PCP Lecture Ticket Collection Luther Pascal Bowers PhG’1885


By Dan Flanagan

A collection of 15 lecture tickets issued by Philadelphia College of Pharmacy during the 19th century has been gifted to the USciences Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy by MARK J. CZIRAKY PharmD’92. The collection is currently on display on the J. W. England Library’s third floor.

The tickets originally belonged to LUTHER P. BOWERS PhG’1885. There was no such thing as college tuition in those days. Instead, students purchased what amounted to a “season-ticket” from each one of their professors to get into class. The money thus received went directly into the professors pockets, minus expenses paid to the college and other sundry bills.

Getting a diploma required two years of college and the completion of a minimum four-year apprenticeship. Students typically satisfied both requirements by matriculating two years shy of apprenticeship fulfillment, which effectively turned PCP into an after-work night-school.
At PCP’s establishment in 1821 there wasn’t any difference between the first- and second-year lectures. This outdated system changed in the fall of 1878 when a graded two-year curriculum was introduced, which physically separated the student body into two distinct groups, the Junior Class and the Senior Class. Henceforth, promotion to the second year relied on passing examinations. This increased the demand for nonmandatory, supplemental instruction. As a result, PCP’s newly sanctioned assistant professors introduced their Reviews on the Lectures in the fall of 1881.

Another simultaneous development was the opening of the Laboratory Annex, a massive four-story building that doubled the size of the campus and stimulated the creation of a new faculty position—professor of analytical chemistry—and its related mandatory Senior Course in Analytical Chemistry. The latter offering was inaugurated in the fall of 1883, just in time to affect Bowers. His collection includes a ticket from the next session (1884–85).

The professorial faculty included JOSEPH P. REMINGTON (pharmacy), JOHN M. MAISCH (materia medica and botany), SAMUEL P. SADTLER (chemistry), and HENRY TRIMBLE (analytical chemistry).

Although personal assistants had been informally recruited by faculty members in the past, it was not until 1881 that the first official assistant professors appeared on the scene, namely C. FREDERICK ZELLER (pharmacy), HENRY TRIMBLE (chemistry), and JOHN E. COOK (materia medica and botany). Aside from their group historical notoriety, Zeller, Cook, and Trimble were also linked together by personal tragedy. Zeller and Cook died from tuberculosis in 1886 at the respective ages of 27 and 37. Trimble died due to the same cause in 1898 when he was 45.

For most of the 19th century, tuberculosis was considered an inherited disease. The argument held weight until Robert Kotch discovered the tuberculosis bacillus in 1882 and proved that it was contagious. Mercifully, despite their close quarters, Professors Remington, Maisch, and Sadtler never caught TB from their unfortunate assistants.

The poet John Keats often figures in discussions about tuberculosis. Here he merits attention because he was once a licensed apothecary and died of TB on February 23, 1821; a date more strongly associated locally with the establishment of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, of which a person might be tempted to say: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness...." From “Endymion” by John Keats (1818).”

Ticket Summary:

Bowers obtained seven tickets for his first year at PCP (1883–84) totaling $47.

  • $5 Matriculation Ticket
  • $12 Lectures on Pharmacy (Remington)
  • $12 Lectures on Chemistry (Sadtler)
  • $12 Lectures on Materia Medica & Botany (Maisch)
  • $2 Reviews on Pharmacy (Zeller)
  • $2 Reviews on Chemistry (Trimble)
  • $2 Reviews on Materia Medica & Botany (Cook)

Bowers obtained eight tickets for his second year at PCP (1884–85) totaling $57.
The higher price this year was due primarily to the Senior Course in Analytical Chemistry. Although no charge was made for the second-year matriculation ticket, the senior review courses were slightly more expensive.

  • Matriculation Ticket (Free)
  • $12 Lectures on Pharmacy (Remington)
  • $12 Lectures on Chemistry (Sadtler)
  • $12 Lectures on Materia Medica & Botany (Maisch)
  • $12 Senior Course in Analytical Chemistry (Trimble)
  • $3 Reviews on Pharmacy (Zeller)
  • $3 Reviews on Chemistry (Trimble)
  • $3 Reviews on Materia Medica & Botany (Cook)

A Final Examination Fee costing $15 had to be paid by Bowers to graduate, but apparently no ticket was issued for it. The customary free issue of the second-year matriculation ticket offered some small relief.

This brought the total cost of Bowers’ two-year pharmacy degree to $119 (approximately $3,000 in today’s dollars).


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