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Finding Aid for the Birchall and Owen Archive 1849-1857
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
A small collection of business correspondence from the firm of Birchall and Owen, retail suppliers of drugs, patent medicines, medical supplies, and stationers to Springfield, Illinois and wholesalers to the surrounding region. The firm also printed and distributed almanacs. Price lists and circulars from some of their suppliers provide an interesting overview of the popular medicines of mid-19th century America. The correspondence provides a window on commercial practices of the time, and the emerging emphasis on marketing and advertisement of products.
Background
The partnership between printer/bookbinder Caleb Birchall (1808-1860) and druggist Thomas Jefferson Vance Owen (1827-1876) lasted from 1848 to 1855. Their drugstore in Springfield, Illinois seems to have been a thriving business, with supplies arriving from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc. and customers scattered over a wide region. The firm dealt not only in drugs and patent medicines, but also sold various medical and dental supplies, stationery goods, and printed and distributed an almanac (e.g., "Goudy's Illinois and Missouri farmers' almanac and repository of useful knowledge, for the year 1849...") In documents not in this collection, there is a record of Abraham Lincoln being a customer of the firm for office ledgers.
Extent
4 folders (0.25 linear ft)
Restrictions
Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.
Availability
Collection is open for research.