2023 Kreminar: “Highlighting Our Homebase: Stories from the AIHP/UWSoP Historical Collections.”

AIHP invites all members to join us for a free webinar on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at Noon (Central) for the final lecture in this summer’s “Kreminar” series.  This week’s lecture will feature JJ Strange, a PhD student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison History of Science, Medicine and Technology program, whose lecture is entitled “Stories of Chinese Students in the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy: A tale of success and exchange.”

In the early 20th Century, the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy had a small contingent of Chinese students who worked on traditional Chinese medicine, researching the plants that had been used for thousands of years. In their effort, the Chinese students brought their knowledge of medicine to American pharmaceutical research. This was not just a project for graduate-level research but also to relocate Chinese medicine as a significant player in the production of western medicine.

Ms. Strange ongoing research was featured in an article posted on AIHP’s website last fall. The article is available at this list.

The lecture is free but advance registration is required. Click this link to register for the lecture.

The Edward Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy & Drugs, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy and AIHP, explores the history of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, drugs, and medicines. The “Kreminar” features authors and scholars discussing their latest research and projects and aims to use history to inform contemporary understandings and debates about pharmacy, drugs and medicines.

This theme is this year’s Kreminar series is called “Highlighting Our Homebase: Stories from the AIHP/UWSoP Historical Collections.” Although three of the scheduled four lectures have been concluded, videos of all of the lectures are (or will be) available for viewing on AIHP’s YouTube channel. Here is a summary of the first three lectures in this year’s series:

“Accessing the History of Health, Pharmacy, and Medicines in Madison”

Recent events as diverse as America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, the anti-vaccine movement, the debate over the legalization and regulation of marijuana and other personal use drugs, struggles over drug prices and accessibility, among others, all have roots in the history of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, drugs, medicines, and healthcare. The wide-ranging public debates about these topics vividly demonstrate the vital importance of grounding contemporary public health discussions in a clear understanding of their relevant histories — and in evidence. In this talk, Dr. Lucas Richert, AIHP’s Historical Director, showcased ongoing collections activities at AIHP and the UW Madison SoP, including NEH and UW funded projects. The talk also introduced important smaller collections and recent initiatives featured in other talks in the 2023 Kreminar.

“What is the Soft Drug Problem?: Gatekeeping, Pharmacist Authority, and the Pharmaceutical Industry, 1950-1975”

In light of contemporary court cases about the legal and ethical responsibility of pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy chains to protect patients and consumers from psychoactive and intoxicating substances, this Kreminar highlights the internal debates between pharmacists about their need to balance profits with public health concerns related to so-called “dangerous drugs” and “magic bullets.” More specifically, this talk (featuring Dr. Richert and graduate student Gabriel Lake Carter, MA) highlights archival documents from approximately 1950 to 1975 in the United States, including a collection of posters by Frank Pinchak, documents from the American Pharmaceutical Association regarding the 1962 Remington Honor Medal that was given to Harry Anslinger, and a 1974 consumer manual on “Soft Drugs” that was published by the Pharmacists’ Society of Milwaukee County. Utilizing such primary documents from the AIHP-UWSoP collection, this Kreminar covers the discussions between pharmacists about the construction of their authority in the medical marketplace, the gatekeeping efforts of the pharmacist as part of the pharmaceutical industry, and the marketing of drugs that cross between medicinal and recreational contexts, such as opium and various opiates. These topics and concerns, put simply, grapple with the role of pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry in harm reduction (broadly construed). While harm reduction, as a political movement and public health policy, did not begin to take shape until the late twentieth century, the debates between pharmacists throughout the early- and mid-twentieth century in the United States showcase a concern about the commodification, franchising, and profit-motives of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Come On In, The Water’s Fine!: A Brief History of Healing Springs & Medical Tourism”

Geothermal baths and healing springs have a millenia-spanning history of medical tourism, from the ancient Roman baths to the spas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, considered to be the golden age of the so-called “water cure”. Many scholars, in fact, see the rise of leisure travel as directly related to the popularity of “taking the waters” for one’s health. Drawing upon ephemera from locales as diverse as Manitou, Colorado and the Hunyadi Springs of Budapest, Hungary, AIHP/UWSoP Archivist Hannah Rose Swan explores the origins of the modern spa vacation, as well as the often fantastical medical claims made by the doctors who staffed these institutions. Advertising booklets and broadsides for healing springs and geothermal baths will inform my discussion of the history of medical tourism, while pharmaceutical ephemera extolling the benefits of water will contextualize the medical field of so-called hydropathy.

Posted June 19, 2023

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

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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.

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):

May 28-31, 2024: Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy webinars.
June 27-30, 2024: ADHS Biennial Conference, Buffalo, NY.
July 7-11, 2024: International Social Pharmacy Workshop, Banff, Canada.
September 4-7, 2024: 46th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, Belgrade Serbia.
January 3-6, 2025: Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York City, NY.

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