American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

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Preserving Pharmacy's Heritage Since 1941

Remembering Glenn Sonnedecker

Glenn Sonnedecker in 1966Glenn Sonnedecker (1917–2021), a leading historian of pharmacy and a former Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, died on June 25, 2021 at the age of 103.

In a special tribute to “Glenn,” as he was known to all of us at the Institute, AIHP’s President, W. Clarke Ridgway, noted his many contributions:

The world-wide history of pharmacy community mourns the passing of Glenn Sonnedecker—for over 70 years the face of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. Revered by colleagues across our country and around the globe, Glenn represented the very best of American pharmacy history. Author, researcher, teacher, AIHP leader, passionate proponent of the discipline, mentor, gentleman, friend to all, Glenn will be greatly missed but fondly remembered by all who knew him.

During the second half of the twentieth century, few historians of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals contributed more to the field. John Parascandola, PhD, who succeeded Glenn as AIHP’s Director in 1973, described him as “a giant in the field.” He was a true scholar, a man with a deep and probing intellect, and a mentor to a generation of historians. One such mentee, Gregory J. Higby, PhD, AIHP’s former Executive Director, described Glenn as “my role model as a pharmacist-historian. He exemplified thorough historical method combined with pharmaceutical knowledge and professionalism.”

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2021 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize Awarded

Isaac TanThe American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) is pleased to announce that the 2021 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize has been awarded to Isaac C.K. Tan, a PhD candidate in modern Japanese History in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures at Columbia University. The Sonnedecker Prize is awarded for the best unpublished manuscript submitted in an annual competition on a topic within the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Tan received the prize for a manuscript entitled “Picturing the Politics of Pharmaceutics: The Pharmacists, the Physicians, and the Unfinished Business of Dispensing Separation in Modern Japan, 1868–1937.” The manuscript explores the political and social factors affecting legislative efforts during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to demarcate the respective roles of physicians and pharmacists in the dispensing of pharmaceuticals in Japan.

Mr. Tan will receive a $1,000 cash prize for winning the Sonnedecker Prize, and, upon successful completion of the peer- and editorial-review processes, his manuscript will be published in AIHP’s academic journal History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals.

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“Buried Alive in a Chemical Tomb”: The Story of the “Trip or Trap” Anti-Drug Playing Card Deck

This post is from Points, the joint blog of AIHP and the Alcohol and Drugs History Society. Points publishes original reflections about the history of drugs, medicines, alcohol, pharmacy, and their allied fields.

Trip or Trap Deck Cards

“This Trip or Trap Card Deck is an attempt to educate through facts and ridicule,” wrote public health advocate Dr. Wayman Rutherford Spence about his anti-drug set of novelty playing cards. Published in 1970 by his business, the Spenco Medical Company, the “Trip or Trap” deck was one of many quirky Spenco products that combined humor with pop culture ephemera to educate the public about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other intoxicants.

The “Trip or Trap” deck adopted a prohibitionist attitude towards drugs, demonized the recreational use of intoxicating substances, and denied the legitimate medical or pharmaceutical use of drugs like cannabis.

The “Trip or Trap” playing card deck is one of several hundred pharmacy-themed playing cards in the Donald Brodeur Playing Card Collection at the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. This post is a short investigation into the story behind the “Trip or Trap” deck and its creator Wayman R. Spence, a now mostly forgotten drug warrior and public heath advocate.

Read the rest of this post by AIHP Assistant Director Greg Bond on Points.

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Metta Lou Henderson Receives AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award

Metta Lou HendersonAIHP’s Board of Directors has awarded the 2021 AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award to Metta Lou Henderson, PhD, for her extraordinary contributions to the Institute and the field of pharmacy history. Dr. Henderson is Professor Emerita at Ohio Northern University College of Pharmacy, where she was a faculty member for 20 years before her retirement in 1998.

The AIHP Robert P. Fischelis Award is conferred by AIHP’s Board of Directors to persons or organizations that have had an important impact on the field of the history of pharmacy or on the well-being of the Institute. 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.

Dr. Henderson received a BS and MS degrees in pharmacy, and a PhD, from the University of Arizona. Dr. Henderson has been an AIHP member since 1974, making her one of the Institute’s longest-tenured members.

In awarding the Fischelis Award to Dr. Henderson, AIHP’s Board of Directors cited her pioneering work to develop the history of women in pharmacy. The Board’s citation hailed Dr. Henderson’s work for helping to remedy the insufficient attention prior historians had given to the role of women in the pharmacy profession.

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AIHP Receives Grant for Cannabis History Project

AIHP recently received a $2,000 “mini-grant” from Wisconsin Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to develop programming that traces the changing history of cannabis in Wisconsin and other states. The Institute will use the grant to create an online digital exhibit and to host an online roundtable discussion moderated by AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD.

Wisconsin Humanities Logo

In recent years, many states in the US have enacted laws to relax or largely eliminate regulations on the use or possession of cannabis (marijuana). Similar legislation has been debated across the country, including in Wisconsin. AIHP's grant-funded project, “Contested Cannabis: A History of Marijuana in Wisconsin and the Wider World,” is designed to advance public debate by examining the legal, regulatory, and cultural history of cannabis—particularly the history of cannabis and marijuana in the Badger State.

According to Dr. Richert, “the project aims to historicize and contextualize local discussions about medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and the regulation of drugs and medicines.”  He further explained that “the project will invite the public to reflect on the complicated history that has seen cannabis shift from a medicine to a dangerous drug and back to a medicine.”

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AIHP Awards 2021 PhD Research Support Grants

2021 AIHP PhD Research Grant Recipients

AIHP Historical Director Dr. Lucas Richert has announced the awarding of two AIHP PhD Research Support Grants for 2021 to Miriam F. Lipton, a PhD candidate at Oregon State University, and to Taylor Serota Bell, a PhD candidate at the University of California, Davis. Each received $2,000 to fund continued research for their dissertations.

Ms. Lipton is writing her dissertation currently entitled “Bacteriophages and Antibiotics: The History of Cold War Politics of Antibiotic Resistance,” and Ms. Bell is writing her dissertation currently entitled “Pharmaceutical Austerity and the Mobilization of Social Networks.”  

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.

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

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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): 

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