Guide to the Martin Drug Store Collection, ca.1906-1983

Guide to the Martin Drug Store Collection, ca.1906-1983

RG 152

Extent: ca. 20 cubic feet

 Historical Sketch: Richard B. Martin and Bob Walden founded the Walden-Martin Drug Company at 109 N. Main St., Enterprise, AL, in 1898, operating it until 1906 when Martin opened his own drugstore at 106 S. Main, Enterprise. That same year, Martin partnered with a Mr. Merkley to open the Merkley-Martin Drugstore, but this might have been a distinct business of indeterminate duration. In 1946, R. B. Martin sold one half of his store to his son, L. B. Martin, and renamed it the Martin Drugstore. The business remained in its location on Main Street in Enterprise, Alabama until it closed in 1983.

The Martin Drugstore filled prescriptions and also sold household cleaning products, make up, school supplies, tobacco and shaving products, toys, and many similar items. Dr. K. W. Harrison had his doctor’s office in the back of the Martin Drugstore from 1905 until 1962. A veterinarian, Dr. Treadgill, worked from a bench in the front of the drugstore, though the dates of this arrangement are unclear. The Martin Drugstore also had a soda fountain, which made it a popular attraction and meeting place. [Source: Research by Anna Holman; see also Anna Holman, “Martin Drugstore, Enterprise, Alabama,” Landmark Park (blog), April 21, 2014, (accessed May 11, 2015)]

In 1997, Dothan Landmarks Foundation purchased the Martin Drugstore and all of its contents.

In 2001, Dothan Landmarks Foundation constructed a replica building at Landmark Park, and the Martin Drugstore was officially relocated.

Biographical Sketch: Mr. Richard B. Martin was born September 30, 1875 in Butler County, Alabama, and he moved to the Enterprise area in the early 1890s. Martin received his pharmacy license via apprenticeship and private study. He and Mrs. Martin had two children, Leon Brantley (L. B.) and Mary Ellen. R. B. Martin worked as a pharmacist until his death in 1948.

Leon Brantley Martin was born April 20, 1906 in Enterprise, Alabama. He attended Coffee County High School and then Alabama Polytechnic Institute (after 1960, Auburn University), 1923-1927. While at API, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and the Reserve Officers Training Corps. L. B. served as the Battalion Personnel Adjutant of the Auburn Field Artillery Unit for the National Guard Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated cum laude from Auburn with a B.S. in Pharmacy in 1927. In 1937 he resigned from the National Guard, only to re-enlist in 1942. L. B. applied to be moved from draft status 1-A to 2-A in September 1942 because of his pharmacy degree, the recent opening of Camp Rucker, and the connection with his father’s business and his father’s declining health. L. B. wanted to be involved with the war effort, but did not want to leave the Enterprise area. As of 1942, R. B. Martin’s health was rapidly declining and L. B. was running the Martin Drugstore Business. In 1946 R. B. Martin sold to L. B. Martin one half of the Martin Drugstore for $4082.09. L. B. Martin continued to run the Martin Drugstore after his father’s death in 1948. L. B. participated in many civic organizations and activities, serving as an official in his church, as a baseball statistician, and as a masonic officer. The Martin Drugstore officially closed its doors in 1983 and remained untouched until 1997. It appears L. B. Martin never threw away anything, so the Martin Drug Store building was packed to the point of being unusable. Dothan Landmarks Foundation has sold thousands of dollars’ worth of duplicate paraphernalia, and the Wiregrass Archives has sampled the documents in its collections as appropriate. [Source: Research by Anna Holman, et al.]

Scope/Content Note: Contains record of the Martin Drug Store including cash books, returned checks, check stubs, bills of lading, invoices, advertisements, unclaimed negatives and prints, pharmaceutical books, scripts and drug catalogs and price guide. Also contains personal papers for the Martin family – correspondence, photographs, L. B.’s National Guard correspondence, Masonic records, sports scrapbooks and memorabilia, church and fraternity records and history about Southeast Alabama.

Series Descriptions:

Financial, 1906-1983: [112 files +50 check stub/blank counter check books]:
 Invoices, bills of lading, bank statements, check stubs and ledger books for the Martin Drug Store and the personal financial information, bank statements and check stubs, for the Martin family.

[Note: The Wiregrass Archives retained invoices only for those years in which no ledgers or banking notes existed. WA staff sampled invoices at the rate of one year per decade and returned the remainders to Landmark Park.]

Pharmacy, 1907-1981: [48 files +2 artifacts (bound scripts)]: Prescriptions, correspondence, advertisements, pharmaceutical logs, narcotics order forms, books and artifacts from the Pharmacy section of the Martin Drug Store.

Personal, 1924-1985 (Bulk 1927-1944): [52 Files]: Correspondence, photographs & negatives, insurance information for the Martin family and the Vickers family (extended family). Majority of correspondence is between L. B. Martin and the US War Dept., ca. 1927-1944.

Organizations, 1906-1977: [40 files]: Church records, sports scrapbooks and statistics, high school yearbooks and articles, record from fraternal organizations such as Kappa Sigma and the Masons. Masonic papers are from L. B. Martin’s membership at the Carmichael Lodge.

History of Southeast Alabama, 1918-1980: [23 items]: Contains newspapers, newsletters, high school yearbook photographs and negatives, announcements and newsletters, information on historical highway markers in Alabama, information from Enterprise Banking Co., such as blank checks and deposit slips, income reports, correspondence, and assorted information about the history of Enterprise, Alabama, including ordinances, proclamations, movie drive-in flyers, unused stamps, phone directory, city map, and programs for city sponsored events.

Photographs, ca. 1930-1983.: [ca. 200 sleeves, 3 undeveloped rolls of film, 7 sets of slides, 2 files]: Contains print, negatives and slides dropped off at the Martin Dug Store for development but never picked up. Prints/negatives are both black/white and color. Slides are all color. Prints range in size from 2x2 to 8x10. Most prints are everyday images of families and children with a few headshots.

Miscellaneous, ca. 1920-1960: [19 files]: Items not yet identifiably connected to the Martin Drug Store or the Martin Family.

Provenance: Dr. Linda York and students from Wallace Community College worked in Fall 2009 on a project to gain control over the archives and artifacts of DLF's Martin Drugstore Collection. York provided this first accession which had no discernable order except that imposed upon it by York and the WA staff. Transferred by Wiregrass Archives staff from Dothan Landmark Foundation Agriculture Museum.

Processing Notes: WA staff and DLF volunteer Anna Holman did multiple sorts to impose order on the collection. Papers not kept by the WA were returned to Landmark or discarded with permission from Landmark.

Preferred Citation: Martin Drug Store Collection, RG 152, Wiregrass Archives, Troy University Dothan Campus, Dothan, AL.

Acquisition Method: Gift

Access/User Limits? Open

Preliminary Box Level Inventory (May 2015)

Box 1 Cash Books (1906-26), ledger pages (1925-38)
Box 2 Cash Books (1926-47), ledger pages (1938-67), daily records (1956-60), Daybook (1934-35)
Box 3 Ledger pages (1911-81, scattered dates), Daybook (1937), undated Cashbooks, soda fountain tax ledger (1919-21), ledger (1921), Cash Book (1937)
Box 4 Returned checks, 1911-1915, Martin Family bank account records, tax records
Box 5 Bank Statements, 1920-1929
Box 6 Bank Statements, 1930-1983
Box 7 Check stub books, ca. 1913-1980, blank counter checks
Box 8 Incoming invoices – 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980
Box 9 Incoming invoices-undated, outgoing invoices
Box 10 Bills of Lading
Box 11 Books
Box 12 Martin family personal papers
Box 13 L.B. Martin’s correspondence w/ US War Dept., ca. 1927-1944
O/S - 1 L.B. Martin’s correspondence w/ US War Dept., ca. 1927-1944 (oversize maps and tissue overlays)
Box 14 Church Records
Box 15 Sports scrapbooks, statistics, rule books
Box 16 Kappa Sigma correspondence (1957-58), Carmichael Lodge papers (1908-62), Coffee Co. / Enterprise HS yearbooks, 1948 & 1956
Box 17 Newspapers, newsletters, bulletin, Historical Highway Markers in Alabama booklet, history of Enterprise
Box 18 Prints & Negatives [processed photographs never retrieved by owners]
Box 19 Prints & Negative [processed photographs never retrieved by owners]
Box 20 Pharmacy – drug store items, correspondence, stock exchange from R. B. to L. B.
Box 21 Miscellaneous
Box 22 Artifacts