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  • Ludvig Fredrik Damm (1842 - 1892)
    Ludwig F. Damm, Ph.C. MD., lecturer on chemistry and toxicology in USA Födelse 12 maj 1842 - Malmöhus, Sweden Död: 1 apr 1892 Föräldrar: Johan Petter Damm, Fredrika Carolina Damm (född Berg) ...
  • Anders Johan Amnéus (1864 - 1917)
    Apotekare, som började sin yrkesbana som elev på apoteket Enhörningen i Stockholm 1882. Farm. kand.-examen 1885 och apotekarexamen 1889. Anställd på Enhörningen 1889-1890, apoteket i Söderhamn 1890-189...
  • Alexander von Taube (1859 - 1922)
  • Johann von Taube (1867 - 1941)
    Surmateade - Saaga EAA.402.7.177:210?832,1700,2958,306,0 - Verzeichnis der immatrikulierten Studenten. ...; EAA.402.7.177; 16.01.1879-17.01.1887

Apothecaries, Pharmacists & Chemists

from Wikipedia:

Apothecary /əˈpɒθɪkəri/ is one term for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients. The modern pharmacist (also colloquially referred to as a chemist in British English) has taken over this role and in some languages and regions the word is still used to refer to a retail pharmacy or a pharmacist who owns one. The apothecaries' investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients was a precursor to the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology.
In addition to dispensing medicines, the apothecary offered general medical advice and a range of services that are now performed by other specialist practitioners, such as surgeons and obstetricians. Apothecary shops sold ingredients and the medicines they prepared wholesale to other medical practitioners, as well as dispensing them to patients. In 1600s England, they also controlled the trade of tobacco which was imported as a medicine.


Apothecary derives from the Ancient Greek word ἀποθήκη (apothḗkē, "a repository, storehouse") via Latin apotheca ("repository, storehouse, warehouse"), Medieval Latin apothecarius ("storekeeper"), and eventually Old French apotecaire.
In some languages the word "apothecary" is still used for designating a pharmacist/chemist, such as German and Dutch (Apotheker) and Luxembourgish (Apdikter). Likewise, "pharmacy" translates as "apotek" and "apteekki" in the Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish), and some Slavic languages such as Bosnian "apoteka", Serbian "апотека", Russian and Ukrainian "аптека" (pronounced "apteka"). Use of the term "apothecary" in the names of businesses varies with time and location. In some areas of the United States it has experienced a nostalgic revival and been used for a wide variety of businesses, while in other areas such as California its use is restricted to licensed pharmacies.


French apothecary (15th century).
Apothecary, as a profession, could date back to 2600 BC to ancient Babylon, which provides one of the earliest records of the practice of the apothecary. Clay tablets were found with medical texts recording symptoms, the prescriptions, and the directions for compounding it. The Papyrus Ebers from ancient Egypt, written around 1500 B.C., contain a collection of more than 800 prescriptions, or ancient recipes for the apothecaries of the time. It mentions over 700 different drugs. Around 2000 to 2500 BC, Emperor Shen Nung is credited creation of the Shen-nung pen ts'ao ching (Divine Husbandman's Materia Medica). Considered a foundational material for Chinese medicine and herbalism, it became an important source for Chinese apothecaries. The book, which documented 365 treatments, had a focus on roots and grass. It had treatments which came from minerals, roots and grass, and animals. Many of the mentioned drugs and their uses are still followed today. Ginseng’s use as a sexual stimulate and aid for erectile dysfunction stems from this book. Ma huang, a herb first mentioned in the book, is responsible the drug ephedrine into modern medicine. According to Sharif Kaf al-Ghazal, and S. Hadzovic, apothecary shops existed during the Middle Ages in Baghdad by Islamic pharmacists in 754 during the Abbasid Caliphate, or Islamic Golden Age. Apothecaries were also active in Islamic Spain by the 11th century. By the end of the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer (1342–1400) was mentioning an English apothecary in the Canterbury Tales, specifically "The Nun's Priest's Tale" as Pertelote speaks to Chauntecleer (lines 181–184): ... and for ye shal nat tarie, Though in this toun is noon apothecarie, I shal myself to herbes techen yow, That shul been for youre hele and for youre prow. In modern English, this can be transliterated as: ... and you should not linger, Though in this town there is no apothecary, I shall teach you about herbs myself, That will be for your health and for your pride. In Renaissance Italy, Italian Nuns became a prominent source for medicinal needs. At first they used their knowledge in non-curative uses in the convents to solidify the sanctity of religion among their sisters. As they progressed in skill they started to expand their field to create profit. This profit they used towards their charitable goals. Because of their eventual spread to urban society, these religious women gained "roles of public significance beyond the spiritual realm (Strocchia 627). Later apothecaries led by nuns were spread across the Italian peninsula.

Early Italian Pharmacy, 17th century, Gift of Fisher Scientific International, Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections From the 15th century to the 16th century, the apothecary gained the status of a skilled practitioner. In England, the apothecaries merited their own livery company, the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, founded in 1617. Its roots, however, go back much earlier to the Guild of Pepperers formed in London in 1180.

Interior of an apothecary's shop. Illustration from Illustrated History of Furniture, From the Earliest to the Present Time from 1893 by Frederick Litchfield (1850–1930)

The Lady Apothecary. Alfred Jacob Miller (between 1825 and 1870). The Walters Art Museum. However, there were ongoing tensions between apothecaries and other medical professions, as is illustrated by the experiences of Susan Reeve Lyon and other women apothecaries in 17th century London. In 1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to be licensed to practise medicine in Britain by passing the examination of the Society of Apothecaries. By the end of the 19th century, the medical professions had taken on their current institutional form, with defined roles for physicians and surgeons, and the role of the apothecary was more narrowly conceived, as that of pharmacist (dispensing chemist in British English). In German speaking countries, such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, pharmacies or chemist stores are still called apothecaries or in German Apotheken. The Apotheke ("store") is legally obligated to be run at all times by at least one Apotheker (male) or Apothekerin (female), who actually has an academic degree as a pharmacist —— in German Pharmazeut (male) or Pharmazeutin (female) — and has obtained the professional title Apotheker by either working in the field for numerous years — usually working in a pharmacy store — or taking additional exams. Thus a Pharmazeut is not always an Apotheker. Magdalena Neff became the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Germany when she studied pharmacy at the Technical University of Kalsruhe and later passed the apothecary's examination in 1906. Apothecaries used their own measurement system, the apothecaries' system, to provide precise weighing of small quantities. Apothecaries dispensed viles or poisons as well as medicines, and as is still the case, medicines could be either beneficial or harmful if inappropriately used. Protective methods to prevent accidental ingestion of poisons included the use of specially shaped containers for potentially poisonous substances such as laudanum.


Many recipes included herbs, minerals, and pieces of animals (meats, fats, skins) that were ingested, made into paste for external use, or used as aromatherapy. Some of these are similar to natural remedies used today, including catnip, chamomile, fennel, mint, garlic and witch hazel. Many other ingredients used in the past such as urine, fecal matter, earwax, human fat, and saliva, are no longer used and are generally considered ineffective or unsanitary.

Other mentions in creative literature

William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" : A poor apothecary sells Romeo an Elixir of Death with which Romeo commits suicide to be with the late Juliet.
William Shakespeare's play "King Lear": King Lear exclaims: "Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination." William Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily" : The main character, Miss Emily Grierson, goes to an "apothecary" and buys arsenic, supposedly to kill a rat. Which turns out later to have been her "Yankee boyfriend", who had sought to cast her aside harshly. In the Warhammer 40k universe, Space Marines who practice battlefield medicine are known as Apothecaries. In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the wizarding shops that sell ingredients for potions are known as apothecaries. The Author Ingrid Noll wrote the bestseller German book "Die Apothekerin" which was translated to "The Pharmacist" in English. The monk Cadfael in The Cadfael Chronicles written by the linguist-scholar Edith Pargeter under the name "Ellis Peters" is an apothecary, herbalist, and amateur detective.

Please add your pill rolling, potion brewing ancestors to this project. From the project page, actions > add profiles; from the profile, actions > add to project. Profiles must be set to public. Collaborators, feel free to add resources (images, documents, links) and add more collaborators.


Noted apothecaries

  • Hildegard of Bingen
  • Paracelsus
  • James Parkinson
  • Dante Alighieri
  • Benedict Arnold
  • Silvanus Bevan
  • Émile Coué
  • Nicholas Culpeper
  • John Keats
  • Nostradamus
  • John Parkinson
  • Joseph Proust
  • Nicholas Hughes
  • Shen Nung

From Going Medieval: The Revival of "Apothecary"

"Apothecary" is a very old word indeed. It first appeared in English in the mid-1300s, imported from Old French, which had adapted a late-Latin word, apothecarius, meaning "shop-keeper." In English, too, apothecary originally meant a person: "a shopkeeper, especially one who stores, compounds, and sells medicaments."

That sense is maintained by the Visual Thesaurus, which gives five synonyms for "apothecary," all describing professions: chemist, pill-pusher, druggist, pharmacist, and pill-roller.

Toward the end of the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned an apothecary in "The Nun's Priest's Tale": "Though in this toun is noon apothecarie,/I shal myself to herbes techen yow." In Romeo and Juliet, a "caitiff wretch" of an apothecary sells Romeo the potion with which our hero commits suicide.

It wasn't only Shakespeare who held apothecaries in low regard. In his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, first published in 1785, Francis Grose wrote that apothecaries were "as superficial in their learning as they are pedantic in their language." Grose documented several slang terms using apothecary, all of them disparaging: an apothecary's bill was a long bill; apothecary's Latin (also known as dog Latin) mangles the classical tongue; "to talk like an apothecary" meant "to prattle."

But before Latin apothecarius there was a Greek source, apothēkē, which means "a repository or storehouse"—a building, not a person. The Greek word and meaning gave rise to two linguistic cousins familiar to many of us today: French boutique (a small retail shop) and Spanish bodega (a small grocery store). It's this sense—apothecary as a place of business, not the person who runs it—that dominates today.