E. R. Squibb

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E. R. Squibb
Plaque of Edward Robinson Squibb at Squibb Park, Brooklyn, New York City
Plaque of E. R. Squibb at Squibb Park, Brooklyn, New York City
Edward Robinson Squibb

(1819-07-04)July 4, 1819
DiedOctober 25, 1900(1900-10-25) (aged 81)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alma materJefferson Medical College
Known forFounded E. R. Squibb and Sons
Notable workSquibb's Ephemeris of Materia Medica
SpouseCaroline Lownds Cook

Edward Robinson Squibb (July 4, 1819 – October 25, 1900)[1] was a medical doctor, a leading American inventor, and manufacturer of pharmaceutics who founded E. R. Squibb and Sons, which eventually became part of the modern pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Early life[edit]

Squibb was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 4, 1819. He was the son of James Robinson Squibb (1796–1852) and Catherine Harrison (née Bonsal) Squibb (1798–1833), both Quakers.[1] At age 26 he graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Immediately after graduating from medical school, he became a ship's doctor in the U.S. Navy, serving during the ongoing Mexican–American War. After the war, he ran the Brooklyn Naval Hospital's medical station at Brooklyn Navy Yard.[2]

As a Navy physician, Squibb became disenchanted with the poor quality of medicines used on American military vessels and, as a result, in 1854 he invented an improved method of distilling ether, an anesthetic. He gave away his distillation method, rather than patent it for profit.[3]

Squibb Company[edit]

In 1858, he left the military and started his own pharmaceutics manufacturing business in Brooklyn. His laboratory burned down three times, and in one of these instances an ether explosion left Squibb badly burned.

In 1892, Squibb created a partnership with his two sons, Dr. Edward H. Squibb and Charles F. Squibb, the firm being known for generations afterwards as E. R. Squibb and Sons. Squibb was known as a vigorous advocate of quality control and high purity standards within the fledgling pharmaceutical industry of his time, at one point self-publishing an alternative to the U.S. Pharmacopeia (Squibb's Ephemeris of Materia Medica) after failing to convince the American Medical Association to incorporate higher purity standards. Mentions of the Materia Medica, Squibb products, and Edward Squibb's opinion on the utility and best method of preparation for various medicants are found in many medical papers of the late 1800s.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Squibb Corporation served as a major supplier of medical goods to the Union Army during the American Civil War, providing portable medical kits containing morphine, surgical anesthetics, and quinine for the treatment of malaria (which was endemic in most of the eastern United States at that time).[10]

Personal life[edit]

Squibb was married to Caroline F. Lownds Cook (1833–1905) of Philadelphia.[1] Together, they were the parents of:[11]

  • Dr. Edward Hamilton Squibb (1853–1929), who married Jane Graves Sampson (1855–1915)[12]
  • Charles Fellows Squibb (1858–1942), who married Margaret Rapelje Dodge (1859–1930)[13]
  • Mary King Squibb (1865–1950), who married Dr. John Cummings "J.C." Munro (1858–1910).[14][15]
  • George Hanson Squibb (1867–1869), who died young.

Squibb died on October 25, 1900, at his home, 152 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn, New York, from a ruptured blood vessel.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Dr. Edward R. Squibb" (PDF). The New York Times. October 27, 1900. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Dr. Edward Robinson Squibb". American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record (37): 287–288. July–December 1900.
  3. ^ Michael Rhode, "E. R. Squibb, 1854," The Scientist, 2008.
  4. ^ Hollopeter, W.C. (January 8, 1885). "Inverse Type of Temperature in Typhoid Fever, with a Report of Two Cases – Temperature Peculiarities in Epidemics, with a Report of Seven Cases in One Family". Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. 112: 28–32. doi:10.1056/NEJM188308301090903. Retrieved 2014-11-25. The writer noticed (in December, 1882) the important fact that when common or Japan camphor and crystallized carbolic acid are mixed together and subjected to heat, a colorless liquid would be the result. The only reference he finds so far with regard to this reaction occurs in the very excellent and valuable scientific publication of Dr. E. R. Squibb, " Ephemeris of Materia Medica", etc., on page 673, vol. ii., No. 5, where a brief allusion appears under the appellation of Compound Alum Powder. Dr. F. R. Squibb, however, in a letter to the writer states that he has " several times before heard of this reaction between phenol and camphor.
  5. ^ Bolles, William (August 30, 1883). "Report on Materia Medica and Pharmacy". Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. 109 (9): 195–196. doi:10.1056/NEJM188308301090903. Retrieved 2014-11-25. Dr. Squibb is publishing in his Ephemeris a long and careful criticism upon the new Pharmacopoeia, four installments of which have already appeared, and are full of sound observation, and rich in practical pharmaceutical knowledge.
  6. ^ Worthen, Dennis (2003). "Edward Robinson Squibb (1819–1900): Advocate of Product Standards". Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 46 (6): 754–758. doi:10.1331/1544-3191.46.6.754.Worthen. PMID 17176693. Archived from the original on 2014-04-18. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  7. ^ Blake, J.B. (1899). "Administration of Ether at the Boston City Hospital". Boston Med Surg J. 141 (13): 312–314. doi:10.1056/NEJM189909281411303. Until within six months Squibb's other has been exclusively used at the Boston City Hospital. Recently .MeliiHTéift's ether has been tried, ¡uni has given fair satisfaction ; Squibb's is still preferred by most of the house officers.
  8. ^ Brown, W.S. (1885). "Forty Year's Experience in Midwifery". Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. 112 (11): 241. doi:10.1056/nejm188503121121101. One reason why ergot has fallen into disrepute is the poor quality of many specimens offered for sale. Dr. Squibb's aqueous extract rarely disappoints me.
  9. ^ Blodgett, Albert (October 27, 1887). "Reports of Societies: Massachusetts Medical Society. Suffolk District. Section for Clinical Medicine, Pathology and Hygiene". Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. 117: 408–413. doi:10.1056/NEJM188710271171706. Dr. Farlow replied that he has had no trouble with any of the standard preparations of this drug, as manufactured by responsible firms. He mentioned Parke, Davis, & Co., Squibb, Metcalf, and a few others, whose preparations he had found to be reliable, and of uniform character.
  10. ^ Smith (2001). Medicines for the Union Army: the United States Army laboratories during the Civil War. Pharmaceutical Products Press. Accessed 2014-11-25.
  11. ^ Leonard, John William; Mohr, William Frederick; Knox, Herman Warren; Holmes, Frank R.; Downs, 0infield Scott (1918). Who's Who in New York (city and State). Who's Who publications, Incorporated. p. 1006. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ Social Register, New York. Social Register Association. 1916. p. 625. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ Harvard College Class of 1911 Decennial Report. Four Seas Company. 1921. p. 391. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  14. ^ Bulletin. American Academy of Medicine. 1911. p. 232. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. ^ Munroe, Richard S.; Organ, Ann Monroe (1987). History and genealogy of the Lexington, Massachusetts Munroes, 1966- 1986. Florence, Massachusetts. Retrieved 9 August 2018.

External links[edit]