2023 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize Awarded

The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is pleased to announce that the 2023 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize has been awarded to Wesley Sparkmon, PhD, MPH. The Sonnedecker Prize is awarded for the best unpublished manuscript submitted in an annual competition on a topic within the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Sparkmon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Sciences at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. He has been an AIHP member since 2021.

Wesley Sparkmon, PhD, MPH

Dr. Sparkmon received the prize for a manuscript entitled “Rexall Rides the Rails: A Rolling Convention Becomes a PR Boon.” The manuscript examines the Rexall Train, a 12-car railroad train that toured the U.S. for eight months in 1936 to promote the Rexall drugstore chain and its products. The marketing ploy was the brainchild of Louis K. Liggett (1875-1946), the founder and inveterate promoter of the drugstore chain and the Rexall Brand. The train was designed to be both a traveling convention (at which local drugstore owners could be trained on marketing techniques to promote Rexall products) and a traveling exhibition to showcase and promote the Rexall brand of products to the general public. 

AIHP Executive Director Lucas Richert, PhD, praised the manuscript as offering “an interesting and detailed account of one of the most notable, but now largely forgotten, marketing campaigns in the history of pharmacy.”

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

Institute members may remember that Dr. Sparkmon was the guest lecturer at the 2022 AIHP Annual Members Meeting, where he discussed his article “Fred’s Pharmacy: Rise and Fall of a Regional Chain Pharmacy,” which has just been published in History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals.

Originally established in 2015, the AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize honors Professor Glenn Sonnedecker, a distinguished historian of pharmacy, the longtime Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, and the founding editor of the Institute’s academic journal, Pharmacy in History (which changed its name to History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals in 2021). Professor Sonnedecker died in June 2021 at age 103.

Click here for a listing of prior recipients of the Sonnedecker Prize.

Posted: August 10, 2023

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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.

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