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Northwestern University Library
Northwestern University Library

Guide to the Records of Don Baxter, Inc. 1930/1962

Overview of the Collection


Records of Don Baxter, Inc.




Don Baxter, Inc.




Northwestern University Archives

Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354


The Don Baxter, Inc. records consist of a small amount of correspondence and related administrative records for the company, as well as two scrapbooks.

Historical Information

The impetus behind the founding of the Don Baxter, Inc. pharmaceutical company was the experience of Dr. Donald E. Baxter in a Chinese village in 1924. Dr. Baxter, then a medical missionary, was shaken by his involvement in a devastating cholera epidemic in which many thousands of people died. For the most part, they succumbed from a massive loss of body fluids.

Dr. Baxter never forgot that experience, and later when he returned to his California home, he reflected on the baneful effect on patients that resulted when physicians tried to replace their lost fluids with injections of sugar and water solutions. Utilizing technology that he developed in a small facility in Glendale, California, Don Baxter introduced the world’s first commercially safe glass containers for the delivery of sterile IV solutions in 1929.

Although Baxter revolutionized the medical world with the development of safe IV solutions, his company, Don Baxter, Inc., struggled, losing $12,900 in 1932. That same year, the company’s fortunes changed when the American Hospital Supply Corporation (AHSC), headed by Foster G. McGaw, became the sole distributor of Baxter’s IV solutions. The relationship was immediately successful, and in 1933 Don Baxter, Inc. was able to show a profit for the first time.

By 1950, AHSC decided that it wanted control over Don Baxter’s source of supply, and moved to take over the company. On August 1, 1950, AHSC acquired 53,280 shares of Don Baxter common stock, all of the company’s outstanding shares, making Don Baxter Inc. a subsidiary of AHSC.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Corporate Name:

Don Baxter, Inc.

Topical Term:

Pharmaceutical industry

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Don Baxter, Inc. records were separated from the American Hospital Supply Corporation records (Accession #88-52) as Accession #91-128.

Processing Information

Alex Strauss, March 1998.

Separated Materials

Some files concerning the American Hospital Supply Corporation were separated and incorporated into Series 55/28/3.

Conditions Governing Access


Related Materials

Additional information on the American Hospital Supply Corporation and the career of Foster G. McGaw may be found in Frederick D. Sturdivant’s study, Growth Through Service: The Story of American Hospital Supply Corporation (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1970). Related materials concerning Foster McGaw and the American Hospital Supply Corporation have been arranged and described as separate series: The Foster G. McGaw Papers, Series 55/28/5, document his personal life and philanthropic activities; corporate records of AHSC, 1923-1963, make up Series 55/28/2; his personal papers relating to the American Hospital Supply Corporation--corporate records oriented more specifically to his personal concerns--form Series 55/28/3; and multi-volume scrapbooks presented by business associates to McGaw constitute Series 55/28/4.

Arrangement of Materials

Materials are organized in folders by topical headings, and chronologically within folders.

Scope and Contents

The Don Baxter, Inc. records consist of a small amount of correspondence and related administrative records, and two scrapbooks. One scrapbook has materials relating to the Army-Navy “E” Award for excellence in wartime production, and the second one relating to materials about the “vacoliter” and other Don Baxter products.


Box 1

Folder 1

Articles of incorporation and bylaws


Box 1

Folder 2

Board of Directors, meeting minutes, memos

1944-1959, n.d.

Box 1

Folder 3


1955, n.d.

Box 1

Folder 4

Correspondence: general


Box 1

Folder 5

Correspondence: Mackay, McGregor, Reynolds, and Bennion


Box 1

Folder 6

Correspondence, memos


Box 1

Folder 7

Legal documents


Box 1

Folder 8

Officers and director, Rosters of

1959, 1962

Box 1

Folder 9

Permit applications

1950, n.d.

Box 1

Folder 10

Publication, “Specialists in Safety”


Box 1

Folder 11

Resolution of plant expansion program


Box 1

Folder 12

Scrapbook, “E” award


Box 1

Folder 13

Scrapbook, Vacoliter


Box 1

Folder 14

Scrapbook, Vacoliter (continued)


Box 1

Folder 15

Speech: Harry M. Berner


Box 1

Folder 16

Stock certificates

1930-1942, 1951

Box 1

Folder 17

Stockholders, List of

1947, 1950

Box 1

Folder 18

World trademark rights