A Decade of Change, and of War
Class of 1918, in the junior year photo
for the 1917 yearbook
The second decade of the new century was a time of both positive change and turmoil
for ACPHS, the pharmacy profession and the world. At the same time the College began
to spread its wings and really take off, the "teens" brought the beginning of World
War I, as well as new narcotics legislation and Prohibition, both of which affected
pharmacies throughout the country. And, after nearly 40 years, it was a decade that
also brought a change in leadership for the College.
By 1910, ACPHS was firmly ensconced in its new home on Eagle Street, right across
the street from its former quarters at Albany Medical College. But with booming
enrollment, soon even the new quarters started to feel a bit pinched. In 1914, a
plan was drawn up to increase the facilities by 50 percent, at an estimated cost
of $6,000-$7,000. An alumni appeal added to the $4,000 the College had put aside
for the project, which was completed in time for the 1916-17 academic year. With
room for all of the labs in the expanded space, all of ACPHS's facilities were under
one roof for the first time in its history.
Building, circa 1920
After a few years in the Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Albany, graduation ceremonies
were now held in Chancellor's Hall in the new State Education Building, completed
in 1912. Students also attended special Wednesday evening lectures in the facility.
Topics relating to public health and of interest to budding pharmacists were covered
by representatives of the State and City Departments of Health and Education.
Students also were encouraged to take advantage of other local facilities, including
the Museum of Natural History, which had spent "a million and a half dollars" to
provide exhibits on Botany and Zoology; the State Library, "with nearly every periodical
in the world;" and the YMCA, with access to billiards rooms, a bowling alley, pool,
gym and "shower baths." All students were urged to join ACPHS's Physical Training
class, which used the facilities at the Y.
Pupils were warned off less wholesome pursuits in a talk by Alfred Huested, M.D.
Ph.G., Secretary of the College and a Botany Professor since 1883, who cautioned
them about "the temptations of city life." These presumably included drinking "Albany
's famous Beverwyck beer" or those manufactured by the Dobler or Hinckel breweries;
all three were advertised in the school's new yearbook, The Alembic, when it made
its debut in 1916.
The Alembic , named for a type of distilling apparatus used in pharmacy, was hailed
by Dean Willis G. Tucker, M.D., Ph.D., as a way to "promote solidarity, true fellowship
and real community of interests in the student body" as well as "legitimate college
Psi Kappa Psi was
the first fraternity at ACPHS
Fraternities also made their first appearance at ACPHS during the decade. The Beta
Delta Chapter of Kappa Psi was installed November 11, 1910, with 38 active members,
including faculty, juniors and seniors. The members celebrated with a "smoker, at
which was enjoyed punch, cigarettes and cigars. In addition, the frat held an annual
banquet at Keeler's Hotel.
In the fall of 1916, the fraternity acquired new and spacious quarters located at
53 South Hawk Street. Roy Boles, Class of 1920, remembered that for a short while
he lived in the house - until the bedbugs got to him. He relo- cated to a boarding
house on Lancaster Street at a cost of $8 a week.
The first fraternity actually founded at ACPHS was the Alpha Chapter of Epsilon
Phi, established March 17, 1917, under the leadership of Chapter President George
Niles Hoffman and class valedictorian Ralph Young, who served as Treasurer. The
frat even counted four women among its ranks as honorary members. Purely a local
body, the fraternity opted to nationalize in 1931 and formed the foundation for
the Alpha Theta Chapter of Phi Delta Chi at ACPHS.
The Beta Chapter of ACPHS's first sorority, Lambda Kappa Sigma, was chartered in
1919. Though the group was small, due to the limited number of women attending the
College, with the help of the faculty wives they sponsored subscription dances and
rush parties galore - from a Halloween party to an April Fool's Dance - at Wolfert's
Roost and the Kenmore Hotel.
Although the number of women at ACPHS continued to climb each year, in 1916 their
presence was unusual enough to warrant the following comment in the yearbook: "Near
the door sitting up on that shelf known to all (because it was here that 'Doc' Huested
placed our checks, bills and love letters) were three girls." The "girls" included
sisters, Loretta and Sarah Graney, and "our beloved Ruth 'Bill' Tafft," presumably
nicknamed for former President William Howard Taft who had vacated the White House
Women began to make their mark at the College during the decade; with only seven
girls in the Class of 1916, junior class officers included Betty Noonan as Vice
President and Marguerite Rebecca Griffin as Secretary. The first female teacher,
Rena Henault '13, was hired in 1917. She assisted Professor Edwin Hutman '91 in
the Pharmacy Lab and taught Microscopy and Pharmacognosy with Dr. T.W. Jenkins.
Katherine Glavin, who worked at the College for decades, joined the staff as Registrar
As the College grew, sports also were added. A basketball team was formed, with
16 men practicing on the courts at the YMCA. The team only lost one game - to Albany
Law School - in the 1916-17 season. The Athletic Association kicked off in 1917
with Dr. Huested as Honorary President.
Downtown Albany's historic
Ten Eyck Hotel
The big social event of the year for all students was the Pharmacy Ball thrown by
the junior class, which took place at the Ten Eyck Hotel, an up-to-date facility
with a restaurant, cafeteria and Oyster Bar. In this classy establishment that sponsored
the "tea dansants" and "supper dances" that were all the rage in the teens, ACPHS
revelers tripped the light fantastic till the wee hours to the music of Zita's Orchestra.
But in addition to schoolwork and the pursuit of fun, more serious themes began
to surface in life at ACPHS. As the country became more and more embroiled in the
events leading up to World War I and the debate on whether or not the nation would
remain neutral, students weighed in with their opinions on the situation.
"Should the United States be called upon to defend the rights so gloriously attained
by our forefathers . the flame of patriotism . would burst forth in the hearts of
the pharmacists and they would enlist," wrote Raymond Earl Cressler '18. "They would
not shoulder a musket, but they would labor heroically . carrying out the instructions
of the surgeon to the minutest detail."
When America entered World War I in 1917, 10,000 Albany men registered for the draft,
including many students and alumni of ACPHS. Eleven members of the Class of 1918
enlisted, as well as four faculty members. The Class of 1919 had 12 of its number
fighting and seven members in the Student Army Training Corps. So many of the 48
members of the Epsilon Phi fraternity entered the service that activities were suspended
for the next five years.
In addition, out of 927 members, the ACPHS Alumni Association had 124 in service,
from Lt. Nathan Garnsey '91, to Ford Alysworth '20. Of those, six were killed and
one wounded. The AAACPHS annual banquets now featured patriotic songs such as "America
I Love You" in place of the raucous toasts of old.
The senior class of 1915
Part of this was due to the fact that many states, including New York , had enacted
Prohibition laws as early as 1914. In 1919, when the war ended, soldiers returned
to a country that had just passed the 18 th Amendment, a nationwide ban of manufacture,
sale or transportation of alcohol.
Prohibition meant many changes for pharmacists, as it led many people to drink "legitimate"
alcohol - patent medicines and medical alcohol available by prescription only. According
to Albany historian John McEneny, "the druggists of the city . dispensed medicinal
alcohol at an alarming rate, both over the counter and out the back door."
A writer in The Alembic concluded that "the druggist is the only business man with
whom legislation concerns itself to a greater extent than the liquor dealer." One
consequence of Prohibition was a rise in the number of soda fountains in pharmacies,
which became possible with the introduction of the counter-service fountain in 1903.
By 1910, there were more than 100,000 soda fountains across the United States ,
many serving food as well as sodas and ice cream. Soda fountains provided a socially
acceptable alternative to bars and saloons, and the "soda pop" they dispensed was
thought to be the height of health and modernity. The back of ACPHS's yearbook advertised
the soda fountain and drug store fixtures that were now de rigueur for the modern
Harrison Act of 1914
changed the profession
The pharmacy profession was changing in other ways as well. The more stringent requirements
and regulations for pharmacists under the new State Pharmacy Law and the passage
of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 meant big changes for druggists. Passed under
President Wilson, the Act forbade the sale of substantial doses of opiates or cocaine
except by licensed doctors and pharmacies, and required prescriptions for all products
exceeding allowable limits. It also required pharmacists who dispensed "narcotics"
to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, pay a tax and keep records of the
drugs they dispensed.
Boles, who started his first job at a pharmacy in Chestertown in his graduation
year of 1920, remembered people lining up at the door in the morning with their
prescriptions for morphine and laudanum. During Prohibition, Boles recalled a physician
sitting in the local American Legion writing prescriptions for "medicinal" alcohol
for his friends.
The new laws may have contributed to the reaction of Dean Tucker, who wrote in 1917:
"Not many years ago in this state any person might keep a drugstore, there was no
licensing of pharmacists, and attendance upon colleges of pharmacy was entirely
volitional, for their diplomas conferred no special privileges and were not essential
to the securing of a license to practice. But all this is changed and the would-be
pharmacist nowadays must pass not only such preliminary examinations as are necessary
to obtain his entrance certificate and the various examinations of the school, but
also a State Board examination which permits him to do business.
"In our educational affairs and in the regulation of the professions two dangers
threaten us: too much control by the State, whose right to control is conceded,
and too much interference by voluntary associations and endowed corporations possessing
no right of control whatever and having no jurisdiction at all."
By 1918, after nearly 40 years at the helm of ACPHS, Dean Tucker was ready to call
it quits, though he remained onboard as Honorary Dean.
William Mansfield, Ph.G., Pharm.D., M.A., was appointed as the new leader of the
school. An expert botanist and a lover of nature, Dr. Mansfield had previously taught
at New York College of Pharmacy and was the author of a number of textbooks on medicinal
plants and botany and a frequent contributor to pharmaceutical journals.
At the same time, the College reorganized, adding faculty and courses and lengthening
its hours. For the first time three degrees were offered: a Ph.G. (Graduate in Pharmacy)
in two years, Ph.C. (Pharmaceutical Chemist) in three years and a short-lived Bachelor
of Science in four years. By the 1919-20 academic year, perhaps due to the war,
the latter already had disappeared from the Catalog.
Classes including Vegetable Histology, Chemical and Microscopic Urine Analysis,
Bacteriology, English, French and Household Chemistry (food, medicine and cleaning
products) were added to the curriculum.
With pharmacy experience no longer a prerequisite for admission and students able
to count their college courses as experience, candidates for a pharmacy degree were
freed from working in drug stores for countless hours each week. For the first time,
classes were held in the daytime, as well as in the evenings and summers.
And, though the war radically decreased the number of attendees, as soon as the
soldiers were home again the numbers started to climb. After decreasing from 40
graduates in 1918 to 20 in 1919, by the time the 1919-20 academic year rolled around,
the count had risen to 48 seniors. As the decade came to a close, ACPHS was, once
again, short on space.