A disease caused by a deficient diet or failure of the body to absorb niacin (one of the B complex vitamins) or an amino acid (tryptophan). Common in certain parts of the world (in people consuming large quantities of corn), the disease is characterized by scaly skin sores, diarrhea, mucosal changes, and mental symptoms (especially a schizophrenia-like dementia). It may develop after gastrointestinal diseases or alcoholism. 1

Pellagra was one of the most common diseases and causes of childhood death in the South during the great depression.

Look at this 1920's ad from the Gastonia Gazette2:

50-Page Book Free
Have You These Symptoms?

Tired and drowsy feeling accompanied by headaches, depression, or state of indolence; roughness of skin; breaking out or eruptions; sore mouth, tongue, lips and throat flaming red; much mucus and choking; indigestion and nausea; diarrhea and constipation; mind affected and many others. Do not wait for all these symptoms to appear. If you suffer from one or more, write for your copy of the book today.
It is FREE and mailed in plain sealed wrapper.
Dr. W.J. McCRARY, Inc.
Dept. 764
Carbon Hill, Alabama.

1MEDLINE Plus Health Information: A service of the National Library of Medicine,

2Trouble Looming: The 1929 Gastonia Textile Strike, (a project by the UNC English department)