The Lloyd Library
he Lloyds' most enduring legacy is the library they founded. While it only began with two books (two volumes John Uri Lloyd brought with him when he began his apprenticeship: Edward Parrish's 1864 edition of A Treatise on Pharmacy and George Fownes' 1864 edition of A Manual of Elementary Chemistry, Theoretical and Practical), it now holds one of the finest collections on things pharmacy and natural products in North America, and was one of the largest pharmaceutical libraries in the United States. In 1949, the Library of Congress compiled a list of the 10,000 most important private libraries. The Lloyd was number six on that list. With over 200,000 volumes and nearly 1000 linear feet of archives, including the Lloyd Brothers papers, its coverage of the works in its collection areas is nearly comprehensive. The library is open to the public through the trust that Curtis Gates Lloyd established in 1917.
The focus areas of the library collections are pharmacy, botany, pharmacognosy, herbal and alternative medicines, natural products, horticulture, and eclectic and sectarian medicine, as well as a few other related areas. But, what has most attracted researchers and others is the intersection of botany and medicine that is so well-represented in the collection. As botanical-based products was the sort of pharmaceuticals that the Lloyd's produced, it is only natural that this was the type of reading matter that they collected.
The library as physical entity began as simply a part of the manufacturing facility of Lloyd Brothers. The brothers needed research materials to produce their medicinal products. Before long, the book and research collection outgrew its carved out space. The first separate structure for the building was erected in 1901, but it and a subsequent structure both proved rapidly too small. In 1907-8 the structure that housed the library for nearly 75 years was constructed at 309 Court Street. The building was 22 by 72 feet, with room initially for over 6200 linear feet of shelving. By the end of the usefulness of that building, it held some 11,500 linear feet of shelving containing about 98,000 volumes.
The current building was erected in 1970 directly adjacent to the 1908 building at 917 Plum Street. The Court Street building was demolished once the books were transferred to the new building and there is a parking lot there now for library patrons. The new building was designed with expansion in mind and with four floors and a basement, there is over 30,000 square feet of space.
The museum aspect of the Library was an outgrowth of the herbarium created by Curtis Gates Lloyd, who was a reknowned botanist. There are some references to the early museum as a "mushroom museum." The herbarium is no longer housed by the Library. It was divided and dispersed after Curtis' death, with the botanical specimens being transferred to the University of Cincinnati and the mushroom specimens transferred to the US Department of Agriculture, where it is now a part of the US National Fungus Collections. However, the library still considers itself to be a museum, providing access to historic pharmacy implements, book and art exhibits, as well as now ancient bottles from the Lloyd Specific Medicines, permanent exhibitions on the history of pharmaceutical chemistry and rotating art and rare books exhibits.
The library's primary constituency continues to be the scientific community, but now includes the artistic community as well, with the library frequently staging exhibits of its own material along with the artistic creations of others. The library, in the tradition of the Lloyd brothers, is now also a place that welcomes children with varying arts and science programs. The Library also hosts lectures, symposia, and special events, as a way to make itself more familiar to the public. The future is bright for this long-lived cultural and intellectual institution.