The Cowen Reference Files was donated to the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy in the 1990s and early 2000s by pioneering historian of pharmacy David L. Cowen. Consisting of research materials gathered from 1955 until his death in 2006, the Cowen Reference Files contains primary and secondary sources related to the history of pharmacy. Consisting of nearly 6,000 individually numbered items, the Collection contains the broad range of material gathered by Prof. Cowen throughout the course of his career researching and writing about the history of pharmacy. He presented his collection to AIHP, because, he said, “it is unique in the United States as a center for research in the history of pharmacy.”
The index to the Cowen Reference Files can be fully accessed by searching a database at AIHP’s offices at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, where researchers can search across numerous descriptive fields recorded by Prof. Cowen, including: Subject(s), Author(s), Title, Year, Century, and Country of origin.
Read a printed and text-searchable Index of the Cowen Reference Files (.pdf). This printed index includes the following fields: Number (Cowen Reference Files Identification Number), Subject(s), Authors(s), Title, and Year. The printed index is 924 pages long and 4.7 MB.
Access to materials in the Cowen Reference Files requires the permission of the Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. To consult materials in the Cowen Reference Files or for reference assistance please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brief Biography of David Cowen
Born in New York City in 1909, Cowen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers University. He subsequently taught in the Newark public schools while also working part-time as a history instructor at the Rutgers Colleges of Pharmacy from 1933 to 1944. He became a full-time faculty member at Rutgers in 1945 and earned full professor status in 1960. Over the course of 70 years from 1934-2004, Cowen published or edited 18 books and authored more than 120 articles. Read a complete Bibliography of Prof. Cowen’s publications.
On his death in 2006, the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy published a memorial to Prof. Cowen in Pharmacy in History, which included tributes from prominent historians of pharmacy, as well as, Cowen’s own 1997 reminiscences about his career. To read AIHP’s tribute to Prof. David L. Cowen, click here
Cowen Reference Files
Upon presenting the Cowen Reference Files to AIHP, Prof. Cowen provided a written description of his collection:
“This is a reference collection which has been presented to the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy where it will be the base of its own Reference Files (as distinguished from the Kremers Reference Files). It has been presented to the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy because it is unique in the United States as a center for research in the history of pharmacy.
The Collection—begun in 1955 although it contains earlier Material—consists of approximately 6,000 items described below. The greatest part of the collection pertains to pharmacy and its history, but medicine and allied sciences, chemistry, and science in general are also included and there is a great deal of material in all of these fields. Most of the material is in English, but most of the European languages are included, German, Spanish and Italian especially.
The Collection has been indispensable to the research done by the donor. The user at the Institute will find (1) a great deal of material that might not turn up in usual bibliographic sources; (2) material more readily available than by resort to libraries and inter-library loans; and (3) leads to further research. Any researcher in the history of pharmacy and medicine, and related fields, would find it valuable to first search this Collection.
Each item in the collection has been numbered and entered into a data base system… by author, subjects, title, date of publication, etc.”
The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy does not hold the copyright to material in the Cowen Reference Files. The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy can make digital or photocopy reproductions of material from the Cowen Reference Files for the personal and educational use of researchers and patrons. The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy can not provide further permission to reproduce, redistribute, or republish materials in the Cowen Reference Files. Copyright assessment is the responsibility of researchers who make use of the Files. Researchers must determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when republishing or reproducing material from the Cowen Reference Files.
The 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
Access the Pharmacy in History JSTOR Archive
All past issues of Pharmacy in History have been digitized and are text-searchable at JSTOR.
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):