Viral marketing for the precursor of Coca-Cola: Dominique-Alexandre Parodin's contribution to the "Album Mariani"

Parodi, Dominique-Alexandre, French poet (1840-1901). 3 autograph letters signed.

Paris and n. p., 7 Jan. 1891, 24 March 1899, 14 June 1899.

8to. Altogether 5 pp. on 6 ff.


The earliest of the three letters, from 7 January 1891, contains an interesting reference to Alphonse Daudet's play "L'Obstacle", here misattributed to Louis Montégut, who had contributed illustrations to the publication of the play. Apparently, the unidentified recipient had previously pointed to some similarities between Daudet's play and Parodi's early piece "Ulm le parricide". Parodi agrees that his idea must have inspired the author of "L'Obstacle". Far from being offended, he insists that there is no better proof "for the vitality of an idea than its fecundity" and that he can only write "works that contain the seed of new works".

The second letter, from 24 March 1899, to a journalist of "Le Gaulois", accompanied Parodin's play "Le pape". He stresses the importance of the piece that he had "written with love" and expresses his hopes for a good review of what would be one of his final plays: "Je m'empresse de vous envoyer mon drame - Le pape - paru hier librairie, après avoir été publié dans le Correspondant. C'est un ouvrage de longue haleine, qui m'a coûté beaucoup de travail, que j'ai écrit avec amour et auquel - pourquoi ne pas l'avouer? - j'attache une extrême importance. J'espère que vous me ferez l'honneur d'en rendre compte aux lecteurs du Gaulois et de le juger avec votre habituelle compétence [...]".

The final letter is a charming artefact of the history of marketing. Parodi responds to an editor of the so-called "Album Mariani", a long-running publication that was part of the publicity for a popular tonic wine with cocoa extract called Vin Mariani. The "Album Mariani", published from 1894 to 1925, offered a vast collection of praises of the certainly stimulating beverage by celebrities like Sarah Bernhardt and Émile Zola, complete with portraits, reproduced autographs and short biographies. In return for his contribution, Parodi had received two copies of the Album and six bottles of Vin Mariani, which he apparently much appreciated: "Voici le portrait, autographe et la notice biographique que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de me demander par le plus aimable des intermédiaires. J'ai reçu les deux magnifiques albums et les six précieuses bouteilles. Je vous remercie vivement, vous et monsieur Mariani, de ce double présent qui m'a été deux fois agréable [...]" (14 June 1899).

The final letter on stationery with a beautiful watermark in reference to the newly built Eiffel Tower; the letter dated 24 March 1899 on stationery of the Parisian publisher "A. Hennuyer". All letters with traces of former mounting. Well preserved.

Stock Code: BN#54246 Tag: