Celebrating Women in Pharmacy: Mary Olds Miner

Special Note: During the Month of March, we will be highlighting women in pharmacy who have contributed significantly to the profession.

MOM  Since the establishment of North America, women have fought for their civil rights as well as their rights in the workplace. With all the accomplishments of women in the past, the present is a great time to be a female pharmacist. Fortune named pharmacy the top profession “ruled by women” in 2013. According to the 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey prepared by the Midwest Pharmacy Workforce Research Consortium, 83.9% of female pharmacists work in a pharmacy-related field versus only 65.2% of their male counterparts. As a female in the profession of pharmacy today, it may be easy to forget how male driven the field once was.

The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, founded in 1821, was the first North American pharmacy school. However, the first woman did not graduate from the college until 1883. Mrs. Mary Olds Miner graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1890 with a pharmaceutical chemist (PhC) degree. After graduation, Mary Miner moved to Hiawatha, Kansas where she and her husband eventually owned a pharmacy. Although owning a pharmacy is a significant task and great accomplishment for a pharmacist, Miner pushed herself to achieve more. She became very involved in pharmaceutical associations. From 1892 to 1896, Mary was the Kansas Pharmaceutical Association Secretary. Mary Miner was even elected the third vice president of the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) in 1895. This election named Miner the first female to ever hold an officer position of APhA. After the election, Mary Miner stated:

 I am mindful of the honor you have conferred upon me. I receive it not so much for myself as a tribute you pay to women in pharmacy. For the great American Pharmaceutical to admit to its roll of officers, no matter how low a grade of office it may be, a woman, is surely a tribute to women in Pharmacy. For this I thank you.

Mrs. Mary Miner was a true attribute to women’s progression in the profession of pharmacy. The first female president of APhA, Mary Munson Runge, was not elected until almost a century later in 1979. Miner helped pave the path for female pharmacists of today and those who aspire to enter the profession in the future.

Although women have been increasingly successful in the profession, a gender or race-dominated field should deter no one. The world is changing and becoming more diverse everyday. Pharmacy requires individuals from all walks of life to better assist the community.


Achievements of women in pharmacy lauded at foundation dedication. (2012, November 1). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://www.pharmacist.com/node/85850

DuBois, S. (2013, March 11). 5 professions ruled by women. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2013/03/11/5-professions-ruled-by-women/

Henderson, M. L., Worthen, D. B. (2002, March 8). American women pharmacists. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press.

Women in pharmacy. (n.d.) Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://www.aphafoundation.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor/files/WIP%20mural%20descriptions.pdf

Gaither, C. A., Schommer, J. C., Doucette, W. R., Kreling, D. H., Mott, D. A. (2015, April 8) 2014 national pharmacist workforce survey. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from http://www.aacp.org/resources/research/pharmacyworkforcecenter/ Documents/ExecutiveSummaryFromTheNationalPharmacistWorkforceStudy2014.pdf

Contributed by: Domonique Dobson, P2, Class of 2018

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