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Of Pittsford, Pumpkins and Pharmacists. Monroe Avenue, Pittsford, New York, USA

A bit of a sullen day here in Pittsford, N.Y., yesterday as I walked past this pretty house on Monroe Avenue. The 'white' history of Pittsford goes back to the colonial wars against the Senecas in 1687. But the town came into its force by the digging of the Erie Canal (1817-1825). The Canal today is the Tourist Artery of the pleasant town.

On the porch of this fine house are a pumpkin and the time-honored Autumnal Chrysanthemums. Apart from decorative and culinary qualities, pumpkins down through the ages have also had various medicinal uses. Among them their help in expelling intestinal parasites such as tapeworms. Of course, many in the nineteenth century were affected by those nasty creatures...

I don't know whether the well-liked village pharmacist Dr William A. Hartman (1829-1900) - he had actually studied medicine - stocked pumpkin derivatives. More interesting to me is the fact that his daughter Mary Elizabeth (1862-1943) was the first female pharmacist of New York State.

Lillian - she changed her first name in secondary school - learned the drug trade from her father. But for many years she was denied a license to practice pharmacy because she was a woman, and pharmacy was considered a man's vocation. After a series of failed petitions she was finally allowed to sit for the exam, and she acquired her licence. Affectionately called 'Dolly' by her friends she became a noteworthy pharmacist who was also an avid photographer - some of her photographs of the town survive - and a local correspondent of the Democrat & Chronicle (still today a much-read newspaper for the Rochester area). She lived with her female companion Ione G. Dye and they were often seen together walking their little dog along the streets of Pittsford; perhaps, too, past this house near a bridge over the Erie Canal! I myself carried on to visit One in the Autumn of his Long Life.

This photo is dedicated to the Pharmacist from Venlo, sometimes mentioned in these photo pages.

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Taken on October 15, 2012