Harriet Marble

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Harriet B.S. Marble
Born(1885-05-02)May 2, 1885
DiedJanuary 12, 1966(1966-01-12) (aged 80)
Alma materMeharry Medical College
Known forFirst African-American woman pharrmacist in Kentucky

Harriet Beecher Stowe Marble (May 2, 1885 – January 12, 1966) was an early African-American woman pharmacist and the first in Kentucky, gaining her degree from Meharry Medical College in 1906.[1] She practiced in pharmacies in several states before establishing her own drugstore in Lexington, Kentucky.[2] Marble served as Vice President of the National Medical Association,[3] after serving as an officer of the Association's pharmaceutical section.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Harriet Marble was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi on 2 May 1885.[2] Her parents were Solomon and Lear Ann (Molette) Marble,[2] and she had a sister, Lillie Marble Ray.[1]

Marble graduated from Yazoo City High School in 1903, and gained a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 1906.[2] She passed examinations for pharmacists in several states, gaining the highest marks of 77 applicants in Mississippi in 1908.[2]


From 1907 to 1909, Marble worked at a Jeter and Jeter drugstore in Oklahoma City, then at a Brown and Fisher drugstore in Laurel, Mississippi from 1909 to 1911.[2] She then worked for two years as a hospital pharmacist at then Tuskegee Normal and Industrial College in Alabama.[2] From 1915, Marble operated her own drugstore in Yazoo City,[2] before moving to Lexington, Kentucky in 1921 along with other members of her family.[1]

Marble remained in Lexington for the rest of her life, becoming "one of the most successful business women in Kentucky".[1] She owned a property at 118 North Broadway, which she renovated into a combination of physician offices, a pharmacy, and a residence where she lived for the remainder of her life.[1] Marble was also parther of a company that sponsored concerts in Lexington by Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.[1]

She was elected as an office-bearer of the pharmaceutical section of the National Medical Association (NMA) in 1913, and as vice president of the NMA in 1919.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Marble was a Catholic, and a supporter of the Progressive Party.[2] She died in Kentucky on 12 January 1966 at the age of 80.[5] Her will included provision for scholarships to the University of Kentucky, although it is not known if a bequest was made.[1]

In 2009, an electrician doing work at the 118 North Broadway property found items belonging to Marble in the attic, including correspondence with Madame C.J. Walker, the first African-American business woman to become a millionaire.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Davis, Merlene (February 8, 2009). "First female black pharmacist no longer forgotten". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mather, Frank Lincoln (1915). Who's who of the Colored Race: A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent, Volume 1. Not known. p. 184. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Nearly 500 doctors attend convention held in Newark". The New York Age. 6 Sep 1919. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b Houston, E. G. (1913). "Of Interest to Pharmacists". Journal of the National Medical Association. 5 (4): 268–269. ISSN 0027-9684. PMC 2621857.
  5. ^ "Kentucky Death Index 1911–1986". ukcc.uky.edu. University of Kentucky. Retrieved 20 May 2017.

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