wanted to include it as it is the motto for the state of Vermont. He might have been a doctor too, as there are newspaper social column reports referencing him treating patients. Most records, starting around 1866, show him as a patent medicine manufacturer and later in life as a commercial traveler, which is a traveling salesman. Making bitters and selling bitters go hand-in-hand.

Based in Bradford, Vermont, Doty would travel the New England states selling his medicines. Eventually George C. Goodwin & Company and Burr & Perry would be his General Agents in Boston so he must have been quite successful.

George Goodwin began manufacturing patent medicines in the 1840s at 76 Union in Boston. His name is associated with many bitters bottles. Around 1850, he and Dr. John O. Langley of Langley’s Bitters became partners and in 1854, they moved to 99 Union. By 1857, the firm was named Geo. C. Goodwin & Co., and had taken in William B. Hibbard as a junior partner. Goodwin retired in 1859 and his son Charles C. Langley, and Hibbard ran the business. In 1863, they moved to 38 Hanover. Eventually the company became one of Boston’s largest wholesale drug firms. Milo S. Burr and John A. Perry of Burr & Perry also ran a successful patent medicine operation.

Read: John Perry’s Dr. Warrens Bilious Bitters – Boston

C. C. Doty would die in Vermont in 1910 from an accidental head injury from a train. He probably was selling his bitters right up until the end.

Select Listings:

1833: Birth of Charles C. Doty in Vermont.
1850: Charles Doty, Age: 17, Birth Year: abt 1833, Birthplace: Vermont, Home in 1850: Elmore, Lamoille, Vermont, Household Members: Hiram P Doty, 27, Hannah Doty 18, Betsy Doty, 59, Abner Doty 22, Levi Doty, 20, Charles Doty, 17 – United States Federal Census
1857: Marriage to Martha Jane Mann on 16 September 1857
1863: Charles C. Doty, Merchant, Vermont – U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Record
1870: Charles C Doty, Patent Medicine Manufacturer, Age in 1870: 37, Birth Year: abt 1833, Birthplace: Vermont, Home in 1870: Bradford, Orange, Vermont, Post Office: Bradford, Household Members: Charles C Doty, 37, Martha J Doty, 35, Junnie L Doty, 6, Vernon A Doty, 1/12, Amanda Hunt, 30, Phebe Simons, 22 – United States Federal Census
1871: C. C. Doty, Liquor Agent –  The Vermont Historical Gazetteer
1875: The harness makers’ business is carried on by Mills O. Barber, Esq.,and H. B. Kennedy. For blacksmiths, we have S. E. & M. A. Davis, S. B. Kennedy, and E. G. Hobert. Carpenters, E. R. Aldrich, Geo. W. Farr, and Andrew Sargent. Masons,’ Geo. F. Morris, and Wm. Eastman. Painters, Wm. S. Nelson, and E. T. Clark. Manufacturer and dealer in patent medicines, C. C. Doty. Machinists and millwrights, H. Gray & Co. The Gray Union water wheel is recommended by those who have tried it as one of rare excellence. – A History of Bradford, Vermont, J. D. Clark & son, 1875
1880: Charles C. Doty, Age: 47, birth abt 1833, Birthplace: Vermont, Home in 1880: Bradford, Orange, Vermont, Marital Status: Married: Martha J. Doty, Father’s name: Charles H. Mann, Mother’s name: Vespersia Mann, Occupation: Salesman, Charles C. Doty 47, Martha J. Doty, 45, Jennie L. Doty 16, Vernon A. Doty, 10, Charles H. Mann 74, Vespersia Mann, 73 – United States Federal Census
1883: C. C. Doty with a patient clipping (see below) – The Vermont Watchman, Wednesday, June 27, 1883.


1900: Charles C. Doty, Age: 67, Birth Date: Mar 1833, Birthplace: Vermont, Home in 1900: Bradford, Orange, Vermont, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Martha J Doty, Marriage Year: 1857, Years Married: 43, Father’s Birthplace: Massachusetts, Mother’s Birthplace: New Hampshire, Occupation: Commercial Traveler, Charles C Doty, 67, Martha J Doty, 63 – United States Federal Census
1910: Charles C. Doty, Age in 1910: 77, Birth Year: abt 1833, Birthplace: Vermont, Home in 1910: Bradford, Orange, Vermont, Street: Main Street, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Martha J Doty, Father’s Birthplace: Vermont, Mother’s Birthplace: Vermont, Occupation: Commercial Traveler, Employer, Employee or Other: Wage Earner, Home Owned or Rented: Rent, Charles C Doty, 77, Martha J Doty, 75, Jennie L Carter, 47 – United States Federal Census
1913: Death of Charles C. Doty (see below), 80 years old. May 25, 1913, Accidental, head injury from train.


About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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