Seven women pharmacists entered into the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

image of photo frames with pictures of Jean Kennedy and Fanny Potter

Seven female pharmacists have been added to the latest update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Their addition to the national biographical record is part of the dictionary’s coverage of women in the profession to mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919, which legislated to ensure that women could not be barred from certain professions and public positions because of their sex.

It also comes 150 years after the first woman was placed on the register of those qualified to practice as a pharmacist.

The seven biographical articles were contributed by Briony Hudson, president of the Faculty for the History and Philosophy of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Society of Apothecaries, and former keeper of the museum collections at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The seven women to be added to the record include: Frances ‘Fanny’ Elisabeth Potter (1837–1930), the first female to register as a pharmacist; Rose Coombes Minshull (1845–1905) and Isabella Skinner Clarke-Keer (1842–1926), the first two women elected as full members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (PSGB) in 1879; Margaret Elizabeth Buchanan (1865–1940), who in 1918 was elected the first female member of the PSGB council; Elsie Seville Hooper (1879–1969), who in 1911 joined the science section of the women’s suffrage march in London; and Agnes Thomson Borrowman (1881–1955), who was the sole proprietor of a pharmacy at 17 The Pavement, Clapham, south London, which was renowned for training women pharmacists.

Jean Kennedy Irvine (1876–1962), the first woman president of the PSGB, was also included. Kennedy Irvine was employed in checking the pricing of prescriptions under the National Health Insurance scheme, for which she was appointed a MBE in 1928.


Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Seven women pharmacists entered into the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206403

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