Meat Juice – Shake Well Before Use


In 1870, the wife of the Valentine founder Mann S. Valentine, Jr. became very ill.  Mann created a health drink that was a mixture of egg whites and meat juice (aka Valentine’s Meat Juice) that saved her life, brought him great wealth and ultimately provided him the funds for our original museum artifacts.  Thus, the foundation was laid for what you know and love today as the Valentine.

When Mann died in 1893, he provided the original bequest for the Valentine Museum, leaving his personal

collection of art and artifacts and the 1812 Wickham House.  With the help of his brother, renowned sculptor Edward V. Valentine, The Valentine Museum opened in 1898. 

The Business

For almost 120 years, the Valentine has collected, preserved and interpreted the materials of Richmond’s life and history. Today we use our collections, exhibitions and programs to reflect and interpret the broad issues and diverse communities which define the history of Richmond.

The development of Valentine’s Meat-Juice coincided with the tumultuous era of the post-Civil War South.  The background of Reconstruction politics, adjustments to an economy without slave labor, and a severe depression that began in 1873 and persisted throughout the 1870s made the success of the meat-juice venture even more remarkable.

Mann Valentine combined science and business and prospered.   He also trained his seven sons to take over the company after his death. The demand for Valentine’s Preparation of Meat-Juice was immediate and widespread.  Within a year the meat-juice formula had been patented at home and abroad, a bottle and label designed and copyrighted, and an agent hired to manage the operation. Mann realized that the approval of leading physicians was critical to the acceptance of his meat juice, and testimonials from doctors all over the world remained his most successful form of advertising.

Being guaranteed a respectable middle-class job by working for one’s father had bothered Mann Valentine when he was young.  From the earliest experiments with the meat-juice, however, all seven of the Valentine sons were trained to go into the family business.  Granville, who became the president after his father’s death, had two years of chemistry at Richmond Medical College.  Edward Pleasants also studied chemistry at the Virginia Military Institute. Valentine’s Meat-Juice Company remained in the family until it closed in 1986.

In September 1871, less than one year from the first documented experiment; Valentine’s Preparation of Meat-Juice had patents in the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Ireland.