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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Dr. W. J. Husa
DATE: September 26, 1978
K: The following is an oral history interview with Dr. W. J. Husa,
who lives at 1016 S.W. 5th Avenue in Gainesville. This
interview, for the University of Florida's Oral History Project,
will take place on Tuesday, September 26, 1978, in Dr. Husa's
home. My name is Steve Kerber. Dr. Husa was the first
member of the faculty of what was then the University of
Florida's School of Pharmacy. I'd like to begin by asking
you to tell me your full name.
H: It's William John Husa, Sr.
K: When did you retire from the university?
H: In 1961.
K: What was your faculty rank at that time?
H: I was head professor of pharmacy.
K: You first came to the university when?
H: In September of 1923.
K: Now I'm going to back up a little bit and ask you a few personal
background questions, if you don't mind.
K: I'd like to start by asking you where you were born.
H: In Iowa City, Iowa.
K: When is your birth date?
H: February 5, 1896.
K: I see. What is your father's name?
K: What did your father do for a living, Dr. Husa?
H: He was a merchant tailor.
K: In Iowa City?
K: What was your mother's name?
H: Eleanora Schonfelder was her maiden name.
K: You grew up in Iowa City?
H: Yes, sir.
K: Did you attend high school there?
H: Yes. I went through the grade schools and the first two years
of high school. I was planning to graduate from high school.
After two years I had the highest scholastic standing in
the class. But that summer--I'd been working two summers and
one year after school for a pharmacist there--I began to
see that I liked pharmacy.
Just about a week or two before the university opened,
I happened to go to the county fair. The university had
a booth there, and I picked up some bulletins, and I
happened to notice in there that the national requirement
for entering pharmacy at that time was just two years of
high school. Well, I talked it over with my parents.
We thought if they don't require any more than two years,
then maybe it would be better to go ahead and then have
more time for experience. So I went to the university
and graduated from the course in pharmacy the way it
was then at the same time that my high school class graduated
from high school. It probably made me the youngest graduate
of the university at seventeen.
K: So.your own age was seventeen when you graduated? What year
was that then that you finished?
H: That was in 1913. That was my degree of Graduate of
K: That was a Bachelor of Science degree?
H: No. You see, it wasn't a four-year [degree]. Medicine
had not long before been a three-year course, and dentistry
was three years, and pharmacy was two years. They gave the
degree of Graduate in Pharmacy, Ph.G.
K: Did you then go back to work in the drugstore that you
had been working in?
H: No. That pharmacist had died, was real old and died just
before I entered the university. I got a job in West
Branch, Iowa, and happened to live right across the street
from the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover.
Then, after I worked in that drugstore for a year,
the University of Iowa Chemistry Department was looking
for a pharmacist to be head storekeeper, and order materials,
and take care of the stock and so on. One of my previous
instructors recommended me for the place. They paid a
little more than I was getting in the drugstore and I
could live at home, so I went back to Iowa City and was a
storekeeper for one year.
It was a valuable experience. The apparatus and
chemicals were imported from Germany in those days. With
the war starting up, some of our materials stayed on the
dock in Antwerp when that was blockaded. A lot of
companies started up in the United States and some of
their glassware, if you just looked at it, it would break.
H: I have scars here yet on my hand where some of glassware
K: Yes, I see.
H: ...and cut my hand. Well, actually, they'd intended to get
someone that would make a career out of that. When I
graduated in pharmacy at seventeen, I felt so full of
books and studying that I was glad to get away from it
for awhile. But, after I came back during 1914, on the
hours the bell would ring and you'd see all those
thousands of students, all heading for their next class.
I got interested in going back and getting more education.
Of course, the first thing I had to do was make
up those high school credits, which I did partly by
taking university courses for high school credit, some
by private study and then taking the examination. So
when I told the department head I'd like to get out of
my contract, he asked me what I wanted to do. I said,
"Well, I want to come back to school and major in
chemistry." Well, as that was his department, he thought
that was a good idea. So then, in.1915-1916, I just-had
a small job of $100 a year, mixing up the samples for
the students to analyze, all the different courses in
Then, in 1916-1917, I needed a little more money, so
I took a job as part-time storekeeper. That was the year,
of course, of the Lusitania sinking and all that. I read
all of [President Woodrow] Wilson's pronouncements as
they came out. By that time, I'd had all the chemistry
I needed for a major and also for the degree of Pharma-
ceutical Chemist, but I still had to have some English
and French and economics and stuff like that for the
Bachelor of Arts degree.
The leaders in the country and in chemistry had
been questioning whether we had the chemists in the
United States that could support a war and manage all
these plants and research and everything. There was a
great shortage of chemists, so I got the idea that I
should leave then and try to help in the war effort and
then come back. I realized that as soon as the army was
let loose, that jobs would be scarce and they would need
them and I could come back and finish my school work.
Well, my father didn't understand that very well. He
thought I was a drop-out and talked to me about it, but
I was pretty sure I was right. I went ahead and left in
April of '17, the month war was declared, and had a job
with a dye works on the Hudson River in New York. After
working there a few months and just about losing my life
once or twice, I got a job as a research chemist with
[E. I.] du Pont de Nemours & Company in the Experiment
Station in Wilmington, Delaware. My first chemistry
teacher at Iowa was the one that recommended me for the
job. I was the first chemist to work with him, and when
I left he had 600 under his direction.
I got a great deal of experience. I thought that
maybe they would call me "assistant chemist," something
like that. But, after a while, I guess I began contributing
ideas as well as hands. One day I looked up on the personnel
board that was posted and I was listed as a "research chemist,"
the same as the other top men. Of course, that encouraged
me still more to go ahead and do as well as I could.
Then, when the war ended, the du:Ponts had 85,000
people working for them. That dropped down to 30,000 in
about a month or two. I survived all the cuts.
I stayed there until about the first of September in 1919.
I wanted to go back and get my degrees, so the University of
Iowa appointed me as a assistant in chemistry to teach
chemistry to pharmacy students and some others--engineers
and nurses and so on. So I went back and taught half-time.
In 1920, I had almost all the requirements completed
for the Pharmaceutical Chemist degree and the Bachelor of
Arts. Then I thought I'd better get a little taste of
the "Ivy League," so I decided to go to Columbia. They
appointed me research assistant in food chemistry.
Dr. Sherman there was one of the leaders in the world in
there at that time.
K: This was Columbia University in New York?
H: In New York City.
K: At what time again?
H: I went there...first of July of 1920.
Now I still had a few credits in the minors to make
up. But in browsing, studying the catalog all those years,
I happened to find out that the university had a provision
that your last six or eight credits could be taken by
correspondence. So I signed up for about two or three
courses by correspondence and got those finished before
the Columbia fall session opened. So I got the degrees
of Pharmaceutical Chemist and Bachelor of Arts in absentia
in Iowa City.
At first I thought I might stay there for a Ph.D., but
then Dr. Sherman said to me when I was registering, "Well,
you might as well sign up for a master's degree. Then,
if you don't happen to stay here the whole time, you'll have
a Columbia degree." So I did that. After one year I had
gotten to study with all the top chemists at Columbia that
I was interested in and had carried out research on vitamins
--that was still in its early stages.
I began to see that actually Iowa required more work
for the Ph.D., more courses, than Columbia did. It was
hard to find good eating facilities, strange as it might
seem, I really didn't like the food chemistry part of
working with white rats so much. We had 600 white rats.
Most of the girls worked with that. They'd make pets out
of those rats, and they'd run up their hands, but when I'd
stick my hand in that cage, why, they'd sometimes bite me
clear to the bone.
Anyway, I went back to Iowa, so I was a graduate
assistant from 1921 to 1923.
K: Now, you hadn't finished the master's at Columbia?
H: Yeah, I got the master's degree at Columbia. I sometimes say
I was a classmate of Madame [Marie] Curie, because she got
an honorary doctor's degree when I got my master's degree.
H: So, in September of '21, I went back to Iowa City and taught
part-time as a graduate assistant. Then, in two years I
had my Ph.D.
Of course, when you're about getting that last degree,
you start thinking about where you're going to get a job.
When I left du Pont's they told me that they'd like to have
me back anytime unless it was just such a bad depression that
they weren't taking on anybody. Well, in 1923, there was a
curious little depression that is almost forgotten now. Right
after the [First] World War ended, in that five years, things
began to slow up and textile mills began closing and the
big drug houses weren't taking on any help. I wrote to my
old boss at du Pont. He said that this was just one of those
times that they weren't taking on anybody. All the curves
of business were aiming down.
After going downhill, why before June of the year I
graduated, they started to go up again. Then du Pont wanted
five Iowa Ph.D.'s, but by that time I'd started a plan like
this. I thought that I'd write five letters every week.
Now I think if somebody sends out about 100 letters and
doesn't get very many favorable answers, they'd probably get
discouraged. So I'd send five, and then the next weekend
I'd send five more.
Before two or three weeks, I got in touch with this
[school].:. The University of Florida then decided to start
their School of Pharmacy (as they called it at first) and
they were looking for a Ph.D. in some field who also had a
degree in pharmacy.
There was one Ph.D. in pharmacy in the United States.
The first one had been turned out, but he wouldn't come for
the kind of money that they had here. So they finally
found two others that met those specifications--one was me
and the other one was one of my classmates there at Iowa who
was then working as a paint chemist.
Anyway, after surveying forty candidates, they asked me
to come down here in February '23 for an interview. That was
my first view of the University of Florida.
K: Let me interrupt you a second now.
K: You wrote to the University or to Dr. [Albert Alexander] Murphree?
H: No, I wrote to some people that I thought might know of
positions. One of them I wrote to was the secretary of a
society of chemists and he happened to be dean of the
Columbia College of Pharmacy.
When they decided to start the school of pharmacy,
Dr. Townes R. Leigh was head of the chemistry department.
Some of the local druggists talked with him and had him
come to their meetings. Anyway, Dr. Murphree thought
they ought to have somebody that had been here on the
campus to head up the school, at first at least. He
appointed Dr. Leigh as director.
Dr. Leigh seemed to operate mostly through teacher's
agencies--sent them the specifications of what he wanted.
He happened to write to one in New Orleans and they
thought they'd write and find somebody with that kind of
training. They happened to write to the dean of Columbia
University and (he told me later) he got my letter and
their letter the same day.
K: How about that?
H: So he just sent them my letter, and sent me their letter.
I signed up with this teacher's agency. After they
checked my credentials and everything and decided on me,
they had me come down here. They said they wanted to see
me and they wanted me to see that they didn't have any
facilities here so I wouldn't be disappointed when I came.
K: [Laughter]. Did you come down on the train?
H: Yeah. In those days, one of them was the Seminole Limited
from Chicago to Jacksonville. To get from Jacksonville
to here, you had either the [Florida East] Coast Line or
Seaboard [Air Line]. They happened to route me on the
Seaboard. You came at the old depot down there and Dr. Leigh
met me. He had a ten-acre estate out here at the edge of
town, what was the edge of town then. He invited me to stay
at his house for just a couple of days while I was here.
K: That was the first time you had met him?
So they didn't say anything for about two days,
whether they wanted me or not, or whether I wanted them
or not. But Dr. Leigh wanted to go ahead with the planning,
so one day while he was at the university I sat on his
veranda. He wanted a curriculum for a two-year course in
pharmacy, and a three-year course in pharmacy, and a four-
year course in pharmacy, so I did all those in one day for
him there. He always said that he liked that four-year
course better than any one that we ever had after that.
H: Finally, after two days, why they offered me the position
and I accepted it. Now, it probably violated a number of
state laws and regulations. This was in February and the
legislature hadn't even met yet to make the appropriation
for the position and the new school. But Dr. Murphree
wrote me an official letter that I was appointed on such and
such a date and such and such a salary, what they paid
professors at that time. He just took the responsibility
The way that the school happened to be started here
was that, up to that time, most of the pharmacists in
Florida just got their training by experience in drug
stores. Then they'd go to a cram school in Georgia, and
one time, there was one in Jacksonville, and they'd
review some questions and take the examination. Well,
then there was a national standard coming in that every
applicant had to graduate from a college of pharmacy.
William D. Jones of Jacksonville was the most
prominent pharmacist of the state, and he was president
of the [Florida] Board of Pharmacy. When he saw that,
he talked with the others. They thought it would be a
bad thing to require Florida boys to graduate from a
college of pharmacy when we didn't have one--they'd have
to go to other states.
Since this Board of Pharmacy was only five men, and
they were all active in the Florida State Pharmaceutical
Association, why they got the state association interested.
The state association appointed a committee with William D.
Jones as the head and they went to see the new governor
[1921-1925] of Florida, Cary Hardee from Live Oak. He
told them, "Well, gentlemen, I've been elected on a economy
program, so I don't know how I could approve another college."
They said, "Well, what if the pharmacists of the state will
raise the money for the equipment and drugs and chemicals,
and then the state would only have to provide two faculty
members." So the governor thought that showed a lot of
good faith on the part of the pharmacists and that's what
When they went to check up, they found that the minimum
it would take would be about $15,000 for the druggists to
raise. I don't know if they had a little trouble raising
that, or began to see that that was just a little much for
them to try to do. They raised $5,000. Then, of course, the
pharmacists, a lot of them were pretty well in touch with
the politicians in the state. They went to Tallahassee and
the legislature passed a special appropriation aside from the
university budget of $10,000 for the faculty for the first
two years, $10,000 to make up the $15,000 for equipment [on
this appropriation, see Laws of Florida, 1923, chapter 9121,
Volume I, page 63].
K: I see.
H: Anyway, they decided to go ahead.
Then, as I said, Dr. Leigh was appointed and began to
hunt for faculty. There was one man here on the campus, Dr.
A. W. [Albert Whitman] Sweet, who had been teaching public health.
The government was concerned about the venereal diseases and so
they'd established this program of having a doctor of public
health, tried to get them in all the universities. But they
were withdrawing that support, and Dr. Leigh and this man were
lodge brothers, and so on. Anyway, he decided that this man
could teach some of the courses that would be needed, if he'd
go and get a pharmacy man. So that man was hired to teach half-
time in the pharmacology and pharmacognosy and half-time to
help supervise the infirmary.
It might seem odd at the university now, but at that
time a lot of the people had to cover two jobs. For example,
just before I came here, Dr. [Edward R.] Flint (Flint Hall
was named after him), was head of chemistry half a day, and
university physician half a day. Director of the [Florida]
State Museum [Thompson] Van Hyning had a half a day for that,
and then for a half a day he had to go over and be the librarian
at the [Agricultural]. Experiment Station.
There's a little incident about that. They weren't
thinking of building a new building right away for us, and
they were about to find two rooms in the basement of Science
Hall, as they called it then. The museum had some of their
stuff stored in there. They had to move those things out so
we'd start in there. What I'd heard had happened, the museum
had a giant sea turtle stored in one room that they were
going to have for display. The museum refused to move it
out of there. So one day they had a conference down there and
they got Dr. Murphree in, president of the university, and
the business manager, Mr. [Klein Harrison] Graham, and Dr.
Leigh, and then Mr. Van Hyning, who was head of the museum.
When Dr. Murphree ordered him, told him he'd have to get that
turtle out of there, he wasn't willing to do it. He refused,
and when Dr. Murphree insisted, why, Van Hyning said, "Well,
I resignl" I guess Dr. Murphree maybe had a little Irish in
there someplace, so he said, "Your resignation is acceptedI"
H: But after he got back to his office and cooled off, why then
he sent Klein Graham, the business manager, over to Van Hyning
and told him he didn't really mean that he was accepting his
H: Van Hyning said he didn't really mean that he wanted to
resign, either. So they reached a peaceable solution and
moved out the turtle to make way for the school of pharmacy.
K: Can I interrupt you for a second?
K: Who did you talk to on that first visit? You talked with Dr.
Leigh, and talked with President Murphree...?
H: Dr. Leigh and Dr. Murphree. Then it so happened that Phi
Kappa Phi was having their initiation banquet about the
second night I was here. There was a visiting professor of
history here from Columbia that they'd invited, came with me
to the banquet. But as we weren't members, while they were
having their meeting, they had us wait in the office there.
So that way I got to meet Major [James Alward] Van Fleet,
the military man here. Many of the leading professors were
there, that Phi Kappa Phi banquet, so I got to meet all of
K: I see.
H: I got to meet a lot of the faculty then, and I guess that
I met the other chemistry professors and I think those in
biology and some other departments that Dr. Leigh thought I
ought to meet.
K: But it was really you and Dr. Leigh that worked up the curri-
H: Yeah, he told me to to do it and I sat on the veranda and did it.
K: Then did you go back home before fall?
H: Yeah. There's a little story to that. Well, in some of
these recent colleges they've started, as you know, in dentistry,
and veterinary medicine, they have the dean and sometimes
eight or ten faculty members here for two to eight years,
planning and getting ready to start. Well, at that time they
wanted the classes to start September tenth, and they made
my appointment start September the tenth.
Well, I went back to Iowa City and I still had to complete
my research work, and get the dissertation written, and go
through examinations and so on. So I had plenty to do. But
about every week I'd get a letter from Florida, from Dr. Leigh.
One week he'd want to know whether I could give him a list
of all the furniture and desks and equipment, laboratory tables
and so on, that we'd need in pharmacy, and would I also please
send them for the other departments in the college of pharmacology and pharmacognosy.
Alright, I'd do that. Then next
week maybe it would be would I please send him a list of all
the drugs and chemicals that my department would need to start out.
Since this other man wasn't actually well-trained in the field,
would I also send a list of what they'd need in pharmacology
and pharmacognosy. So, you see, I was a busy young man up there.
Well, maybe the next week, he'd like to have a list of all
the books that you thought we ought to have in the library to
start out, and maybe another week he'd like to have a list of
all the scientific journals and professional journals that they
ought to order.
It'd probably been difficult for a lot of people to do
that. But, you see, I had this research experience of being
a research chemist forduPont for two years and a half, and
then I was a research assistant at Columbia for one year, so
I had about three years and a half of full-time, practically
full-time research. So I was able to graduate on time and
answer all these letters and get that done.
He went ahead and ordered the desks and laboratory tables
and all the glassware and drugs, but I began to see that if
they just had me come down here all that stuff would be in boxes.
If I got here on September tenth, I could imagine what would
K: There it is, yes. Exactly.
H: And so I came down about the first of August at my own expense
and worked that month full-time, about fifteen hours a day,
for nothing. I had the black janitor that they gave me for
an assistant to help open the boxes. I had to get all that
stuff unpacked and placed in the various stockrooms and the
glassware and ironware made up into sets and put into the desks.
Of course, with my experience as storekeeper, I was able to do
all that and make up inventory cards. That way we were able
to start September tenth. I guess that was the last time any
college started September tenth with the head professor's
time starting on the tenth.
K: Well, I hope they paid you on time when they finally came to
your first payday.
H: The University of Florida was good on that. When we soon, in a
few years, got into the Depression, places like Auburn was
paying the faculty with some kind of scrip. But they had that
old Board of Control, P. K. Yonge was the chairman and Mr. [E. L.]
Wartmann from the next county or so south of here [Citra, Marion
County], and I don't remember who the other three were, right
off hand. They were good at managing things like that.
About that time it happened that Alfred I. du Pont had
passed away there somewhere  and at that time the state
law had a pretty high state inheritance tax as well as federal.
The state treasurer would go to Ed Ball, who was manager of the
du Pont estate, and he'd give him a half a million dollars or so
in advance payment on the tax. So that way they kept paying
us in cash all through that.
K: Did they reduce your salaries any percentage?
H: Yeah. In the Depression they started saying that maybe, I
know one year it was 10 percent, everybody got a 10 percent
cut across the board. So, by the time things began to pick
up again, salaries were down about maybe 15 or, probably not
as low as 20, percent. Somewhere around 15 or 20 percent less.
K: But they were still paying in money?
H: Yeah. They still paid in money.
One thing that the state missed out on a little. Over
the next number of years, I visited every college of pharmacy
in the United States, with about two or three exceptions, on
my own time in the summer. One year I went to Auburn in the
thirties. They had so many nice new buildings and they'd
gotten all those buildings when the government was trying
to stimulate business. If the states would put up a little
bit of money, then the government would furnish the rest to
build these buildings. In Florida things were so tight, they
just wouldn't put their little 10 or 15 percent, so they lost
the 85 percent.
K: Let me take you back to your Ph.D. and your dissertation, now.
When did you actually receive your degree?
H: In June of 1923.
K: What was the subject of your dissertation?
H: "Studies on Enzyme Action: The Relationship Between the Chemical
Structure of Certain Compounds and Their Effect Upon the Activity
K: Was this something that you had developed an interest in while you
were working for du Pont or...?
H: Well, it was partly Dr. Rockwood, the old head of department
there, had been working some along those lines. While I was
at Columbia I didn't work on that, but I saw others who were
trying to determine the effect of various compounds on enzyme
action. I noticed that they would work two or three years on
just one or two compounds because they followed the old-time
way. They thought that you had to prepare every one of those
things yourself, from scratch. I saw that what they'd really
need would be, since a lot of those compounds could be bought
or obtained, that it would be a good thing if somebody would
take some enzyme and test many compounds.
After some years when I wrote a textbook, why my wife,
Mrs. Husa, did all that typing that went into that.
K: I see. She helped you with this.
H: Then she died just before this fourth edition went into print.
K: I'm sorry to hear that.
H: So I put that cover in black and dedicated it to her memory there.
K: Was this a text that you used in your courses here at the
H: That was used in 95 percent of all the colleges in the United
States and Canada.
H: Also in the American University in Beirut, and in Puerto Rico,
South Africa--copies went all over the world.
K: Let me read this into the tape recorder. The title is Pharmaceutical
Dispensing: A Textbook for Students of Pharmaceutical Compounding
and Dispensing, and a Reference Book forPharmacists, by William J.
Husa, Ph.G., Ph.C., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor and Head of the
Department of Pharmacy, University of Florida. This, that I'm
holding, is the fourth edition, I guess, published in Iowa City?
H: Well, yeah.
K: Is this your family?
H: I was the publisher. I paid for all the printing and it was
distributed from Iowa City so it wouldn't interfere with my
work here. I took it through four editions and then I sold
the copyright. It's through four more editions, so now it's
in the eighth edition. I sold the copyright to the Mack
Publishing Company, who'd been my printers. At that time they
got Martin as editor.
K: Was he a former student, by any chance? Did you know him
H: No, he was from Canada and he was nationally known, been editor
of our national journal. Then he had this man, a pharmacist, to
help him. I don't have a copy yet of the eighth edition, but
in the eighth edition they have this man be the editor.
K: John Huber?
H: Instead of having this many collaborators, instead of having
chapters written by so many different people, they got it down
to about eight people. They cut the size of the book back
down about to what my fourth edition was. But they still
charge today's prices for it, $23.00 or $24.00 for it.
K: My goodness.
H: Where mine, I sold mine for $4.00, and after inflation, they
got it up to six. But that was kind of a give-away price, to
sell a book like that for.
K: Surely. It's an inch thick, at least.
H: For $6.00.
K: What level or type of course did this serve for?
H: Mostly for the senior year for teaching how to fill prescriptions.
How to compound and dispense prescriptions.
K: How did you come to write this? Did you just see the need for
it, did someone approach you?
H: Yes. There hadn't been a successful book in that field
launched in fifty years. A number of them tried, but they'd
either die, or give up in a little while.
To go back, when I was in the liberal arts, when I
finished the first year of English composition, then the teacher
had a short conference with each student at the end. They told
me that they thought I had almost the writing abilities for them
to recommend that I be a writer. But they just weren't quite
sure, and so they gave me the grade just under what they
gave the ones that they expected to become writers.
Then, you see, a chemist working at these companies, you
have to write a weekly report and a monthly report. That
seemed to be easier for me. A lot of the chemists just hated
that having to write up their results. So, when I was at
du Pont, they finally must have considered me a sort of ace
report writer. When a big project was finished, they made a
big report of it, put in their files. There was one that a
number of people had worked on. Their head man in that line,
in the main company's office, tried to write the report and he
wrote about one page and gave up. So then the head of my
department, that I'd worked under first when I came there,
he decided he'd write the report. He got part of a page and
gave up. Then he gave me those two pages and...
H: ...said, "Well, that's as far as we got." So I spent about a
month just writing reports. They had a nice building in Wilmington.
It was right on the banks of the Brandywine Creek. So I had
experience in writing.
Then, when I came to Florida, I began to abstract articles
for the American Chemical Society in my field and in French and
German. I was able to read the Czech language and that was
somewhat similar to Polish and Russian, so pretty soon they
began sending me some of those.
In those, you had to make every word count. Instead of
just telling what it was about, why with the same number of
words you could give some directions so any qualified chemist
could go ahead and make the test. They always liked my abstracts.
That was good practice, to go and think, "Now, can I say this
in one word less?"
Actually, even before that, when my dissertation was
published in the American Chemical Society's Journal....
About that time, after the war, they had had big problems with
having enough pages for the material they got. A lot of
professors at the big universities just couldn't get things
published. They'd send it back to them and tell them to cut
this out and cut that out. When I wrote mine, I wrote it out
so that I couldn't see one word that didn't need to be there.
I said to myself, "Well, if they can find any words in there
that aren't needed, I'd like to find it." So, sure enough,
they couldn't find anything...
H: ...to cut down so they printed it just the way that I had it.
So, anyway, then I knew I'd be able to write this technical
material. This book that was fifty years old, with illustrations
in there.... It would show women in a pharmacy factory, they'd
have those old-time rats in their hair, wire contraption on
their head, covered with hair and such odd-looking styles.
That one was getting to be so out of date. There were certain
parts it didn't cover, so the students had to buy two books.
Neither one was up to date. So I saw a chance to go and combine
that into one book and really set the thing on a scientific
But, of course, the publishers that I submitted it to wouldn't
want to publish it unless I'd put up a lot of the money. Then
they also wanted to charge a high price and so they'd be sure
that they made something. So I decided to go. Why, I never would
bet ten cents on a game, but I put up all the money to print
one edition of the book.
It was kinda heartening when they sent them out to the
various schools, to the professors of dispensing, to look them
over. The first adoption came from the University of Mississippi.
I guess they were glad to see a book from the South. I had every
school in the South from North Carolina to Southern California,
as well as Columbia, Notre Dame, Southern California, Minnesota,
and Wisconsin. Of course, you see, you couldn't print a book
like that for a class of twenty students.
H: I know now, here, they're always worried about a professor
making money off of the textbooks. But I had to write one
that would be used all over the country.
K: That's right.
H: Then the students here got the benefit of it. They'd get the
thing for about $4.00, where otherwise it couldn't have been
K: When exactly did it come out the first time?
H: In 1935.
K: Now, at the beginning, when did you find the time to work on this?
What kind of teaching load did you have and when did you find
the time to work on your book?
H: Well, you see, in those first years, I was the only professor
trained in pharmacy. So the dean gave me everything to do--
to organize the student organizations, and to answer letters
from pharmacists over the state, and go to the state meetings.
Then I began going to the national meetings pretty quick. I
had to teach everything that was given in pharmacy. Of course,
the very first year, we just had to teach one year. Well, then,
by the time another year came around, why then the load began
to get pretty heavy. That's before I'd started these books.
We began thinking about getting accredited pretty quick.
Dr. Leigh was thinking about that. They had the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy,
and to be accredited by
them you had to be running five years. Well, I thought that
wasn't quite fair because we already had all the chemistry and
biology and other subjects operating here. Then we started
pharmacy. I wrote to the national officers about that, and
kept after them, and they introduced a rule. They said that a
new college, if it could meet their requirements, why it could
be an associate member the first five years. One little thing
I had to do, I had to type all those letters myself. I heard
the other day that the college of pharmacy has eighteen secretaries now.
Well, far from having a secretary, they just had one
typewriter that looked like it had come over from Lake City
in 1906 when they had hauled the equipment over here by mule
team--an ancient typewriter.
That [typewriter] was used by all the chemistry department
and the college of pharmacy. They set it down there in a little
room shut off from a stairway that wasn't in use, and I guess I
got to use it an hour or two a week. Well, I'd have to go up
there at night. I got used to working long hours right there,
without any other faculty members or assistants.
Well, at the national meeting they asked to meet with me,
the officers of the national accrediting body. They'd studied
our catalog. They said, "Dr. Husa, you're the only one there
that has a degree in pharmacy, aren't you?" I said some of the
things I knew Dr. Leigh liked to say. I said, "Well, Dr. Sweet
once taught bacteriology at the University of Tennessee College
of Pharmacy, and Dr. [Fred Harvey] Heath taught chemistry to
pharmacy students in the University of Washington, and Dr.
[William Herman] Beisler worked in his brother-in-law's drugstore."
But they said, "Well, that means that you are the only one that's had
the pharmacy training." I had to admit I was. Then they said
we'd have to have at least two pharmaceutically-trained faculty
So when I came back and reported to Dean Leigh he said,
"Well, we don't want to just barely meet the requirements." So
we searched the country to find two. He'd said we'd get two more
people and replace Dr. Sweet.
It turned out that, in scouring the catalogs in the whole
United States, I found one man teaching at the Oregon Agricultural
College--it's now Oregon State University. He had a degree in
pharmacy, and the Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale. So, corresponding
with him, I got him interested. I didn't ask him how much he
was making there, but the university was able to offer him $3,000.
He later told me he was already getting $2,900 there, but they weren't
raising him any. Then, after he told them he was going to go to
Florida, they said we'll pay you that $100 more, but he wouldn't
change then. He came down here, was here two years. By that time,
they missed him so much up there that the pharmacists in the state
raised the money to pay him $4,500 a year and got him back up there...
H: ...so we had to replace him in 19...
K: What was his name?
H: Dr. F. A. [Archibald] Gilfillan.
Apparently I'd made a good selection, because he later was
made dean of men. Then he was dean of science, and for about
four years he was acting president of the university.
K: Fine record.
H: By writing around, I also found a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy that would
do for that other man. Then they also put down the appropriation
for $1,800 for an instructor for this other department. Well, when
we looked at that, you see, the Florida Boom was on, and how
could a married instructor come down here and live on $1,800
a year, we thought.
Dr. Leigh had been talking about starting some graduate
work. Well, when I came here that first time, Dr. Murphree
told me, "We don't want to just have another college of pharmacy.
We want to have the best college of pharmacy in the United States."
Of course, if you'd analyze that, with moving a turtle out of
the way to make room, there wasn't much to build on then! I
was agreeable to that.
When Dr. Gilfillan got this offer up there and left, why
I found another young man that I thought was the best in the
country--had all the degrees in pharmacy, and a Ph.D. in chemistry.
I taught him in his freshman year. When I got the transcript,
I thought I'd show it to the dean. He began looking at it and
that's when I found out...that was before discrimination was
outlawed. When he saw that this man was a Catholic, he handed it
back to me and he said he couldn't take that to Dr. Murphree,
that they just wouldn't consider any Catholic.
K: Now this was when?
H: In 1927.
K: So it's still the era of Sidney Catts and Hoovercrats.
H: Of course, it was well known that Dr. Murphree also was very partial
to Baptists. He was a strong Baptist. I thought it was alright
for him to get all the Southerners they could, and if they fit
in with the prevalent religion, that was alright, too.
Well, you know, I think that was one of the biggest setbacks
we ever had here. We could have been much farther ahead if I
could have gotten that man at that time. We had to make a temporary
appointment, but soon after...
K: Excuse me, do you remember who that man was that did not get the
job because he was Catholic?
H: Yeah. His name was Dr. J. J. Pfiffner. He later became a prominent
research man in the pharmaceutical industry.
When Dr. Murphree died, about the end of 1927, they made Dr. Farr,
who was vice-president, acting president awhile, I think until
they got Dr. Tigert. Then, when Dr. Tigert came, well, all this
discrimination was completely washed out forever. As you know, now
they don't care whether they're Catholics or Orientals or black or
what they are. They go look for the man. But in those days it
was thought that whoever was running a business or university ought
to be free to hire the people that he thought would fit in and would
work out the best.
K: Let me back up a second. Now when you came down in '23, did they
actually stick you in those two rooms in the basement of Science
Hall that they had talked about?
H: Yeah. More than that, they didn't have any places for offices.
So, in those two little rooms, we got us a desk. They had me
go downtown and pick out a desk, and they put a desk right in
the laboratory where the students were.
K: This is Science Hall?
K: Was that in the basement?
H: In the basement. It was the two rooms in the southwest corner
that go down. Part of it was in the ground. Went down a few
steps to get to that lowest floor.
Well, there was one thing that Dr. Leigh had.... I didn't
understand sometimes when he seemed to be working against me.
But I found out later on good authority, including his wife, his
idea of running a department or school. He didn't want anybody
to get too big and challenge him. She said, "He holds back the
ones that are getting ahead and helps those that are at the bottom,
pushes them ahead." Everybody would be about the same. I suppose
that's why I never got to be a dean or director of the school.
There're some administrators are like that. They don't want any
successor that would outshine them. That's just a human failure
that you've got to contend with.
K: When did they make what they had called the school of pharmacy into
H: It was a school for, let's see, a number of years. It was Dr.
Leigh as the director of the school of pharmacy. After Dr. Tigert
was here, there was a lot of opposition in Tallahassee to appropri-
ate money for arts and sciences and things like music and languages.
So I think that Dr. Tigert coined sort of an imaginary college.
When there had to be change in the arts and sciences dean, he
thought that he'd like to have Dr. Leigh be dean of arts and
sciences. But he thought if he'd made the school of pharmacy come
under arts and sciences, well then Dr. Leigh could continue to
operate the whole thing. So, the only place you ever used to see
it was in the budget. He called it the college of chemistry and
pharmacy. Well, there was no such thing, but that way he was
able to hide all that big chemistry budget in there under pharmacy
and chemistry and that eases it up on the budget in arts and
That went on until Dr. Tigert retired and Dr. Miller came.
They said as soon as he looked at the setup, soon as he saw phar-
macy under arts and sciences, he said: "How does that come?"
"They don't belong under there." You see, he'd had experience
in New York State with their organization. So he immediately set
it up. By that time Dr. Leigh had passed away, and Dr. [Perry A.]
Foote was the director of the school. So he immediately set it
up as a college with Dr. Foote as dean, and that was in 1949.
K: So the first time that they called it a college, it wasn't really
a college? That was just for purposes of strategy as far as
H: Well, we were a school of pharmacy and then they put it under arts
and sciences for administrative purposes. Then Dr. Miller
separated them again and didn't want pharmacy to continue as a
school. He set it up as a college. 'Course there's lots of places
had real good pharmacy setups, but a lot of them still call them
schools. It just seems to be what their local practice is. But
this way, with a separate dean, they stayed under that until the
health center was established.
You see, in actuality, I was the first professor appointed
here in any college that's now a part of the health center.
K: That's right. That would be true.
H: Looking back, when I'd been here a year or two, a student I
met at the boarding house there across University Avenue was
doing some reporting for papers and writing some for the Gainesville
Sun. He came around one day for a little interview. He said
that they were already talking then about starting a medical college.
He said, "Well, there's a lot of them in the state think that Gainesville
is too small to be a location for a medical college. They wouldn't
have enough cases. They think it ought to go to a larger city."
He asked me what my reaction was to that.
I told him I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, just a few blocks from
their medical center. There they had two colleges of medicine,
plus dentistry and pharmacy, all in a place that was about the size
of Gainesville, and centrally located in the state. They would
send out limousines and buses and they'd bring in patients,
especially those where their expenses had to be paid by the county.
They'd bring the patients in from all over the state. They'd go
out and take patients home and come back with a new carload. So
I told him that I thought that Gainesville would be a logical
place to have the college of medicine.
Well, it tickled me later. Of course, nobody paid much
attention to that, but they later paid a small committee $75,000
to tell them where to put the college and they told them to put
it in Gainesville.
K: Now when did the pharmacy department move into what's now called
Leigh Hall? When was that building put up?
H: We moved in '27, I guess it was then we moved, that the present
Chemistry and Pharmacy Building [Leigh Hall] was completed.
You learned a little bit about politics going through that.
You see, Dr. Leigh was urging Dr. Murphree to build a new chemistry
building. He knew, after he tried to get a little political
pull in Tallahassee, there were only about twenty-five chemists
in the whole state of Florida at that time. They didn't have
any political pull, but the pharmacists were everywhere. So,
when he was proposing this building, they called it the Pharmacy
and Chemistry Building because they wanted to get all the pharmacy
support. Well, then after it was built, they quickly changed
it around to Chemistry-Pharmacy Building.
Then, a few years later, you know where Benton Hall was?
Benton Hall was an old engineering building. [Benton Hall stood
on the site of what is today (1979) Grinter Hall--ed.]
K: Yes, near the [University] Auditorium.
H: When they were building those new engineering buildings, Dr. Leigh
wanted us to get out of that building altogether and go over and
take Benton Hall. The director of the school, though, didn't
want to listen to that. We wouldn't move, so they had to keep
us up there. But it actually turned out that our kind of equip-
ment and lockers that we used in pharmacy were practically the
same as what they used in chemistry, so that when we finally did
move out, they were able to go right in and use all of those
rooms for their growing enrollment.
K: Where were the pharmacy offices and the pharmacy labs in the new
Pharmacy-Chemistry Building located? Which floor?
H: We were on the top, the third floor. The fourth floor was
unfinished; it was sort of a attic. Then, in later years,
when they got real short of space, part of that was furnished
so it could be used. In between there, we had a classroom up
there that was separated from the rest of the attic by chicken
wire and fiberboard.
Once when I...you see, I'd go and visit drugstores and study
their prescription files, and talk with the druggist. So once
when I was in Ft. Pierce, the druggist told me--the state had just
cut down some on the university appropriations--"Just as well,
they just waste it all up there anyway in Gainesville." So I
told him, "Well, do you know that we walk up three flights of
stairs to have classes on the fourth floor? And they've got old
chairs that were brought from Lake City when the agriculture college
discontinued? And the partitions are chicken wire?" After I had
-talked to him a little along those lines, well, then he decided
that maybe we didn't wastethe money so much after all.
K: So you made a convert.
H: Yeah. At least one.
K: Did they consult you or the people in the chemistry department as
far as the design of that building. Did you ever have the
opportunity to talk to an architect when they were designing that
new building? The Chemistry-Pharmacy Building?
H: Oh yes. But this is the way it was done. They came one Friday
and said, "Monday morning we want the plan for all the rooms
that you need--classrooms, and laboratories, and offices on your
floor." So everybody had to go home and try to figure out what
they thought they could get or what they needed.
The architect was Rudolph Weaver. He was the one that favored
all that decoration on the outside, the stonework with the names
of famous chemists. Dr. Leigh worked continually with the architect's
office and we had many meetings, had to beat out so many different
things. At the end, Dr. Leigh was a little put out. One day
he forgot to ask the architect for sloping windowsills, because
there was one building at the University of Chicago.... You see,
students will set bottles of acid on the windowsills. So [at Chicago]
they made the windowsills slope so nobody could set anything on it.
But we had to go and do all that designing of the size of the rooms
and so on.
That time they just built about a third of that building, I
guess. They built the north part.
When World War II was about to end, our enrollment was
getting down, like in that prescription class. I think I finally
had about two students in it. So they found out that I had
minored in mathematics, that I had about as much math (advanced
math), as a lot of the math professors. They took contracts with
the navy and the army. I taught army engineers calculus and
descriptive geometry and those things. First we started out with
cadets for the air force. They got some of their training here and
then they went to Texas for the flight training.
There's a little interesting side thing there. Of course, when
we were in pharmacy, those in other departments didn't have any
idea what kind of teaching we were doing. I suppose they always
considered that we probably knew pharmacy, but maybe we were second-
rate teachers. Well, when they got the army air corps students, that
first 600 they divided into seventeen sections. The ones that were
the best out of that group, they had them finish the whole course in
about six weeks. The other ones stayed here much longer.
There were four of these so-called fast divisions. They put the
dean of the education college to teach one of them, and a professor
of psychology to teach one of them, and they put me to teach
one. Then, at the end of the year, they gave them an exam
graded on those machines. They were very much surprised to
see that my section came out first, ahead of the dean of education and professor
of psychology. So they couldn't understand that.
Next thing, they contracted to train army engineers. So
they got them down here. They might take insurance salesmen;
if they once graduated engineering and were a little old to be
fighters, they put them through this course and then had them
be engineers in the army. So they had four sections of that.
What we had to do in a couple of months was to review
college algebra and analytical geometry and trigonometry in two
or three weeks. Then we'd go through the complete first semester
of calculus, differential calculus. There were about four
sections in that.
One of the math professors was coordinating that. He was
always interested in the grade averages and figuring them out.
One of the classes was taught by an instructor from the math
department and they said that his class did the best and mine did
next to the best. Well, then this Dr. [William Atkins] Gager
got interested in it. He began looking at those scores in the
math office. He saw that the section that was supposed to be
first had a lot of low grades in it, so he checked through it
again. Their average was 20.9 and the secretary copying it
had put it down as 29.0. So they found out that my section was
the first one after all.
Well, then the third thing, they had that second section of
calculus. Some of those had had their calculus at Yale and places
like that. We were to go through the second half year of that,
integral calculus. Of course, some of those professors on the
campus in physics and things like that looked at me with a little
more respect. They said they thought they'd be afraid to go and
try to teach integral calculus.
Well, they put an assistant or associate professor of math
to teach one section and me to teach the other section. When
they had their final exams, well, you guessed it--I came out
ahead of the math professor. What it was, he knew more math,
but he didn't know the best way to organize the work.
K: So he didn't have nearly as much success in getting it across
to the students?
H: Well, then, about that graduate work. Before 1930 they had a
graduate committee. J. N. [James Nesbitt] Anderson was dean of
arts and sciences, and professor of ancient languages, and he
was the chairman of the graduate committee. They would read
the theses. They gave the master's degree in agriculture and
chemistry and different things.
Dr. Murphree, before he died of course, had an idea maybe
we ought to get into graduate work. So he had each department
make a list of what faculty and equipment they'd have to have
to be able to offer graduate work. Well, of course, when he got
that, it went into millions. So he threw up his hands and
didn't do anything.
But Dr. Leigh had ambitions to have graduate work in chemistry,
so one day he asked me if I'd organize a graduate course in phar-
macy. I guess he maybe thought that he'd have some of his students
take it for a minor.
But I didn't think that would be a good idea, because they
might think that they were pharmacists if they took two [or]
three hours of pharmacy. So I organized enough courses to give
a master's degree. Well, that was too good. He didn't like that
because that was more than he was doing, I guess. But I went
ahead and put it down there. Then that fit in when we couldn't
get an instructor for $1,800. I suggested that we divide that into
two graduate assistantships of $900 each and let them get a master's
degree over two years.
Of course, a lot of them are worried now about excellence in the
university, but we had our days, too. In 1932, our student won
the national scholarship exam. Each university in the country
that gave pharmacy could put up two students and then they took an
exam given by some college who did not have any candidates in
there. Ours came out number one in the country, the best pharmacy
student in the nation that year.
Kf That's remarkable.
H: Also, we were the first college of pharmacy in the whole world
that had a man with a Ph.D. teaching all the required lectures and
recitations. They weren't able to stick with that in later years.
As it grew, they had to get lower ranks. So we began graduate
When Dr. Tigert came, he thought they needed more organization,
and so he organized a graduate council. He made Dean Anderson dean
of the graduate school. They took two or three of the old
standbys,[James Miller] Leake from history and Dr. [Thomas Marshall]
Simpson from mathematics, and Dr. Leigh from chemistry, to be on
the graduate council. They knew about all my graduate work and
research work I'd done, along with pharmacy. They began to see
by that time that pharmacy would also be one of the first ones
in graduate work. So they put me on the graduate council and
that was kind of interesting for about the first year or two.
Every time I made a motion, nobody would second it. Then,
in about another year, they went of their own accord and did all
those things that I had been making motions for. For example,
once, right in the Depression, they established some small, $300
scholarships. I was one .f the graduate council, had to evaluate
those. I saw that we had really some outstanding students from
prestigious universities and I figured that a lot of those
actually wouldn't come here. They probably applied to a lot of
different places. So, when they got into that, I suggested
that when we were appointing about twelve of those, what if we'd
pick out five alternates, so when they write in and don't accept
the appointment, the graduate dean could just go ahead and appoint
Gosh, they gave me a regular horselaugh. They decided on
three, that they'd pick out three alternates. Well, you know,
inside of a few months, why the first alternate was used up, and
then the second, and third, and they needed two more yet.
H: So they came back and decided on the two more. I thought that
they'd probably expect me to say: "Well, I told you to appoint
five in the first place." So I decided I wouldn't say anything.
H: So I just went in there and sat down at the table. They met
around the table and it just about killed them; they were wait-
ing for me to say something and I wouldn't say anything.
H: They didn't know what to do. Finally Dean Anderson looked over
his spectacles and said, "Dr. Husa told us to appoint five."
Well, when the work actually started, in 1932, there were
two Ph.D.s, the first two Ph.D.s to get the orange and blue hood
over their shoulders.
K: They earned their degrees in 1932? Can you tell me the names?
H: One of them was pharmacy. One of them was a student that I directed
and the other one was in chemistry--worked under Dr. [Cash Blair]
Pollard. Now, actually, they conferred those one at a time, so
they took them in alphabetical order. Mine was a little bit lower
in the alphabet, and so mine was the first one. I directed the
first Ph.D. that was ever awarded at the university.
In later years it nettled me a little bit that Dr. Pollard
began claiming that. Of course, I was always willing to say,
"Well, I had one of the first two." But when he began claiming
that he had the first one.... In actuality, why it made no differ-
ence. But mine actually was the very first one. In later years
once I was talking about that with Dr. Tigert. He said, "Yes, I
know it was a pharmacy man got the first degree."
K: Do you remember his name? Or what became of him? Did you keep in
touch with him?
H: His name was Lyell [Joseph] Klotz. He was dean of two differ-
ent colleges of pharmacy for some years. He had quite a bit of
ability. For example, he could formulate some kind of cleaner
and sell it to Proctor and Gamble, and they'd put it on the
market and give him a royalty. I don't know whether he's living
anymore or not.
K: Do you have any idea how many dissertations you were the head of
over the years?
H: I guess I quit counting when it was over fifty. There was
some master's degrees and then maybe thirty or so Ph.D.s.
K: Were there many master's degrees awarded in pharmacy before that
H: Well, I had two. We started out on kind of a small scale. Some
of those master's [degree graduates] went into teaching and some
of them went into work for the larger drug houses in research.
A man who was the dean of the college of pharmacy at Maryland
told me that the master's degree men that they got from us in
pharmacy were better than most of the Ph.D.s that they got from
K: That's remarkable. Did you have a pharmacy branch library?
H: Well, that's another thing. The very first year, I got in a
big debate with the head of history and political science. I
soon found out that they'd get about $1,000 or $2,000 or so,
was all they'd get for books for the library. You know, some
of those in the legislature would just be farmers and small busi-
nessmen. One of them would get up and say: "Well, I heard that
they have 50,000 volumes at the university. I don't think that
any student read all of those yet." Something like that.
I noticed that Dr. Murphree had appointed a committee on
the library. They'd decide who was to get how much of this
little bit of money. I noticed that all five of them on there
were from arts and sciences. That first year, Dr. Leigh must
have overlooked that. They didn't have anything there for
pharmacy that first two years. So I went to see the president
about it. I told him I was wondering if it would be alright with
him if I'd introduce a motion that they should have one representa-
tive from each college on that committee. He said, "Well, I
don't think it'll pass, but it's alright with me."
So, I got up there and made the motion. I thought I'd
better have a second, so Dr. [Fred H.] Heath in the chemistry
department, I'd asked him in advance if he'd second the motion.
So I made the motion. I told them that I didn't think it was
quite right to have all of the library committee be arts and
sciences people, that they ought to have one from engineering
and one from agriculture and pharmacy and chemistry and so on.
I got big support on that from the ag people and people like
that that weren't represented there either. I made the motion and
Dr. Heath got up meekly and seconded it.
H: Dr. [James M.] Leake was the chairman of the committee. I
suppose he'd been a debater in college. He began to argue against
the motion. He said that we had laboratories and the library
was their laboratory in arts and sciences. I got up and answered
that we had to have both; we had to have laboratories and we had
just as much use for libraryfacilities.
So then he said that they went partly by use and that the
departments that used the library the most got the most funds.
So I got up and said,"Mr. President, how could we use books
when we didn't have any?" Gosh, that struck their funny bone,
H: Dr. Leigh told me afterwards that the dean of education, Dr. [James W.]
Norman, was sitting next to him, and that he told him: "Well, Leake
better sit down. Every time he opens his mouth, why Husa strikes
Then they called for the vote, finally. Dr. Murphree listened
a lot. He said, "The motion seems to be carried. It is carried."
And so that motion carried and everybody got a representative on
But there was one more bag of tricks he had that I didn't
know about. He gave every college a representative and then he
gave arts and sciences one more representative than all the others
H: Of course, I think that violated the spirit of the motion.
K: It surely did.
H: They still kept in control.
But then they began to notice that they had to look after the
other colleges. So, since we didn't have any appropriation,
why we bought the books we needed out of this druggist fund, the
money the druggists had raised. Then, when the graduate college
started, we saw that we'd need journals from England and France and
Germany, and back volumes of the American journals. That took
quite a bit of money. Well, the graduate school had about $5,000
every year or every biennium. But Dean Anderson figured that
they'd distribute that money to the ones that were actually doing
the graduate work and help them build up their library. Then,
later, as other ones took it up, they'd build them up.
So I got bids, found out where a lot of those journals could
be obtained. In Europe, in the old times, those old professors
each had his own library. Then, after the world war, why Germany
needed money pretty bad, needed gold. So they'd gather up all these
bound volumes and put them up on sale.
K: I see.
H: So, for a few thousand dollars, we got books, sets, that would
have cost about twenty-five times that much.
I asked for some, and then I went around to other departments
like bacteriology and said, "Why don't you put in a request." You
see, Dean Anderson had a theory. He didn't want to publicize this
fund too much, then he'd get too many applicants. Well, when he
didn't publicize it, why people didn't know about it. I didn't
want to gobble it all up, so I went around to a lot of them and
suggested they get up their list and put it in there. Chemistry
put in some, of course.
But for the next several years, every time I went to a graduate
school meeting, I always had a few bids in my pocket. If nobody
else asked for the money, then I'd bring mine out. Since nobody
else asked for it, they couldn't do much except to pass mine.
K: That's right.
H: Well, then later, there was a big survey made by Dean [Harley W.]
Chandler. They went back and counted up all that money and they said
pharmacy had gotten more money for books than a lot of the rest of
them. They cut us down later wanting to make up for that.
After World War II, there was a nationally known man in that
field--he's been a professor at Minnesota--and he examined our
library in pharmacy. Without any solicitation, he came around and
said, "Well, you have the third best pharmacy library in the United States."
So we built it up pretty quick. We got all the volumes we needed
for these kinds of research we were doing.
K: Did you know Miss [Cora] Miltimore, the university librarian, very
H: I knew her fairly well.
K: What was she like?
H: Well, she was a nice lady.
K: Was she easy to get along with?
H: Well, she was rather....
When I came, the library was in a room on the second floor
of Peabody Hall, what later was a big classroom there. That was
the library in there. So then, pretty quick, they built the
Miss Miltimore was nice to meet and talk with, but if you
had any ideas, you coundn't very well.... For example, all the
textbooks were left around where there were roaches. Of course,
they were everywhere in the South. Those roaches would chew the
covers off of those books. So they put a student to work on some
treatment so those roaches couldn't eat those books.
Somebody sent him to me. I'd worked along those lines for
du Pont, so I wrote to the laboratory in New Jersey that made these
lacquers and asked them if they had anything that could be used
for lacquering these books. I knew that the roaches couldn't
very likely get through nitrocelulose. They said they'd never
had a request for that, but they'd mix me up a gallon or two and
send it down. So it worked fine for the student.
But, you see, these lacquers are the sort that they use on
automobiles and stuff, and the solvents made a smell. So the
library here didn't want to adopt it. They said that it made too
much smell and they didn't like it. That was partly Miss Miltimore.
Then, pretty soon, everyone else in the country began doing it.
Then, the next thing, du Pont began putting that lacquer finish
on the cloth before it was bound.
K: I see.
H: Of course, if I'd protected that with a patent or something....
They must have sold a million dollars worth of that stuff.
K: I imagine so.
H: I got my book printed with it, anyway.
K: Can you tell me how the pharmaceutical garden got started? Was
it located near Lake Alice originally?
H: Yeah. I can tell you about that.
When I was first down here, that first time, I mentioned to
Dr. Leigh, "Well, Florida is down here in the sub-tropics. They
could probably raise a lot of drug plants here, have a drug garden,
like some colleges have." He was very much interested in that. Now,
actually, that wasn't exactly my field. That came in the field of
the other man. But I suggested it to him, and he and Mrs. Leigh
(his wife was his secretary for several years out there), they
both got very much interested in that. They first got a piece of
ground that was right where the architecture building is.
K: Right along Thirteenth Street? What's now Thirteenth Street?
H: Yeah, from Thirteenth Street and Stadium Road, it was south.
They planted some things there. Of course, I had so much else to do,
I didn't pay too much attention to that.
Then,after they got a man in that field, they arranged to get
that land by Lake Alice. I went out there and looked at it.
But you know, at that time, to get to it, you had to drive down
Thirteenth Street and go out there about where those government insect laboratories
are. Down there someplace you'd get a road into
the campus, and then you'd have to ride all the way back up there.
It seemed like it was two or three miles from our building. Then,
later, I was surprised that it was right down there by Lake Alice.
That came under the heading, really, of pharmacognosy. So,
those new men came along in that, they took it up and assigned
one faculty member to spend part-time down there and hired a gardener.
They'd take the students down there and see these drugs growing.
But then, of course, drugs pretty much went to synthetic drugs
made in factories. The other is still interesting, but it's kind of
a dying part of pharmacy. They don't depend on drug plants.
K: Let me skip up to the time right before you retired. I asked you
before if you and the people in pharmacy and chemistry had input
into the designing of the Pharmacy-Chemistry Building. I want to
ask you, when the time came, when they were going to move pharmacy
down to the medical center complex they were planning, if once
again they came to you and talked with you about kinds of things
H: Yes, they took it up in the pharmacy faculty. You see, I was going
to retire in 1961.
H: By that time, we had several men in my department. The faculty
had been growing. I thought that the ones that were going to be
in the building ought to be doing that. So I told them that I
would rather send my men that were going to succeed me there and
have them go and do that. Then they couldn't ever say that they didn't
like what was arranged. Let them make the input. That was done.
So, I didn't have much to do with that.
The way it actually worked out, I retired about a month before
they began to move over into the new place. So, I'm never lonesome
for the med center. The only campus I knew was over here.
K: I see.
H: Well, our Ph.D. work was really quite successful. I was elected
chairman of the National Conference on Pharmaceutical Research for
a couple or three terms. They had some national prizes, actually
one for each part of the country, for students who'd finished their
doctor's dissertation. They'd submit it for prizes. I think I
directed about two of those students that won for this region. They
gave the university, I think, $1,000and the professor got a thank you,
K: Did you continue to teach undergraduates as well as graduate
students throughout your career?
H: Yes. As it happened, I had more drug store experience and more
practical experience than any of the others. I always took those
most difficult courses along that line, like filling prescriptions,
and pharmacy laws, and pharmacy calculations--they used to call it
pharmacy arithmetic. It was actually kind of the calculations
When I told one of my math professors in Iowa that I was teaching
pharmaceutical arithmetic, why he had a big laugh about that. You
see, I'd studied the most advanced math with him, theory of functions
that are real variable.... He said, "I'll bet you that you had more
math than anybody in the whole world that's teaching that subject."
H: There was one little thing there, about in the 1950s.
K: Yes, sir?
H: I happened to think of something. Once I made a check and tabulated
the papers, scientific papers, in pharmacy. I found out that our
present faculty that were there at that time, plus our alumni, had
contributed almost 55 percent, more that 50 percent of all the
papers presented at the national meeting.
H: I sent that to the dean and he sent it on to Dr. Tigert. I think
he was a little impressed with that.
K: How did President [J. Wayne] Reitz and President [J. Hillis] Miller
treat the pharmacy people as far as finances? Did they treat you
better than Tigert had?
H: Well, Dr. Miller was the one that said right away that pharmacy
had to be a separate college. He knew the college of pharmacy in
New York State. He had something to do with their state education
up there. I'd say he was fairly good.
We were just about to get that big influx of students after
World War II. The dean or president sent around some kind of letter
and he wanted to know if we could think up something else the faculty
could do when they aren't busy with students--Dean Foote transmitted
that. I told him, "Well, what they ought to be worrying is where
they're going to put them all." He said that he had talked with
Professor [Elmer Jacob] Emig who used to be the journalism professor
here, and that they took a survey in the army, and that the survey
showed that there'd only be about the same proportion of students go
to college after the war as there was before the war. I gave him a
big horse laugh. I laughed my head off. I said, "Well, remember that
when you see this place all flooded with students."
Sure enough, pretty soon they began to feel it. So they thought
they'd make an addition to the Chemistry Building. The dean came
around, Dean Chandler, and said they'd like to know whether we'd
like to put an addition on the east side of the building or on the
west side? I said, "Well, tell them to add on to both ends because
then the contractor will only have to come once." [Laughter].
H: They did and they sure found out that they needed it.
Then Dr. Reitz was pretty much promoted for that position by
the agricultural interests. I think a lot of the arts and sciences
faculty were afraid that he wouldn't look with much favor on arts
and sciences subjects, but it turned out to be the other way. I
guess he knew that and so he proceeded to go and work hard for arts
and sciences and the school of religion and all those things.
One thing I did hear, you know, every once in a while they
want to abolish all the graduate work, or want to abolish this
graduate work or there. What used to be a thorn in our side, they'd
look at the University of Georgia, and they had just one man in
pharmacy--the dean--and they didn't have any graduate work. So they
said, well, one man in Georgia does as much as your ten men do here.
Why, you know, there was no comparison at that time.
Somebody up there got to somebody on the Board of Control and
he came to their meeting and wanted to abolish the graduate work in
pharmacy. He said they only had one or two or three in the class,
anyway, and they might as well abolish it. But I heard that Dr.
Reitz spoke up right away and said, "Well, we would never abolish that
because they were the first ones that developed graduate work on
the campus." So he stuck up for that and shut that off right there.
Of course, by that time, I didn't have so much direct concern with
appropriations. We had the dean and other department heads, too.
Students were already pouring in here. I could see what would
happen. We always gave each student a locker about like this with a
door on it and a shelf. He had his own glassware and ironware and
equipment for measuring and mixing, and his own mortar and pestle.
That would teach him to keep his own stuff clean.
In chemistry, it wasn't quite that critical. They didn't have
that profession to look to. If they didn't have enough room, well,
they'd just put two students to the locker to use the same equipment.
They didn't worry whether it was clean or dirty. They'd sometimes put
I saw that we couldn't take care of them. When I designed that
thing in 1925, I had ninety-nine lockers. So I suggested that the
university should set a limit on the pharmacy students--exactly what
we could handle. But nobody would support me on that, the dean or
the other faculty in pharmacy.
Dr. Miller said, "Well, let's get the students here first and
then we'll go and try to get appropriations." Well, that was alright
for him to sit in an office there and figure that way.
They just came pouring in there. Then all we could do was put
two or three or four in a locker together. Then there wouldn't be
room for their stuff. One of them needs something and somebody else
had left it dirty or something in it; it was mighty hard going.
Others, I think North Carolina and some other colleges, they'd go
and establish their quota of what they could handle right, and then
they wouldn't take anymore.
I visited the University of Washington, and they'd already
started those temporary army buildings ahead of us. They had a
building out on the grass, on the lawn, and set up a beginning pharmacy
lab in there. It could be supplied from the adjacent building.
But, on that stuff, I never could get much understanding here.
For example, they were going to build. By that time, we began
to get enough money for equipment and would get some research grants.
There began to be trouble having the space to put it. I suggested
to the dean, when they're going to build this addition to the building,
that we had hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars worth of stuff
up in that attic, and maybe just protect it with a little chicken
wire or something like that, that stuff in our labs. I said they
ought to go and build a little temporary building out there and
store all our extra, surplus stuff in there. But they didn't want
to do it. The result was that all those workmen (we had a contractor
from South Carolina) carried everything out of there. We had
bolts of muslin, diaper cloth that they used in wiping dishes. They'd
take the whole bolt. In our research lab, we had heavy brass equipment
for the centrifuge. They picked up all those pieces. They carried
all that stuff out of there and it was gone.
K: It could have been avoided. That's too bad.
H: Outside of that, I think that Dr. Miller always was...we didn't have
any complaints. But I thought at that time, he'd been a little
smarter if he'd have seen that in some of these things where a
student has to learn how to use certain tools, that he's got to have
space and time. It'd be better just accept as many as you could
handle at that time and then give the others a chance to come in
later. But since they went on that basis, and went ahead and took
them in, I guess we'd have about 120 or 130 beginning students.
One thing I did then to help alleviate it was to get about fifty or
seventy-five of these army foot lockers, and get them all numbered,
fix them with padlocks, and put those up in the hall. We had the
table tops available at certain times, so, those beginning students,
we'd give them a foot locker out there and they could carry that
into the lab and have their own stuff to operate. We did all we
I think that the arts and sciences faculty, those that had
been complaining or worried, were all satisfied, and had to admit
that Dr. Reitz did alright for them.
I didn't have any gripes with Dr. Miller, but some of those
in arts and sciences.... You see, being in New York, so many of those
professors he knew were Jewish, they'd figure that he'd flood the
university with Jewish professors. Well, Dr. Tigert's lessons hadn't
quite soaked in, that there shouldn't be any discrimination.
I think that they were both good men. They always appointed
whoever we wanted.
K: Well, Dr. Husa, we certainly have covered a lot of ground. Is there
anything else that you'd like to bring up?
H: Tell you what it was like to see this campus for the first time.
Most of the professors rode bicycles. A lot of the professors
rode bicycles and some of the more affluent ones had Model T Fords.
You could park under any tree on the campus. The campus would all
Then, by the time of World War II, faculty members were allowed
to put up a sign that's supposed to reserve a place, but other people
would get in there and take it. I guess, ever since then, parking
has been a pain in the neck. But, in the beginning, if you happen
to see some old picture of it, the campus is all empty and then
there'll be one or two Model T Fords parked under the trees.
K: Did they have any landscaping when you came here at first? Were
there any lawns or shrubbery?
H: Well, their architects were from Atlanta, Sayward and Edwards.
One little thing we did in those two labs, while I'm thinking
of that. Each one was about the size of a small classroom. When
we finally got a little space in the basement of Peabody Hall for
the other department, they said I could have both rooms for the
pharmacy department. So I suggested cutting archways between the
two rooms. They had to get the architect from Atlanta, when he
was in the state, to go and okay that. So they cut archways and we
had a pretty nice lab. But you know, after biology got it back,
they cut it all into little rooms. They wanted all little rooms
with one man in there with his frogs and turtles.
The landscaping, well, these architects designed the main campus
with those curved driveways. They had a curved driveway coming this
way. It entered down there by the law college. There were more
pines, and big trees around. They did some landscaping and planting
K: Was there anything much south of the Auditorium, other than scrub
H: Well, that's where they kept the cows. They had the dairy cattle
The veterinary professor, Dr. [Arthur Liston] Shealy, used to
live next door here. I'd hear him when a cow was about ready to
give birth to a calf; he'd jump up in the morning and drive down
That stuff came right up to that sinkhole there, right almost
up to Stadium Road.