Bristol-Myers Squibb European Apothecary -- The Guest Book

The Guest Book

Guest Book cartoon by Richard Scheibe

Of special interest in the Bristol-Myers Squibb European Apothecary is a worn leather-bound guest register with a tooled medallion and border.  The register was first used by visitors to Jo Mayer’s museum in Wiesbaden. The first entry is dated 6 March 1926. Visitors came from across Germany, Europe and the United States to see the collection. Beatrice Q. Fenske of New York wrote on  February 15, 1927, “A pleasant evening an old drug store, Some new found friends Much fun galore.”    

A whimsical cartoon drawn in the book by well-known German artist Richard Scheibe, depicts Mayer’s museum as a lively, happy place. The cherub-like figures sitting atop the cabinets are smiling and the drug containers and mortars are waving arms and swinging legs as they dance on the shelves and around a great mortar and pestle from. A swaddled baby peeks out from inside the mortar. (This was probably Mayer’s new baby daughter, Charlotte.) The cartoon is not dated, but was most likely executed between December 30th and January 1931. The last entry from Wiesbaden is recorded on 24 September 1932. 

After the collection arrived in New York, the E. R. Squibb Company commissioned an artist to design an elaborate title page rendered in pen and ink. In gothic script, it reads, “The Squibb Medieval Pharmacy and Collection of Pharmaceutical Objects”. Purchased and brought to the United States by E.R. Squibb and Sons.”