The History of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy (ISHP)

In 1926 in Hall (in Tyrol, Austria) Ludwig Winkler, a well-known Austrian personality in the history of pharmacy, initiated the founding of the so-called ‘Society for the History of Pharmacy’. From the very beginning, the society had international supporters and aimed to attract colleagues from different countries as members, even though the official name of the society did not yet include the word ‘international’.

By the end of its first year 427 colleagues from seventeen countries had joined the new society. In the same year, 1927, the first general meeting of the society was held in Nuremberg, Germany. Winkler fervently advocated the progress of internationalization, but only German was permitted as the official language, a situation that certainly slowed down the societies’ international perception, recognition and acceptance.

In 1929, the second meeting took place in Berlin, Germany, where the society was formally registered. Subsequent general meetings were held in Vienna, Austria (1931); Basel, Switzerland (1934); Stuttgart, Germany (1936); and Munich, Germany (1938). Only at the meeting in Basel in 1934 were languages other than German accepted. The meetings not only offered a platform for discussions but also gave members the opportunity to present the results of their latest investigations to the scientific community.

The Second World War suddenly interrupted the society’s activities and, in 1945, the society was finally deregistered. With approval of the British occupying power, the “Society for the History of Pharmacy” was re-established in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on September 11, 1947. Two years later, the society’s name changed to ‘International Society for the History of Pharmacy’. The first meeting after the War took place in Hamburg-Harburg, Germany, in 1949.

German remained the dominant congress language for some years, but by the end of the 1950s the lectures were frequently presented in other languages such as French, English and Italian, or even in the host country’s tongue. Today, to facilitate communication between congress participants, the accepted languages are limited to English, French and German. Up to the present time, the general meetings of the society are held during the international congresses (see below ‘The Congresses of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy 1927-2015’).

In the 1990s, the members of the International Society began a discussion on the society’s statutes, and in 2001 new statutes were approved. The International Society for the History of Pharmacy represents now a non-profit organization offering membership to anybody dedicated to the history of pharmacy who recognises the articles of the statutes and promotes the goals of the society. According to the statutes, the ordinary members of the ISHP are the national societies for the history of pharmacy. Individuals who are members of national societies that have joined ISHP are themselves ISHP members. Each national society sends delegates to the Extended Executive Committee of the ISHP to represent there their national interests. Another possibility to join the International Society is by becoming an individual member. This type of membership applies to all individuals who are not members of national societies.


The Congresses of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy (1927-2019)

1927   Nuremberg, Germany

1929   Berlin, Germany

1931   Vienna, Austria

1934   Basel, Switzerland

1936   Stuttgart, Germany

1938   Munich, Germany

1949   Hamburg-Harburg, Germany

1950   Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

1951   Salzburg, Austria

1954   Rome, Italy

1956   Lucerne , Switzerland

1957   Heidelberg, Germany

1958   Padua-Venice, Italy

1959   Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia

1961   Innsbruck, Austria

1963   Rotterdam, The Netherlands

1965   London, Great Britain

1967   Athens, Greece

1969   Luxembourg, Luxembourg

1971   Prague, Czechoslovakia

1973   Paris, France

1975   Bremen, Germany

1977   Innsbruck, Austria

1979   Basel-Lausanne, Switzerland

1981   Budapest, Hungary

1983   Washington D.C., USA

1985   Granada, Spain

1987   Oslo, Norway

1989   Athens, Greece

1991   Prague, Czechoslovakia

1993   Heidelberg, Germany

1995   Paris, France

1997   Stockholm, Sweden

1999   Florence, Italy

2001   Lucerne, Switzerland

2003   Sinaia, Romania

2005   Edinburgh, Great Britain

2007   Sevilla, Spain

2009   Vienna, Austria

2011   Berlin, Germany

2013   Paris, France

2015   Istanbul, Turkey

2017   Warszawa, Poland

2019   Washington, USA