J. J. Quarry, Retailer
POSSIBLE QUARRY CANCEL ON PROPRIETARY REVENUE
Measured by the sheer number of users, retailers probably cancelled proprietary battleship revenue stamps more often than either manufacturers or wholesalers. Yet identification of most of the proprietary cancels employed by retailers is extremely difficult and illusive. This paradox occurs because of the vagueness of the governing Spanish-American war tax regulations and the circumstances under which the retailers encountered the regulations. As they applied to proprietary products, the regulations stipulated that covered products sold after the effective date of July 1, 1898 display a cancelled stamp on the product as proof of tax payment, and further specified that this cancel identify the user, but then deemed the mere use of initials sufficient to make that identification.
QUARRY CANCEL ON DOCUMENTARY REVENUE
Moreover, despite their numbers, most retailers had only minimal contact with the proprietary tax regulations and the required stamps. To comply with these regulations, many retailers engaged in a one time act of stamping their stock on hand on June 30, 1898. Since each retailer’s stock consisted of a variety of different products in various sizes, there was no uniformity concerning the values of stamps used by these retailers or the manner in which the retailers cancelled the stamps. Most retailers used whatever hand-stamping devices they happened to have at hand to cancel the stamps, so most of the cancels produced are merely an undifferentiated jumble of letters and a date. Only in cases where the retailer printed its entire name or its location as well as its initials, or where the retailer itself sponsored a product and thus had incentive to produce a consistent group of cancels over some period of time, is a positive identification possible. The proprietary Quarry cancel shown above is at best a probable match, but then only because of the unusual combination of letters of Quarry’s initials.
BRITISH STAMP ACT ONE PENNY REVENUE STAMP
On the other hand, manufacturers and wholesalers had different concerns with respect to complying with the proprietary tax regulations. First, because their products came in specified sizes, they had only to cancel the one, two or three of the twelve possible proprietary values that represented the retail prices of the size of the bottle or package of their goods. Second, because they wished to continue the uninterrupted sale and distribution of their products, in most cases, they assumed the obligation of applying the proprietary stamps to the goods during the manufacturing and distribution process before they reached the retailers. They could order cancels printed on the values they needed and apply these stamps to the goods while they were still together in bulk before separation and display on retail shelves. Printing also served to standardize the arrangements of initials that manufacturers and wholesalers used as cancels. For all these reasons, the proprietary cancels of manufacturers and wholesalers are usually easier to identify than those of retailers.
BRITISH STAMP ACT HALF PENNY AND FIVE SHILLING STAMPS
The second cancel shown above is also a Quarry cancel, but it is completely different from that on the other stamp because it was cancelled with a different stamping device that contained both the company’s full name and location, which makes identification certain. While, at first glance, this stamp appears virtually identical to the other one, it actually comes from a different series of stamps, and its use arises from a different set of regulations that applied equally to pharmaceutical retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers, as well as to virtually every other business in the United States. These regulations taxed not a particular product or industry, but rather the documents which memorialized specified classes of business transactions, and collectively, therefore, are referred to as a “documentary” revenue tax. The idea of collecting revenue by taxing documents first arose in the 17th Century in the Netherlands and spread from there to France, England and the rest of the world. In the earliest settlements of North America, the English colonists themselves had often used such tax on documents to raise revenue. It was also the same kind of tax which those same colonists labeled the hated “Stamp Tax” when the British imposed it on the colonies in an attempt to recoup their expenses after the French and Indian War ended. The difference between that earlier tax and this one was that those required “stamps” were impressed either onto the paper with an inked device or crimped into the paper with a seal. Stamps – in the form of postage stamps – were not invented until 1840 and were first devoted to revenue collection in the United States in 1862 during the Civil War. In Quarry’s case the documentary tax stamp was probably originally affixed to a check, since payment of money by check was one of the classes of business transactions that were taxed under the 1898 Act.
1901 QUARRY AD
The stories of retailers, in general, are less complicated to tell than those of the manufacturers or distributors, since these latter groups sought to build financial empires either by wild, flashy promotions of their products or by the earnest practice of sharp-elbowed capitalism. In this era (with notable exceptions whose stories will appear in this column in due course), the typical retailer owned a single drug store. In larger towns and cities, the proprietor of this store was often a trained pharmacist. In more rural hamlets, the local general medical practitioner rolled the drug store into his medical office, or the local general store merchant stocked drugs “cheek by jowl” with dry goods, staples, farm implements and various and sundry other merchandise. Because of their single locations, retailers tended to build their lives and reputations in one city, and their histories are entwined with that of their locale. In fact, in this particular case, the details of the personal histories of the retailers are overwhelmed, and largely obscured, by this images they left behind.
1905c DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR POSTCARD
Quarry’s store was in the center of Ann Arbor, MI. A Flickr user compiling the history of a later establishment whose existence stemmed from Quarry’s store spotted it in the background of a postcard entitled Downtown Ann Arbor. She excised it and enlarged the image.
DETAIL OF POSTCARD
ANOTHER VIEW OF THE QUARRY STORE
Precise records about James J. Quarry are lacking. He was born somewhere in Ontario, Canada on a date listed variously, but imprecisely, between April, 1861 and 1866. An 1883 graduate of the Ontario College of Pharmacy, he emigrated to the United States in either 1884 or 1885. By 1893, he was working in Ann Arbor as an employee of Goodyear & Co, a drug store operated by Dr. J. J. Goodyear, himself an 1877 graduate of the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery. When Goodyear bought the business in 1880, he was continuing a drug business that had operated in Ann Arbor on Main Street at the same location since 1836. It remained there, even after Quarry went off on his own, for another forty years.
1902 TRADE PUBLICATION PHOTO
After acting as the head prescription clerk in Goodyear’s drug store, as well as serving as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Goodyear Drug Co., which was incorporated in 1897, Quarry opened his own drug store in 1898 a few blocks away in a newer shopping district closer to the campus of the University of Michigan. To remain competitive in a town filled with drug stores, Quarry apparently specialized in retailing surgical tools to physicians as well as carrying supplies for the University’s hospital and graduate schools. He also advertised that he was a so serious a specialist in compounding drugs that he removed his soda fountain in order to have a larger area to devote to filling prescriptions.
1908 QUARRY AD
From the time he opened his business, Quarry employed one G. Claude Drake as his head clerk. He was born in Dryden, MI, a small town roughly 50 miles northeast of Ann Arbor, in 1872 and spent his entire adult life in Ann Arbor. Drake appears to have had a flair for advertising because he arranged four times within two successive years to have Quarry’s store and his window displays featured in drug trade journals. He even got one of his Christmas displays reproduced in a 1910 book instructing pharmacists how to do window displays.
1902 DRAKE WINDOW DISPLAY ARTICLE
1903 DRAKE WINDOW DISPLAY ARTICLE
One of the journals, published by Parke, Davis & Co. of Detroit, showed Drake’s display of its tooth care products.
1904 PARKE, DAVIS & CO TRADE PUBLICATION PHOTO
DRAKE DISPLAY IN 1910 WINDOW DISPLAY BOOK
When Quarry died in Ann Arbor in 1921, Drake continued the drug business under Quarry’s name and tirelessly promoted the store as “The Quarry.”
1922 TRADE PUBLICATION PHOTO
1928 QUARRY AD
1936 Quarry Ad
In 1927, Drake also opened a sandwich shop which, after 1935, operated under his manager and successor until 1993, and is fondly remembered in the Flickr posting.
1928 DRAKE SANDWICH SHOP AD
Drake died in Ann Arbor in 1950. In 1978, his daughter donated his papers to the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan. Contained in these files is the photo shown below of the interior of Quarry’s drug store picturing Quarry and Drake among others.
© Malcolm A. Goldstein 2017