George H. Martin Goehring, 1858 - 1922

by Brian Stevenson
last updated February, 2020

G.H.M. Goehring was a pharmacist, and later a physician, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. For a brief period, probably between 1883 and ca. 1890, Goehring produced professional-quality microscope slides. He very likely put them up for sale in the pharmacies in which he worked (a common practice at the time), and offered them for exchange to other microscopists around the world. Goehring’s slides are rather uncommon, likely consequences of the brief period in which he made them, the relative remoteness of Missouri, and the general scarceness of American microscope slides on the market nowadays. The Goehring slides with which I am familiar are well-made, with custom-printed labels, and should be welcome in any collection.

Figure 1. Two ca. 1884 microscope slides with G.H.M. Goehring’s labels. Note the address of Saint Louis, Missouri: he is known to have begun offering exchanges of microscope slides from St. Louis in 1883. He moved to the distant city of Wittenburg, Missouri in 1885, and appears to have continued to produce and exchange slides from that town. Although Goehring returned to St. Louis ca. 1890, there are no known indications that he made slides for sale or exchange after that time. The upper slide, of a bedbug, was probably prepared by Goehring. The lower slide is wrapped in papers from Smith and Beck, of London, and oval labels are visible under Goehring’s square labels; it probably came from Goehring’s personal collection of slides that he had purchased.


Figure 2. Image of a bedbug (Cimex lectularis), prepared by G.H.M. Goehring (Figure 1). Photographed with a C-mounted digital camera and 3.5x objective lens.


G.H.M. (Martin) Goehring was born in St. Louis on March 7, 1858, the second son of Gottfried and Friederika Goehring. Both of his parents had recently immigrated from Germany. According to the 1860 US census, Martin had an elder brother, John, who was 4 years older and born in Prussia. Of note, later censuses stated that John was born in Missouri - evidently he was made a citizen of the USA without going through the legal paperwork.

Father Gottfried (whose name was frequently anglicized to “Godfrey”) worked as a “porter”, meaning that he was a relatively unskilled laborer who moved heavy objects. Yet both sons became trained pharmacists, indicating that education was encouraged in the Goehring household.

The 1877 Gould’s St. Louis Directory recorded that Martin was then working as a “clerk”, and boarded away from his parents. He was probably working in a pharmacy while studying that trade: in March, 1877, Goehring graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

The 1880 census records that Martin lived with and worked for pharmacist Henry T. Rohlfing.

The first identified indication that Martin Goehring was producing and exchanging microscope slides comes from the 1884 edition of The Naturalists’ Directory (Figure 3). His information did not appear in the 1883 edition. His 1884 entry indicates an interest in botany and microscopy, and collected and exchanged material. An asterisk indicates that Goehring had contacted the publishers to have his information included. Martin listed the Rohlfing drug store, at 2600 market Street, as his contact address.

The 1885 edition of The Naturalists’ Directory gave a different address for Goehring, 1411 South 7th Street. Gould’s St. Louis Directory showed that Goehring was then operating a pharmacy from that address. Knowledge of botany and microscopy were important for pharmacists, in order to accurately identify botanical sources of drugs. For those reasons, a substantial number of Victorian-era pharmacists became microscope slide-makers, and sold or traded them from their shops.

The 1886 Naturalists’ Directory shows that Goehring made a considerable change, moving some 100 miles (160 km) from St. Louis to Wittenburg, Missouri (Figure 3). He notified the publishers of The Naturalists’ Directory, indicating that he was still interested in exchanging material. I am not aware of any microscope slides that have Goehring’s Wittenburg address.

Goehring confirmed his Naturalists’ Directory entry for the 1888 edition. He did not, however, contact the publishers before the 1890 edition went to press. The 1892 edition had a question mark with Goehring’s entry (Figure 3), indicating that the publisher had not received correspondence from Goehring for several years. That was the last edition in which G.H.M. Goehring’s name appeared in The Naturalists’ Directory.

From the above information, I conclude that Goehring began preparing and exchanging (and probably selling) microscope slides during 1883. He then sent his contact information to The Naturalists’ Directory, for publication in the 1884 edition of that book. During 1885, he moved to Wittenburg, while continuing to produce slides for exchange/sale, with that new address appearing in the next year’s edition of The Naturalists’ Directory. His failure to contact The Naturalists’ Directory after returning to St. Louis implies that Goehring was no longer interested in wide-range distribution of his slides. Thus, Goehring’s slides with the St. Louis address were probably made between ca. 1883 and 1885. While it is possible that he made some slides for sale after moving back to St. Louis, there is no known evidence to support that notion.

On his return to St. Louis, Martin Goehring operated a drug store in partnership with his brother, John, known as “Goehring Brothers”, at 6743 Manchester Road (Figure 3). Martin and his father (and presumably his mother) were listed as living at the shop in Gould’s St. Louis Directory. John Goehring had a second shop, at 5837 Manchester Road.

Martin married circa 1893. He and his wife had one child, George, born in 1897. The Goehring Brothers partnership evidently ended around the time of Martin’s marriage. The 1894 Gould’s St. Louis Directory listed him at a different location, 6821 Manchester Road, working alone.

During that time, Martin Goehring attended medical classes, at Barnes Medical College of St. Louis. He graduated in 1897. The 1900 US census listed Goehring’s occupation as “doctor”. Registration information from Barnes in 1900 stated that “microscopy and pathology” were taught by “G.H.M. Goehring, Ph.G., M.D.” Medical and druggist directories indicate that the shop at 6821 Manchester Road was both Goehring’s medical office and a pharmacy.

Martin Goehring died on May 12, 1922, of a cerebral hemorrhage. His death record noted that he suffered the stroke while at work. He was 64 years old.

Figure 3. Published records that connect G.H.M. Goehring with microscope slide-making. The 1884 “Naturalists’ Directory” was the first known publication to show Goehring’s interest in exchanging microscopical material. He moved from St. Louis to Wittenburg during 1885, in time for his new address to appear in the 1886 edition of “The Naturalists’ Directory”. For the 1884 through 1888 editions, an asterisk appeared by Goehring’s entry, indicating that he had been in contact with the publishers. The 1890 edition of “The Naturalists’ Directory” lacked an asterisk, and the 1892 edition had a question mark, indicating that Goehring had not been heard from for several years. An 1891 commercial directory of St. Louis showed that Goehring had moved back to that city, and was operating the Goehring Brothers’ drug store. There are no further, known records of Goehring distributing microscopical material.



Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine (1900) Barnes Medical College, The Chemical Publishing Co., Easton, Pa., Vol. 4, pages 578-579

Death record of Friederika Goehring (1916) accessed through

Death record of George H.M. Goehring (1922) accessed through

Gould’s St. Louis Directory (1877 - 1904) accessed through

Meyer Brothers Druggist (1897) “Geo. H. M. Goehring, Ph. G., the well-known druggist at 6821 Manchester road, has a son and heir whom he intends to bring up as a thoroughbred druggist”, Vol. 18, page 323

The Naturalists’ Directory (1883 - 1894) accessed through

New Remedies (1879) St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Vol. 8, page 127

Polk's Medical Register and Directory of North America (1904) “Goehring George HM”, Vol. 1, page 1169

St. Louis Clinical Record (1877) The Saint Louis College of Pharmacy, Vol. 4, page 24

US census records, accessed through