Friday | July 29, 2016
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Lyman speaker to take a look at historic Hilo Drug Co.

Before the advent of antibiotics and hydrocortisone cream, the good doctors of Hilo relied on medicaments in varying concoctions to treat a host of ailments afflicting their patients. Many of these included ingredients that are still in use today, although some have given way to more effective — and no doubt more palatable — remedies.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28, at the Lyman Museum, Mimi Pezzuto of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy will present information found in 11 enormous prescription logs from the now-defunct Hilo Drug Co., which span the years 1894 to 1945. These logs contain prescriptions filled for a Who’s Who of old Hilo town, from well-known residents like the Lymans and Shipmans, to folks identified only by their ethnicity.

Pezzuto says the volumes comprise a continuous record of how medicine was practiced in Hawaii around the turn of the century.

“It’s also a kind of wonderful and fantastic genealogical record,” she said.

“You won’t want to miss this unique perspective on Hilo’s economy, the evolution of pharmaceutics, and the ethnic and cultural influences at work during this transitional period in our islands’ history. Prescription logs and other local pharmacy ephemera will be on display,” said a Lyman Museum spokesman.

Cost is $3, free to museum members. The Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum is located at 276 Haili St. in Hilo. Call 935-5021 or visit for more details.


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