The 1889 pandemic, known as the Russian Flu, began in Russia and spread rapidly throughout Europe. It reached North America in December 1889 and spread to Latin America and Asia in February 1890. About 1 million people died in this pandemic." The most infamous pandemic was “Spanish Flu” which affected large parts of the world population and is thought to have killed at least 40 million people in 1918-1919
One hundred years ago, medicine could only combat the symptoms of the disease. The patient's own immune system did most of the work. Although physicians were available in The Branch, most medicines were dispensed by pharmacists. Since there was a ready supply of pharmacists from the New York College of Pharmacy (Columbia University) and the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, The Branch communities had many pharmacies. What is of interest to this author, however, are the numbers of married couples, both registered pharmacists, who practiced in the area.
George A. Koch, postmaster of Woodsburgh and then Woodmere from 1897-1904, had a small apartment on the second floor of his drug store on the corner of Broadway and Irving Place, where he lived with his wife, Theresa. Late one night in August 1904, thieves broke into the store and dynamited the safe inside. Both Mr. and Mrs. Koch came down armed -- he with a double barreled shotgun -- and engaged the thieves in an exchange of gunfire before they escaped with $750 worth of stamps and $300 in cash. This was a repeat of an earlier, unsuccessful robbery attempt a month before. In 1904, Koch sold his Woodmere location and opened a drug store in Far Rockaway, perhaps a more civilized area at the time.
Colonial Pharmacy, Woodmere
Estelle V. Wisendanger
William Wisendanger (born 1873; graduated BCP 1895) and his wife, Estelle (nee Vaughan, married 1898) owned and operated the Colonial Pharmacy, located at the corner of Broadway and Irving Place in Woodmere (the same corner if not the same location as the Woodmere Pharmacy). William, a member of the German Apothocaries Society, had owned the Rhinelander Pharmacy in Manhattan before moving to Woodmere.
It was Estelle, however, who was the family superstar. Upon her graduation from NYCP in 1908, Estelle, who placed second in her class, had won the free scholarship prize offered by the Manhattan Pharmaceutical Association.
By 1913, Estelle was elected president of the New York Women's Pharmaceutical Association and in July of 1914 was one of those on a 55-day European tour sponsored by the German Apothocaries Society when the German army mobilized. The tour was cut short and the Americans were allowed to leave Germany.
Although she was still in Woodmere in 1935, Estelle Wisendanger is listed as a widow in the 1940 census and had moved to Monroe, NY.
Jennings Pharmacy, Lawrence
Frank R. Jennings
|Jennings Pharmacy, c. 1912/ photo: Courtesy Linda Forand|
Frank R. Jennings (born 1877, NYCP 1896), worked with his father in Far Rockaway, until in 1899, when he got a job in Mianus, Connecticut. In 1900, he married Eliza W. Pettit (born 1877), who became a certified pharmacist in 1904.
Jennings was a member of the King's County Pharmaceutical Society (American Druggist, Jan-June 1908) and opened a new drug store in Lawrence in 1912. (Druggists Circular, 12/1912). According to family members, it was located at the intersection of the Rockaway-Jamaica Turnpike and the Rockaway Road (today's Broadway) -- a crossroad which had been called "Jennings Corners" since the mid-19th Century.
Over the years, Jennings relocated his store to the corner of Central Avenue and Washington Avenue in Cedarhurst (right) and eventually to Broadway and Franklin Avenue in Hewlett. (Hays Directory, 1945)
After Frank's death, Eliza continued as a pharmacist until she was in her seventies.
John D. Crosby
May V. Crosby
then called Westville.
John D.Crosby is listed in 1904 as treasurer of the newly-formed Queens County Pharmaceutical Association, which boasted 25 members. (William Wisendanger is listed as President) In March 1907, John Crosby and others listed at a dinner of the Long Island Botanical Association, an organization comprised of all the druggists on the Rockaway Peninsula.
In February 1914 (Pharmaceutical Era), May Crosby is listed as the corresponding secretary of the Women's Pharmaceutical Association of New York; Estelle Wisendanger is the President.)
In addition to pharmaceuticals and patent medicines, drug stores of the early 20th century had elaborate soda fountains. An area like The Branch, which was noted for its summer tourism, would have been no exception. An advertisement in the Evening Telegram of March 14, 1923 reports that the Crosby Pharmacy is one of several listed who just bought a NEW KNIGHT fountain and is selling it's old one.
Raeder's Pharmacy, Cedarhurst
Edward M. Raeder
In addition to sodas, drug stores supplied postcards to the tourist trade. Many which still exist on the collectibles market bear the name of Raeder's Pharmacy.
An article in The Pharmaceutical Era, (1909, vol. 41, p. 436), describes the pharmacy:
"Raeder's Pharmacy in the White Building,Cedarhurst, Long Island, which was recently opened is one of the finest on the Island."Edward M Raeder born c.1878 (NYCP 1898) was the proprietor.
- World Health Organization: Influenza
- CIPRAP: Influenza: Pandemic Influenza: Overview: Historical Perspective
- Parsons, Henry Franklin. Report on the Influenza Epidemic of 1889-90. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1891.
MacDonald, Ian. Betty O'Keefe. Dr. Fred and the Spanish Lady: Fighting the Killer Flu, Surrey, British Columbia : Heritage House, 2004.
Crosby, Alfred W. America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989, 2003."Portrait and Biographical Record of Queens County (Long Island) New York"
(Copyright 1896 by Chapman Publishing Company)