Guide to the Records of Don Baxter, Inc.

Collection Title: Records of Don Baxter, Inc.
Dates: 1930-1962
Identification: 55/28/6
Creator: Don Baxter, Inc.
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Don Baxter, Inc. records consist of a small amount of correspondence and related administrative records for the company, as well as two scrapbooks.
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: None.
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.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/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.

Scope and Content

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.

Arrangement of Materials

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


Corporate Name

Don Baxter, Inc.


Pharmaceutical industry

Container List / Contents

  • Articles of incorporation and bylaws, 1930-1961Box 1, Folder 1
  • Board of Directors, meeting minutes, memos, 1944-1959, n.d.Box 1, Folder 2
  • Clippings, 1955, n.d.Box 1, Folder 3
  • Correspondence: general, 1931-1962Box 1, Folder 4
  • Correspondence: Mackay, McGregor, Reynolds, and Bennion, 1948-1962Box 1, Folder 5
  • Correspondence, memos, 1949-1962Box 1, Folder 6
  • Legal documents, 1951Box 1, Folder 7
  • Officers and director, Rosters of, 1959, 1962Box 1, Folder 8
  • Permit applications, 1950, n.d.Box 1, Folder 9
  • Publication, “Specialists in Safety”, n.d.Box 1, Folder 10
  • Resolution of plant expansion program, 1947Box 1, Folder 11
  • Scrapbook, “E” award, 1943-1945Box 1, Folder 12
  • Scrapbook, Vacoliter, 1943Box 1, Folder 13
  • Scrapbook, Vacoliter (continued), 1943Box 1, Folder 14
  • Speech: Harry M. Berner, 1954Box 1, Folder 15
  • Stock certificates, 1930-1942, 1951Box 1, Folder 16
  • Stockholders, List of, 1947, 1950Box 1, Folder 17
  • World trademark rights, 1959Box 1, Folder 18