Glen Foerd-Holy Family University Speaker Series: Dr. Elizabeth Kelly Gray





ETC Auditorium

Dr. Elizabeth Kelly Gray will speak on her book Habit Forming: Drug Addiction in America, 1776–1914 (Oxford University Press, 2022) at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, in the ETC Auditorium of Holy Family University as part of the Glen Foerd-Holy Family University Speaker Series.

Dr. Gray’s book explores the history of habit-forming drugs in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, when regulation was ineffective at the state level and non-existent at the national level. Americans consumed hashish candy, injected morphine, visited opium dens for pleasure, and used cocaine and heroin as medicine.

While the consumers were mostly well-to-do white people who bought their drugs at drugstores few Americans thought regulation or criminalization necessary, but as drug use became more associated with lower-class young men, support for a federal drug law grew, culminating in the Progressive-era Harrison Narcotic Tax Act that limited sales of opiates and cocaine. Dr. Gray will focus on the history of drug use and regulation in Philadelphia in her presentation.

Kelly Gray earned a BA at Bryn Mawr College, and a Ph.D. in History at the College of William and Mary. She is professor of history at Towson University in Maryland, where her specialty is nineteenth-century America. Her current book project focuses on antebellum Baltimore.

The lecture series is free and open to the public, with no reservations required. Dr. Gray’s talk will be simulcast on Zoom. 

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