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College of Pharmacy papers

Identifier: ua-00332

Scope and Content

The papers of the College of Pharmacy are in most ways a typical University collection. Since the collection goes back to the beginnings of the College in 1892, it documents quite thoroughly its history and development. In folder one there is a letter from Frederick Wulling to Dean Millard expressing his stipulations for accepting the position at the University of Minnesota. Some of these stipulations did not come to fruition until much later in his deanship, including a four-year course of study for the pharmacy degree and a medicinal plant garden (April 1892).

Much of this collection consisted of routine College matters - notices to faculty and students regarding meetings of clubs, class schedules and changes, examinations, fees; letters to parents and students concerning admission to the college or profession, grades, absences; correspondence with prospective staff members or student assistants; orders for supplies, equipment, or repairs; letters, and the responses to them requesting information or assistance on pharmaceutical matters.

There are several hundred letters from the office secretaries to Dean Wulling keeping him apprised of activities, incoming mail, visitors, etc., during his many absences on trips or vacations. Wulling's directions and comments are frequently pencilled on them.

There is correspondence arranging for guest speakers - usually local pharmacists - and visitors to the campus. There is also correspondence with and about various alumni. An interesting exchange of correspondence between Dean Wulling and Zada M. Cooper, State University of Iowa College of Pharmacy relates to pharmacy sororities, and the establishment of Kappa Epsilon, with Minnesota's Alpha Chapter being the charter-giving sponsor.

Correspondence, reports, and memos constantly reiterate the need for a new pharmacy building, and reflect the difficulties with other departments, notably medicine and dentistry, for space (October 1912). Many of Dean Wulling's Annual Reports to the President and the Regents appear in this collection, as do the historical reports to the State Association.

Beginning in 1902, Dean Wulling wrote news reports on the College of Pharmacy for the Northwestern Druggist. They appear five or six times a year and afford a considerable fill-in for a history of the school. These reports are interfiled chronologically with the correspondence.

Because Dean Wulling had almost complete control over the College, the members of the faculty gain little character or prominence in this collection with the exception of Charles H. Rogers, who succeeded Wulling as dean in 1937.

There is overlap between this collection and the collection of Dean Wulling's personal papers. Letters and papers pertaining to a particular situation or from any exchange of correspondence may be found in both collections. The early letterbooks of the collections illustrate the overlapping that continued to occur even after letters and papers were handled individually. As an example, Dean Wulling's first Annual Report may be found in volume 1 of the Wulling papers.


  • 1892-1963


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote should be from the College of Pharmacy papers should be arranged with head of University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

Dean Wulling described the beginnings of the College of Pharmacy in a letter to Ernst T. Stuhr (December 1934): "The act of April 22, 1891, Laws of the State of Minnesota, 1891, Chapter 163, Section 3, C1.9, created a Department of Pharmacy in the University and appropriated $5,000 for the equipping of a pharmaceutical laboratory. The College was made one of the colleges of the Department of Medicine, by the act of the Board of Regents, December 22, 1891; but the action of the Board, August 18, 1893, all of the four colleges theretofore comprising the Department of Medicine, including the College of Pharmacy, were made separate colleges not accountable to the Medical Department, but directly to the University President and the Board of Regents."

Frederick John Wulling was brought from the New York City College of Pharmacy to organize and direct the new College of Pharmacy at the University at the age of 25. The school was assigned one room in the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry Building, and except for a few courses taught in other departments, Wulling compromised the entire faculty.

To a very great extent Wulling was the College of Pharmacy. Even when the faculty became much larger, he maintained almost absolute control. Faculty meetings might be held, but they were bent to Wulling's will. All college business and correspondence was handled by the Dean or his secretary through the Dean's office.

In 1892, universities, for the most part, had not recognized pharmacy as a respected component of a university curriculum. At Minnesota, the Medical Department at best was indifferent, and frequently openly hostile, probably resenting the allotment to Pharmacy of any of the University's meager funds. Dean Wulling was a brilliant, able man - he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in law, as well as completing graduate work in medicine during his years at Minnesota. He was exceedingly jealous for his college and was determined to make it the outstanding College of Pharmacy in the country. Asking no favors, but accepting no interference, he proceeded to do exactly that.

When the College opened in 1892 with twelve students, the regular course leading to a degree was two years with the option of spreading the course work over a three-year period. The two-year program was abolished in 1916 and the three-year course became the minimum for graduation, with a four-year course option available. In 1926, the four-year course leading to the degree Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy was adopted and became the standard until 1954 when the program was extended to five years.

Lack of classroom, laboratory space, and facilities for faculty research constantly plagued the College. From its single room in Medical Chemistry, it moved to the Medical Sciences Building (Westbrook Hall) in 1896. By 1900 Dean Wulling was asking for a new building and in 1911 twice-burned old Millard (Wulling) Hall was rebuilt for the College of Pharmacy. In addition, the adjacent Anatomy Building ruins were made into a greenhouse. Within ten years, Dean Wulling was again asking for a new building or an addition to the old one. The College of Pharmacy was housed in Wulling Hall until 1960 when the school moved to Appleby Hall.

Some of Dean Wulling's activities on the state and national levels are reflected in this collection, especially where they have implications for the College of Pharmacy. These activities involve the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties, and the Minnesota Pharmaceutical Association. In 1933, there was some disagreement between the College of Pharmacy and the administration of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. For several months, Dean Wulling refused to permit the Association's accrediting inspector to officially visit the College.

The College of Pharmacy administered the drug room of the University Dispensary from 1906 to 1912. However, pharmacy students continued to receive practical experience there in drug compounding and dispensing even after it reverted to control by the Medical School.

A personal project of Dean Wulling was the development of a medicinal plant garden. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to establish a garden in the early years of the College, until finally in 1911 Dean Wulling was sent abroad to investigate European gardens, and Edwin Leigh Newcomb was brought to Minnesota as an instructor in pharmacognosy and to be in charge of the garden. The University of Minnesota's medicinal plant garden became a model for other schools to follow. Originally the garden was located in the space now occupied by Northrop Auditorium. From there it was moved to an area on University Avenue, just south of Sanford Hall, previously used by the Department of Botany; and then moved to the space back of Scott Hall.

During World War I, the College of Pharmacy undertook the growing, extracting, and standardizing of digitalis for the U.S. Army. Because of the college's proficiency in this field, digitalis leaves were shipped to Minnesota from other areas for processing and standardizing. Students and faculty alike aided in the work, and for a time the College literally became a factory for the production of digitalis. At the same time, Dean Wulling was called to Washington, D.C., to assist in having pharmacy approved as an S.A.T.C. course, drawing up a list of approved schools, and outlining a war course. He was also active in working to get officers' ratings equivalent to doctors and dentists for pharmacists in the armed services.

In February 1922 during the annual M.S.Ph.A convention, the College of Pharmacy conducted a one-day seminar on pharmacognosy. In August 1923, this was expanded into a week-long plant science research seminar held at the University. Thereafter the seminar was held annually, and beginning in 1927, it was held in connection with the meetings of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

The question of degrees was an early challenge for the College. In the 1890s a doctor's degree was granted for two years study; this was resolved in favor of the Bachelor of Science in pharmacy. Later the question was whether or not advanced degrees should be under control of the Graduate School, and Pharmacy had to prove that its scholastic standards were adequate.

Another problem for the College of Pharmacy in its early days was a lack of operating funds and inadequate salaries for faculty. Dean Wulling, on coming to Minnesota, had received less than half the salary promised to him, and for years was paid the least of all the deans at the University.

Dean Wulling constantly repeated the need for a museum for teaching purposes until finally he obtained a gift from the M.S.Ph.A and a special grant from President Coffman which enabled him to buy many of the desired objects. However, no formal museum has ever been set up.

Many problems Dean Wulling faced were, at least in part, a result of his two-fold ambition to have the best college of pharmacy in the country and to raise the status and standards of pharmacists and pharmacy to the level of those of doctors and medicine. As a result he made every effort to upgrade pre-requisites for admission to the College, the content and length of the course, and professional staff. As early as 1904, in a letter to the Board of Regents, he suggested a four-year course leading to a Bachelor of Science. Letters to officers and members of the Northwestern Branch of the American Pharmaceutical Association, and to other pharmacy educators, repeat over and over the importance and responsibilities of pharmacy, and the need for higher standards of education and licensing. At the same time, he deplores the druggist who is more interested in selling merchandise than in compounding prescriptions.

To impress this on the University Administration, Dean Wulling kept up a barrage of letters reciting developments, advances, needs, etc. in pharmacy at the University or at other schools. These were first sent to President Vincent and were an almost daily occurrence to President Coffman. In fact, Dean Wulling prepared batches of them to be sent one-at-a-time by his secretary when he was on vacation.

Letters, memos, statements, and reports to the President and members of the Board of Regents point out the need of the College for larger quarters and better equipment. Scarcely would the College settle into a new area before Dean Wulling would declare it inadequate. In this too, Dean Wulling enlisted the support of the State's pharmacists. Often his letters to the President state that he is writing as "directed by a resolution of the M.S.Ph.A." On the other hand, letters to the President of the University from the President of Minnesota Pharmaceutical Association concerning the Association's attitude on a matter involving Dean Wulling or the College usually bear the unmistakable stamp of the Dean's authorship.


4 boxes; 1 (m) (13.25 linear ft.)


The collection contains the papers of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota.


The papers of the collection are organized by correspondence and papers (1892-1941) and faculty meeting minutes (1911-1939). The papers are filed chronologically under each subject. The routine college correspondence was heavily discarded and only occasional samples are retained in the collection. Four files of papers regarding specific subject matter are filed after the correspondence and faculty meeting minutes. These materials include a copy of the will of Adelle Melendy (1936), information regarding the Medicinal Plant Garden (1910, 1913, 1930), reports to the Minnesota State Pharmaceutical Association (1895, 1911-1912, 1918-1919, 1924-1925, 1929-1936), and the dedication of Appleby Hall (1963).

Sixteen volumes accompany the papers of the collection. Volumes 1-19 contain correspondence, memos, reports, notices, and articles of the College of Pharmacy. The entries are either hand written or typed letters that have been glued to the pages. The volumes are generally in chronological order. Volumes 10 - 13 are records of equipment, business and purchasing accounts (1892-1914); volume 14 and 15 contain the records of the free dispensary while under the control of the College of Pharmacy (1906-1912). Volume 16 is a record of the Northwestern Branch of the American Pharmaceutical Association (1906-1943).

Source of acquisition

The collection was transferred to University Archives from the College of Pharmacy in 1947. Subsequent donations were made in 1952, 1974, 1979 and 1981.

Related Materials in University Archives

Frederick John Wulling papers

University of Minnesota. Comptroller papers

University of Minnesota. College of Pharmacy Alumni Association papers

Inventory of the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy Papers, 1892-1963
Clodaugh M. Neiderheiser; updated by Karen Spilman
Oct 1961; updated May 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

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