Lightyears Collection
Daggett and Ramsdell

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Gay Manhattan Perfume
Daggett and Ramsdell, 1947

Daggett & Ramsdell was launched by two apothecaries, V. (Volney) Chapin Daggett (1859-1943) and Clifford Ramsdell. Daggett, the formula developer, had attended Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, graduating in 1885


In 1892, Daggett & Ramsdell introduced a cold cream for which they had substituted white mineral oil for the more perishable vegetable oils which had been used up to that time. Their new product had the advantage of not turning rancid and became quite well known. In a 1907 article on first aid for mountaineers, Dr. Cora Smith Eaton recommended Daggett & Ramsdell's cold cream for the treatment of sunburn.

From the 1930's on into the 1950's, Daggett & Ramsdell were active advertisers. In addition to print advertising, which included both full page color ads, they sponsored radio shows, including a soap opera called "The Career of Alice Blair" (1939).

Photograph of Volney Chapin Daggett, co-founder of Daggett & Ramsdell  Cosmetics Co.
Pharmacist V. Chapin Daggett, co-founder of Daggett & Ramsdell and creator of Daggett & Ramsdell products, as seen in a 1930 magazine advertisement.

Daggett & Ramsdell also employed celebrity endorsers including Leila Hyams, Faye Copeland, Anita De Vries and Virginia Snyder. Dr. Seuss, author of so many favorite children's stories, produced advertising for Daggett & Ramsdell.

For many years after Dr. Daggett's death, Daggett & Ramsdell maintained their own product development laboratories. Among their employees was Mae Arntzen, a laboratory assistant who retired in 1972, after many years with the company.

Daggett & Ramsdell has been a long time mail order and direct sales cosmetics vendor. In recent years under the current ownership they have picked up lines of ethnic cosmetics from Claudia Stevens and Darrell's. Today their advertising is largely directed toward the Asian, Hispanic and Afro-American markets.

How Daggett & Ramsdell happened to launch their 1947 Gay Manhattan perfume, in packaging so suggestive of Viktor & Rolf's 2005 Flowerbomb, we simply do not know.

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Dr. Seuss ad for Daggett & Ramsdell Brevbo Brushless Shave Cream
Advertising for
Daggett & Ramsdell products
created by Dr. Seuss
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Dr Seuss ad for Daggett & Ramsdall cosmetics

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Comments On This Article
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  • -, 03/17/2014.Magic Moment distributed by Fuller Brush Company Daggett and Ramsdell distributed their 'Magic Moment' through the Fuller Brush Company's door to door salesmen.
  • Penny Dolnick, 02/12/2008.
    Daggett & Ramsdell also commissioned JeanDesprez to create a
    parfum called "Debutante International". The bottom has made in France
    embossed on glass and a paper D & G label. The box is in the gold & white
    brocade of other Desprez scents and says "Debutante International, Jean
    Desprez, Paris" on inside cover. Bottom of box says "...created
    exclusively for D & G by Jean Desprez of Paris, limited edition.
    Bottle itself is 3.62" in clear glass with silver label and frosted flame
    form stopper.
  • -, 08/20/2006.
    While "Gay Manhattan" was something of an exceptional product, Daggett & Ramsdell also put out some fragrances in more conventional packaging. These include "Primrose House" Cologne Bouquet and "Debutant" Perfume Cologne. No dates are available.
Photo of Phil Goutell
Philip Goutell's Signature

Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.