For about a century following ‘contact’ with the Islands by Europeans, pharmacy did not exist separately from medicine. It was another function of the physician. The Hawaiians were first introduced to western medicine as it was practiced by ships captains and an occasional ship physician.
In 1820 missionaries reaching Hawaii brought with them the first resident medical practitioner. By the 1840s there were many doctors throughout the islands.
These early resident physicians did their own drug dispensing, depending for supplies of drugs and medicines on passing ships, mainland druggists or, if missionaries, on shipments by the Missionary Board from Boston. (LRB)
Sailing from Boston in October, 1838, Dr. Robert W Wood arrived in Honolulu on April 6, 1839, the first American Doctor not a missionary to settle in Hawai‘i. On his arrival he was appointed physician to the US Seaman’s Hospital; in 1847 Dr Wood opened the first public pharmacy. (Kelley)
The first drug store not owned by a doctor or a dentist appears to have been established in 1869. A few years later, Benson, Smith, and Company was founded and was probably the initial drug store in Hawaii owned and operated by a trained druggist. Within the next three years Hollister and Company were also listed as druggists. (LRB)
Henry Reed Hollister was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, September 13, 1824, and engaged in various business enterprises in New York State, in Illinois, in Mexico, and in California.
Hollister married Charlotte Pond at Winchester, Illinois on December 1, 1845. Charlotte died on February 18, 1848 and Hollister then left his infant daughter (Phoebe Adelaide Hollister, born November 27, 1847) with his mother at LeRoy, NY, and went to Texas.
About 1852, Hollister was in California, and soon after migrated to the Hawaiian Islands in 1856, where his father (Richard) had been residing a number of years. (Hollister Family)
Richard, the senior Hollister was admitted to the bar, but engaged in mercantile business at Waimea, on Kauai in 1853. Hearing that his son, Henry Reed, was in California, he joined him in Sacramento, remaining in California about a year and a-half, and then returned to the Hawaiian Islands, where he was appointed collector of the port on Kauai. The senior Hollister died April 19, 1878.)
In 1863, Henry R Hollister and Phillip G Hyland, founded the first soda water company, ‘Hollister & Hyland’ in Hawai‘i. (Cultural Surveys) Unfortunately, with the drowning death of Hyland in 1871, the partnership was dissolved and Hollister established ‘Hollister & Co.’ (It has been suggested that Hollister & Co was previously formed by Richard Hollister.)
In 1878 the drug department was established, and it grew steadily “into the large proportions of the present enterprise.” (Bulletin of Pharmacy, 1896)
On September 24, 1867 Howard A Parmelee married Phoebe Adelaide Hollister (one of two children of Hollister; Charles Henry Hollister died as an infant.) Parmelee came to the Islands in December 1878 and became a partner in the firm of Hollister & Co. with his father-in-law
Hollister died May 12, 1895 and Parmelee was the practical head of the firms of Hollister & Co, the Hollister Drug Company and the Honolulu Tobacco Company, in Honolulu. Parmelee, a friend of President Dole, took a hand in the annexation movement.
“The islands are prosperous under the new administration.” said Mr. Parmelee in a reported interview. “We had 100,000 inhabitants in 1896, and we are to have another census right away.”
“We are waiting to see what the next Congress gives us in the way of legislation. A number of amendments to the present tariff laws, with special reference to Hawaii, are needed.” (Merck’s Report, Oct 1899)
On April 30, 1900, HA Parmelee and PA Parmelee posted a dissolution of co-partnership concerning Hollister & Co, noting that “the business of said Hollister & Co and this dissolution have no connection with the Hollister Drug Co, Ltd, the said Hollister Drug Co, Ltd being an independent corporation.” Hawaiian Star, May 5, 1900)
“The Walrus Company, through their California distributors, the Langley & Michaels Co. of San Francisco, report the sale of a very elaborate Soda Fountain outfit to the Hollister Drug Co … This is but one of a number of outfits that the Walrus Company have marketed in Honolulu through their San Francisco distributors.” (Pacific Pharmacist, 1915)
The Hollister firm focused as wholesale and retail druggists, tobacconists and manufacturers of aerated waters, but later became a “vast mercantile establishment.” (Hollister Family)