1965 Abbott Lettersheet Mailing

By Tom Fortunato stamptmf@frontiernet.net
written November 9, 2003 - updated April 18, 2004

(click any image to enlarge it)

Chad - mailed September 1, 1965
French Polynesia - mailed October 1, 1965
Wallis & Futuna Islands - mailed October 18, 1965
Comoroes Islands - mailed October 22, 1965

Postcards apparently weren't the only way Abbott Labs reached their clients from abroad.

Above are four examples of a mailing by Abbott Labs N. V. (Netherlands) to doctors in their country. These were on folded letter sheets, similar to an aerogram, with a vareity of preprinted messages for the drug "Erythrocin."

Marketed first by Abbott in 1952, Erythrocin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections produced by a strain of Streptomyces erythraeus. Shown above are 250 mg filmtab tablets produced by Abbott today. It is recommended for a wide variety of sicknesses, including bronchitis, diphtheria, Legionnaires' disease, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, rheumatic fever, venereal disease, and ear, intestine, lung, urinary tract, and skin infections.

The letter sheets do not mention the country each was mailed from in the text. But like their postcard cousins they were mailed from exotic locales using contemporary definitives.

All four above were mailed to the same doctor in The Hague (Den Haag). Each was addressed in the same handwriting. The upper right corner of the center page bears the phrase "een uit een serie"- one of a series. It's not known how many made up the series. The salutation translates to something like "Dear very learned sir".

Can anyone reading this shed more light on this mailing?

Update- March 6, 2004!

Cameroun- mailed August 22, 1964

The story behind these mailings continues to unfold. I recently purchased on eBay the cover above. Mailed from Cameroun a year before the Netherlands mailings, this one is in Portuguese and was sent to Brasil. There must be more out there! While probably not of the same scope as the Pentothal cards, the history of this mailing will eventually come to light.

Update- March 21, 2004!

I am indebted to Bill Holland of Great Britain who has provided me with his listing of letter sheets. Indeed, the data supports that Abbott and others used letter sheets extensively. An Excel spreadsheet can be found on the home page listing known varieties.

Update- April 18, 2004!

St. Pierre & Miquelon- mailed September 25, 1962

Here's another new find, one predating others seen to date by a few years! This one has a return address of Abbott Labs in North Chicago, headquarters.