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Register of the Stockton (Calif.) Druggist's Records, 1895-1963
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Stockton (Calif.) Druggist's Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1895-1963
    Collection number: Mss15
    Creator: Stuart Gibbons
    Extent: 3.25 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Stockton (Calif.) Druggist's Records, Mss15, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    In 1900 there were twelve drug stores in Stockton. In 1920 there were twenty-two. Of that number, three (Central, Eagle, and Holden Drug) had been in operation in 1900. The same three continued in business in 1940 when there were thirty-seven druggists in Stockton, four of whom bore Japanese surnames.
    Holden Drugs, one of the earliest and longest lived businesses in Stockton, was founded by Erastus S. Holden (1850). In 1854 Holden constructed a two story brick building at the corner of Main and Sutter Streets that survived into the 1960s. He enlarged and remodeled this edifice in 1875. When E.S. Holden died in 1885 he had been six times mayor of Stockton, a founding member and President of the State Agricultural Society, and President of the Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad. His drug company had become widely known in northern California for its Holden's Ethereal Cough Syrup and Holden's Corn Remover.
    Isaac D. Holden, son of Erastus S., operated the store until 1892, when he sold out to his two clerks, J.A. Sanford and Louis M. Haight. Haight chose to pursue a career as a physician and, in 1897, sold out his interest to William Hobin, who continued to operate the business with J.A. Sanford into the 1920s. In 1909, Hobin and Sanford affiliated Holden Drug with the Rexall chain and moved operations from E.S. Holden's original brick store to the Elks' Building, at the corner of Weber Avenue and Sutter Street. They continued to manufacture Holden's Ethereal Cough Syrup until the end of World War I.
    J.A. Sanford and his son, W. Holden Sanford, who had joined him in the business upon the departure of William Hobin in 1925, moved operations across the street to 347 Weber. The Sanfords sold Holden Drug to Henry P. Algar in 1929. In 1931 Algar disaffiliated with the Rexall chain and, in the following year, sold out to Carlos LaMoine who operated Holden Drug until 1939. LaMoine, in turn, sold Holden Drug to Daniel W. Morrison, who managed the company until it closed its doors for the last time in 1949.
    The Public Drug Co., managed by George H. Dietz and Edward L. Wright, was established in 1906. Dietz, a Stockton native, began in the employ of Holden Drug. In 1917 he retired the trade-name "Public Drug Co." and opened a new business under his own name on South San Joaquin Street. Dietz earned local reknown in 1918 as the inventor of the Dietz "Euca-Menth" Cough Drop. By 1925 Dietz' own company, Dietz Pharmacy, was the most prosperous operation in Stockton. George Dietz also operated a factory dedicated to the manufacture of his cough drops. Dietz Pharmacy ceased operation on his death in 1929.
    Wallace Drug Co. was founded by E. Wallace Smith in 1924. Smith had, from 1917, been a pharmacist at Central Drugs before opening his own store. His place of business was at 447 N. California Street. From 1933 the company was managed by Mrs. N.W. Nock. By 1945 Wallace Drug was no longer in business.
    Michael A. Sanguinetti, member of a large and prosperous family who have resided in San Joaquin county since 1860, founded the El Dorado Drug Store, at the corner of El Dorado & Market Streets, in 1942. Upon Sanguinetti's retirement in 1975, the store was taken over by Douglas E. Bennett, who presently continues in business there.

    Scope and Content

    None of the material in this collection dates from the years when the Holden Drug Company was operated by the Holdens. Apart from a scattering of turn-of-the-century advertising pamphlets, all items found here are prescription records dating from 1910 or later. As such, they form an interesting record of population shifts in the older part of Stockton. The records from 1941, for instance, bear mostly Japanese surnames, while records from 1963 show a preponderance of Spanish names.