Pharmacist Frank Barbour Coffin owned and operated the first drug store in Little Rock, Arkansas which served the black community. Coffin was also a poet during the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Coffin was born on January 12, 1870, in Holly Springs, Mississippi to Samuel and Josephine Barton Coffin. His mother died while he was still a young boy, leaving his father to raise him and his other siblings.
After completing his primary education, Coffin attended Rust College in Mississippi for a year. He later earned a Ph.D. from Fisk and went on to receive a pharmaceutical degree from Meharry Medical College.
Coffin moved to Arkansas after college, where he passed the necessary test to be a pharmacist in the state. In 1898, he opened his own drugstore which became known as the Children’s Drug Store. The store was popular in the community because of the candy and soda fountain. Coffin operated his business for almost a decade before another black-owned drugstore opened in the area.
Coffin published his first book of poetry, Coffin’s Poems and AJAX Ordeals in 1897. Although the majority of Coffin’s literary work has gone unrecognized, some of his poetry was published in the Arkansas World, Arkansas Monitor, Pittsburg Courier and other publications. Frank Coffin died on March 4, 1951.