Medicinal alcohol and prohibition

The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors,” took effect on January 16, 1920. It became known as the National Prohibition or Volstead Act. This new law required physicians to obtain a special permit from the prohibition commissioner in order to write prescriptions for liquor. The patient […]

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1890 Rx

Last week, while leafing through a 1890s medical book from the museum’s library, I found a small slip of paper between the pages. It was a prescription recipe for the pharmacy of H. Waterman in Ravenna, OH. As I looked over the neat handwriting, I realized that the drug names were written in Latin and […]

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Interesting Smithsonian exhibits on medicine

Common Threads exhibit by Jean Shin at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art: This exhibit is made out of a collection of similar everyday objects. For example, “Chemical Balance III” makes lighted stalactite- and stalagmite-like sculptures out of empty prescriptions containers. According to the artist, this part of the exhibit speaks to a dependency on […]

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