Inauguration Day

Lydia’s Pick
Diary: Caleb E. Iddings, 1881 


Today, January 20th is imprinted in our minds as a day of ceremony marking the hope and promise of a new presidential term.

Prior to 1933, however, folks had to wait an additional six weeks – that is, until March 4th – before officially swearing in a president chosen in November.

While chances for mild weather are far greater in March than in January, Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings (1829-1904) lets us know that James A. Garfield’s inauguration in 1881 resembled deep winter rather than a foretelling of spring.

Dr. Iddings describes a snowy day turning to rain with extreme wind and expresses concern for those attending the ceremony in Washington DC.  Indeed, an inauspicious beginning to a tragic presidency that would end by assassination just six and a half months later.

Patricia’s Pick
Essay:  “The Inauguration,” Allan Farquhar, 1901


Today, we witness the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States.  One of the many treasures found within the Sandy Spring Archives is Allan Farquhar’s (1853-1944) essay, The Inauguration. 

Within these pages, you will journey to our nation’s capital not once, but ten times, to join Mr. Farquhar as he describes his experiences standing within the crowds at the steps of the Capitol watching several presidential inaugurations.

He begins with this amazing recollection, “Well do I remember the tall figure and swarthy face of Lincoln as he emerged from between the pillars on the eastern portico to deliver his immortal 2nd inaugural.”  Within these pages, you will discover vivid accounts of the atmosphere surrounding the inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, McKinley, and Harrison.

Should you decide to read this essay, you will be rewarded with first-hand knowledge and fascinating insights regarding the political landscape surrounding these great men.

National Pharmacists Day

Sara’s Pick
Prescription Notebook: Caleb E. Iddings, 1885


On January 12th each year our nation celebrates National Pharmacists Day celebrating the work these professionals do every day in order to keep us healthy.  Serving as trusted intermediaries between prescribers and patients, pharmacists not only dispense necessary medications, but they also provide valuable medical health tips and insights.

Comparing the role of today’s pharmacists to that of those in 1885, I decided to highlight Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings’s prescription notebook.  Perusing the pages within this book, one can see how he provided medical care to the local community, as well as what he prescribed to treat a plethora of ailments. Unlike the prevailing stereotype of illegible handwriting attributed to medical professionals, I had no problem reading all of his notations and various symbols used throughout these pages forming a code of understanding.  As we continue to struggle with the current COVID 19 pandemic, we can all agree that medical professionals across the board do the important work of keeping us all healthy.

Riley’s Pick
Tribute: Dr. Jacob W. Bird, 1959


I’ve always had a lot of respect for those in the medical profession. One of my oldest and dearest friends is a practicing medical doctor.  In this current pandemic climate, I believe it is of utmost importance to recognize and appreciate these professionals who continually put themselves at risk in order to help others.

Today, January 12, is recognized as National Pharmacists Day intending to celebrate those health professionals serving their clients throughout this nation. I believe that these professionals perform a truly important job that simply does not get half the credit they deserve.  With this in mind, I wanted to highlight this lovely tribute to Dr. Jacob W. Bird, who practiced medicine for fifty years in the Sandy Spring community.

I’d love to see similar tributes taking place today acknowledging today’s medical professionals, leading to an understanding of the ongoing positive impact they have on the communities they serve.