Drug History Canada

Musings on the history of drugs in Canada.

Category: Important books

Ask and you shall receive; seek and ye shall find.

So I’ve been a little lax on updates and am trying to catch up. this post is actually about something I found in Saskatchewan in autumn 2012.

But some background.

My research has involved a lot of digging through pharmacy records.  I’ve done some detailed data collection of records from pharmacies in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as less detailed stuff from Nova Scotia.

This often involves reading prescription ledgers, or going through prescriptions pasted into big scrapbooks.  Depending upon the province, pharmacy laws had different requirements for saving prescriptions.  for example, in BC, the pharmacy legislation of the 1890s deemed the prescription to be the property of the customer. Consequently, instead of having to go through prescriptions that were written by individual physicians, with a variety of terrible hand writing styles, we get lovely ledgers written in a consistent and usually highly legible script. Thank you BC legislature!

In Saskatchewan I was a little flummoxed because I couldn’t find much in the way of prescriptions, and I wanted to try to be as broadly-sweeping as I could.

In finding archival records, the challenge can usually involve getting inside the head of the person who catalogued the records when the records arrived at the archives or library special collections office.

To deal with this problem of finding records, we have to go old school.  We have to do something that seems counter instinctive in this digitally catalogued age. We have to speak to people.

During my research, I was chatting quite a bit with archivists at the Saskatchewan Archives Board site located at the University of Saskatchewan.  (The Board has two offices, one in Regina and one in Saskatoon).

Archivists are of course a historical researcher’s best friends.  Because, as I’ve said before, they have stuff and they want you to use it.  (Normally, that is. Some places don’t want you to use it, and that’s an entirely different issue).

The archivist suggested I look at records in the U Sask special collections.  The contents of this material was not catalogued in such a way that it would be easy to find.  But she was pretty sure there was some substantial pharmacy holdings there.

Boy was she right.

The material is catalogued under the name of W C MacAulay, who was Dean of the College of Pharmacy in Saskatchewan from 1946.  Looking as I was for pharmaceutical records from the 1800s and into early 1900s, I’d not considered the records of someone who was born in 1909 to be useful for me. But in his position, MacAulay seems to have collected a lot of stuff.  It included the following list, from Series VI (in a fonds that is stated to have five series, this can be additionally surprising).

In the interest of making this information available, and with the consent of the librarian in the U Sask special collections office, here is what MacAulay’s records have as far as prescription records in Saskatchewan:

W.C. MacAulay Fonds. –  MG 43. – [ca. 1884]‑1975 (inclusive); 1921‑1975 (predominant).

[textual records + photographs]. – 6.6 m.  – M4.1-3.

[other Fonds material removed from this listing]

VI. Pharmaceutical Archives. – 1890-1954. – 6 m.

This series contains records, prescriptions, prescription books, ledgers, poison books, log books, and prescription formulae of various early pharmacies and pharmacists reflecting their practises and activities as well as association registers.

BOX 15

1. F.T. Carman – Moosomin, NWT. – 1892-1895.
Prescription Books.
Vols 1-2 – #100-1500 – [ca. 1884-1885].
Vols. 3-6 – #1520-3577 – [ca. 1886-1887].
Vols. 7-10 #3578-6057 – May 28, 1888-[ca. 1890].

BOX 16

Vol. 11 – #8066-9392. – Jan-Oct 1892.
Vol. 12 – #9393-B862 – Oct 1892-June 1893.

Vol. 3 – #B863-B2277. – June 1893-Mar 1894.

BOX 17

Vol. 4 – #B2278-B3729. – Mar 1894-Jan 1895.
Vol. 5 – #B3737-B5204. – Jan-Dec 1895.

BOX 18

2. W. Pennington – Moosomin, NWT. – 1895-1946.
Prescription Books.
Vol. 1. – #B5206-B8079. – Dec 1895-Apr 1897
Vol. 2. – #B8080-19829. – Apr 1897-July 1898.

BOX 19

Vol. 3. – #19830-21541. – Jul 1898-June 1899.
Vol. 4. – #21542-23271. – June 1899-Sept 1900.

BOX 20
Vol. 5. – #23272-25986. – Sept 1900-Oct 1901.
Vol. 6. – #25987-27844. – Oct 1901-Oct 1902.

BOX 21

Vol. 7. – #27845-29589. – Oct 1902-June 1903.
Vol. 8. – #29590-31307. – June 1903-Apr 1904.

BOX 22

Vol. 9. – #34607-36174. – Sept 1905-July 1906.
Vol. 10. – #41321-43078. – Nov 1908-Aug 1909.

BOX 23

Vol. 11. – #23654-24197. – Oct 1935-Aug 1937.
Vol. 12. – #245727-266254. – Dec 1938-Mar 1940.
Vol. 13. – #266749-268227. – Oct 1941-Feb 1943.
Vol. 14. – #59001-59500. – July 1946-Aug 1946.

BOX 24

3. W.L. Carley – Moosomin, NWT. – 1902-1930.
Vol. 1. – #12100-19645. – Feb 1902-Nov 1903.

BOX 25

4. J.H. Abercrombie – Togo, Saskatchewan. – 1905-1930.
Vol. 1. – Feb 1905-Dec 1915.
Note – a miscellany of prescriptions appear on the last few pages of this volume.
Vol. 2. – Jan 1916-July 1919.

BOX 26

Vol. 3. – July 1919-June 1922.
[A.J. Leach, pharmacist?].
Vol. 4. – July 1919-Apr 1922.
[J.H. Tripp, pharmacist?].

BOX 27

Vol. 5. – Jan 1925-June 1930.
[A.J.  Leach, pharmacist?].

5.  A.J. Leach. – Togo, Saskatchewan. – 1921-1924.
Vol. 1. –  Mar 1921-Dec 1924.
Note – Includes some scripts from J.I. Wallace of Kamsack, Saskatchewan.

BOX 28

6. J.H. Tripp. – Togo, Saskatchewan. – 1922-1935.
Vol. 1. – Apr 1922-Dec 1925.
Note – includes some scripts from J.H. Abercrombie of Togo.
Vol. 2. – July 1926-Feb 1935.
Note – includes a miscellany of scripts from other pharmacies and pharmacists.

BOX 29

7. University of Saskatchewan Pharmacy. – Nov 1953-Sept 1954.
Files 1 and 2. – 4001- 4998.  – Nov 1953-Sept 1954.

BOX 30
8. Pharmacy Ledger and Log Book. – 1890-1893, 1907-1911, 1933-1934.
Vol. 1. – Ledger.
Daily accounts, Nov 1890-July 1893.  Individual client accounts complete with purchases, prescriptions and payments between 1890 and 1895.
Vol. 2. – Log Book.
#6292 – 9204. – Oct. 1907-Feb 1911.
#1000 – 1359. – Apr 1933 – June 1934.

Saskatchewan Library records information is the property of the University of Saskatchewan and reproduced with permission.

Remaining post (c) 2014 Dan Malleck

Booze is a drug, for my intents and purposes.

I’m not going to get into this topic of alcohol versus drugs as far as classification.  At least not yet.

I just wanted to do a little self promotion.  My book, Try to Control Yourself: The Regulation of Drinking in Post-Prohibition Ontario, 1927-1944  has just been released.

The best place to order it is directly from UBC Press. It will eventually also be available on Google books, but not on Apple’s iBooks or Amazon’s Kindle because they demanded deep discounts in the price, and the press can’t afford that.  Academic publishing is not a for-profit endeavour–it is highly subsidized–so for private companies to expect deep discounts is a little offensive.  Google, meanwhile, did not make any such demands.

You can also order it through several online sources, such as Chapters/Indigo.

Here is a link to the ordering website.

Note, a less expensive soft cover version will be coming out near the end of this year.