School of Pharmacy purchases famous print collection
The Parke, Davis & Company collection of prints, titled “A History of Pharmacy in Print,” is on a rotating display in the School of Pharmacy dean’s conference room until the prints can be permanently displayed in West Hall.
In the early 1960s, commercial artist and illustrator Robert A. Thom was commissioned by the pharmaceutical Parke, Davis & Company to create a collection of illustrations depicting the history of pharmacy.
Mr. Thom created 40 illustrations, beginning with one titled “Before the Dawn of History” and showing early man, to an illustration titled “Pharmacy Today and Tomorrow.”
During the 1960s, sets of these prints were provided to each of the schools of pharmacy in existence at that time.
“In 2002, the LLU School of Pharmacy came into possession of a complete and pristine set of the original 40 prints,” relates Avis Ericson, PharmD, administrative dean of the School. “Locating a complete set is probably a fairly rare event.”
Thanks to the generosity of the School of Pharmacy faculty and staff, the prints have been framed and will be displayed throughout West Hall. In addition to covering the display costs for these prints, the donations will be added to the School’s scholarship fund.
“To acquaint everyone to the set, there will be be a rotating display of all 40 prints in the dean’s conference room,” Dr. Ericson continues, “prior to mounting them permanently.”
Artist, author, and lecturer Robert Alan Thom was born March 4, 1915, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He trained at the Institute of Fine Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and later with artist Robert Brackman, of Noank, Connecticut.
In the late 1950s, Mr. Thom was commissioned by Detroit-based Parke, Davis & Company to create a 46-piece set of illustrations, titled “A History of Medicine in Pictures.” The collection, “A History of Pharmacy in Print,” soon followed. Both sets were reproduced as photolithographic limited edition series.
“A narrative description of each print will also be mounted nearby to describe the event depicted by Mr. Thom,” Dr. Ericson explains. “Ultimately, a small booklet will be available that gives a guided tour of these prints and highlights their importance.”
By Larry Kidder, MA