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University Archives & Special Collections

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A Medley of Memorabilia

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Colored Glass Medicine Bottles

Colored glass medicine bottles.

Colored Glass Medicine Bottles

During the 19th century, colored glass bottles such as these housed medicinal preparations. In early America, no distinction was made between apothecaries, physicians, merchants, or druggists. All sold drugs and many also practiced medicine. Pressure for standardization and quality control of drugs began early in the nineteenth century and centered on Philadelphia. By 1822, the College of Pharmacy was established which took responsibility for creating and maintaining drug standards. Still, by the mid-nineteenth century only courses in chemistry and materia medica were available for the study of drug preparation and these were directed toward physicians, not pharmacists. Educational institutions expanded after the Civil War and several created programs for the study of pharmacy. However, the practice of licensing pharmacists did not become a standard until the end of the nineteenth century.

These bottles are examples of the many materia medica artifacts preserved in the Memorabilia Collection of the University Archives and Special Collections.