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Colman Drug Co. Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3789

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of one Zoa Phora Medicine Company booklet, circa 1885, four photocopied pages of newspaper advertisements for Zoa Phora circa 1885, one Beecham’s Help to Scholars Booklet from 1906, two receipts for the Colman Drug Co. dated February 17, 1914 and October 1, 1926 and one envelope for the 1926 receipt, all of which came from the Colman Drug Company located at 123 West Main Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


  • Creation: 1885, 1906, 1914, and 1926

Biographical / Historical

Located at 141 Main Street, Francis B. Colman (b. 1819) opened the Francis Colman, Druggist store in 1871. His son Howard Gordon Colman (b. Nov. 1846) worked as a clerk there. In 1876, the store was renamed F. Colman and Son and they advertised as “proprietors of the peoples drugs store, wholesale and retail dealers in pure drugs, medicines, paints, oils, glass and fancy goods.” In 1881, another partner joined the store, Charles E. Fisher. Fisher remained a partner until 1885, when Francis Colman’s younger son Hutson (b. 1855) also became a partner in the store. It was then renamed F. Colman and Sons. In 1887 the drugstore moved from 141 Main Street to 123 West Main. By 1893, Francis Colman had died and the store was renamed Colman Bros. and Co. as it was owned by Howard, Hutson and their younger sister Helen (Colman) Eaton (b. 1860) of Rockford, Illinois.

In 1893, Howard also became the secretary and treasurer of the Zoa Phora Medicine Co. Zoa Phora (formerly known as "Woman's Friend") was a medicine made in Kalamazoo that claimed to cure all complaints which were "peculiar to the female economy."

In 1899, Hutson Colman left the company and the operation continued under Howard their sister Helen. The name of the company was changed at that time to H.G. Colman and Co. However, by 1901 Helen had also dropped out as a partner and the store became the H.G. Colman Company. The name was changed again in 1902 to the H.G. Colman Drug Company.

Howard Colman died on May 21, 1907. At that time Cornelius J. Manningh took over as acting president. Manningh ran the H.G. Colman Drug Co. until 1913, when Howard’s son Francis Howell Colman (9/24/1884-9/13/1942) took control of the operation.

In 1929, the H.G. Colman Drug Co. moved downtown to 145 West Michigan Avenue. By 1937, it was relocated to 136 South Burdick Street and called Coleman’s Pharmacy. 1937 was the last year that the pharmacy could be found in Kalamazoo city directories.


0.05 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Description

This collection amounts to 0.05 cubic feet of space and is comprised of one Zoa Phora Medicine Co. booklet circa 1885 that measures 3 ¼x6,” four photocopied pages of newspaper advertisements for Zoa Phora circa 1885 which measure 8 ½x11,” one Beecham's Help to Scholars booklet from 1906 that measures 4 ¼x5 ½,” one 1914 receipt for the Colman Drug Co. that measures 3 ½x5 ¼,” one 1926 receipt for the Colman Drug Co. that measures 5 ½x7,” and one envelope for the 1926 receipt that measures 3 ¾x6 ½.” All items are in good condition; however there is some writing in pencil on the Zoa Phora booklet which reads “Mrs. J. Blythe, 614 Provencher St, Saginaw south end, local agent.” The name Dorothy Smith is written in black ink on the front cover of the Beecham's booklet, and there is a large brown discoloration on the 1926 receipt and its envelope where the address would have been written.

Colman Drug Co. Collection Finding Aid
Ashley Kirvan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490