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Rare bottle donation

By Sharon Gray

The bottles are small and delicate with labels in 24 carat gold, fastened with beeswax. Any museum would be proud to have this collection of apothecary bottles, recently donated to the School of Pharmacy.

The donation came from Kathryn Snow (BN’77 MN’93), whose uncle, Donald F. Welsford, owned and operated Welsford’s Drug Store on Main St. in Saint John, N.B.

“It was one of the last ‘old time drugstores,’ where compounding was carried out daily,” recalled Ms. Snow. “I can remember when I was a child and needed a cough and cold preparation, the last thing my uncle would say was ‘What flavour would you like,’ and then mix the flavour. Talk about individual service! As well, the drugstore was the last soda fountain drug store in Saint John. I worked in the store one summer when I was a teenager and I particularly remember making what was called a ‘pony,’ which was a soda without ice cream. Lemon-lime was a popular flavour.”

Ms. Snow’s family travelled to New Brunswick from Newfoundland every summer to visit their family in Saint John. “I remember Uncle Don had a black cat in the store that had come from Newfoundland – her name was Newfie!” she said.

Dr. Linda Hensman, director of the School of Pharmacy, is thrilled to receive the bottle collection, which will be kept in a safe environment.

Listening to Ms. Snow’s story of making up sodas at Welsford’s Drug Store, Dr. Hensman remarked that the art of compounding used to be standard for pharmacists. “Everything was compounded – liquids, pills, creams and ointments – there were no manufactured products years ago. In today’s pharmacy practice we are seeing a resurgence of specialty compounding to address the unique needs of patients. Our students still learn to compound prescriptions as pharmacists like Mr. Welsford did, but with a modern day focus.”

Mr. Welsford was a well-regarded pharmacist in New Brunswick and nationally. He received the Bowl of Hygeia Award, sponsored by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare in recognition of outstanding community service by a pharmacist.
The bottles came to Ms. Snow as a gift upon her graduation. Her uncle had had a shelf unit made for the bottles so that they could be displayed and enjoyed. Ms. Snow has enjoyed them for many years and would like the larger community to be able to enjoy them now. “I am pleased that the apothecary bottles are now in good hands at the School of Pharmacy for all to enjoy.”