Modeste’s License


The excellent Jacki Wilson, archivist at the University of West Florida Historic Trust, sent the following:

Modeste Hartgis’ pharmacy license! Source: UWF Historic Trust

If you are just now joining the Emmett Wilson Program, Modeste was Emmett’s pharmacist while he lived in Pensacola. Last year, I did a short essay about her here. I reached out to Jacki about two weeks ago with a query about Modeste and her family, and Jacki sent the image of Modeste’s pharmacy license, along with a few short articles. Isn’t that great?

Here’s a transcript of the license:

Board of Pharmacy for the State of Florida

This is to certify that Modeste Hargis is a registered pharmacist in conformity with the Act of the Florida Legislature, entitled

“An Act to regulate the Practice of Pharmacies in Cities and Towns of more than two hundred inhabitants and the Sale of Poisons in the State of Florida and to affix Penalties,”

Approved May 30, 1889. In testimony whereof, witness our Signatures and the Seal of the Board, Ocala, this 3rd day of August in the Year of Our Lord 1893.

Dabney Palmer, President

Sydney B. Leonard (?)


Modeste Hargis, on the day she graduated from pharmacy school, 1893. Source: womenofhistoricpcola

Jacki also mentioned that the photo of Modeste in the earlier post was taken of her on the day she graduated from pharmacy school.

A researcher interested in historic pharmacy of Pensacola found the essay. Long story short, I agree with the researcher that Modeste is deserving of recognition as the first and youngest female pharmacist in Pensacola. I am hopeful we can work together to do something about it!


In Emmett Wilson book news — I am down to the last 30 pages in the read-through of the rough draft. The read-through has been stop-and-go all week; I’ve been doing it in-between grading papers and client projects.

The real work will begin next week, when I plan the second draft, and assemble the notes and bibliography pages.

Update: Emmett’s Pharmacy


Earlier today, a reader emailed me about a photo of pharmacy bottles embossed “Hargis Pharmacy”.


These are the Hargis Pharmacy bottles that got the reader’s attention. Would love to help this reader find more of them. Source:

The photo originated from a historic bottle collection website,; unfortunately, the website hasn’t been updated in awhile.

So, I referred the reader to my colleague, the excellent archivist Jacki Wilson, of the Pensacola Historical Society. The PHS has a treasure trove of artifacts; there may be a Hargis Pharmacy bottle in her collection.

But the email message got me interested in checking back into different databases — I’ve learned over the past three years in Emmett’s research that new things can and do show up as databases are updated.

So, I did a brief search — lo and behold — look at what I found:

The Hargis Pharmacy, brand new, located in the brand new American National Bank Building. Note the multiple brass spittoons on the floor. Source: The Bulletin of Pharmacy, Volume 24, published by E.G. Swift, 1910, page 131.

The brand new Hargis Pharmacy, located in the also-brand new American National Bank Building. Note the multiple brass spittoons on the floor. Source: The Bulletin of Pharmacy, Volume 24, published by E.G. Swift, 1910, page 131.

I just wish I could find the original photograph of this room. There are so many details I’d love to examine — the tiles. The merchandise cases. The products on the shelves. I really wonder what Emmett bought in this pharmacy — also, did he have a credit line? Did he use the spittoons? (I tend to think he would have had a charge account (he used a lot of pomade); and no, I don’t think he’d use the spittoons (he was more of a cigar guy than a chewing tobacco guy.)

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Source:

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Modeste’s pharmacy would have been on the right side of the building, facing Government Street. Her office was on the mezzanine level. Source:

The photo provides excellent information. The detailed description of this pharmacy tells us that Modeste must have been doing fairly well for herself — after all, the ANBB was the tallest, most prestigious building in Pensacola when it opened in 1910.

I’m sure there were plenty of businessmen competing for the prime space in the building — and here was Modeste with her pharmacy right there.

It makes me feel good knowing that Modeste was doing quite well for herself, at a time when women were not expected to be successful in a male-dominated business world.