Introduction by Michael Moore.

The oldest school of Pharmacy in the United States, founded in 1822, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy published this monthly journal for over a century. Edited by Maisch during the 1880s and then Trimble in the following decade, it was a major publication by a major school during the Golden Age of American Pharmacy, from after the Civil War to WWI. A brief perusal of some of the test material for third-year students in the April 1887 issue will give you a bit of an idea of what was expected of a well-trained pharmacy student of that era...botany, chemistry, compounding, manufacturing and dispensing, all the way from the crude plant drug or chemicals to safe patient prescriptions, with a knowledge of wine-making, perfumes and essential oils, and a handle on how best to fabricate soda-fountain syrups from scratch thrown in. Like John Uri Lloyd before them, who at that time was president of the American Pharmaceutic Association, most students in this era entered the better schools only after a five year apprenticeship with a sponsoring pharmacist. Pharmacy was NOT an academic discipline trained for in a university department or school, but a separate profession one trained for within the remnants of the tradition of the Trade Guilds.

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century there was particular emphasis given in American pharmacy to the manipulation of the media for administering plant and chemical drugs...constant discussion on the preferable methods of compounding and preparing drugs for ideal availability, storage and avoidance of unwanted side effects resulting from HOW the medicine was assembled and dispensed, rather than WHAT was in it. A well-trained pharmacist, with his or her apprentices and assistants, had to be constantly aware of the physical nature of the materials and how they interreacted, skills quite similar to those of a first-rate pastry chef.

The better-trained and more skilled pharmacists preferred, sometimes out of professional pride, NOT to purchase and dispense commercially pre-packaged medicine, considering it inferior to the same medicine made "from scratch". The truth is, there were not many drug manufacturers around, and many made poor products. Most of the present-day American drug companies were founded by pharmacists trained in that era (and usually graduates from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy). It is also not suprising that many pharmacists, with their expertise in every aspect of chemistry, botany and compounding, were constantly introducing, analyzing and evaluating new drugs, new plants and new wrinkles to compounding. Many of the articles in these issues were written by ordinary pharmacists, throwing out their two cents's worth, not bound by the later divisions between pharmacy, pharmacology, pharmacognosy and such - - a raw, rich and perhaps unspoiled time of egalitarian hurdy-gurdy, more akin in spirit to the Eclectics than the already rigid and ritualized mainstream medicine of the American east.

Many of these articles offer a unique view into a past era when things were less rigid - with new plant medicines always just over the horizen and offering interesting views of cultivation and the exploitation of the colonial era; many offer bonehead examinations of constituent minutiae; here and there are seen the thoughtless biases of Victorian and Edwardian educated white men...even early warnings of potential ecologic disasters...intriguing stuff.

These are the plant-specific excerpts from each issue.

- Michael Moore, on his site

Thank you, Michael, for these!
- Henriette