John W. Simes

Digger Odell Publications 2007

John W. Simes

Philadelphia, April 18. 1908

Clarence H. Campbell, the enterprising proprietor of the oldest drug store in Philadelphia, has just issued an interesting folder, calling attention to this landmark in local pharmaceutical history. Mr. Campbell is the sole owner of the business, his brother, Milton Compbell. having retired in 1895 owing to the demand which the duties of the presidency of the H. K. Mulford Co. made upon his time. The name of the house remained the same.For more than 92 years, the stand at the southwest corner of Eighteenth and Market streets has been a drug store and more than a million prescriptions have passed over its counters.

Authentic records begin in 1815 when John W. Simes, one of the foremost druggists of his day, conducted a retail drug business there up to 1835. He was succeeded by his son. John W. Simes, Jr. and later about 1844 Samuel Simes. Thomas Estlack was the proprietor of the store from 1858 to 1869 and then followed Robert S. Bower, later a prominent figure in the wholesale drug business. From 1876 to 1880 Joseph P. Remington, the present clean of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, with L. E. Sayre conducted the business, but in 188o Professor Remington retired and under the name of L. E. Sayre & Co. the business was carried on until 1885. H. K. Mulford was the next proprietor who later took as a partner Milton Campbell. In 1895 the growth of the manufacturing department led to the disposal of the retail business to Campbell & Brother, composed of Milton and Clarence H. Campbell, the latter, the present proprietor. With the exception of the Simeses all the proprietors of the famous store have been graduates of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy as have been most of their clerks.

Many changes have occurred in the neighborhood, but in outward appearance the store is almost the same as it was nearly a century ago. Its present proprietor promises to raise even higher the standards established by his predecessors. He is a strong exponent of organization and ethical pharmacy, and as a member of the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists, he has clone much to advance the interests of its members. the association and the issues they support.