RG 22/A0/01

Inventory to the Records of the New Jersey College of Pharmacy, 1892-1942

By Kathy Albert


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Descriptive Summary

Creator: New Jersey College of Pharmacy
Title: Inventory to the Records of the New Jersey College of Pharmacy
Dates: 1892-1942
Quantity: 1.2 cubic feet (3 manuscript boxes)
Abstract: Administrative records that document the founding and early development of the New Jersey College of Pharmacy. Established in 1892 in Newark, the school slowly evolved until it became incorporated into Rutgers University in 1927. Included are records dating from 1892 through 1942
Collection No.: RG 22/A0/01
Language English.
Repository: Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.

Administrative History of the New Jersey College of Pharmacy

According to Dr. Philemon E. Hommell, the proprietor of Hommell Pharmacy in Jersey City, his idea to found a college of pharmacy in New Jersey began in a discussion with A ugust Drescher, on Market Street in Newark. Hommell and Drescher, a Newark pharmacist, drew up articles of agreement on August 29, 1892. After obtaining the signatures of several of their colleagues, they held an organizing meeting in a hall on Market Street on September 5, 1892. On October 2, 1892, the group circulated a letter among all the pharmacists in New Jersey, which invited "all competent druggists" to join "an association to be known as the New Jersey College of Pharmacy."

The new school opened its doors on December 1, 1892, in three rented rooms of an office building at 22 Clinton Street in Newark. Lectures were given in various subjects, including Botany, Materia Medica, Vegetable Histology, and Bacteriology. The faculty were largely practicing physicians and pharmacists, including Dr. Hommell and Mr. Drescher.

In 1899 the College moved to larger quarters at 224 Market Street in Newark. A committee was appointed in August, 1904 to look into funding its own building. The committee purchased a lot on High Street for $4,500 and started a building-fund campaign in 1905. By the following year, the College had $1,657 from the fund and $19,000 in loans. Construction began on a two-story brick building, which included an amphitheater lecture room, laboratories, and a herbarium. The College moved into the new building January 3, 1907.

In 1918 the New Jersey legislature passed the so-called prerequisite law, by which a degree from a recognized college of pharmacy would be required for examination and licensing. The New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy had been increasingly reluctant to continue recognizing the College. Even the New York State Board had refused to accredit them, citing an inadequate library and an insufficient number of lecture hours. When Robert P. Fischelis took over as dean in 1921, his first priority was to obtain accreditation for the school. At the time, enrollment at the New York and Philadelphia Schools of Pharmacy had increased and they were turning students away. If the New Jersey College of Pharmacy were accredited, these students could be accommodated.

Fischelis decided to pursue national accreditation. Accreditation by the American Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties required at least three full-time faculty members, and a curriculum that conformed with the national "Pharmaceutical Syllabus." Fischelis complied and the school achieved accreditation in 1923.

Under Fischelis' tenure, student life at the College had greatly improved. In 1923 an all-student organization called "The Pharmaceutical Society" was formed. Pharmaceutical fraternities were introduced, a yearbook was started, and an annual dinner dance was i naugurated.

By the 1920s, the student body had outgrown the brick building on High Street. On August 29, 1923, a site was selected for a new building in the north section of Newark at 1 Lincoln Avenue. An architect was appointed and plans were approved for a new three-story building. However, an apparent shortage of funds forced the Trustees to eliminate an entire wing from the new building. Fischelis was extremely unhappy with the revised plans, calling the building "totally inadequate." Fischelis, along with several professors, resigned on July 1, 1925. He was briefly replaced by Dr. Caswell A. Mayo, a former president of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

Dr. Ernest Little, a faculty member since 1918, was appointed acting dean in 1926 by the trustees of the College of Pharmacy. In his first year as dean, Little expanded and renovated physical facilities, built up the faculty, and started a research department. Dean Little successfully persuaded Dr. Lloyd K. Riggs to leave E.R. Squibb and Sons to head the new research program. Under Little's guidance, the College's program and image improved. As a result, the Rutgers University Board of Trustees agreed to incorporate the College as a College of Pharmacy in the State University of New Jersey on January 15, 1927. The ceremony took place on May 25, 1927, at a gala dinner.

Dr. Little presided over the College as dean for nineteen more years. During this time he expanded the college's two-year program to four years, adding professional courses and introducing liberal arts courses, in order to meet new requirements for accreditation.

There was a sharp decline in student enrollment after the four-year program was instituted in 1932. The resulting decrease in funds from student tuition put a severe financial strain on the College. Dean Little successfully persuaded the state government to include the College of Pharmacy in the University's appropriation.

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Chronology of Events

Date Event
1892, Sept. 5 The New Jersey College of Pharmacy is founded by a group of physicians and pharmacists at a meeting in a hall on Market Street, Newark.
1892, Dec. 1 New Jersey College of Pharmacy opens at 22 Clinton Street, Newark.
1899 New Jersey College of Pharmacy moves to 224 Market Street, Newark.
1900 A delegation is sent to the Pharmacopoeial Convention held in Washington, D.C.
1907, Jan. 3 College moves into its own building on High Street.
1921 Robert P. Fischelis is hired as dean.
1922, Oct. New Jersey Board of Pharmacy formally recognizes the College.
1923, Apr. New York Regents and the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy recognize the College.
1923, Aug. 29 Site is purchased for a larger building at 1 Lincoln Avenue, Newark.
1923 "The Pharmaceutical Society," a student organization, is formed.
1923 School is accredited by the American Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties.
1924 A yearbook, the Rx Ray is published (later called the Scarlet Ray).
1925 First Annual Dinner Dance is held; Dean Fischelis serves as toastmaster.
1925, July 1 Dean Fischelis, and Professors Joseph G. Noh, Charles Fanslau, Moritz Dittmar, and Charles Rosenberg resign.
1925 Dr. Caswell A. Mayo is appointed dean.
1925 The new Lincoln Avenue building opens.
1926 Dr. Ernest Little is appointed acting dean.
1926 The varsity basketball team becomes charter member of the Pharmacy Intercollegiate Basketball League.
1927, May 25 New Jersey College of Pharmacy is officially incorporated into the State University of New Jersey as a College of Pharmacy.

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Scope and Content Note

The records of the New Jersey College of Pharmacy date from 1892 to 1942 and are contained in approximately 1.2 cubic feet. The largest group, in size and scope, are the minutes, correspondence, and financial documents. The Board of Trustees minutes are interfiled with the College minutes. The administration of the school was carried on by the Board of Trustees and the President until 1921. The minutes and the financial documents are the chief source of information on the pre-1912 years of the school.

The first volume of the minutes (1892-1924) constitutes one of the most complete and informative series in the collection. Topics discussed include faculty appointments, salaries, lecture fees (tuition), trustees' differences with faculty in 1903, plans for the new building, and commencement arrangements.

Annual meetings' minutes record voting results for the election of officers, trustees, and delegates to the New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association. Graduating students are listed, with award winners. Included also are a copy of the original agreement, dated August 29, 1892, with names and addresses of the founders. A copy of the notes taken at the first meeting, with a list of original faculty appointments, and lectures assigned to each, is included.

Volume Two (1924-1927) is less complete. Topics discussed include the resignations of Dean Fischelis and several professors, and the proposed incorporation of the College of Pharmacy into Rutgers University.

Records relating to students are limited. The New Jersey College for Pharmacy series comprises a signed Code of Ethics Pledge Book and two folders. The Records of Graduates contain rosters of graduates for the years 1894-1925. The General Records folder contains chiefly grade reports, and lists of successful candidates for registration as Registered Pharmacists. There is no material on students' extracurricular activities.

Information about the courses, laboratory equipment, and school furnishings can be found in the folders on curriculum and faculty, as well as in the minutes. Photographs and slides of the school, the laboratory, and the students are also contained in the New Jersey College for Pharmacy series. A scrapbok contains chiefly miscellaneous printed material, such as clippings. A clipping in German about the College is included. Many of the students were of German heritage.

The correspondence files in the Office of the President and Dean series comprise five folders of letters received, copies of letters sent, and related material. There are significant gaps: there is no correspondence for 1915-1917 or for 1924. Folder 9 (1925) contains material relating to the controversy over the new building plans for the Lincoln Avenue site. Letters from Dean Fischelis and a corrected galley proof for an American Druggist article provide insight into Dean Fischelis's point of view. The correspondence in Folder 10 (1926) documents the school's path to accreditation, the relationships of the faculty with the administration, and building plans. Also included is a report by Dr. Little, which recaps the year 1927-1928, and records the developments in research at the college.

The "General records" files of the Office of the Secretary (1903-1904) spans only two years. It contains chiefly correspondence which documents the placing of advertisements in the prospectuses and announcements. Unfortunately, there are no examples of the ads themselves. There are a number of illustrated business letterheads which are valuable in themselves as fine examples of early 20th century printed material.

The financial documents generated in the Office of the Treasurer (1899-1942) is substantial but contains significant gaps. There are no record books for 1917-1927, with the exception of some financial reports and statements for the 1927-1928 fiscal year, found in the General Records file. The Receipts volume (1900-1907) contains gaps as well.

The ledgers document the college's expenses, including salaries. The General Records folder contains miscellaneous financial documents, including salary and wage reports. One of the more unusual items is an IRS packet of order forms and applications for opium, for use in the lab.

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The records of the New Jersey and Rutgers University College of Pharmacy are arranged in the following series:

I. New Jersey College of Pharmacy, 1892-1927
II. Office of the President and Dean, 1908-1928
III. Office of the Secretary, 1903-1904
IV. Office of the Treasurer, 1899-1942

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Name and Subject Tracings

Personal Names

Avery, E. M.
Drescher, August
Eckert, John
Egge, Julius K.
Hommell, Philemon E.
Kuebler, William O.
Little, Ernest
Mayo, Caswell A.
Meeker, Frank B.
Ost, Henry
Reichle, Emil
Sommerhoff, Joseph F.
Staehle, Louis L.
Tiesler, Eugene

Corporate Names

American Pharmaceutical Association
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Accreditation
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Advertisers
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Buildings
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Curriculum
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Faculty
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Finances
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Laboratories
New Jersey College of Pharmacy--Students
New Jersey College of Pharmacy. Board of Trustees
New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association
Rutgers University. College of Pharmacy--History

Subject Terms

Pharmacy Act of 1912
Pharmacy colleges--New Jersey

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Bowers, Roy A. and David L. Cowen. Rutgers University College of Pharmacy: A Centennial History. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992

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Detailed Description of the Records

I. New Jersey College of Pharmacy, 1892-1927 1892-1927
Summary: This series includes minutes of the Board of Trustees as well as the College, 1892-1927 (2 volumes); student records, including the Code of Ethics Pledge Book for the classes of 1924-1926, general administrative records and records of graduates, 1894-1925.
Box Folder
1 1v Trustees and College Minutes, 1892-1924
2v Trustees and College Minutes, 1924-1927
3v Student Records: Pledge Book, 1924-1926
Box Folder
2 1 Student Records: General Records, 1901-1923
2 Student Records: Records of Graduates, 1894-1925
3 Faculty and Curriculum records ca. 1916-1926
4 Photographs and slides ca. 1907-1926
5 Scrapbook ca. 1900-1925
II. Office of the President and Dean, 1908-1928 1908-1928
Summary: Correspondence files, including communications concerning the Pharmacy Act of 1912; letters from Austen Colgate of Colgate and Company; applications for accreditation; correspondence relating to the college's application for membership in, acceptance by, the American Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties; correspondence concerning the resignations of Fischelis and several professors and related clippings; correspondence related to the construction of the Lincoln Avenue building; Correspondence related to the search for a new dean. Letters from Johnson and Johnson concerning their donation to the school. Includes a report by Dean Little on the college for 1927-1928.
Box Folder
2 6 Correspondence, 1908-1914
7 Correspondence, 1918-1920
8 Correspondence, 1921-1923
9 Correspondence, 1925
10 Correspondence, 1926-1928
III. Office of the Secretary, 1903-1904
Summary: General Records, 1903-1904 and correspondence chiefly relating to ads for the prospectuses and announcements. Includes a contract for an ad, a list of advertisers, and a list of Junior Keys.
Box Folder
2 11 General records 1903-1904
IV. Office of the Treasurer, 1899-1942 1899-1942
Summary: This series consist of records and accounts of the College Treasurer, 1899-1916 (3 volumes), including ledger of cash receipts of the college by year of transaction, an alphabetical index of names and page numbers for separate entries for college officers, faculty, students, and advertisers for the 1902-1903 and 1903-1904 seasons. Also included are ledgers that record cash receipts/disbursements by month and year of transaction. An additional section is arranged by category, such as Real Estate Expense or Laboratory Deposits, and thereunder chronologically. An alphabetical index of names lists the page numbers of individual entries for the accounts of college officers,faculty, students and vendors. The second volume includes a salary list for 1913 and 1915-1916. This series also contains general administrative records, 1900-1942, including salary and wage reports, financial statements, expense statements for the 1927-1928 fiscal year, a 1927 report of the Treasurer, and notes for loans, and financial receipts, 1900-1907.
Box Folder
3 1v Treasurer's records, 1899-1904
2v Treasurer's accounts, 1904-1911
3v Treasurer's accounts, 1911-1916
4v General records, 1900-1942
5v Receipts, 1900-1907