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

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 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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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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Call for Nominations for the George Urdang Medal

The American Institute for the History of Pharmacy is now accepting nominations for the George Urdang Medal. The deadline for receipt of nominations is June 1, 2023.

The George Urdang Medal recognizes the lifetime achievements of a person who, over a sustained period, has made important scholarly contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. The George Urdang Medal is awarded without regard to citizenship or nationality.

The award honors Professor George Urdang (1882-1960), a pioneering historian of pharmacy in Germany and the United States, the founding Director of AIHP, and the founder of the first American graduate program in the history of pharmacy.

A panel of historians will evaluate nominations on the basis of the nature and significance of the nominee’s scholarly contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, and the span of time over which those contributions were made. Contributions to the field may include (without limitation) scholarly publications, exceptional service to professional organizations, dedicated work for scholarly or popular publications, outstanding contributions to education, and/or significant achievements in the collection and preservation of historical sources or collections.

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Results of Member Survey Available for Review

Institute members are invited to review the results of a recently-conducted member survey. A report summarizing the results of the survey is available at this link.

AIHP sent an email to all of its members in December 2022 inviting them to complete a linked survey form. A total of 85 member responded, representing approximately 22% of total membership.

In response to a question inquiring why members choose to support AIHP, 86% of respondents identified collecting and preserving pharmacy-related documents and artifacts as either “very important” or “extremely important.” Other top reasons for supporting AIHP include “want[ing] to learn more about the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals” and “want[ing] to be part of a community of people who share an interest in [pharmacy history].”

When asked to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with certain statements about AIHP operations, 95% of respondents agreed that “[i]t is important that AIHP publish a journal that features scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on topics related to the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals.” Over 90% of respondents agreed that “AIHP’s mission should encompass all aspects (i.e., scientific, social, cultural, etc.) of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals,” while a smaller number – 65% -- indicated that “[a] main focus of AIHP’s work should be on the history of the practice of pharmacy.”

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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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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): 

March 31-April 2, 2023: Annual Conference of the British Society for the History of Pharmacy, Oxford, UK.
May 10-12, 2023: 119th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Nashville, TN.
May 11-14, 2023: 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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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