Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.
At the College Hall, February 23d, 1871.
At the meeting of the Board of Trustees, held on Tuesday, the 7th of February, a committee of three, consisting of Wm. C. Bakes, James T. Shinn and Thomas S. Wiegand, were appointed, to take all measures necessary for celebrating, in a suitable manner, the approaching fiftieth anniversary of the first meeting of the College, at the Hall on the 23d instant.
In pursuance of this duty, the Committee issued tickets of invitation to a large number beside the members, including several pharmaceutists in other cities.
On the 23d of February, at 7 ½ P. M., the members and invited guests gathered, to the number of two hundred and fifty, in the lecture-room, second story. On the tables a number of objects, interesting for their antiquity and calculated to show a contrast with similar articles of the present day, were arranged. Among them an old rose-water still and an exhausting apparatus, the modern elastic clyster apparatus, with the old pipe-and-bladder arrangement, old chemicals, labels and books, with quite a display of the best chemicals of the present day from the laboratory of Rosengarten & Sons. It was pleasant to observe so many friends, whose interest in the Institution had brought them to the meeting. Among them we observed Prof. Moore, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Sharp, of Baltimore, Mr. Bedford, of New York, Mr. Heinitsh, of Lancaster, and Mr. Lemberger, of Lebanon, Pa. Prominent among the medical gentlemen present, were Professors Rogers and Leidy, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Professors Gross and Rand, of the Jefferson College; Dr. W. L. Atlee and Dr. Ruschenberger, U. S. N., of Philadelphia; Prof. Carson, Prof. Wood and the venerable Prof. Samuel Jackson, all ex-professors of the College, were prevented from coming. After more than half an hour spent in conversational intercourse, President Dillwyn Parrish called the meeting to order in a few remarks, and invited Peter Williamson, Esq., who officiated at the initial meeting as its secretary, fifty years ago, to preside. Mr. Williamson, in taking the chair, addressed the meeting as follows:—
"Gentlemen: I return you my thanks for this expression of your desire that I should preside on this interesting occasion—an occasion, gentlemen, which, with its pleasant memories, is not unmingled with its thoughts of sadness. These naturally force themselves upon me as I look around and see but few of those who were associated with us in the early organization of the College. Many who were my personal friends are no more. Death has, indeed, thinned our ranks, and left but few to join in this our fiftieth anniversary, and the few who remain must ere long follow those who have preceded them to 'that bourne whence no traveller returns.' But, gentlemen, I will not detain you by giving expression to my own feelings, but will proceed by carrying out the programme which has been arranged for the celebration of our semi centennial anniversary."
The President then requested the Secretary of the College, Charles Bullock, to read the minutes of the first meeting of the originators of the College of Apothecaries, held at Carpenter's Hall, February 23d, 1821. This was then carried out, and many interesting points relative to the institution of the College were bought forward illustrating the circumstances of its origin.
In the absence of one of the most faithful historians of the College, Samuel F. Troth, James P. Shinn was called upon to read from a memoir, prepared by that gentleman, historical notices of the officers, professors and transactions of the College, in giving a fair account of that group of earnest men whose public spirit and liberality had fostered the early growth and development of the institution—such as Charles Marshall, Peter Lehman, Henry Troth, Daniel B. Smith, Dr. Samuel Jackson, Peter Williamson, Samuel Biddle, Frederick Brown, Charles Allen, Samuel P. Wetherill, Charles Yarnall, Stephen North, Algernon S. Roberts, Warder Morris, Edward B. Garrigues and many others.
Five years elapsed before a diploma was granted; the lectures were delivered in the old Hall of the German Society, now the gas-office of the city, Seventh, below Market. The names of the professors in the School of Pharmacy were then called over. Dr. Gerard Troost on chemistry, and Dr. Samuel Jackson on materia medica, were the original faculty in 1821. Dr. George B Wood succeeded Dr. Troost in 1822. In 1827, Dr. Benjamin Ellis succeeded Dr. Jackson, who was elected to the University. To 1831, on the death of Dr. Ellis, Dr. Wood was transferred to the chair of materia medica, and Dr. Franklin Bache elected to the chemical chair. In 1835, Dr. Wood having been elected to the University, Robert Egglesfeld Griffith, M. D., succeeded him for a single course, when he entered the faculty of the University of Maryland, and was succeeded by Dr. Joseph Carson. In 1841, Dr. Bache having been elected to the Jefferson Medical College, he was succeeded by Dr. William R. Fisher, late of the University of Maryland, whose health giving way, he resigned in 1842, and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Dr. Robert Bridges, whose service of nearly thirty years, claims for him the title of veteran. Much to the regret of his numerous friends, Dr. Bridges, now convalescing from a serious attack of typhoid fever, was unable to attend. In 1846, the new professorship of Pharmacy was instituted, and William Procter, Jr., a graduate of the College of 1837, was elected to fill the chair. In 1850, Prof. Joseph Carson, after a faithful service of fourteen years, resigned his position, to succeed Dr. Wood in the University, when Dr. Robert P. Thomas was elected to succeed him. Dr. Thomas, after a most energetic and faithful service of fourteen years, during which, largely owing to his exertions, the class doubled its numbers, died in the midst of his usefulness at the close of the session early in 1864, and was succeeded by Edward Parrish, a graduate of the class 1841-2. In 1866, Prof. Procter retired from the chair or Pharmacy, after twenty years' service, and John M. Maisch, late of the Army Laboratory, was elected to the chair of Pharmacy. Finally, in 1867, Professors Parrish and Maisch exchanged their chairs with the approbation of the Board, and are the present incumbents.
The idea of having a Laboratory School, for teaching Practical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemistry, had often been suggested as needful to complete the tuition in the College. But it was not until a fund was raised, through the efforts of its Alumni, and a suitable apartment provided by the Institution, that it was carried into effect the present session by the untiring industry of Prof. John M. Maisch.
In view of the connection which the University of Pennsylvania had with the origin of the College, the President invited Dr. R. E.. Rogers to speak. Dr. Rogers, after apologizing for want of preparation, said that his heart had been touched in connection with this celebration, and he could not hesitate to accept the invitation extended. He had learned a curious fact to-night-that, instead of this College being the child of the Older Institution, they were brothers, and stood together in fraternal affection. He congratulated the assembled company upon the success which had attended the labors of those few independent men who refused the patronizing hand extended by the old University, and preferred to labor only as brothers fit the kindred works of Medicine and Pharmacy. He spoke favorably of the excellent influence this College had had on the practice of medicine, and extended his hearty sympathy to it as a beneficent institution now celebrating its semi-centennial anniversary. Dr. Leidy made a few remarks. Prof. Samuel D. Gross, of the Jefferson Medical College, being called upon, responded in a speech of some length, saying that he was somewhat familiar with the history of the College of Pharmacy; he had never lost sight of it since he had become acquainted with it. He needed not to say how much, not only the medical profession, but the general public were indebted to this College or its sanitary influence. He was somewhat astonished at the want of appreciation of the Institution by the people of Philadelphia. He believed that its influence had gone far to change the character of Pharmacy and medicines in this country since he commenced the study of medicine, and that its graduates, scattered throughout the land, had accumulated a wealth of practical information that he was glad to acknowledge. After alluding to some curious and amusing facts in connection with the Pharmacy of the seventeenth century, he acknowledged the heavy debt due by medicine to chemistry for its discoveries and improvements in the Materia Medica. He considered the apothecary an important individual, standing between the physician and his patient, to aid his curative efforts, and frequently to correct the clerical errors which all physicians are liable to make in their prescriptions, and which the skilful apothecary knows how to detect. Dr. Gross, in conclusion, expressed-his sympathy with the object of the meeting.
Prof. Edward Parrish being called for, alluded to the fact that the birth of our College occurred at a time when the labors of the brilliant corps of savants that marked the early years of our century had culminated in those numerous discoveries that now formed the broad and deep foundations of the science of chemistry, and which have rendered the names of Davy, Dalton, Berzelius, Farraday, Ampere, Oersted, Arago and others, imperishable. He alluded to our Dr. Hare as one of this class, and considered the influences arising out of this new epoch in science as favorable to the new-born College.
Thomas S. Wiegand, on being called, stated, in regard to the work accomplished by the College of Pharmacy, that it might be proper to recall some of the evidence; primarily the School of Pharmacy was a leading object when the College was organized; this the meeting well knew. Its progress from a class of three to that of the present class, 198, is a note-worthy advancement. The advantage or intercourse among brethren in the same calling whose position as business men precluded their attendance on the lectures was alluded to; one of its best results was the publication of the Journal. It commenced as a slim pamphlet, four numbers of which were issued in three years! It has now completed its 42d volume of 600 pages yearly, and it was hazarding nothing to say that fit no other serial was there more useful, practical, every-day information suited to the wants of the apothecary, and that, after forty years growth as a gratuitous business under the auspices of the Committee outside of the College, it had come to reside at home, and that this Hall was now the office of publication, where under the direction of its Business Editor, its material interests would receive prompt attention. Mr. Wiegand then alluded to the resignation of the Editor, to take effect at an early date. He, in common, with the members, regretted the change, but, that after the reasons assigned, the College felt it necessary to accept. There was one duty left, that of acknowledging the great debt we all owe to the Editor for his untiring labors and asking his acceptance, from his many friends, of a testimonial to this feeling.
[The Editor, who until this moment, was unconscious of having any part to act in the programme, was completely taken by surprise when Mr. Wiegand stepped toward him and presented a handsome gold watch, of American manufacture, bearing his monogram and a complimentary inscription]
Mr. Procter replied, in regard to the testimonial, that he hardly knew how to express himself in proper terms; he had not expected to take so conspicuous a part in the proceedings and could only heartily thank his friends for their valuable gift; but in relation to the objects of the meeting and the Journal he might be permitted to say a few words. Among the agencies that had been active about the rise of the College was a class of men called Manufacturing Chemists, whose influence on pharmacy and medicine had been somewhat overlooked this evening. It was true that numerous and brilliant discoveries were made in chemistry, but it was such men as Pelletier and Robiquet, and Merck abroad, and Farr and Kunzi and Rosengarten and their successors at home, who, in working out the problem of economical production of chemicals from these discoveries in chemistry, did invaluable service to Pharmacy and, through it, to medicine, by multiplying and cheapening valuable medicinal agents, at the same time that uniformity and potency was increased, as was acknowledged in general terms by our medical friends this evening. In regard to the Journal, it should be known how much was due to the labors of that band of disinterested men, of whom Daniel B. Smith, Elias Durand, Charles Ellis, Dr. George B. Wood, Dr. Samuel Jackson, Samuel P. Griffits, Jr., Thomas Evans, William Hodgson, Jr., John C. Allen and Joseph Scattergood were examples, who suggested and sustained it with practical contributions and original papers at a time when such laborers were scarce, until the graduates came to its support. The first desultory numbers were wholly thus made up, and the best papers, even after the appointment of an Editor, were from these men. The labor of editing in its early history was increased by the scarcity of material. [The French being the only pharmaceutical journals then reaching this country, and the medical journals being meagre in subjects appropriate for selection.] Dr. Benjamin Ellis edited the two first regular volumes, commencing April, 1829. Dr. Griffith the next five, Dr. Carson the next thirteen, and the present Editor the remaining twenty-two volumes. Dr. Carson's numerous papers on Materia Medica and Botany, ranging through the long period of his editorship, are a fitting memorial of his connection with the work. During the service prior to 1842 the foreign selections involved much editorial labor in translating, but after that time greater facilities in the foreign mail service, and the valuable aid of the English and French journals then commenced, widened the means for selection. With the advantages thus attained, and the growing contributions of the graduates yearly scattered over the country, the present Editor, as the Assistant of Dr. Carson, commenced his career under more favorable auspices than his predecessors, and, on his accession to the Editorship, it is no matter of surprise that, with reasonable industry, the Journal, in 1853, should have doubled in size and increased in interest.
Prof. J. Faris Moore and Mr. A. P. Sharp, of Baltimore, being called upon, offered a few remarks in sympathy with the objects of the College and its anniversary, and congratulated the members on its success.
The meeting then adjourned to the main lower hall, where all ample collation was provided for the company. The time passed rapidly in genial intercourse of old and new friends, and in examining Prof. Maisch's practical laboratory, the cabinets and library in the adjoining rooms. So passed the first Fiftieth Anniversary of our College; may the second witness even greater evidences of the progress and usefulness of our Alma Mater.