Scope and Content
Title: Stockton (Calif.) Druggist's Records,
Date (inclusive): 1895-1963
Collection number: Mss15
Extent: 3 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[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
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.