Dear Doctor Postcards From Maldives
(Published: July, 2009, Volume 9, Number 2, Issue #28) (Table Of Contents)
(Author: Larry Fillion)


Dear Doctor Postcard - Front Side - "Minaret of Juma Mosque"
Image Of Stamp
Dear Doctor Postcard - Back Side w/ Maldives Malaria Stamps
Image Of Stamp


Back in the mid-1950s, doctors in the United States began receiving colorful postcards from exotic locations around the world advertising a popular anesthetic drug known as Pentothal Sodium. Its manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories of Illinois, developed a scheme to mail a postcard every couple of weeks to hundreds of thousands of doctors and health facilities on its giant mailing list, first to US addresses and then others abroad.

Each card starts with the salutation, "Dear Doctor," hence the nickname of these collectibles sometimes referred to as "Dear Doctor" cards, followed by a message regarding the virtues of the drug. By the way, you probably know the drug by its more common name, truth serum, made popular in movies and TV shows during the spy era! This was "junk mail" at its finest.

There has been rather little written about these cards by either deltiologists (postcard collectors) or philatelists (stamp collectors). But each group will find them interesting, as did their lucky recipients.

The cards all bear native scenes depicting the people, places, or culture of the country it was mailed from. They came from every corner of the globe, including such locales as Antarctica, French Polynesia, Panama, and Spanish Sahara.

Each was mailed the cheapest way by surface (boat) mail using colorful stamps of the period. Some were mailed in bulk and postmarked all on the same day. Others were spread out over several months and can be found with different stamps and postmark types on them. They were even sent on the first day of issue for some stamps.


The text above is from "The 'Dear Doctor' Postcard Collector Club" online with the permission of Tom Fortunato. The address of the web site is http://www.deardoctorpostcards.com/index.html More information is on the page: checklists of all of the Dear Doctor Postcards and a link to a book on Pentothal cards. There are also a dozen or so links to other articles from stamp magazines.

On the main Dear Doctor Postcard web page, there is also a Master Checklist. in the form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. There are over 3000 rows in the spreadsheet with multiple cards and postage rates coming from all over the world. The cards that related to malaria which may be of interest to the members of the MPI would be the ones from Maldives because these cards were sent with malaria stamps for postage like the card at the top of this page. I copied the rows from the spreadsheet for Maldives and made some changes in order to get it in the HTML table in a viewable way. I have also added some images for the differences amongst the cards. All of the cards have the same front of the postcard which is a picture of 'Minaret of Juma Mosque'. On the writing side of the card there are a few differences.

* I do not own or have an image of the postcard with the message in French. This is on my want list.

Below are three of the four 'Types' of cards. (No 'D' which has the text in French) The 'Dear Doctor' Postcard Collector Club" has its own numbering system but when only the Maldives are being looked at, I did not use them due to they would be out of context. At the bottom of the 'Dividing Line' in the middle of the postcard is a letter. Reviewed examples have an A, B, C, or a D. Also of note is that Type A and Type C have the Registered symbol ® and Type C has the words TRADE MARK. I turned the image snippets 90 degrees to the right and marked the differences in order to see them clearly.

Type A
Image Of Stamp
Type B
Image Of Stamp
Type C
Image Of Stamp


Most of the cards were sent to doctors and the greeting "Dear Doctor" made sense. Sometimes these postcards were sent to nurses or other non doctors and the "Dear Doctor" was omitted. Right below is the comparison.

"Dear Doctor"
Image Of Stamp
No "Dear Doctor"
Image Of Stamp


Below is a table with # of reviewed copies, country that the postcard is addressed to, whether the 'Dear Doctor' phrase is on the postcard, whether it is in English or French, and known dates, the stamp values on the postcard, and the Type. (Some of the dates are in red - these signify that the dates need to be added to the official list of dates - I have sent an email to Tom Fortunato at "The 'Dear Doctor' Postcard Collector Club" letting him know of the new finds.
Number Of Copies Known Addressed To: Dear Doctor Language Known Dates Stamp Values On Postcard Type
50 United States Yes English (1962) Oct 1, 11, 13, 15, 17
(1962) Nov 1 2, 5, 7, 11, 15, 17, 21, 28
(1962) Dec 2, 3, 11, 15, 18, 20, 27
(1963) Jan 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 17, 22, 27
2 Larees + 5 Larees
or 4x2 Larees
Type A
14 Canada Yes English (1962) Dec 2, 3, 27 5 Larees Type B
2 Canada Yes French (1962) Nov 3? 5 Larees Type D
4 United States Missing
"Dear Doctor"
English (1962) Oct ?, Oct 26, Nov 4
(1963) Jan 6
2 Larees + 5 Larees Type C


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Oct 1
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Oct 13
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Oct 15
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Oct 17
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Nov 2
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Nov 11
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Dec 11
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Dec 11
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Dec 15
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1962, Dec 29
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1963, Jan 1
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1963, Jan 7
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1963, Jan 8
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - United States - 1963, Jan 27
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type A - Canada - 1962, Dec 3
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type B - Canada - 1962, Dec 3
Image Of Stamp


Dear Doctor Postcard - Type C - United States - 1962, Oct 26 (very hard to read but at high magnification, looks like a 26)
Image Of Stamp


*If any reader has other examples of these Dear Doctor Postcards, please contact me at malariastamps@yahoo.com