American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

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Preserving Pharmacy's Heritage Since 1941

AIHP Awards 2021 George Urdang Medal to Olivier Lafont

AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD, today announced that Olivier Lafont has been selected to receive the George Urdang Medal, AIHP’s most prestigious award.

AIHP awards the George Urdang Medal biennially to recognize 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 award honors Professor George Urdang (1882–1960), a pioneering historian of pharmacy in Germany and the United States, and AIHP’s founding Director.

2021 Urdang Medal Lafont

Olivier Lafont, a pharmacist, was a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Rouen (France) until 2019. He has published eight books, more than 90 historical articles, and about 100 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals, all in the area of the history of science and pharmacy. He is perhaps best known for his publications on medicinal botanicals in the 17th and 18th centuries, the history of apothecaries, and research on majolica pharmacy jars. His book, Dictionary of the History of Pharmacy - from the Origins to the Late Nineteenth Century (2003) has become a standard reference in France.

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Annual Business Meeting Scheduled for November 18

AIHP Logo for FacebookMark your calendars!  AIHP’s Annual Business Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 18, 2020, beginning at 1:00 pm Central/2:00 pm Eastern. This virtual meeting will be streamed live on the internet via Zoom. A link for accessing the meeting will be posted here at a later date.

This year’s meeting will feature a special presentation about the history of the desegregation of the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy by Ben Urick, an Assistant Professor in the Center for Medical Optimization at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Christian Asia Brown, a PharmD candidate at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Professor Urick and Ms. Brown recently began the UNC Pharmacy Desegregation Oral History Project to collect and record the experiences of the first Black students at the UNC School of Pharmacy.

Professor Urick and Ms. Brown are AIHP members, and Dr. Urick also serves on the Editorial Board of the Institute’s journal, History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals.

Please click the read more button below for more details about the agenda of the meeting.

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Pharmacy in History Interview—Rachael Pymm, "Transmitting Medical Exotica"

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.

Article Abstract:

Snakestones, purported to naturally generate in the head of a snake, were reputed to be a cure for snakebites in the early modern world. Against the backdrop of European exoticism, which influenced the circulation of pharmaceutical and medical knowledge, snakestones became a subject of popular and scholarly interest during the late seventeenth century. Analyzing unpublished archival evidence, this paper considers the circumstances of the 1664 transmission of an individual snakestone from Batavia, Indonesia, to the Royal Society in London, England. 

Tell readers a little bit about yourself:

I’m an independent scholar based in the UK, and I work in Professional Services at a university. I have a broad range of academic interests, including the history of medicine. I have been researching unusual animal-based materia medica—particularly snakestones—for a number of years, alongside my work and family commitments. Researching in this way can be challenging, particularly in terms of time management, but I really love my subject. And I have a very supportive family most of whom—including my six year old son—are now fully conversant in snakestone lore!

Read the rest of this interview on Points.

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Global Drug Histories Book Launch and Workshop

AIHP Logo for FacebookTo mark the publication of Cannabis: Global Histories by MIT Press in the Autumn of 2021, the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, in conjunction with the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, participated in a trans-Atlantic book launch called “Global Drug Histories: Why and What’s Next?” arranged by volume editors James H. Mills and Lucas Richert, AIHP’s Historical Director.

Events occurred simultaneously at the British Library in London and at the UW School of Pharmacy in Madison, Wisconsin, on October 6th. Editors and authors gathered together with discussants, including Dr. Paul Dimeo, Dr. Anna Greenwood, Dr. Gagan Sood, and Professor Phil Withington to reflect on the concepts behind the collection.

For more information about the Book Launch and to view a recording of the event (video should be available shortly), please visit the Cannabis: Global Histories homepage.

At the conclusion of the symposium in London, Dr. Richert hosted a workshop in Madison titled “Global Drug Histories: Right Now” that allowed early career researchers to discuss their research and writing with established scholars.

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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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Pharmacy in History vol. 62, no. 3 & 4 Published

PHv62n3&4(2020)coverAIHP is pleased to announce the publication of Pharmacy in History volume 62, numbers 3 & 4 (2020)—the final issue to be self-published by AIHP under the title Pharmacy in History. Beginning in 2021, AIHP has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Press to publish its academic journal, which, going forward, has adopted the new title of History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals.

The lead article by Dr. Katherine Badertscher and Dr. Christoper J. Rutty, "Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the 'Insulin Road'," explores the timely subject of industrial-academic partnerships for the large-scale production of medicines and pharmaceuticals. Rachael Pymm's article, "Transmitting Medical Exotica: Louis Philiberto Vernatti, the Snakestone, and the Royal Society," investigates the circulation of medical and pharmaceutical knowledge in the early modern world.

In her article, "The Development of Museums of Pharmacy in Post-Soviet Countries," Katarzyna Jarosz analyzes how museums of pharmacy in several former Soviet Republics document, exhibit, and explain the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals to researchers and visitors. Dr. Oliver Kahl's research note, "'From the Writings of an Indian Women': Pharmaceutical Fragments of a Lost Ayurvedic Text on Gynecology, Preserved in a Ninth-Century Arabic Medical Compendium," recounts a fascinating story about the inter-cultural exchange of ancient pharmaceutical knowledge.

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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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Join AIHP and Subscribe to History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals

  • Individual Subscription For $80/year ($100/foreign)

  • Institutional/Corporate subscription For $160/year ($180/foreign)

  • Pharmacy Education Fund (Schools or College of Pharmacy) For $330/year

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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