Skip to main content

Lillie Hartman

Women in the News

From Democrat & Chronicle December 1886:
Miss Lillie Hartman, daughter of Dr. Hartman, had been studying under her father's direction and had taken the Pharmacy exam in Rochester and passed as creditably as any male in the class. Lillie Hartman was the first woman ever to become a licensed pharmacist in New York State.

Bio of Lillian Hartman (nicknamed Dolly), who was the daughter of Doc Hartman a pharmacist in the village. Lillie studied under her father and wished to take the examination to obtain a license to become a pharmacist. She petitioned the state two or three times and was told each time that she could not take the exam because she was a woman and no females were pharmacists! Lillie persisted petitioning and finally was notified one afternoon that the examination would be held the next morning and she would be allowed to take it. I have conflicting reports as to where the test was given. I was told it was Geneva and Lillie had to make arrangements to get there and to be ready for the exam by 9:00 AM. She made the appointed time and passed the exam with higher marks than any of her male counterparts.

Lillie and her father ran the Drug Store in Pittsford village together until his death and she then became the sole proprietor until the building was purchased and changed into an A&P grocery store. Lillie lived in a home, which has been razed, right across the street from her store. She remained in the village and was often seen walking her dog. She was an amateur photographer and thanks to her we have some very fine photographs of her home.

Mary Elizabeth Hartman was born March 21, 1862 in Hall's Corners. She moved to Rochester and then to Pittsford where she died at her home on June 18, 1943 at the age of 81. Her father was Dr. William A. Hartman.

Miss Hartman attended Penn Yan Academy. She was an intelligent woman and did very well in school. She watched her father for many years and learned from him how to run a pharmacy. This was how Lillie managed to be the first woman to pass the NY State Board of Regents Examination in pharmaceutical practice. She passed the exam the first time she took it on November 27, 1886.

When Miss Hartman was in her later years of schooling, she decided to change her name from Mary Elizabeth to Lillian. She liked that name and felt her given name was too long.

After her father died, Lillie and her mother Caroline ran the shop and named it the C&L Hartman Drugs. The store kept this name until Caroline died in 1917.

The pharmacy of the Hartman's was like many others in the early 1900's. Those pharmacies were not at all like the ones today which resemble department stores. This early store consisted mainly of drugs, and occasionally stationery, cards and rubber supplies.

The store was located at 33 South Main Street in Pittsford village and was arranged with an aisle running down the middle. On the left side there were the non-prescription drugs and a ways further down were the prescription drugs, all neatly arranged in colorful apothecary jars. On the right side of the store the shelves were filled with all the patent medicines. On either side of the front door, were two apothecary jars filled with blue or red liquid and lighted by a kerosene lamp placed at the rear of each.

There was a showcase filled with a few cards, stationery, and baby supplies. Sometimes there would be a jar of peppermint sticks for the little children. Besides all this, there would be the mild odors of camphor, anise and carbolic acid. At the rear of the store there was a small room or "den" where personal supplies were kept.

The citizens of Pittsford owe much to Lillian Hartman for her contributions toward the development and improvement of the once small farming community. She was an avid photographer and recorded much valuable information. She helped compile the history of Pittsford on film. We only have a few of her photos left. She was also a contributing reporter for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle for the local news.

Miss Hartman was a member of the Pittsford Presbyterian Church. She joined that church on June 14, 1882 but had been baptized as a child in the town of Halls Corner. She was also a member of the Heart's Ease Circle of Kings Daughter. This group was known for their contributions to the needy and the elderly.

In later years she lived in her home just north of the Christ Episcopal Church with a friend, named Ione Dye and her little dog, which she walked every day – summer and winter. Miss Dye remained with Lillie until her death in 1943.

Pittsford is very proud of this upstanding woman.

Lillian Hartman (from Isabella Hart's notes)

Lillie was the first licensed woman pharmacist in NY State. She used the Auburn Railroad to travel to take the examination. She died______? Lillie ran the store formerly owned by her father at 31 South Main Street, Pittsford village. It was a one story structure with a center entrance flanked by two large windows in which were apothecary jars of blue and red colored water. At night they were lit by kerosene lamps and cast a lovely glow. Her home was across the street where Christ Church northern expansion now exists. We have pictures.

From Democrat & Chronicle February 5, 1890:
Dr. W.A. Hartman died at his home in the village on Saturday February 3, 1890. Dr. Hartman was born in Sandusky OH, in 1829. Early education received at Delaware College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. He continued his education with a course in medicine at the State University at Ann Arbor, MI and later graduated from the Philadelphia Medical College. He began his practice at Yellow Springs and later removed to Halls Corner's where he remained 12 years. While there, he married Miss Caroline Ripley of Geneva. On account of ill health, he was obliged to give up active practice and removed to Rochester, where he resided for 12 years, having a large office practice. For the past 17 years, he had resided in Pittsford.

Dr. Hartman was a man who won the highest respect from all who knew him. He was of an unusually kindly disposition, and his friendly face will be greatly missed. He exemplified the Christian virtues to a high degree and lived a godly life. He was a member of the Pittsford Presbyterian for about 50 years. He is survived by his widow Caroline and daughter Lillian.

(No mention of his being a pharmacist at all!)

From Democrat & Chronicle October 23, 1893:
Mrs. Jean Brooks Greenleaf and Miss Mary Anthony (sister of Susan B.) came to Pittsford to address the women "voters".