By Joe Hanneman
For more than 25 years, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s two duplicates of the famed “Sifting and Winnowing” plaques that memorialize the Richard Ely academic freedom trial sat in a corner of the archives, virtually untouched. On at least two occasions, efforts were made to put the plaques on display, but to no avail. Then in 1998, with the university’s 30th anniversary looming, Interim Chancellor Dr. Gordon H. Lamb decided the time had come to give the plaques their proper due.
Old trophies line the shelves inside the former Madison Brass Works on the East Side of Wisconsin’s capital city. Just feet from where craftsmen over the years made everything from airplane parts to torpedo components sit icons of more leisurely pursuits: a bowling champion from 1949, boat-racing trophies from the former owner. They sit seemingly untouched since the day they were placed there nearly 50 years ago. Much about the wood-frame foundry seems in a time warp. Old foundry patterns hang along the side walls like suits in a closet. The floor is stacked with flasks and jackets for pouring and forming molten metal. A huge green muller sits in the center, used to mix sand and carbonite. It all looks straight from the 1940s.
It’s a good thing this place lives in the past. This building where the University of Wisconsin’s “Sifting and Winnowing” plaque was made in 1910 came to play a big role in UW-Parkside’s project to restore and display its versions of the 255-pound plaque in 1998.
The Madison Brass Works technically no longer exists. Now called Celestial Stone Foundry and Forge, the company and its one employee/owner helped repair and restore UW-Parkside’s two sifting and winnowing plaques and cast a rededication plaque using the very same pattern-maker’s letters from the original.
In 1910 when UW-Madison student Hugo H. Hering made what he later called the “purely hand-made” wooden pattern for the sifting and winnowing plaque, he couldn’t have intended for it to survive much beyond creation of the one plaque.
His effort not only survived his time, but it may still exist today. When contacted in early 1998 about making rededication plaques, Tom Pankratz, the owner of Celestial Stone Foundry, located the old wood pattern buried under others at the foundry. He can’t be sure it is the exact version from 1910, but it is a distinct possibility it is original material from the Class of 1910.
“It was accidental that it survived to this day,” Pankratz said, surveying the old pattern, which was badly singed by a fire at the foundry in the 1960s. “It was buried under something.”
Dave Olson, a retired Madison Brass foundry worker who volunteered his time to work on the UW-Parkside project, said it was unusual for patterns to survive so many years. “Most places would either return it to the owner or get rid of it,” he said.
Pankratz carefully lifted letters from the historic pattern to create a plaque for UW-Parkside that states: “Rededicated 1998.” It has the look and feel of the first sifting and winnowing plaque with the added historic flavor from the original letters.
Pankratz also found a master copy of the bronze anchor covers that adorn the original plaque on Bascom Hall in Madison. The ornate, 1.25-inch square tablets were used to cover the holes where the anchors were inserted to hold the plaque in place. Using the master, Pankratz created matching anchor covers for UW-Parkside’s plaques.
“Originally it was probably made by a hand carver,” Olson said.
Artists Martha Glowacki and Mary Dickey of Sylva Designs of Sauk City worked with Pankratz to repair and restore the two 4-by-4-foot plaques. The UW-Parkside plaques were cast in 1964. The holes drilled in the plaques when they hung at the old UW Centers in Racine and Kenosha were welded and new holes drilled to match the original plaque. The black surface under the brass letters was repaired and repainted. The brass surfaces were machine- and hand sanded and polished. At completion, the restored plaques had a luster probably matched only by the original sheen.
Glowacki also created plaques that include explanatory text briefly telling the sifting and winnowing story. Those exquisite bronze plaques have etched letters and an etched photo of the UW-Parkside campus. “We enjoyed the project,” Glowacki said. She, Dickey and Pankratz, all UW-Madison graduates, said it was a privilege to work on a project of such historic importance to the university.
In the case of the Sifting and Winnowing plaques, the third time was a charm. A committee of the 20th anniversary first attempted to find a suitable location for the plaques, but that effort was never completed. In 1992, UW-Parkside Interim Chancellor John Stockwell expressed desire to install the plaques, but the project didn’t happen before he left the university.
In 1998, Interim Chancellor Gordon H. Lamb saw an opportunity to install the plaques, tie them in to the 30th anniversary and promote a longstanding tradition of academic freedom. “The plaques symbolize such tradition,” said Lamb, who went on to lead the University of Missouri System after leaving UW-Parkside. “I felt it was important the campus embrace the history and the tradition.” Lamb headed a committee that oversaw the restoration and planned for the new displays at UW-Parkside. The group included UW-Parkside Archivist Ellen Pedraza, who called new attention to the long-stored plaques in 1993.
At the rededication event held at UW-Parkside in late November 1998, new Chancellor Jack Keating expressed gratitude for the work to “free the plaques from the archive.” He said the plaques are an important reminder of free intellectual discourse.
W. Lee Hansen, professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, called the 1894 Regents report that led to the plaque a “forceful and vivid expression of a university’s commitment to the search for truth.” Hansen is editor of the 1998 book Academic Freedom on Trial: 100 Years of Sifting and Winnowing at the University of Wisconsin. The statement on the plaque, Hansen told the assembly, “affirms the right, indeed the obligation, of faculty and students to pursue the truth through the Sifting and Winnowing process.” (Dr. Hansen’s entire talk from the event is available on his UW-Madison web site.)
The plaques were installed just outside the UW-Parkside library near the portrait of founding Chancellor Irvin G. Wyllie, and outside of the Admissions Office in Molinaro Hall.
And the rest, as they say, is history. ♦
(A version of this article appeared in the winter 1998-99 issue of Perspective magazine at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.)
Pankratz and Olson prepare the form for the molten metal.
Pankratz moves the bucket of molten metal with the aid of a hoist.
The load is steadied before the pour.
Pankratz pours molten metal into the form while Dave Olson watches.
The anchor covers were used as give-aways at the rededication.
Martha Glowacki and Mary Dickey do finishing work on one of the plaques.
Tom Pankratz examines what is believed to be the original wooden “Sifting and Winnowing” plaque form.
After a year leading UW-Parkside during its search for a new chancellor, Dr. Gordon H. Lamb was named interim head of the University of Missouri System. He later founded his own consulting firm in Missouri doing executive recruiting. Dr. Lamb was a renowned expert on choral music and the author of Choral Techniques. As a music professor and choral conductor, he conducted concerts in 17 states and in Europe. He spent 10 years as president of Northeastern Illinois University, preceded by 16 years as a music professor and administrator at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Lamb was a skilled leader, a true gentleman and a great man — the best boss I’ve ever had. He died on February 6, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.
Mary Dickey is curator for River Arts on Water, a gallery in downtown Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. She recently designed and created a roadside shrine, “A Call to Beauty,” part of the Fermentation Fest Farm/Art DTour in fall 2014.
Martha Glowacki is recently retired from her role as curator of the James Watrous Gallery in Madison, part of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts & Letters. She was previously director of the Design Gallery at UW–Madison. She and Tom Pankratz worked together on the 1999-2000 restoration of the World War I Doughboy statue in West Bend, Wisconsin. Pankratz sold his Madison foundry in 2014 and moved out West.
W. Lee Hansen, professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, has been conducting research on the UW System’s diversity programs. He is writing a book that will, among other things, examine the costs vs. benefits of diversity programs, arguing the university should have an admissions system based on merit and academic promise. He has also written extensively on the issue of academic freedom.
By Joe Hanneman PROFESSOR RICHARD T. ELY WAS AN ANARCHIST. Ely was a socialist, an author of “utopian, impracticable and pernicious doctrines.” He was a pro-union rabblerouser who preferred “dirty, dissipated, unmarried, unreliable and unskilled” workers. He was a threat to the American way of life. So you might believe if you read the scathing charges leveled against the University of Wisconsin economics professor in a national magazine by the outspoken Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction.
The clash between Ely and school teacher Oliver E. Wells in 1894 led to a highly publicized trial. The professor was eventually cleared, but what was remembered for generations was the statement issued by the Board of Regents after the trial — words so powerful and timeless they were cast into bronze.
A ‘Magna Carta’
The words used to clear Ely — which the professor later called the “pronunciamento of academic freedom” and “part of the Wisconsin Magna Carta” — were ensconced on a large bronze tablet and eventually bolted to Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The plaque reads:
“Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great State University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth
can be found.”
Those words became more important for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 1998, when two duplicates of the famed plaques were freed from a 25-year dormancy in the basement archives, restored and prepared for installation on campus (see related story). The plaques are symbols not only linking the university to a proud tradition, but also a modern beacon defending the creation of knowledge that is at the heart of University of Wisconsin education.
“The principles of academic freedom have never found expression in language so beautiful, words so impressive, phrases so inspiring,” said UW President Charles Van Hise at the plaque’s dedication in June 1915. Theodore Herfurth, a member of the class of 1894 who later wrote a definitive history of the Sifting and Winnowing story, said the memorial plaque “stands as a sentinel” to guard the spirit of the university.“When time and the elements shall have effaced every resistive letter on the historic bronze tablet, its imperishable spirit shall still ring clear and true,” Herfurth wrote in 1948, just two years before his death. The Sifting and Winnowing story still rings across time. In December 1964, it was the subject of the short-lived Profiles in Courage television series, starring Daniel O’Herlihy as Ely and Edward Asner as Wells.
Ely probably couldn’t have imagined such an outcome when Wells, a teacher and former superintendent of schools in Waupaca County, attacked him in a 535-word letter to the editor of The Nation titled “The College Anarchist,” published in the July 12, 1894 issue. In his role as Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction (1891-95), Wells was an ex-officio member of the Board of Regents.
Ely, a distinguished political economist, had among his concerns the welfare of the working class and organized labor. He interacted with the labor movement, and wrote about socialism in his textbooks. A founder of the American Economic Association and the Christian Social Union, Ely helped develop the reform ideology that was central to the Progressive movement in America.
A Covert Socialist?
Wells’ frontal attack accused Ely of fomenting strikes at the Democratic Printing Company and the Tracy-Gibbs Printing Company in Madison, and of boycotting a non-union printing company. When Wells got no traction on those issues by complaining to UW President Adams and fellow Regents, he went public. Wells said Ely’s writings masked a covert socialism that constituted an “attack on life and property such as this country has already become too familiar with.” Herfurth described Wells’ letter as “scathing, excoriating and denunciatory,” making Wells Ely’s “antagonist and violent public accuser.”
The embarrassing national publicity that followed forced the Board of Regents to appoint a three-member trial panel to investigate Ely. The inquiry was chaired by Herbert W. Chynoweth, former Wisconsin assistant attorney general and a prominent Madison attorney. Other panel members included Dr. Harvey B. Dale, former four-term mayor of Oshkosh, and Milwaukee banker John Johnston. During a three-day hearing that began Aug. 20, 1894, Wells’ accusations began to unravel as exaggerations, half-truths and misrepresentation. Chynoweth made a key ruling on the second day of the hearing that the panel would not examine all of Ely’s writings, but would focus on specific allegations in Wells’ letter to The Nation.
Testimony showed that Ely did not coerce or direct strikers, boycott non-union shops or promote anarchy. In fact, Ely was hailed as one of America’s foremost minds on political economy. He voiced support for unionization of printing company employees, but was not involved in the ongoing labor disputes.
E. Benjamin Andrews, president of Brown University, wrote that to dismiss Ely would “be a great blow at freedom of university teaching.” UW President Charles Kendall Adams, after reviewing Ely’s writings, said not even “a paragraph or sentence…can be interpreted as an encouragement of lawlessness or disorder.” Albion Woodbury Small, founder of the sociology department at the University of Chicago, said “no man in the United States has done so much as he to bring economic thought down out of the clouds and into contact with actual human concerns. Nothing could be more grotesque than to accuse him of encouraging a spirit of lawlessness and violence.”
As the hearing entered its third day, Wells admitted that he could not prove his accusations. At this point, the panel dropped from trial mode into that of a fact-finder. Ely’s exoneration was secured. The panel’s report, issued to the Board of Regents on Sept. 18, 1894, went beyond exoneration. Regents unanimously adopted the document and its poetic language, sending a signal through the ages of its commitment to freedom of inquiry.
“We feel that we would unworthy of the position we hold if we did not believe in progress in all departments of knowledge,” read the report, believed to be written by UW President Adams. “In all lines of academic investigation, it is of the utmost importance that the investigator should be absolutely free to follow the indications of truth wherever they may lead.” There was later ongoing debate as to who coined the “Sifting and Winnowing” phrase. In June 1942, an aged Professor Ely insisted the credit belonged to Alfred T. Rogers, the son-in-law of Regent Chynoweth.
Yet Another Threat
While the poetic words made a memorable statement, they were not resurrected for nearly 20 years when yet another UW professor stood accused of impropriety. Sociology professor Edward Alsworth Ross was implicated for allegedly consorting with anarchist Emma Goldman and giving a speaking platform to sexual liberation proponent Parker Sercombe, a man said to promote immorality.
Regents were so incensed with the 1910 allegations against Ross that they approved a statement of censure. Suggestions were made that Ross be fired. UW President Van Hise led a vigorous defense of Ross against what again proved to be somewhat dubious allegations. Regents did not take action against Ross. The professor never attended Goldman’s talk in Madison, but when she paid a visit to his office, he gave her a tour of campus. “Promptly the newspapers shrieked that I was an anarchist,” Ross said. Van Hise privately told Ross that his real indiscretion was publishing Sin and Society: An Analysis of Latter-Day Iniquity. Some on the Board of Regents sought a pretext to oust Ross because of the book, Van Hise said.
Fearing that academic freedom was again in jeopardy, the Class of 1910 decided to have the famed Sifting and Winnowing statement cast into bronze and presented to the university as a gift. The idea for the memorial came from Lincoln Steffens, the “muckraking” journalist from American Magazine. Steffens discovered the 1894 Regents report while researching the University of Wisconsin and was deeply impressed by the Sifting and Winnowing statement. Steffens became a great admirer of Sen. Robert Marion La Follette, leader of the Progressive movement, while writing his 1909 article, “Sending a State to College.” Students at the time were largely unaware of Steffens’ involvement. Class leaders kept this fact close to the vest. However, conservative members of the Board of Regents were aware of it. Many of them were not fond of Steffens, whom they referred to with great derision as “Stinkin’ Leffins.”
Using scrap plywood and pattern maker’s letters, student Hugo H. Hering created the somewhat crude plaque pattern and had it cast at Madison Brass Works Inc. foundry for $25. “It was purely a hand-made job,” Hering said, “in which I used a three-ply wood veneer panel as a background. I bought white metal letters, such as used by Pattern Makers, and fastened these letters to the veneer back.” Hering carted the form to Madison Brass and Henry Vogts cast the tablet for the students.
Feeling the plaque was a political statement and a slap in the face, Regents rejected it in June 1910. The board at the time was dominated by Stalwart Republicans, at least some of whom believed the students were being used by Progressives to cast aspersions on conservative members of the Board of Regents. “It was the entire situation and spirit of it all that was resented,” Regent Charles P. Cary later said. “The spirit as Regents interpreted it was something like this: ‘There, dern ye, take that dose and swallow it. You don’t dare refuse it even if it gags you, and it probably will.’ ”
There was a public perception that the students were trying to dictate to the Regents. Indeed, student leaders had plans to erect the bronze tablet themselves near campus if Regents rejected it. Class President Francis Ryan Duffy petitioned the Board of Regents to place the plaque at any “suitable” campus location. Publicly, Regents said rejection of the tablet came from not wanting to set a precedent that could “mutilate” the facades of university buildings. According to the account by Herfurth, however, the real reason was they despised Lincoln Steffens.
After the kerfuffle, the plaque, as one newspaper put it, came to repose “in a dry goods box in the basement of the administration building.” Regents formally accepted the tablet in April 1912, but had no plans to affix it to a building. It wasn’t until 1915 when tempers had cooled (and the makeup of the Board of Regents had changed) that the plaque was rescued from storage, bolted to the door post of Bascom Hall and formally dedicated. President Van Hise had to broker a solution between zealous Class of 1910 alumni and Regents who were still stung at the suggestion they had harmed academic freedom in 1910.
The location of the plaque was more than mere symbolism. Bascom Hall “is the citadel of power of the University of Wisconsin,” Herfurth wrote in 1948. It was long the meeting place of the Board of Regents, a body Herfurth said has “the prerogative and the responsibility to establish, to defend and to preserve the spiritual, the ethical and the cultural values which comprise the essence of a great university.”
Plaque Stolen in 1956
The plaque stood as a symbol of freedom for 41 years before pranksters removed it from its hallowed spot on Bascom Hall in 1956. Just as a fund was being established to recast it, police found the 255-pound plaque near a trail on campus. It was rededicated with great pomp and ceremony on February 15, 1957. More than 325 members of the Class of 1910 were honored at the event, attended by Wisconsin Gov. Vernon Thompson and former Gov. Oscar Rennebohm. Duffy, now chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, was among the honored guests. Hering, who went on from his university days to become assistant Wisconsin state treasurer, died in 1946.
In 1964, Racine attorney Kenneth Greenquist, a member of the Board of Regents, sponsored a resolution to create duplicates of the plaque for the UW Center campuses around the state. Plaques were installed at the Racine and Kenosha campuses in 1965 and 1966 on what is now Gateway Technical College’s Lake Building and Bradford High School in Kenosha. UW-Parkside took possession of the plaques at its founding in 1968, and thus began their long residence in storage.
At the 1967 dedication of the Sifting and Winnowing plaque at the UW Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin Gov. Warren Knowles said the plaque contains a bold idea — and a challenge. “The idea embodied in the words of the plaque we will dedicate today is as old as the concept of freedom itself: the right of free inquiry, the right to dissent, the right of free speech, the right of minorities to be heard in the forums of public opinion,” Knowles said. “All of this and more is contained in the famous ‘Sifting and Winnowing’ statement of the 1894 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin. These are freedoms that must be fought for and won anew by each generation.” ♦
— A shorter version of this article appeared in the winter 1998-99 issue of Perspective magazine at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Special thanks to the UW-Madison Archives for research assistance, materials and photos used in preparation of this article. On Wisconsin!
Richard T. Ely taught at the University of Wisconsin until 1925, when he left for Northwestern University. More than 70 years after his death, his writings continue to draw spirited debate. He died on October 4, 1943 in Connecticut. He was 89. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison.
Oliver E. Wells served as Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction from 1891 to 1895. He was previously a teacher in Appleton and the superintendent of Waupaca County schools. In September 1899, he became principal of Wisconsin’s first teacher training school, located at Wausau. He served in that role until 1915. Wells died on December 26, 1922 at age 69.
Charles Kendall Adams served as University of Wisconsin president from 1892 until 1901, when he resigned due to failing health. He was previously president of Cornell University from 1885 to 1892 and a professor at the University of Michigan. During the Civil War, he commanded Michigan’s Tappan Guards. He died on July 28, 1902 in Redlands, California. He was 67.
Herbert W. Chynoweth was a chief lieutenant and legal adviser to Robert M. La Follette. He served as assistant Wisconsin attorney general and later conducted a longstanding legal practice in Madison. He died on October 14, 1906 from arterial sclerosis. He was 58.
Charles R. Van Hise was the first University of Wisconsin alumnus to serve as is president. He was named successor to Charles Kendall Adams in 1903 and served until 1918. Under his leadership, the university sought to move beyond instruction to help improve the lives of everyone in the state. This led to the “Wisconsin Idea,” that the borders of the university are the borders of the state. Built in 1967, Van Hise Hall on the UW campus is named in his honor. Van Hise died on November 19, 1918 in Milwaukee.
Francis Ryan Duffy was U.S. senator from Wisconsin from 1933-1939 and later a federal judge. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1910, Duffy earned his law degree at UW in 1912. He established a law practice, served in World War I, then returned to practicing law. After serving in the Senate, Duffy was appointed federal judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in June 1939. He was named an appeals court judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals (Seventh Circuit) in 1949. Duffy died on August 16, 1979.
It was mixed in with photographs and other documents — a colorful, torn ticket stub. I picked it up and examined it and was left wondering, what is the story behind it? The game was between the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern on November 10, 1945. I presumed that my Dad was the lucky holder of the $1.75 ticket. He was 12 at the time, so a trip from Mauston to Madison for a college football game would have been a big treat. I had to find out more about this game. So I dug right into it.
The weather forecast for the homecoming game called for a high of 39 degrees after an overnight low of 18. The Friday night calm on the UW campus was broken by roving mobs of teenagers who broke store windows and vandalized cars along State Street. Madison police made 49 arrests for curfew violations, according to The Wisconsin State Journal. Still, police considered the homecoming crowd on campus well-behaved overall, so they did not use the tear gas and water wagons that were held in reserve.
Camp Randall was packed with 45,000 fans when game time arrived on Saturday. Dad (or whomever held that ticket) sat in the south end zone, Section Z, Row 6, Seat 5. This is the end of the stadium backed against the UW Field House. I’ve sat in that section myself a few times over the years. Fans were treated to a great game. “This was a game with few dull moments, one in which each turned loose a devastating running attack,” wrote Henry J. McCormick, sports editor of The Wisconsin State Journal. The first quarter ended scoreless. Wisconsin’s initial drive ended on Northwestern’s 48 when Jerry Thompson’s pass was intercepted. Northwestern fared no better, as its drive ended on Wisconsin’s 25 when Badger Don Kindt intercepted a Jim Farrar pass.
In the second quarter, Wisconsin scored a touchdown on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a reverse and a pass to the end zone. Northwestern answered with an impressive 73-yard touchdown drive. Wisconsin roared right back on the next drive. Halfback Ben Bendrick ripped off 17 of his 133 yards on one play. Kindt finished the drive by plunging into the end zone with only 8 seconds left in the half. Halftime score was 14-7 in favor of the Badgers. The second half opened with the same high tempo. Northwestern took the kickoff and moved right down the field with 70 yards on 11 plays. Farrar’s 25-yard pass to tight end Stan Gorski brought the game to a 14-14 tie. On the very next drive Wisconsin’s Bendrick tore off a 41-yard run, followed by an 11-yard scamper from Kindt. A fourth-down pass from Thompson was intercepted by Bill Hunt of Northwestern. When the Wildcats pounded down to the Wisconsin 1 yard line on the drive, the Badgers’ defense stiffened, stopping the Cats on a fourth-down pass play. As the third quarter ended, the score was still knotted at 14.
On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Bendrick continued his punishing ground game. But lightning struck as Bendrick went around left end. The ball popped out, right into the hands of Northwestern’s Hunt, who returned the ball to the Wisconsin 9 yard line. After two running plays, Northwestern took it to the end zone for a 21-14 lead. The teams then traded unsuccessful drives. Wisconsin’s Thompson threw another pick at mid-field, but Northwestern’s ensuing drive stalled. When the Badgers got the ball back, Bendrick fumbled again. Northwestern pounced on the ball at the Wisconsin 24. Seven plays later, Northwestern scored to go up 28-14. That’s how the game ended.
When your team rolls up 244 yards rushing, it typically won’t lose. But on this day, the Badgers made too many mistakes, spotting the Wildcats 14 points with two fumbles. The headlines should have been about Bendrick’s stellar 133-yard rushing day. The Badger faithful left Camp Randall entertained, but unsatisfied. If my Dad, David D. Hanneman, was the ticket holder, I’m guessing he was there with his father, Carl F. Hanneman. The first Wisconsin game I can recall attending with my grandfather was a 1977 game vs. Michigan State. The Badgers lost that day, 9-7.
Hidden behind the headlines of the 1945 game was a compelling military story. It was just the third game back for Don Kindt, who shared halfback duties with “Big Ben” Bendrick. As just a 17-year-old, Kindt interrupted his Wisconsin football career in 1943 to enlist in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. He saw extensive action in Italy and was awarded two bronze stars. He returned to the Badgers in October 1945. After his Wisconsin playing career, Kindt spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. He recounts his war experiences in an extensive interview conducted in 1994 by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
During his nearly six decades as a pharmacist, Carl F. Hanneman got to know a lot of people. He forged good relationships with the many sales reps who called on him at the Mauston Drug Store. Some came to dinner at the Hanneman home, and a few even stayed at the house while in town. One of the long-lasting perks he received from Parke, Davis and Company was a stunning set of lithographs depicting the history of pharmacy. More than 30 prints still exist from Carl’s 1950s collection.
Parke-Davis commissioned artist Robert Thom to produce 40 illustrations for the series, “A History of Pharmacy in Pictures.” Each print came with a history article that explained the depicted scene and its place in history. Launched in 1957, the series was developed in cooperation with the Institute for the History of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin. Druggists were encouraged to display the artwork in their stores.
The series depicted such early topics as scientist Galen in the second century to later developments such as chemotherapy, antibiotics and pharmaceutical research. Parke Davis also commissioned Thom to paint a series of illustrations on the history of medicine. Thom (1915-1979) was well known as an illustrator of historical subjects, including great moments in baseball and the history of Illinois and Michigan.
The paintings from Carl Hanneman’s collection are in the gallery below, including the explanatory text from each image.
— This post has been updated with additional Thom paintings.
Man learned early of the prestigious advantage of trademarks as a means of identification of source and of gaining customers’ confidence. One of the first therapeutic agents to bear such a mark was Terra Sigillata (Sealed Earth), a clay tablet originating on the Mediterranean island of Lemnos before 500 B.C. One day each year clay was dug from a pit on a Lemnian hillside in the presence of governmental and religious dignitaries. Washed, refined, rolled to a mass of proper thickness, the clay was formed into pastilles and impressed with an official seal by priestesses, then sun-dried. The tablets were then widely distributed commercially.
In the evolution of all successful and enduring systems of knowledge there comes a time when the observations of many men, or the intensive studies of one, transcend from the level of trade or vocation to that of a science. Pedanios Dioscorides (first century A.D.), contributed mightily to such a transition in Pharmacy. In order to study materia medica, Dioscorides accompanied the Roman armies throughout the known world. He recorded what he observed, promulgated excellent rules for collection of drugs, their storage and use. His texts were considered basic science as late as the sixteenth century.
Of the men of ancient times whose names are known and revered among both the professions of Pharmacy and Medicine, Galen, undoubtedly, is the foremost. Galen (130-200 A.D.) practiced and taught both Pharmacy and Medicine in Rome; his principles of preparing and compounding medicines ruled in the Western world for 1,500 years; and his name still is associated with that class of pharmaceuticals compounded by mechanical means – galenicals. He was the originator of the formula for a cold cream, essentially similar to that known today. Many procedures Galen originated have their counterparts in today’s modern compounding laboratories.
Twinship of the health professions, Pharmacy and Medicine, is nowhere more strikingly portrayed than by Damian, the apothecary, and Cosmas, the physician. Twin brothers of Arabian descent, and devout Christians, they offered the solace of religion as well as the benefit of their knowledge to the sick who visited them. Their twin careers were cut short in the year 303 by martyrdom. For centuries their tomb in the Syrian city of Cyprus was a shrine. Churches were built in their honor in Rome and other cities. After canonization, they became the patron saints of Pharmacy and Medicine, and many miracles were attributed to them.
During the Middle Ages remnants of the Western knowledge of Pharmacy and Medicine were preserved in the monasteries (fifth to twelfth centuries). These scientists are known to have been taught in the cloisters as early as the seventh century. Manuscripts from many islands were translated or copied for monastery libraries. The monks gathered herbs and simples in the field, or raised them in their own herb gardens. These they prepared according to the art of the apothecary for the benefit of the sick and injured. Gardens such as these still may be found in monasteries in many countries.
The Arabs separated the arts of apothecary and physician, establishing in Bagdad late in the eighth century the first privately owned drug stores. They preserved much of the Greco-Roman wisdom, added to it, developing with the aid of their natural resources syrups, confections, conserves, distilled waters and alcoholic liquids. The apothecary is examining logs of sandalwood offered by a traveling merchant, while children indulge their taste for sweets with stalks of sugar cane. When the Moslems swept across Africa, Spain and southern France, they carried with them a new pattern of Pharmacy which western Europe soon assimilated.
Among the brilliant contributors to the sciences of Pharmacy and Medicine during the Arabian era was one genius who seems to stand for his time – the Persian, Ibn Sina (about 980-1037 A.D.), called Avicenna by the Western world. Pharmacist, poet, physician, philosopher and diplomat, Avicenna was an intellectual giant, a favorite of Persian princes and rulers. He wrote in Arabic, often while secluded in the home of an apothecary friend. His pharmaceutical teachings were accepted as authority in the West until the 17th century; and still are dominant influences in the Orient.
In European countries exposed to Arabian influence, public pharmacies began to appear in the 17th century. However, it was not until about 1240 A.D. that, in Sicily and southern Italy, Pharmacy was separated from Medicine. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, who was Emperor of Germany as well as King of Sicily, was a living link between Oriental and Occidental worlds. At his palace in Palermo, he presented subject Pharmacists with the first European edict completely separating their responsibilities from those of Medicine, and prescribing regulations for their professional practice.
The idea of a pharmacopoeia with official status, to be followed by all apothecaries, originated in Florence. The Nuovo Receptario, originally written in Italian, was published and became the legal standard for the city-state in 1498. It was the result of collaboration of the Guild of Apothecaries and the Medical Society – one of the earliest manifestations of constructive interprofessional relations. The professional groups received official advice and guidance from the powerful Dominican monk, Savonarola, (seated, foreground) who, at the time, was the political leader in Florence.
Trade in drugs and spices was lucrative in the Middle Ages. In the British Isles, it was monopolized by the Guild of Grocers, which had jurisdiction over the apothecaries. After years of effort, the apothecaries found allies among court physicians. King James I, flanked by two “Beefeaters” wore heavily padded attire because of fear of stabbing. Upon persuasion by the philosopher-politician, Francis Bacon, the King granted a charter in 1617 which formed a separate company known as the “Master, Wardens and Society of the Art and Mystery of the Apothecaries of the City of London” over vigorous protests of the grocers. This was the first organization of pharmacists in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Young Parisian Apothecary Louis Hébert answered the call of the New World in 1605, when he helped de Monts and Champlain build New France’s first settlement, the Habitation, at Port Royal (Nova Scotia, Canada). Hébert looked after the health of the pioneers, cultivated native drug plants, and supervised the gardens. At the waterfront, he examined specimens of drug plants offered by Micmac Indians. These included Arum, (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), Eupatorium (Boneset), Verbascum (Mullein), and Hydrastis (Golden Seal). When the Habitation was destroyed by the English in 1613, he returned to his Parisian apothecary shop. The lure of Canada was strong, however, and in 1617, he and the family returned with Champlain to Quebec, where Hébert’s “green thumb” gained him lasting fame as the first successful farmer in what is now Canada.
Many Europeans “of quality and wealth, particularly those who were non-conformists in religion” were attracted to the possibilities of the American Colonies. From Britain came John Winthrop, first Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and founder of Boston. Governor Winthrop, unable to induce professionals to the Colony, sought advice from English apothecaries and physicians, and added to his small store of imported drugs those derived from plants native to New England. In his home (about 1640), he made available as best he could the “art and mystery” of the apothecary for his citizens.
Christopher Marshall, an Irish immigrant, established his apothecary shop in Philadelphia in 1729. During 96 years, this pioneer pharmaceutical enterprise became a leading retail store, nucleus of large-scale chemical manufacturing; a “practical” training school for pharmacists; an important supply depot during the Revolution; and finally, it was managed by granddaughter Elizabeth, America’s first woman pharmacist. Christopher earned the title of “The fighting Quaker” during the Revolution; his sons, Charles and Christopher, Jr., (shown as youths with their father, about 1754) earned individual fame and carried on his fine traditions.
Colonial America’s first hospital (Pennsylvania) was established in Philadelphia in 1751; the first Hospital Pharmacy began operations there in 1752, temporarily set up in the Kinsey house, which served until the first hospital building was completed. The ingenuity of Benjamin Franklin was helpful in both. First Hospital Pharmacist was Jonathan Roberts; but it was his successor, John Morgan, whose practice as a hospital pharmacist (1755-56), and whose impact upon Pharmacy and Medicine influenced changes that were to become of importance to the development of professional pharmacy in North America. First as pharmacist, later as physician, he advocated prescription writing and championed independent practice of two professions.
During his few short years, Carl Wilhelm Scheele gave to the world discoveries that have brought its people incalculable advantages. Yet he never forgot that he was, first of all, a pharmacist. Encouraged by enlightened preceptors, all of his discoveries were made in the Swedish pharmacists in which he worked, as apprentice, as clerk, and finally as owner, in Köping. He began in a corner of the stock room of Unicorn Apothecary in Gothenburg. With rare genius, he made thousands of experiments, discovered oxygen, chlorine, prussic acid, tartaric acid, tungsten, molybdenum, glycerin, nitroglycerin, and countless other organic compounds that enter into today’s daily life, industry, health, and comfort.
The first man to hold the rank of a commissioned pharmaceutical officer in an American army was the Bostonian apothecary, Andrew Craigie. His duties included procurement, storage, manufacture and distribution of the Army’s drug requirements. He also developed an early wholesaling and manufacturing business.
Swedish pharmacist Scheele paved the way for isolating organic plant acids; but it remained for a young German apothecary, Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, to give the world opium’s chief narcotic principle, morphine; and to recognize and prove the importance of a new class of organic substances: alkaloids. His first announcements challenged, Sertürner in 1816 conducted a new series of bold, startling experiments in his apothecary shop in Einbeck, including a series of physiologic tests on himself and three young friends. Recognition and fame followed. Relocating in an apothecary shop in Hameln, Sertürner continued organic chemical experimentation and discovery throughout his life.
Taking their cue from Sertürner’s alkaloidal experiments, two French pharmacists, Messrs. Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph-Bienaimé Caventou, isolated emetine from ipecacuanha in 1817; strychnine and brucine from nux vomica in 1818; then, in their laboratory in the back of a Parisian apothecary shop, they tackled the problem that had baffled scientists for decades – wresting the secrets of the Peruvian barks that were so useful against malaria. In 1820 Caventou and Pelletier announced the methods for separation of quinine and cinchonine from the cinchona barks; prepared pure salts, had them tested clinically, and set up manufacturing facilities. Many other discoveries came from their pharmacy-laboratory; high honors were accorded them.
Faced with two major threats; deterioration of the practice of pharmacy, and a discriminatory classification by the University of Pennsylvania medical faculty, the pharmacists of Philadelphia held a tempestuous protest meeting in Carpenters’ Hall, February 23, 1821. At a second meeting, March 13, the pharmacists voted formation of: an association, which became The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy; a school of pharmacy; and a self-policing board. Sixty- eight pharmacists signed the Constitution of the first pharmaceutical association in the United States; American Pharmacy’s first educational institution, bearing the same name, opened November 9.
First U.S. industry in medicinal herbs was carried on by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers. Begun about 1820, and commercially important by 1830, the medicinal herb industry grew, hit its peak in the 1860’s, then waned at the close of the century. The Shakers gathered or cultivated some 200 varieties; dried, chopped, and pressed them into “bricks”; wrapped, labeled, and sold them to pharmacists and physicians world-wide. Tons of solid and fluid extracts also were produced. The Shaker label was recognized for reliability and quality for more than a century.
Need for better intercommunication among pharmacists; standards for education and apprenticeship; and quality control of imported drugs, led to calling of a convention of representative pharmacists in the Hall of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, October 6 to 8, 1852. Under leadership of its first President, Daniel B. Smith, and first Secretary, William Procter, Jr., the twenty delegates launched The American Pharmaceutical Association; mapped its objectives; and opened membership to “All pharmaceutists and druggists” of good character who subscribed to its Constitution and to its Code of Ethics. The Association continues to serve Pharmacy today.
Over the years, no real discord has existed between representatives of European and American Pharmacy so far as ethical and scientific aims are concerned. But when the groups met for the first time, at the Second International Congress of Pharmacy in Paris, France, August 21 to 24, 1867, there was a great divergence of opinion on the subject of compulsory limitation of pharmacies. William Procter, Jr., leading the delegates of The American Pharmaceutical Association, told the international body that “Public opinion is in America a forceful agent of reform,” and that, in his country, “there is not the slightest obstacle toward a multiplication of drug stores save that a lack of success.” His declaration vividly documented the American Way of Pharmacy.
Rarely has a titular distinction been so deserved. William Procter, Jr., graduated from The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1837; operated a retail pharmacy; served the College as Professor of Pharmacy for 20 years; was a leader in founding The American Pharmaceutical Association; served that organization as its first secretary; later, as its president; served 30 years on the U.S.P. Revision Committee; was for 22 years Editor of the American Journal of Pharmacy. In 1869, though retired, Procter continued to edit the Journal in a small publication office located beside the College’s Tenth Street building. From retirement he returned to P.C.P.’s chair of Pharmacy in1872; literally died “in the harness,” in 1874.
When Dr. Albert B. Prescott launched the pharmacy course at the University of Michigan in 1868, critical attention was aroused because he abandoned the traditional requirement of pregraduation apprenticeship. At the 1871 convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association, he was denied credentials and ostracized. However, the Michigan course pioneered other major changes: laboratory pharmacy, a definite curriculum that included basic sciences, and a program that demanded students’ full-time attention. During the next thirty years, Dr. Prescott had the satisfaction of seeing his once revolutionary innovations generally adopted by pharmaceutical faculties.
The first “United States Pharmacopoeia” (1820) was the work of the medical profession. It was the first book of drug standards from a professional source to have achieved a nation’s acceptance. In 1877, the “U.S.P.” was in danger of dissolution due to the lack of interest of the medical profession. Dr. Edward R. Squibb, manufacturing pharmacist as well as physician, took the problem to The American Pharmaceutical Association convention. Pharmacists formed a “Committee on Revision” chairmanned by hospital pharmacist Charles Rice, assisted by pharmacist-educator Joseph P. Remington, and by Dr. Squibb, their indefatigable collaborator. The “U.S. Pharmacopoeia” surged to new importance.
Despite the professional skill and integrity of 19th-century pharmacists, seldom did two preparations of vegetable drugs have the same strength, even though prepared by identical processes. Plant drugs varied widely in active alkaloidal and glucosidal content. The first answer to this problem came when Parke, Davis & Company introduced standardized “Liquor Ergotae Purificatus” in 1879. Dr. Albert Brown Lyons, as the firm’s Chief Chemist, further developed methods of alkaloidal assay. Messrs. Parke and Davis recognized the value of his work, and in 1883, announced a list of twenty standardized “normal liquids.” Parke-Davis also pioneered in developing pharmacologic and physiologic standards for pharmaceuticals.
Scientific explorers opened vast new horizons for Pharmacy late in the 19th century. Sent in 1885 to Peru, Dr. Henry H. Rusby crossed South America amid incredible hardships. He returned with 45,000 botanical specimens, including Cocillana Bark.
The French retail pharmacist, Stanislas Limousin, introduced many devices to Pharmacy and Medicine. His greatest contributions were invention of glass ampoules, the medicine dropper, and apparatus for inhalation of oxygen.
Biological products (made from micro-organisms) got their discovery of diphtheria antitoxin by the German, Behring, in 1894. Pharmaceutical manufacturers since have constantly improved serums, antitoxins and vaccines, which have saved countless lives.
One of the successful researchers in the development of new chemical compounds specifically created to fight disease-causing organisms in the body was the French pharmacist, Ernest Francois Auguste Fourneau (1872-1949), who for 30 years headed chemical laboratories in the world-renowned Institut Pasteur, in Paris. His early work with bismuth and arsenic compounds advanced the treatment of syphilis. He broke the German secret of a specific for sleeping sickness; paved the way for the life-saving sulfonamide compounds; and from his laboratories came the first group of chemicals having recognized antihistaminic properties. His work led other investigators to broad fields of chemotherapeutic research.
Research in some form has gone hand in hand with the development of Pharmacy through the ages. However, it was the chemical synthesis of antipyrine in 1883 that gave impetus and inspiration for intensive search for therapeutically useful compounds. Begun by the Germans, who dominate the field until World War I, the lead in pharmaceutical research passed thereafter to the United States. Research in Pharmacy came into its own in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s; has grown steadily since, supported by pharmaceutical manufactures, universities, and government. Today it used techniques and trained personnel from every branch of science in the unending search for new life-saving and life-giving drug products.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing as an industry apart from retail Pharmacy had its beginnings about 1600; really got under way in the middle 1700’s. It developed first in Germany, then in England and in France. In America, it was the child of wars – born in the Revolution; grew rapidly during and following the Civil War; became independent of Europe during World War I; came of age during and following World War II. Utilizing latest technical advances from every branch of science, manufacturing Pharmacy economically develops and produces the latest and greatest in drugs in immense quantities, so that everywhere physicians may prescribe them and pharmacists dispense them for the benefit of all mankind.
Antibiotics are not new. Their actions probably were first observed by Pasteur in 1877. However, the second quarter of the 20th century marked the flowering of the antibiotic era – a new and dramatic departure in the production of disease-fighting drugs. Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1929 went undeveloped and Florey and Chain studied it in 1940. Under pressure of World War II, the pharmaceutical manufacturers rapidly adapted mass production methods to penicillin; have reduced costs to 1/1000th the original. Antibiotic discoveries came rapidly in the ’40’s. Intensive research continues to find antibiotics that will conquer more of men’s microbial enemies.
Pharmacy, with its heritage of 50 centuries of service to mankind, has come to be recognized as of the great professions. Like Medicine, it has come through many revolutions, has learned many things, has had to discard many of its older ways. Pharmacists are among the community’s finest educated people. When today’s retail pharmacist fills a prescription written by a physician, he provides a professional service incorporating the benefits of the work of pharmacists in all branches of the profession – education, research, development, standards, production, and distribution. Pharmacy’s professional stature will continue to grow in the future as this great heritage and tradition of service is passed on from preceptor to apprentice, from teacher to student, from father to son.