Brochure for Brown's Wells in Hazlehurst, Mississippi (1910)

Brown toned cover of the brochure Brown’s Wells Curative Water. Below the title is a picture of a gazebo on stilts with people around it. Below that is the tagline drink it at your home if you cannot drink it at the sprints.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, hot spring resorts popped up around the United States selling the idea of curative waters that addressed a myriad of illnesses. From well-known waters in Hot Springs (Arkansas), Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes (France), and Pamukkale (Turkey) to lesser-known springs found in many U.S. states, the curative waters were known to address many ailments.

Mississippi had its share of springs that touted healing powers. Brown's Wells, outside Hazlehurst, Mississippi, became a destination for "health and pleasure seekers from all parts of the East and South, who have been attracted to the spot by the almost miraculous curative powers of these famous mineral waters." With the first well discovered in 1847 and the first cottage built in 1853, Brown's Wells was situated on 400 acres, of which 80 were designated for the resort. The hotel on-site could accommodate 300 guests, and the hotel food was heralded in the Brown's Wells brochure. "The Hotel cuisine is unsurpassed, and the most exacting epicure will find dishes to tempt his jaded palate."

There were seven wells at Brown's with each well containing different minerals that possessed curative properties. Drinking the water could provide relief for 24 ailments, according to the brochure, including chronic constipation, dysentery, diabetes, anemia, malaria, and even alcoholism. To support the claims of the resort, the brochure contains endorsements from dignitaries who had successfully treated their illnesses by consuming the waters including Benjamin F. Jonah (U.S. Senator from Louisiana, 1865-68, 1876-79) and Robert Burns Mayes (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, 1910-1912).

Can't make it to Hazlehurst to visit Brown's Wells? No problem. Brown's Wells would ship you water to consume at home. For $2.50 you could receive five gallons of the curative waters or $3.00 for a case of half gallon bottles. When ordering, you had to include the number of the well that you want the water drawn from because of the different healing elements of each well.

This 15-page brochure can be viewed in Special Collections located in McCain Library & Archives on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. The library is open Monday – Friday from 9am to 4pm. The call number for the item is Mississippiana RA807 .M72 B76 1910.  For additional information about some of the hot springs' resorts in Mississippi, view Health and Pleasure Resorts with Medicinal Wells in the Upland Region of Mississippi on the LInes of the Illinois Central Railroad and the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad.
For additional information about the item, contact Jennifer Brannock at .

Text by Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books & Mississippiana