Green’s Drug Store, 1864-1965 – MS006

Green’s Drug Store, 1864-1965 – MS006

Provenance: Gift of James Barclay, owner of the Peirce Block. Barclay found the records in a vault above the drug store in 1986 and donated them to the Athenaeum.

Citation: Green’s Drug Store Records , MS006, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 12 linear feet

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Carolyn Eastman in 1990


Ledgers, correspondence, inventories, sales records, prescription books, and other records (1882-1965), including prescription books, narcotics prescriptions, and opium order books, of Green’s Drug Store; records (1864-1888) of Thacher’s Drug Store; records of the confectionery business of Green’s brother, Ralph Green; inventory (1957) of the estate of Frank McMahon; and other records.

Scope and Content

The Green’s Drug Store records consist almost entirely of the store and financial records of three businesses: J. H. Thacher’s Drug Store, Green’s Drug Store and Ralph Green’s Confectionary business; the collection is separated into these three subgroups. There are 23 archival boxes of material and 23 record books in phase boxes.

The Joseph Haven Thacher records (1864-1888) consist of store and financial records, including prescription books, store purchases and accounts, and sales books. One record book contains accounts with Dickman’s and Littlefield’s, maker of court plaster, for whom Thacher seems to have been a supplier.

The records of Green’s Drug Store (1882-1965) make up the bulk of this collection, and contain primarily the store, financial, and prescription records of the business. There are four series: Store and Financial (1882-1965), including account records and books, accountant’s statements, supplier’s accounts, a store inventory, tax records, wage books, sales records, and bills and receipts; Correspondence (1896-1907), consisting of business correspondence from suppliers, advertising circulars, and letters from individuals requesting prescriptions (most correspondence from the period 1896-1897 is addressed to J. H. Thacher); Prescription Records (1889-1964), which includes prescription books, narcotics prescriptions, and opium order books; and Miscellaneous (1957, 1963), consisting of the 1957 inventory of the estate of Frank McMahon and a 1963 census of business.

There are two items in the third subgroup containing Ralph Green’s Confectionary records (1891-1893): an income and expenses book, and a daily sales book.

Biographical Notes

Joseph Haven Thacher (February 10, 1825 – January 5, 1892), the son of Henry S. Thacher of Biddeford , Maine and Elizabeth Haven Wardrobe, began his druggist’s business at the corner of State and Pleasant Streets before 1851 (according to directories). In 1860 he purchased his brother Nathan Parker Thacher’s business as 12 Market Square , though Nathan continued to operate it until his death in 1867. J. H. Thacher also owned a store at 51 Congress Street , which was operated by F. B. Coleman from 1873 and purchased by Coleman in 1886. Thacher was married to Anna M. Thompson. He was buried in Harmony Grove Cemetery .

Benjamin Green (April 26, 1867 – ca. 1952-1955) was born in Portsmouth , the second son of Ephraim and Leah Fellerman Green, both Jewish immigrants from Poland . He married Josephine Bodge (d. October 17, 1927 ) of Greenland on October 29, 1891 in the Greenland Congregational Church by Rev. Robie. They had one son, Phillip Bodge Green (February 18, 1895 – December 18, 1934). They lived at 142 State Street until 1897, moving to 381 Middle Street . Green graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1882 and worked as a clerk in J. H. Thacher’s drug store at 12 Market Square . In 1888 he purchased Thacher’s business and shortly thereafter remodeled the store, installing a soda fountain. In 1898 he moved the business to 1 Market Square , completely remodeling the store. The new store was described in detail as “one of the most elegantly equipped drug stores east of Boston ” by the Portsmouth Herald ( 6/18/1898 ). Green retired in 1939, selling the business to Frank McMahon, who had been a clerk for Green since about 1903 and the pharmacist since about 1934. Green was a proprietor (share 88) of the Portsmouth Athenaeum from 1922-1949.

Ralph Green (August 10, 1869 – 1942), the third son of Ephraim and Leah Felleman Green, married Elizabeth Anne Gardner (1871-1939), daughter of Samuelo and Albina Gardner, on October 15, 1895 , married by Episcopalian minister Henry E. Hovey. Their daughter, Ruth Gardner Green Copeland, was born April 29, 1901 . At the age of twelve, Green was taken out of school and sent to Boston to serve as an apprentice to a German caterer named Roebeck. He opened his own catering business in Portsmouth and catered the affairs connected with the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. At that time, Green also had a second hop in the old Octagon House in York Harbor . In 1894 Green wrote and publish Receipt Book, a collection of his recipes. He died in Portsmouth .

Series List

I. Joseph Haven Thacher’s Drug Store

II. Green’s Drug Store

A. Store and Financial Records

B. Correspondence

C. Prescription Records

D. Miscellaneous

III. Ralph Green Confectioner’s Records

I. Joseph Haven Thacher’s Drug Store

Box 1

Folder 1 Store Purchases and Account Book, 1864-1877 and Supplier Accounts with Dickman’s and Littlefield’s, 1884-1888

Folder 2 Sales Journal Book, 1878-1886

Folder 3 Ledger, undated

Phase Box 1-2 Prescription Books, 1866-1876

II. Green’s Drug Store

A. Store and Financial Records

Box 2

Folder 1 Waste Book, 1887-1889

Folder 2-5 Distribution of Sales Books, 1933-1957

Folder 6 Petty Cash Book, 1937-1941

Box 3

Folder 1 Petty Cash Book, 1942-1951

Folder 2-3 Store Accounts Books, 1944-1953

Folder 4 Annual Finances Book, 1939-1959

Folder 5 Accountant’s Annual Statements, 1948-1949

Folder 6 Accountant Correspondence, 1957-1958

Folder 7 Wage Book, 1943

Box 4

Folder 1-2 Wage Books, 1944-1959

Folder 3 Taxes: Profit and Loss Statements, 1953-1957

Folder 4-5 Taxes: Summary Sheets, 1956-1965

Folder 6-7 Taxes: Employer’s Returns, 1956-1963

Folder 8 Taxes: Excise Tax Forms, 1956-1964

Folder 9 Taxes: Report of Liability Adjustments, 1957

Folder 10 Tax Correspondence, 1957-1965

Folder 11-13 Bills and Receipts, 1893 and undated

Box 5

Folder 1-9 Bills and Receipts, 1893, G-W

Folder 10-16 Bills and Receipts, 1901, A-N

Box 6

Folder 1-6 Bills and Receipts, 1901, O-Y

Folder 7-16 Bills and Receipts, June-August 1906, A-W

Box 7

Folder 1-10 Bills and Receipts, September-December 1906, A-Y

Phase Box 3 Supplier’s Accounts, 1882-1889

Phase Box 4 Store Inventory, 1912

Phase Box 5 – 10 Cash Books, 1939, 1941-1945

Phase Box 11 – 20 Voucher Books, 1940-1953

B. Correspondence

Box 7

Folder 11-18 Correspondence, 1896-1899, B-U

Box 8

Folder 1-2 Correspondence, 1896-1899, W

Folder 3-11 Correspondence, 1906, A-Y

Folder 12-16 Correspondence, 1907, A-C

Box 9

Folder 1-16 Correspondence, 1907, D-X

C. Prescription Records

Box 10

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1900-1904

Box 11

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1906-1909, 1911-1913

Box 12

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1914-1920

Box 13

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1920-1926

Box 14

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1926-1936

Box 15

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1936-1943

Box 16

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1943-1946

Box 17

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1946-1949

Box 18

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1949-1951

Box 19

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1951-1955

Box 20

Folder 1-2 Prescription Books, 1955-1964

Box 21

Folder 1 Prescription Books, 1964

Folder 2 Narcotics Prescription Book, 1939-1940

Box 22

Folder 1-5 Narcotics Record Book, 1919-1937

Folder 6 Exempt Narcotics Register, 1940-1941

Folder 7-8 Opium Order Books, 1920-1923

Box 23

Folder 1-10 Opium Order Books, 1930-1940

Phase Box 21 – 23 Prescription Books, 1889-1901

D. Miscellaneous

Box 23

Folder 11 Inventory of Estate of Frank McMahon, 1957

Folder 12 Census of Business, 1963

III. Ralph Green, Confectioner’s Records

Box 24

Folder 13 Income and Expense Book, 1891-1893

Folder 14 Daily Sales Book, 1891-1893