Category: Pharmacy

The last time I went to the doctor, I noticed that the prescription pad was quickly becoming a thing of the past. The doctors and pharmacists I interacted with relied primarily on Web based forms, direct faxes, and large pharmaceutical databases to provide the prescriptions and information I needed.

What did we do before this online convenience? One option was to pick up the telephone and call the College of Pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy provided a public information service for questions related to prescription drugs. Inquiries came in through letters and telephone calls and often sought the composition of pharmaceuticals, translations of foreign prescriptions, and general advice on the interpretation of prescriptions. Most questions came from local pharmacists; however, some were from the general public. At times the information service attracted people passing along employment information and even a solicitation from one pharmacist wanting to sell his business.

From the late 1950s through the early 1960s, Charles Netz, professor of pharmaceutical technology, provided most of the responses. Each answer was usually typed out and given to the pharmacy librarian for filing.

In addition to his duties of teaching and providing pharmaceutical reference information, Netz also served as president of the Minnesota Pharmaceutical Association in 1950, associate dean for the College of Pharmacy beginning in 1960, and acting dean in 1966. He also authored the History of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, 1892-1970. Netz was a member of the faculty from 1918 until retiring in 1966.

View selected responses to questions for the College's information service from 1961 below. Topics include questions on mink oil in an ointment, confirming a prescription for Sodium Phenobarbital, an attempt to identify a prescription from Poland, and a pharmacist looking to sell his business.

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img0034.jpgWhat does your yearbook say about you? A former University of Minnesota yearbook The Gopher approached the sentimentality surrounding graduation and the passing on of traditions in a less than serious manner.

For example, below are a few selections describing students in the School of Dentistry from 1908.

Name: Colie
Occupation: Answering roll call
Drink: Hops

Name: Mitt
Occupation: Collecting matches
Drink: Hoods Sarsaparilla

Name: Sandy
Occupation: Forgetting
Drink: Hot Scotch


The College of Pharmacy students graduating that same year did not fare much better.

Dretchko, A. L. So little is known concerning him that perhaps the less said about him the better.

Earl, Fred, W. Fred cares about as much for Botany as bacteria for a dead clam.

Erchenbrack, Earl S. His September modesty is now a thing of the past. Why, he even learned how to smoke!


Similar remarks (and more) are available on today’s students’ Facebook or MySpace pages. The difference is today’s employers are more likely to stumble across the comments via Google.

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The AHC History Project is a collaborative effort between the Academic Health Center and the University Libraries.