American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

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

Become A Member Today
Preserving Pharmacy's Heritage Since 1941

Michael Harris Receives AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award

The Institute’s Board of Directors has awarded the 2022 AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award to longtime AIHP member Michael Harris for his extraordinary contributions to the Institute and the field of pharmacy history.

The AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award is conferred annually by AIHP’s Board of Directors to a person or organization that has had an important impact on the field of the history of pharmacy and on the well-being of 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, a gifted leader of the pharmacy profession and a generous benefactor of the Institute.

Mr. Harris was selected this year’s award in recognition of his “lifetime of work to preserve and care for pharmacy’s physical culture,” according to AIHP Executive Director Dennis Birke. For 26 years, Mr. Harris was the Senior Museum Specialist for pharmacy and public health at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. In that role, he was a zealous collector of objects and materials that illustrated pharmacy care in the U.S., including pharmacy’s relationship with public health. Mr. Harris is credited with adding over 15,000 pharmacy artifacts to the museum’s collections.

In a letter informing Mr. Harris that he had been selected to receive the Fischelis Award, Mr. Birke observed that “it is hard to believe that anyone has done more than you to collect and preserve the physical culture of pharmacy in the United States.”

While at the Smithsonian, Mr. Harris also played an integral role in the development of important and high profile exhibits related to pharmacy and medical care. Perhaps most notable is the “Binding the Wounds” exhibit, which told the story of military medicine during the Korean War through a “MASH” unit.

Read More

New $326,000 Grant To Expand Access to AIHP’s Historical Collections

AIHP is pleased to announce that its host institution, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy (UWSoP), has been awarded a $326,000 grant designed to significantly increase the public’s ability to discover, use, and access the Institute’s important historical collections. The three-year grant was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

AIHP’s Historical Director, Lucas Richert, PhD, led the successful effort to secure the grant, with support from UWSoP and AIHP staff. Dr. Richert is an Associate Professor at the UWSoP where he holds the George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy. He will serve as the grant’s Principal Investigator and Project Director.

Dr. Richert hailed news of receipt of the grant, stating: “This is good news. A lot of time and effort was invested in developing this grant and I am very thankful that the NEH has provided the funding.” He added, “this is an important moment for the field of pharmacy history and AIHP, and I am delighted to help improve access to the AIHP and UWSoP collections.”

Read More

AIHP Accepting Nominations for Certificates of Commendation

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. The Institute is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Certificates of Commendation. Nominations will be accepted through August 1, 2022. 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.

Completed nominations forms should be emailed to AIHP at or mailed to the Institute’s office. AIHP expects to announce the 2022 recipients of Certificates of Commendation is early September.

Read More


AIHP Digital Library Update: Drug Advertising Collections

AIHP recently added the James Harvey Young Drug Advertising Collection to the AIHP Digital Library. These ads are a valuable complement to the Mickey Smith Drug Advertising Collection that we posted to the Digital Library earlier this year. Together these two collections comprise around 250 separate ads.

The James Harvey Young collection consists mostly of direct mail ads that a practicing physician in Atlanta, Georgia, received from pharmaceutical companies throughout the 1950s. The ads cover a wide range of medical conditions and popular medicines prescribed at the time to treat these health problems.

Young was the Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Social History at Emory University in Atlanta. He taught there from 1941 to 1984. He is widely recognized for his research into patent medicines and quackery, and published two books on the subject: The Toadstool Millionaires: A Social History of Patent Medicines in America before Federal Regulation (Princeton University Press, 1961), and The Medical Messiahs: A Social History of Health Quackery in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press, 1975). He also made significant contributions to the history of food and drug regulation in the United States. In 1977 he was assigned to the FDA for several years to conduct research and publish his findings on the history of food and drug regulation in this country.

Read More

AIHP Awards $2,000 PhD Research Support Grant

The Institute is pleased to announce that a $2,000 AIHP PhD Research Support Grant has been awarded to Taylor Dysart, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

The grant will support Ms. Dysart’s research for her dissertation, currently titled “The Scientist and the Jaguar: Enchanting Plants and the Politics of Knowledge in the Northwestern Amazon, 1849-2000.”

The AIHP PhD Research Support Grant Program is designed to provide financial support for doctoral students pursuing academic research related to the broadly defined 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.  

Read More

45th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy Planned

AIHP members are encouraged to attend the 45th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, which is being held in Milan, Italy, on September 7-10, 2022. The International Congress is the biennial meeting of the International Society of the History of Pharmacy, of which AIHP is a member. This year’s meeting is being hosted by the Italian Academy of Pharmacy History.

The theme of the Congress is “Health, Beauty and Well-Being in the History of Pharmacy.” Full information about the event is available on its website. The 45th International Congress was originally scheduled for September 2021, but was rescheduled due to the COVID pandemic.

An important part of each Congress is the presentation of papers reflecting the ongoing research of historians and others interested in the history of pharmacy. Persons interested in a presenting paper should submit a brief abstract before the May 30 deadline. Further information about abstract and submission requirements are available at this link.

The preliminary program for the Congress also includes four plenary lectures, one of which will be delivered by AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD. Dr. Richert is an Associate Professor and George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy.

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

AIHP Thanks National Association Sponsors

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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): 

19-21 May 2022: 118th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Phoenix, Arizona

9 June 2022: AMCP Summit: Addressing Health Disparities, virtual.

11-15 June 2022: Summer Meetings of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Phoenix, Arizona.

13 June 2022: British Society for the History of Pharmacy: Online Lecture By Dr Ayman Atat - History of Pharmacy in Arabic Civilization, Between Past and Future, virtual.

15-17 June 2022: Bi-Annual Conference of the Alcohol and Drugs Society, Mexico City, Mexico.

23-27 July 2022: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Grapevine, Texas.

21-28 August 2022: 23rd International Congress of Historical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.

7-10 September 2022: 45th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, Milan, Italy.

18-22 September 2022: 80th FIP (International Pharmaceutical Federation) World Congress, Seville, Spain.

15-18 October 2022: American College of Clinical Pharmacy Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy, San Francisco, California.


Read More