Sunday, December 7, 2008

Maurice Alexander

(Maurice W. Alexander), merchant and pharmacist, was born February 9, 1835, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died in St. Louis, June 6, 1898. His parents were John and Mary (Rittenhouse) Alexander, both natives of Philadelphia, and his paternal grandfather, William Alexander, and his maternal grandfather, Joseph Rittenhouse, were also born in that city. Reared in Philadelphia, Maurice W. Alexander obtained both his academic and professional education in the schools of the Quaker City. After completing his course of study at the high school, he entered the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, one of the oldest and most noted institutions of its kind in the United States, and was graduated from that college in the class of 1854. Immediately after his graduation he came to St. Louis and entered the employ of Bacon, Hyde & Co., wholesale druggists, engaged in business on Main Street. Leaving their employ in August of 1856, he began business on his own account, purchasing the drug store located at the southeast corner of Fourth and Market Streets, of which he was owner for twenty-three years thereafter. While operating this drug store, noting the trend of trade toward Olive Street, he also opened another store on the northwest corner of Broadway and Olive Streets, in a building then owned by Stilson Hutchins, connected then with the newspaper press of St. Louis and famous later as an Eastern newspaper publisher. This store, which was at that time the handsomest in the West in furnishings and the most complete in its equipment for every branch of the drug business, was destroyed by fire in 1877. A year later, however, Dr. Alexander opened a new drug store at the same location, in a building which had been erected by J. Gonzelman, who had purchased the ground from Hutchins. In this building, which later passed into the hands of Erastus Wells and is still owned by his son, he continued to conduct a large and profitable drug business until 1892, in which year he purchased the stock of goods belonging to the Mellier Drug Company and consolidated the two stores. For forty-two years and more he was a recognized leader among the retail druggists of St. Louis, and for many years his establishment had few rivals in its line in Western cities. Entering the drug business a thoroughly well educated pharmacist, and realizing fully the important responsibilities resting upon those engaged in this trade, Alexander was all his life conspicuous among those who sought to surround it with all the safeguards possible, and to obviate the dangers to life and health resulting from the employment of incompetent persons in the business of compounding drugs and medicines. For nine years he served as Commissioner of Pharmacy for the State of Missouri, and he was long one of the most active and useful members of the American Pharmaceutical Association, and was honored with the presidency of that organization, composed of the leading pharmacists of the United States. A good business man, he was also a good citizen in all the relations of life, and churches, charities and educational movements at all times received his kindly encouragement and support. From 1861 until his death he was a member of St. George's Episcopal Church, and for twenty-one years he was a vestryman of that parish, serving also during the same period as its treasurer. He affiliated with fraternal organizations as a member of the order of Knights of Honor. In 1857 he was married to Clara Virginia Long, whose father was Parks Long, a son of General Gabriel Long, one of the first settlers of Missouri. His widow and four children, two sons and two daughters-all of whom have grown to maturity-survive him.
-Encyclopedia of the history of St. Louis

Alexander was a member of the Cyclone Club and, according to Tobias, the records of the club were lost in the fire that destroyed Alexander's pharmacy at Broadway and Olive.

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