American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

Actively engaged in preserving the documents of pharmacy's past and developing materials for understanding the future.

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Preserving Pharmacy's Heritage Since 1941

John Parascandola Receives AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award

The Institute’s Board of Directors has awarded the 2023 AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award to longtime AIHP member John Parascandola, PhD, for his extraordinary contributions to the Institute and the field of pharmacy history.

The Robert P. Fischelis Award is conferred annually by AIHP’s Board of Directors to recognize an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to both the field of the history of pharmacy and the Institute.. The Board’s selection is made from nominations received from Institute members. The award is given in honor of the late Robert P. Fischelis (1891-1981), a gifted leader of the pharmacy profession and a generous benefactor of the Institute.

Pharmacy in History Editorial Board Member John Parascandola

According to the letter of citation sent to Dr. Parascandola, the Board of Directors selected him for this year’s award “in recognition of your many important contributions to the field of pharmacy history and your extraordinary work to advance the mission and success of AIHP.”

Dr. Parascandola earned his PhD in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968. He joined the faculty of the UW-Madison in 1969, on which he served until 1983, rising to full professor status. During this period, Dr. Parascandola did much to advance the history of pharmacy, including developing new courses on the history of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, directing graduate students, and pursuing a very productive research program that resulted in a steady and impressive stream of publications in AIHP’s Pharmacy in History and other academic journals. Dr. Parascandola was elected to the International Academy of the History of Pharmacy in 1976.

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AIHP Announces New Online Directory of Pharmacy Museums

AIHP is pleased to announce that its website now features an online directory of museums of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals in the United States. AIHP is offering the directory to encourage members and others interested in the history of pharmacy to visit and support museums in their area.

The directory can be accessed through a “Pharmacy Museums and Exhibits” tab at the top of the home page of the Institute’s website. Hovering over the tab will cause a drop-down menu to appear, allowing the user to search by geographical regions. For each region, pharmacy museums and exhibits are listed by state, with a hyperlink to the museum’s website.

AIHP published a pharmacy museum directory in book form in 1999. The book, titled “A Guide to Pharmacy Museums and Historical Collections in the United States and Canada,” was authored by George Griffenhagen, Ernst W. Stieb and Beth D. Fisher. In 2021, AIHP’s Board of Directors made creating an updated online directory of pharmacy museums and archives one of the Institute’s strategic priorities. The action item is part of the Institute’s larger effort to increase public interest in pharmacy history and to increase AIHP’s outreach and collaboration with other pharmacy history organizations.

The project has been spearheaded by AIHP Director Catherine Taglieri, Associate Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She has worked closely with AIHP Curator Beth Fisher and Editorial Assistant Mary Magnuson, with additional assistance from AIHP past presidents William Zellmer and W. Clarke Ridgeway.

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AIHP Leadership Transition Underway

Current AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD, will become the Institute’s Executive Director on July 1, when Dennis Birke retires from that position, AIHP President John D. Grabenstein, PhD, announced in a recent email sent to members. AIHP will also hire a new Director of Operations to manage the Institute’s  day-to-day affairs, Dr. Grabenstein announced.

Mr. Birke informed the Board of Directors last fall of his desire to retire in 2023. Dr. Grabenstein said Mr. Birke’s retirement plans prompted the Board to undertake a comprehensive review of the Institute’s current leadership model. The current model, in which the Historical Director and the Executive Director share responsibility as co-leaders, was implemented in January 2019, when Mr. Birke and Dr. Richert assumed their current positions.

AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert
Lucas Richert, PhD

After conferring with past and present Institute leaders and staff, Dr. Grabenstein said the Board decided that the Institute’s best option was to return to a leadership model used for most of its 80-year history, where a pharmacy historian on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, (AIHP’s host institution), also serves as the Institute’s Executive Director. Dr. Richert assumed the George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy when he joined the School’s faculty in 2019.

Dr. Richert is expected to devote approximately 20% of his time to his responsibilities as AIHP’s Executive Director. A new Director of Operations will assume responsibility for managing the day-to-day affair of the Institute under the direction of the Executive Director.  AIHP is currently conducting a job search to fill the Operations Director position. Mr. Birke is expected to continue working at the Institute through September in a caretaker role to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

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Nominations for Certificates of Commendation Now Being Accepted

Each year AIHP awards Certificates of Commendation to recognize individuals or organizations whose work or actions have contributed to or promoted the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals in creative or innovative ways. The Institute is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Certificates of Commendation. Nominations will be accepted through August 1, 2023. The nomination form is available on AIHP’s website.

AIHP awards Certificates of Commendation to recognize activities or historical endeavors by individuals or organizations that (i) advance knowledge or understanding of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals; or (ii) utilize the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals to entertain, inform, or educate or to address or advance understanding of contemporary issues.

Certificates of Commendation are not intended to recognize individuals for academic achievements or for peer-reviewed publications.  

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AIHP Member Publishes Book on Drug Promotion Memorabilia

Pharmacists of a certain age will remember when pharmaceutical companies promoted their products with a vast array of pens, key chains, ashtrays, and a myriad of other kinds of trinkets. Those days ended in 2009 when the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released its Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals, which essentially banned the practice. But for AIHP member Allen F. Almquist, a retired Army colonel and pharmacist, the ending of those promotions spawned an avocation devoted to collecting and preserving such once ubiquitous pharmacy memorabilia.

Since starting his collection some 45 years ago, Col. Almquist has collected literally thousands of items. After even a quick survey of the collection, it is hard to imagine that anyone has a more extensive collection of drug promotions.

Col. Almquist recently took his passion for these collectibles to a new level by authoring and self-publishing a book that details the history of drug company promotions and highlights the most notable “giveaways” these campaigns featured. The book, titled The Very Best in Drug Company Promotions . . . and then some (Morris Publishing, 2023), is an extraordinary reference on a largely overlooked chapter in the history of pharmacy. With 500 pages, 20 chapters, and over 1400 color photos of items in Col. Almquist’s collection, the book provides collectors, historians, and pharmacists with a comprehensive description of the best drug promotions, enlivened with entertaining and often humorous anecdotes. Describing himself as “merely a passionate collector of pharmaceutical memorabilia,”

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AIHP Awards PhD Research Support Grant

The Institute is pleased to announce that a $2,000 AIHP PhD Research Support Grant has been awarded to Maggie Mang, a doctoral candidate in the Science and Technology Studies program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The grant will support Ms. Mang’s research for her dissertation, currently titled “Between Farm and Pharma: Agricultural Experimental Labs and Histories of Animal Drugs.”

The AIHP PhD Research Support Grant program is designed to provide financial support for doctoral students pursuing academic research related to the broadly defined field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. The program offers grants up to $2,000 to cover research expenses not normally covered by the student’s university. Recipients of the grant must provide a report to AIHP on the research within one year after receiving the grant money. Grant recipients must also agree to submit a paper based on their thesis project or dissertation for consideration for publication in AIHP’s journal, History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals, within two years of receiving the grant.


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Advancing knowledge and understanding of the history of pharmacy and medicines.

AIHP Thanks National Association Sponsors

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AIHP Wants to Document Your COVID-19 Stories and Experiences

AIHP COVID-19 ProjectThe American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is documenting and preserving pharmacy stories and experiences during the COVID-19 global pandemic for the benefit of future historians and scholars. We seek to record the effects of this public health emergency on all types of pharmacy experiences. We invite you to share your pharmacy stories, photos, videos, artifacts, and other documentation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

You can participate in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project either (1) by immediately sharing your thoughts/experiences and/or submitting digital materials or (2) by signifying your to intention to submit materials in the future. Please comply with all applicable local or state stay-at-home orders while self-documenting.

Please click the link below to learn more about participating in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project.

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Join AIHP and Subscribe to History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals

Access the Pharmacy in History JSTOR Archive
All past issues of Pharmacy in History have been digitized and are text-searchable at JSTOR.

Note: Academic libraries seeking subscriptions to History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals should directly contact the University of Wisconsin Press.

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Calendar of Events

Upcoming events of interest to historians of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, medicines, science, and related fields. (Event information current when posted. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please double-check the status of all events):

July 22-26, 2023: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Aurora, CO.
August 30-September 2, 2023: Biennial Meeting of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, Oslo, Norway.
November 11-14, 2023: Annual Meeting of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Dallas, TX.
December 3-7, 2023: Midyear Clinical Meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Anaheim, CA.
January 4-7, 2024: Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, San Francisco, CA.
September 4-7, 2024: 46th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, Belgrade Serbia.

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