• Early New York Apothecary Documents From Notable Drug Store Supplying Massachusetts Physician

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    Offering two7 ¾ x 12 ½, early New York apothecary receipts from the historic firm of H.H. SCHIEFFELIN and CO. And LAWRENCE & SCHIEFFELIN, dated July 24th, 1794 and November 16th, 1814 with the items being sold to Dr. CALEB HYDE of Lenox, Berkshire, MA.


    Each document lists 30 products, which include such items as cinnamon, gum Arabic, camphor, brimstone, pearl ashes, tooth brushes, nutmeg, ivory syringes, soda, bottle corks, alcohol, magnesia, opium turk and red lead. Each invoice contains beautifully designed stationary letterhead. The 1814 invoice includes a second sheet – detached – that contains an integral address leaf to Dr. Hyde with a 12-cent fee, handwritten.


    When brothers-in-law JONATHAN SCHIEFFELIN and JOHN LAWRENCE entered the drug business, the trade was primarily conducted by wholesale houses in New York and Philadelphia. Before the Revolutionary War, drugs and botanicals had been mostly supplied by the English. By the time of the Revolution, about half of the drug manufacturing in England was controlled by the Quakers. Quaker pharmacists in America had ready access to the latest and most up to date information. At the end of the 18th century, druggists provided a wide array of medicines, botanical products, cooking spices, surgical supplies and many items found in hardware stores. The druggists sold to general stores, physicians, farmers, plantation owners, ships and apothecary shops.


    While Lawrence and Schieffelin’s firm had a London agent to source materials for their firm, they did not operate any retail branches besides their Manhattan store and depended on intensive advertising to promote their business. A September 1795 advertisement announced the replenishment of stock brought by the Ohio from London and the Union from Amsterdam. The advertisement added that the firm would prepare physician and family prescriptions, in addition to stocking medicine chests, shop furniture, vials, surgeon’s instruments and other items.


    Toning, some staining and soiling to both documents. Fold tears have been repaired with archival tape and are more frequent in the 1814 invoice. Some chipping and somewhat fragile. Still a fine example of early New York apothecary history and well worth preserving.


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