Woodbury Soap Company

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The Woodbury Soap Company is an American manufacturer of personal care products such as cold cream, facial cream, facial powder, after-shave talc and ear swabs. Founded in New York State in 1870, the company was sponsor to popular radio programs in the 1930s and 1940s.


The John H. Woodbury company was established in 1870 in Albany, New York.[1] by a dermatologist.[2] The company was still in New York in 1901, making and retailing soap, when the Andrew Jergens Company (now themselves a subsidiary of Kao) purchased the company which owned the soap brand,[3] and moved the headquarters to Cincinnati, Ohio.[4]

Between 1907 and 1910, the Andrew Jergens Co, John H Woodbury and the John H Woodbury Dermatological Institute were all involved in lawsuits against each other, for use of the name "Woodbury".[5] In 1908 the John H Woodbury Dermatological Institute was brought to court for practicing medicine without a license, and in 1911 they filed for bankruptcy protection.[6] The Institute was recapitalized and later belonged to Benjamin H. Freedman.

The litigation in the 1908 lawsuit, established precedent involving the state's right to prevent "corporations from practicing medicine." The defeated argument being that they did not need a license, as they were a corporation, not an individual.

In 1931, Woodbury Soap signed singer Bing Crosby, and later Bob Hope.[7] In 1936, Woodbury soap was the first product to use a picture of a nude woman in its advertisements. That same year, they were a sponsor of the radio program Paul Whiteman's Musical Varieties on WJZ in New York City, and later sponsored Mr. and Mrs. North, the 1940s radio show about husband-and-wife crime solvers that played the detective genre for laughs.

See also[edit]

Benjamin H. Freedman


  1. ^ Codehappy.net
  2. ^ Nineteenth Century in Print
  3. ^ Koabrands.com
  4. ^ Barry M. Horstman (1999-09-07). "Soapmaker built cosmetics giant". The Cincinnati Post (E. W. Scripps Company). Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. 
  5. ^ Corporation Plaintiffs 1824 to 1911, New York Chancery and Supreme Court Equity Action Ledgers. Renamed as New York Supreme Court Plaintiffs 1824–1911 online at www.ancestry.com
  6. ^ Papers of Learned Hand 140-14
  7. ^ TVacres.com


External links[edit]