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Lambda Kappa Sigma

The first African American woman to become a registered pharmacist in southeastern Massachusetts, Rosamond Alice Guinn (1892-1923) graduated from New Bedford High School and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. While a pharmacy student, Rosamond was one of eight women who founded a club that became Lambda Kappa Sigma, the oldest professional fraternity for women in pharmacy. Rosamond returned to New Bedford and joined her father John, also a “druggist,” in the pharmacy business, Guinn and Co., located at 396 Kempton Street.

The first African American woman to become a registered pharmacist in southeastern Massachusetts, Rosamond Alice Guinn (1892-1923) was born in New Bedford on June 28, 1892. Her parents were Elmira C. Brady and John C. Guinn. After graduation from New Bedford High School, Rosamond enrolled at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and lived in Cambridge.

At the time, there was no organization to support the 13 female students enrolled in the school’s two-year pharmacy program. In 1913, Rosamond was one of eight women who founded a club that would become Lambda Kappa Sigma, the oldest professional fraternity for women in pharmacy. Lambda Kappa Sigma now has over 24,000 members and has expanded internationally with over 46 collegiate and 36 alumni chapters. In 2013, for the 100th convention of Lambda Kappa Sigma held in Boston, Rosamond and the other founding members were featured in an article and video about the fraternity’s history. Rosamond’s initiative with Lambda Kappa Sigma helped to ensure that future women pharmacists would be supported professionally and personally.

After her graduation from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1915, Rosamond returned to New Bedford and joined her father John, also a “druggist,” in the pharmacy business, Guinn and Co., located at 396 Kempton Street. Rosamond died in 1923.

Ann O’Leary

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