26/01/2015

JOSEP ESTEVE SEGUÍ, THE FOREFATHER OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY ESTEVE, WAS ONE OF "THOSE MEN WITH BEARDS"

In addition to being the forefather of ESTEVE's pharmaceutical lineage, Esteve Seguí was one of the most outstanding personalities of Manresa's social and cultural life in the first third of the 20th Century.

This biography has been awarded the Regional Medicine and Health Prize of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia, made to coincide with the opening of the 2015 course.

The author is writer and journalist Genís Sinca, who won the 2013 Josep Pla Award and has now been appointed an academic member of the RAMC.

How can a pharmacy become one of the world's top pharmaceutical companies? And what role did Esteve Vichy Powder play in it? The answer lies within "Those men with beards", the biography of Manresan pharmacist Josep Esteve Seguí (1874-1927), the grandfather of ESTEVE's current President and one of the most outstanding personalities of Manresa's social and cultural life in the first third of the 20th Century. This biography has been written by journalist Genís Sinca on the occasion of the recently celebrated 225th anniversary of the Esteve pharmacy at the Plana de l'Om of Manresa, and will be published by Duxelm in the coming weeks.

"Those men with beards" explains the beginnings of a scientific and entrepreneurial adventure which went from a simple drugstore that sold and prescribed what others sold and prescribed to a pharmacy able to generate its own products.

The need to expand the business was prompted by the popular Esteve Vichy Powder, marketed in all its forms (Esteve Stomach Powder and Esteve Headache Powder, among others). Expanding one's business was then unheard of for a small, local chemist with a minute laboratory on the first floor of the building located at the Plana de l'Om.

This was the cornerstone of Laboratorios Esteve, created in 1929, also in Manresa, by his eldest son Esteve Subirana. The Barcelona headquarters would be inaugurated only in 1942.


Medicines, hikes, choirs, dances and sayings

In addition to being a pharmacist and an entrepreneur, Josep Esteve Seguí was also actively committed to the Manresan society of his time, as this biography highlights. He did important cultural and political work and directed historical organizations which, for the most part, are still in force and operational today.

He was the founder and first president of the Bages Region Hiking Club (CECB) in April 1905, and also of the Orfeó Manresà (1901), of the Esbart Manresà de Dansaires (1909) and of the journal magazine Bages-ciudad. But not only that: his unifying power gathered prominent and diverse names such as physicians Oleguer Miró Borràs, Rossend Serra Pagès or Miquel Firmat, congressman Leonci Soler March, botanist Pius Font Quer, and philologist Antoni M. Alcover. All witnessed Esteve Seguí's anonymous work; discreet as he was, he nonetheless led and directed historical organizations.

This biography also includes a little known trait of his personality -that of an untiring seeker for set phrases and sayings. For more than two decades, he compiled up to 1,595 of these in the Bages region before his premature death in 1927. This compilation is listed at the end of the book.

Genís Sinca, a journalist and writer among doctors at the RAMC

Genís Sinca (Manresa, 1970) holds a degree in Information Science (UAB) and won the 2013 Josep Pla award with the novel "Una familia ejemplar" (A model family) (Destino). Sinca has also authored several biographical works such as "Vida secreta de nuestros médicos" (The secret life of our doctors), which offers insight into the personalities and works of fifteen great Catalan doctors. Being awarded the 2014 Regional Medicine and Health Prize of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia (RAMC) for "Those men with beards" -the biography of Manresan pharmacist Josep Esteve Seguí (1874-1927)- makes Seguí the first-ever man of letters to be appointed an academic member of the RAMC

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