tv American Artifacts CSPAN March 27, 2016 10:00pm-10:21pm EDT
continue that. it tells the story of the entire southeast. >> civil war and civil rights is the focus, and america's civil war is the most studied subject in the world: by the american civil rights, and they both happened here. tour staffthe cities recently traveled to montgomery, alabama to learn about its rich history. learn about other stops on the ur at c-span. work. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend. announcer: each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts revealed about american history. next, we visit the alexandria apothecary museum located in virginia just outside of wishing to and d.c., which was
operated by the same family for over a century. we will learn about what an apothecary does and how medicine has changed over many years. >> my name is gretchen bulova, and i am the director of the apothecary museum in alexandria, virginia. the museum is owned and operated by the city of alexandria. today we are going to look at the stabler-leadbeater apothecary museum and we will learn a little bit more about its history. alexandria in the 1790's is a booming economy. it is a thriving seaport, there is a lot of new construction in town a lot of people are , starting to move to the city. edward stabler moves from leesburg to alexandria in 1792 , and he opens a small shop a couple of doors down from here today. 1805, and that incorporates the building next door into his business and uses that as his warehouse.
so an apothecary, in this time period, was where people went to essentially see the doctor. most people did not see a doctor. they went to an apothecary. they would tell them what was wrong, and they would mix up something to help cure what ails them. in the 18th century, doctors were trained generally by university. they would go through a formal set of courses to learn their practice and trade. they would often go and not have their own practice the way we think of that today where we go to a doctor's office. they would go to your house. because they are performing home visits, things were a little more expensive. if you were an average citizen in alexandria, virginia in the 18th century, you would often solve your ailments by going to an apothecary. you would explain your symptoms. an apothecary had anywhere from four to seven years of apprentice training.
in a formal setting where they would read reference books but learning about herbs and roots and things like that, that they would be able to take the properties that each of these had mix them up, and prescribed , to patients. stabler's time in the late 18th century, after you served your apprenticeship and opened your own apothecary business, you would keep up with emergent trends in medicine and also the drug business by reading journals and also reference books that were produced, learning about different properties and sort of regulating how medicine was produced. as a 19th century went on into the 20th century, there were regulations and a general consensus on a pharmacopeia. there was a list of drugs that were regulated and prescribed in using recipes for medicine. some of the tools for the trade,
for edward stabler in the 18th century and the leadbeater's in the 19th and 20th centuries would have been the mortar and pestle. a lot of people recognized from cooking and grinding herbs and things like that. it would have been used to grind herbs, barks roots, into the , powder used to make the medicine. to get the right ingredients in the right quantities, they would use a measuring scale like this, a mid to late 19th century scale. other things that would have been used in the trade in the 19th century would have been a cork press like this. you have a different torque is size you would wet the cork and , put it through the cork press to make it smaller. filling have finished the bottle with your medicine, you would then use your condensed cork and it would expand to fit, forming a seal. the raw ingredients that would have been ground in the mortar and pestle would have been often combined with alcohol. you would have using pill
roller or handrolled the ingredients that are now sort of in a pill form. they were given with chocolate or gelatin to make it easier to consume for the customer. if you are a customer in the 1790's, you would purchased your medicine in a bottle similar to this. everything was handblown. bottles would have been more expensive. in his early period up until the beginning of the 19th century, they would import a lot of bottles from overseas. as glass factories started to emerge in america, things became a little bit cheaper and routine and easy to buy, so you would buy something formed in a mold and a bit more uniform. as the 1850's emerged, the use of gold foil and fancy labels as a display, similar to a lot of the bottles you see here, that the leadbeater's kept over the years when they acquired the business, because they are very pretty. and they house the raw
ingredients and do the job of putting raw ingredients, compounding and putting them into medicine, a more festive thing. it is very pretty and more professional. things like that. so you can see their collection over the years of the bottles for the different raw ingredients that were used for the medicine. so some of the ingredients you , see in the bottles would have been readily recognizable to a lot of not only customers in the late 18th century but also to today's public. such as cinnamon. and also we have a little bit of checotah here. normally, that is made from bark. it was thought to, starting in 1820's, cure malaria. so it forms quinine. a very popular drug still in use today. you have got a little bit of myrrh. just regular alcohol. you could've used in any number of medicine. some things he would have -- you will have noticed is that some of the bottles have thin
necks and some have very wide necks. anything that was a powder or a barca type of ingredient was having a larger next week could get the -- bark type of ingredient would have a larger neck to get the ingredients out. anything that was a lick not have needed a large spout for it. one thing that we are lucky to have is an extensive collection of paper labels that the stabler's and leadbeater's would have applied to something they were either retailing or had concocted to gift to their customers. it ran the gamut from things we consider to be pure medicine to things that are floor oil or mothballs or things like that. we do know the full extent of the products they sold and marketed to their customers. in our collection, we have lots of products that would be
recognizable not only to people in the 19th century, but also today's customers. one of these things is listerine. one of the things the serene was known for inventing was halitosis. it was not actually a word in the vernacular, but it helped them sell a product people recognized. maybe i do have bad breath and maybe i need something for it. you will see vick's cough drops , which has a lot of camphor in it which is to help ease the breathing when you're sick. and then kidney to her -- kidney cherry,lsam of wild pepto-bismol something you would , use if you had a cold. things like that. other things we have in our collection include a lot of poison bottles and bloodletting equipment. in the 18th and 19th century, not everyone could read. and so what you wanted to do if you wanted to give them something that could possibly kill them you wanted them to be somere that there was
precautions they should take with some of the medicines. to see what was recognized in the early 19th century and the mid-19th century that included poison would be visa blue bottles with small -- would be visa blue bottles with small bumps in them. that was a sign that perhaps it is something they should have been aware of. we have got bloodletting devices in the 18th century and a little bit in the 19th century. it was thought that there were too many humors in the body. so they needed to be drained out in terms of draining some blood. they would do it in specific amounts. sometimes up to a quart of blood. that would bring to balance some of the humors in your body. there were different ways that you could do it. they had a small lamp it -- clampet that we know edward stabler in the 1790's sold quite a few of. you could buy a fancier set or a much more mundane and less fancy device.
up top, you have got the perfect . ader, --corificator essentially a much more industrialized version of the lancet. you would place it against the skin, it was spring-loaded and it would go directly into your veins and you would drain the blood out. while he sold lancets and other scorificators, he was not necessarily performing the service at the shop. he would prescribed them to doctors and they would purchase the scorificators and also the lancets to use in their own private practice. bloodletting was not done in an office. like a doctor's office like someone today but in someone's , private home i someone who is trained to do that. gretchen bulova: edward was very dedicated.
he actually became an elder in his faith and that would be the focus of where he was taking it in the next stage of his life. so he left the business to his oldest son, william. so the business transfer is really from edward stabler to william. the name stabler-leadbeater while the apothecary stays in yearssame family for 140 it does transfer in marriage. , john leadbeater had been working here with william and fell madly in love with william's sister and came back to work here and took ownership and it switches than in the family from stabler to leadbeater. it is really under john leadbeter that the building get remodeled to the way it looks today.
by 1862, it has a new interior that you can see with the ginger breading and a more updated, gothic revival style. because they were trying to stay current and trying to keep attracting a new and fresh clientele. i had a pretty loyal customer -- they had a pretty loyal customer base. have a lot of the primary stores, ledgers, letters, orders, and prescription files in our collection. it is really quite a treasure, and extensive archival collection. so we can tell who is shopping here, what they are purchasing what the prices are for the , products they are purchasing. they are getting people coming in off the street. but they still have a, like a who's who in alexandria customer order. one of edward stabler's most prominent patrons is martha
washington. on april 22, 1802, she sends a letter requesting his best bottle of castor oil and has that sent to mount vernon. sadly, she passes away just a month later on maitre d'second from phileas fever. robert e. lee is another prominent name that our visitors take away from the tour. robert e. lee, we have in some of our ledgers that he purchased whitewash for arlington house, and he also purchased lavender as well. lavender was a great remedy for migraines. at the peak of the business, the family was operating out of 11 different buildings here in town. this was retail. they also had a retail on the corner of king in fairfax. -- and fairfax.
they loved the history in this space. they almost had it set up as a little museum. i mean, they were really into the history and the fact that it had served the community and so many prominent alexandrians throughout their time. up through the civil war, he was starting to increase the business. it started to include a wholesale line of products. with the civil war, alexandria was occupied. and because the family were quakers, they were pacifists and they were also abolitionists. they were allowed to keep running a business here in town. after the civil war, the economy of alexandria slowly starts to recover. and john leadbeater, with the assistance of his son, edward stabler-leadbeater, starts a wholesale product in three different states, in 500
different businesses locally in the region. and that really helps them expand their business, expand their product line and become well-known in the area. the room we are standing in is what we refer to as the manufacture room. it is where a lot of the raw ingredients were stored moving to the building in 1805. all the way through the 20th century when they closed they , are using it more as an office space and also as storage. so this room would have been used to store raw ingredients. now the raw ingredients would , have been purchased in the 18th century by edward stabler, through merchants not only by merchants in the united states and philadelphia and new york, but they also would have been purchased from as far away as london. there were many apothecary vendors that would have sold bulk raw ingredients to
apothecary's here in the united states. it would have taken roughly a month over by a ship. we are very lucky in that alexandria in the 18th century was a thriving seaport. a lot of these ingredients, which would have been very expensive farther west or farther south would have been readily available for him to sell to his customers. as the 19th century progressed, the leadbeater's were working not only on the thriving retail business but the expanded to have their own line of products. one of the things in the line would be pure sweet oil. it would be made from almonds or olive oil. and it could be used as a hair tonic, to alleviate your aches -- ear aches. you can use it to alleviate any tummy aches. you could also use it for cooking. in the early 20th century, other products wholesale to under the name would have been things like they made their own brand of paints. you can see the different
varieties of colors here. you would have also had a different line for extracts and flavorings for food, such as ice cream and cooking and things like that. those were very popular. in the early 20th century in response to a lot of the influenza outbreaks in the united states, the lead beater -- leadbeters had their own proprietary brand of medicine to deal with that. it was called quibon. it would have been -- it killed chills and la grippe. it was chocolate covered pill that would have been easier for people to take. the leadbeater's took over the business, they preserved a lot of the original layout of the manufacturing room. a lot of the same floors and a lot of the same cabinets and things like that would have been preserved as they were used in the 18th century and also in the 19th and 20th centuries. the business declared bankruptcy in a lot of remaining contents 1933. were preserved just as they were when the business was open. in the beginning of the 19th
century, a space like this would have been used by edward stabler to conduct business, answer letters, do any sort of accounting in his day books and account books to keep things up to date with his customers. as the 19th century went on and into the early 20th century, additional buildings that the leadbeter's had purchased on the corner of king street and fairfax street could have been used as a more formal office and a large office space. during the late 19th and early 20th century, you would have had book keepers and secretaries on this floor. dealing with and communicating with wholesale customers and also the vendors or suppliers as far away as philadelphia, boston or new york. gretchen bulova: over time as we hit the 20th century, it has a slow decline. they do shut their doors by part
1933. of that is the depression. part of it is, they are not able to change from wholesaling back to retailing fast enough. to meet the demands of the changing economy here in the united states. but they do close their doors in 1933. handler of baltimore buys a good portion of the contents of the building. at public auction. the landmark society preserves the two buildings we know today at the apothecary museum. preserves those and opens the m as a museum for 1939. the landmark society operates these two buildings as a museum through much of the 20th century. by 2006, they were looking to donate the buildings to the city of alexandria. the buildings underwent a full restoration where the second
floor was opened, and that was the first time the public was able to see the manufacturing room on the second floor. the buildings have been operated since 2006 by the city of alexandria. thank you for visiting the apothecary museum with us today. the museum is open year-round for a nominal admission fee. we encourage you to come by for a tour and to learn more about alexandria and the history of medicine, and just more about life as an early business person here in alexandria. announcer: you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. announcer: you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history.