Guide to the Sterling Drug, Inc. Records
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0772
Creators:
Sterling Drug, Inc.
Winthrop Chemical Company
History Factory (Chantilly, Virginia)
Bayer Company
Dates:
1867-1993
Languages:
Multiple languages
Some materials in Arabic, Bengali (Bangla), Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Norweigan, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Yiddish.
Physical Description:
120 Cubic feet
261 boxes, 16 map-folders
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection contains domestic and foreign advertising for both pharmaceutical and consumer health care products; sales and marketing materials for pharmaceuticals aimed at physicians, such as brochures, package inserts, reports, catalogs, price lists, manuals; the company's business and administrative papers, including annual reports, news releases, clippings, newsletters and publications, financial and corporate files, histories, and photographs.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is divided into four series. In most instances, original folder titles were retained. In circumstances where there was no folder title, the processing archivist created one derived from the nature of the materials. The contents of some folders were combined.
Series 1: Products, 1946-1948
Series 2: Advertising, 1902-1984
Series 3: Sales and Marketing, 1881-1979
Series 4: Corporate, 1896-1993

Historical
Historical
Sterling Drug was founded in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1901 by two childhood friends, William E. Weiss and Albert H. Diebold, to manufacture and sell a pain-relieving preparation called "Neuralgine." The company's original name was Neuralgyline. Within a few years, Weiss and Diebold realized that expansion required more product lines and that this would be best obtained by acquisition. This policy continued throughout the life of the organization. At least 130 companies were acquired directly or indirectly between 1902 and 1986. In 1913, Weiss and Diebold established intangible assets (trademarks, patents, and copyrights) and tangible assets (offices and plants). By 1914, the company set-up proprietary agencies for overseas trading. Weiss and Diebold changed the name of the company in 1917 from Neuralgyline, which was difficult to say, to Sterling Products.
Sterling Products benefited from World War I. Because supplies of drugs from Germany were cutoff by the Allied blockade, they established the Winthrop Company to manufacture the active ingredients. After the war, Sterling acquired the American Bayer Company in December 1918. They established a separate subsidiary, the Bayer Company, to market Bayer Aspirin. During the 1930s, Winthrop made Sterling a leader in the pharmaceutical field with such renowned products as Luminal, the original phenobarbitol; Salvarsan and Neo-Salvarsan, the first effective drugs in the treatment of syphilis; Prontosil, the first of the sulfa drugs; and Atabrine, the synthetic antimalarial that replaced quinine during World War II. The company expanded overseas in 1938, and eventually operated about seventy plants in about forty countries. Sterling was especially profitable in Latin America. By 1942, the use of Sterling Products as a name was confusing and could not be licensed to conduct business in some states. Therefore, the company namechanged to Sterling Drug, Inc.
In 1988, in order to avoid a hostile takeover by Hofmann-LaRoche, Sterling became a division of Eastman Kodak and remained one until 1994 when Kodak disposed of its health-related businesses. This left Sterling broken up with Sanofi purchasing Sterling's ethical business; Nycomed of Norway purchasing the diagnostic imaging; and SmithKline Beecham purchasing the worldwide over-the counter pharmaceutical business.
Source
Collins, Joseph C. and John R. Gwilt. "The Life Cycle of Sterling Drug, Inc."
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
, Volume 25, Number 1, 2000.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2018-2019.
Author
Alison Oswald
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
Collection donated to the Archives Center by the History Factory through Bruce Weindruch (President and CEO), in 2001.

Digital Content
More …
Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research, but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Preferred Citation
Sterling Drug, Inc. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
NW Ayer and Sons Incorporated Advertising Agency Records (AC0059)
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Series: Patent Medicines (NMAH.AC.0060)
Parke-Davis Company Records (NMAH.AC.0001)
Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Records (NMAH.AC.0329)
Syntex Collection of Pharmaceutical Advertisements (NMAH.AC.0821)
Garfield & Company Records (NMAH.AC.0820)
Materials at the National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collection
Division of Medicine and Science holds artifacts related to Sterling Drug, Inc. that include a banner, flag, product packaging, memorabilia, a colander, and a soap dispenser. See accessions 2001.0314, 2004.0129, and 2018.5001.

Custodial History
Custodial History
In 1991 Sterling Drug retained the History Factory, a for-profit, private company that appraises, processes, manages, stores, and moves archival collections. History Factory processed and provided reference access to the collection until Sterling Drug's divestiture in 1995. The History Factory contacted the companies (Bayer Corporation, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Nycomed, Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Company, and SmithKline Beecham) about their ownership of materials within the Sterling Drug, Inc. Collection and received disposition rights. The History Factory donated the archival collection to the Archives Center in 2001 and related artifacts to the Division of Science, Medicine and Society.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brochures Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Advertisements -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuals Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Antibiotics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Catalogs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Price lists Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anesthesia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Analgesics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barbiturates Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Medicine Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pharmaceutical industry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Press releases Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newsletters -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eastman Kodak Co. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
History Factory (Chantilly, Virginia) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives