Robert Shoemaker's Wholesale and Retail Drugstore, Southwest Corner of Second and Green Streets, Philadelphia


William H. Rease, born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, was the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. Shown here is Shoemaker’s drugstore on the 200 block of Green Street. Signs advertise Wetherill's white lead, drugs, medicines, paints, oils, glass, dyestuffs, "window glass of all sizes," picture glass, "cheap glass for hot beds," "white lead warranted pure by the ton or pound," ready-mixed paints, linseed oil, plasters, potash, and soda. A patron enters past barrels and sacks. Two clerks stand at the long counter before shelves of pharmaceuticals. Canisters and apothecary jars fill the main windows. At the street corner, crates and boxes of pharmaceuticals, including indigo and oil of vitriol (sulfuric acid), line the sidewalk and some are loaded on a horse-drawn dray. Shoemaker operated the drugstore under this name and at this location in 1837−56, having apprenticed at the store in the 1830s when it was operated by William Scattergood. Shoemaker developed an alternative to homemade plasters and was possibly the first U.S. manufacturer of glycerin. He removed to Fourth and Race Streets in 1856 when he established Robert Shoemaker & Company. Rease became active in his trade around 1844, and through the 1850s he mainly worked with printers Frederick Kuhl and Wagner & McGuigan in the production of advertising prints known for their portrayals of human details. Although Rease often collaborated with other lithographers, by 1850 he promoted in O'Brien's Business Directory his own establishment at 17 South Fifth Street, above Chestnut Street. In 1855 he relocated his establishment to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets (after a circa 1853−55 partnership with Francis Schell), where in addition to advertising prints he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

Last updated: September 2, 2015