J.H. Dudley & Co’s Jockey Club House Bitters
21 February 2016 (R•060319)
Back in early February, Steve Ketcham, FOHBC Director-At-Large, (Edina, MN) put this really cool J. H. Dudley & Co’s Jockey Club House Bitters package on ebay. I set the pictures aside for a later post though I did put it up on Daily Dose. Here are the rest of the pictures, Steve’s ebay listing text and a little information on Mr. Dudley.
[Steve Ketcham] This product box once held a bottle of Jockey Club House Bitters, a product of J. H. Dudley & Co. of 14 Broad Street, Boston. Ring and Ham list the bottle as J-42, though no illustration is available, and we can find no records listing this bottle as having ever been sold at auction. As shown, the box label depicts a jockey flirting with a young lass as she leans out a window. The label shows the yellowing and stain of age, and this one is early. The wrapper was printed and then wrapped around the box. At the bottom of the label we find, “Entered according to Act of Congress, 1858, by J. H. Dudley & Co. in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.” The box is still quite solid, and a block of styrofoam was slipped into the box to keep it from being crushed or bent (this is how we found it). The lid, printed with a warning about cheap imitations, lifts off. About 9 1/2 inches tall by 3 inches square. Not many early bitters boxes out there!
The package sold for $462.
James H. Dudley
A quick glance at the package might make it seem like you are looking at a related product for the well-known London Club House Gin. An example is pictured below. Many bitters collectors have examples of these bottles because the are so darn great with the embossed horse and jockey. Read: London Jockey Club House Gin
Well, this is not the same proprietor. In the case of the Jockey Club House Bitters, we are talking about J. H. Dudley & Co. who were the proprietors located at 14 Broad Street in Boston, Massachusetts. James H. Dudley was born in Pembroke, New Hampshire in 1801. His father was named Trueworthy Dudley. Now who can not trust a first name like that? In 1832, they are both listed as grocers at 82 Pond in Boston. A bit too early for this bitters though.
From about 1848 or so, we can place James H. Dudley & Co. at 14 Broad Street which is listed on the box. The 1850 United States Federal Census lists James H. Dudley as being 50 years old and a grocer. His wife was Elizabeth Dudley, 37, and his son, Thomas E Dudley, 20, had started an Apothecary. Dudley stays at the Broad Street address until about 1858 so we can place the brand in this window though the box has “Entered according to Act of Congress, 1858, by J. H. Dudley & Co. in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts” on the front bottom panel. We also see advertising in newspapers in 1858 for the bitters.
Dudley’s graphics are wonderful on the box with this “Romeo” jockey sipping a glassful of Jockey Club Bitters that his Juliette hands him from her porch window. She has a larger container of bitters on the ledge. I guess her house was right next to the race track. J. H. Dudley also has his signature on the box which is pretty neat. He said that two or three wine glass fulls a day, placed in your wine or schnapps (I guess that you are already drinking) will cure your headache, stomach ache etc. I bet so, at least for a while. I also have never seen a bottle.
Here is an advertising trade card from the Joe Gourd collection. Note the same illustration 0f a courting jockey at the window of a damsel. Note that English Crown Bitters is mentioned. This was unlisted prior to Bitters Bottles Supplement 2. The box has also been listed.
E 44.5 ENGLISH CROWN BITTERS, printed one side, Dudley & Thornton, Sole Agents for Jockey Club and English Crown Bitters, No. 67 Kilby Street, Boston
(see also J 42 Jockey Club House Bitters)
J 42 JOCKEY CLUB HOUSE BITTERS, J. H. Dudley & Co., 14 Broad Street, Boston, Entered According to Act of Congress, 1858, by J. H. Dudley & Co. in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
J 42 JOCKEY CLUB HOUSE BITTERS, From J. H. Dudley & Co., Proptrs., Dudley & Thornton, Sole Agents for Jockey Club and English Crown Bitters, No. 67 Kilby Street, Boston
(see E 44.5 English Crown Bitters)
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles for the bottle is as follows: