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[Camel] must increase its share penetration among the 14-24 age...

[Camel] must increase its share penetration among the 14-24 age group which have a new set of more liberal values and which represent tomorrow’s cigarette business"…

[Memo to C.A. Tucker from J.F. Hind Re: “Meet the Turk”]
RJ Reynolds, 1975

10 years ago this week, Judge Kessler made a landmark ruling in the United States’ RICO case against the tobacco companies.  In her Final Opinion, she called out the Defendants for denying for years they “marketed and advertised their products to children under the age of eighteen…in order to ensure an adequate supply of “replacement smokers,” as older ones fall by the wayside through death, illness, or cessation of smoking.”  

The millions of tobacco documents in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents archive tell the story and their own words ultimately incriminated them.

The RICO case turns 10 today

Industry Documents Library - Wed, 2016-08-17 11:05

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the historic racketeering (RICO) case against Big Tobacco, United States of America, et al. v Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al. On Aug. 17, 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued her final opinion, in which Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, BATCo, American Tobacco, Lorillard, and Brown & Williamson were all found guilty of defrauding the American people by lying for decades about the health risks of smoking, manipulating nicotine content in cigarettes, and marketing to children.

The opinion weighs in at 1683 pages, and while we encourage you to settle down and read it in its fascinating entirety, the following excerpt sums it up perfectly:

“The seven-year history of this extraordinarily complex case involved the exchange of millions of documents, the entry of more than 1,000 Orders, and a trial which lasted approximately nine months with 84 witnesses testifying in open court. Those statistics, and the mountains of paper and millions of dollars of billable lawyer hours they reflect, should not, however, obscure what this case is really about. It is about an industry, and in particular these Defendants, that survives, and profits, from selling a highly addictive product which causes diseases that lead to a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss, and a
profound burden on our national health care system. Defendants have known many of these facts for at least 50 years or more. Despite that knowledge, they have consistently, repeatedly, and with
enormous skill and sophistication, denied these facts to the public, to the Government, and to the public health community. Moreover, in order to sustain the economic viability of their companies, Defendants have denied that they marketed and advertised their products to children under the age of eighteen and to young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one in order to ensure an adequate supply of “replacement smokers,” as older ones fall by the wayside through death, illness, or cessation of smoking. In short, Defendants have marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the
human tragedy or social costs that success exacted.”

Kessler, Final Opinion, pages 33-34

Besides imposing remedies upon the tobacco companies that included banning the use of terms such as “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light,” “mild,” and “natural”, which had been used to mislead consumers about the health risks of smoking particular cigarette brands, Kessler’s Final Judgment and Order (shorter, at a mere 18 pages) extended the length of time the tobacco companies must publish on their websites their internal company documents produced in litigation. Those documents are housed permanently in UCSF Library’s Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Archive. To celebrate the anniversary, pay us a visit and browse some tobacco industry documents.

You can download zip files of the final judgment and order, final opinion, and other court documents from TTID’s “Lawsuits and Court Documents” webpage (scroll down to US v. Philip Morris, et al.)

Happy reading, and happy anniversary!

Digitized State Medical Journals: Searching “Alcohol” and “Prohibition”

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-08-17 10:35

This is a guest post by Sophia Lahey, UCSF Archives and Special Collections Intern.

Recently, as part of a larger UCSF Archives and Special Collections digitization project, over 200 medical journals from various state medical associations were digitized and added to the Internet Archive. In order to ensure scan quality, I sifted through thousands of pages to make sure everything was clear enough so that the search function would work properly. As long as the scans are clean, you can search for any word in the entire collection! For instance, I searched the words “alcohol” and “prohibition” and came up with some fascinating results.

The first items that struck me when I started to read through the journals were the ads. In addition to the articles, the ads serve as evidence for historians about how people lived, what was socially acceptable, and what they were interested in buying. In these journals, most of the ads were geared towards doctors, advertising things like medicine, medical instruments, insurance, and even computer management systems.

Connecticut State Medical Journal, March 1952, page 226.

This ad for Dentocain Teething Lotion is from the 1950s. The infant teething medication advertised is 70% alcohol and includes chloroform!  By modern medical standards, this product would definitely raise some red flags. As I kept looking through more journals, I noticed that the older ones featured alcohol in many of the medicines advertised.

Colorado Medicine, 1927.

In this ad, though the ingredients aren’t listed, you can see on the bottle that the medicine contains 7 1/2% alcohol. The ad was published in 1927, during prohibition. So how could medicine contain alcohol when it was illegal? Well, alcohol could still be prescribed by a doctor. Like other medications, a doctor had to fill out a prescription in order for a patient to get items, like whiskey, for medicinal reasons.

Prescription form for one pint of medicinal whiskey, March 17, 1930. Robert Day Collection, MSS 2011-23.

Some doctors wrote prescriptions for liquor off record and for a profit. This created a controversy – government legislation vs. the rights of the practitioner to prescribe as much as he or she felt was needed. This lead to court cases as well as strongly worded opinion pieces about said court cases and ethics in the medical community. These opinion pieces as well as other news stories can be read in the medical journals in the UCSF collection.

Categories: Brought to Light

Tips for Creating a Multimedia Project

Convergence - Wed, 2016-08-17 08:45

Have you ever had a great idea for creating a multimedia project, but didn’t know where to get started? No need to worry, the Learning Tech Group’s got you covered! Here are some tips for how to go about planning and creating an effective project while using the Library Tech Commons resources.

Develop a plan
Before you begin your project, you’ll need to come up with a plan. Start by defining your goals for the project, the message you would like to convey, and remember to keep your audience in mind.

Consider how you will deliver the project and choose the media that best coveys your message.  If you’re not so sure which media to use, schedule an appointment with the Learning Tech Group to get some guidance during this step. Once you decide which media you will use, then determine the necessary skills and resources needed to complete the project, and how much time will be involved.

Use the Tech Commons Resources
The Tech Commons offers audio and video equipment and workstations equipped with an assortment of multimedia editing applications. Learn more about how you can use these resources to create your projects below:

Production Resources
The Equipment for Loan Program offers a comprehensive collection of video and audio equipment for a variety of media production needs. This is a free service available to UCSF students, staff, and faculty only. Our equipment is used ever day for a variety of projects, including interviews, medical demonstrations, and even student skits. A full list of our offerings is available on our Support Center website.

Multimedia Workstations
Tech Commons’ Multimedia Workstations are available on the 2nd floor of the UCSF Library (CL-240) and in the eLearning Studio (CL-245). In addition to standard web and productivity software, the multimedia workstations include a wide range of multimedia editing applications. A complete list of software/hardware available is available on our Support Center Website.

eLearning Studio
If you are looking for a quiet place to record and build learning modules, check out the eLearning Studio (CL-245) in the UCSF Tech Commons. This room is appropriate for projects that cannot be completed using public workstations, such as recording narration, working with protected health information, or collaborating with a group on a video or audio project. The eLearning Studio is in high demand so reserve it in advance and read more about it on the Convergence blog.

Help and Support
Learning Tech Specialists are available to help guide you through the process of creating multimedia projects. We can help you find the right tool for the job, teach you how to use that tool, and support you until the project is complete. Register for a Tech Clinic or make an appointment with us to get some guidance on your project!

Helpful Links
UCSF’s Digital Asset Database includes logos, photographs, illustrations, video and documents that can be used by the UCSF community.

UCSF’s Brand Identity site has information on how to communicate UCSF’s brand consistently and has a variety of templates in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint available for download.

UCSF Digital Accessibility offers information about UCSF’s accessibility policy. This site also has resources for making online content available to all and removing barriers that prevent access to websites by people with disabilities.

Copyright at UCSF is an online guide that provides information on copyright, publishing, and intellectual property.

Do you have a multimedia project in mind and have questions about how to get started? Attend a Tech Clinic at the UCSF Library, contact a Learning Tech Specialist, or leave a comment below!


Categories: Convergence

New to RefWorks? Already using it? Upgrade to the new RefWorks

In Plain Sight - Mon, 2016-08-15 15:23

Reference managers like RefWorks, do three things, they store information about articles, organize that information, and then add citation and reference information to documents you create. The new version of RefWorks is a major improvement over the old one on all fronts.

Modernized interface, easy import to your library, better PDF handling and now compatible with Microsoft Word 2016 and Google Docs, the new blue-themed RefWorks is available for your use. The red-themed “legacy” RefWorks will be phased out in another year. Note: The new RefWorks only works with Word and GoogleDocs. The folks at RefWorks suggests you delay upgrading until you have completed any current projects.

The process of moving from old to new version is surprisingly easy as a I discovered recently. The whole process took about 10 minutes. You can keep both versions of RefWorks after you have upgraded until ProQuest stops support of the legacy version in September, 2017.

The upgrade steps are:

  1. Go to https://refworks.proquest.com/
  2. Click Create Account (see right)
  3. They will ask for you email, use your UCSF email.
  4. They will ask if you want to migrate your legacy RefWorks library into the new RefWorks. Say yes! This process takes less than 10 minutes (this step does not apply to new RefWorks users).
  5. You will need to install the new version of the plug-in for Word (there is one for 2016 and another for earlier  versions of Word).
  6. You will need to install the bookmarklet that works with your browser and helps you import new articles to RefWorks.

For numbers 5 and 6 from above, find Tools in the “three vertical dots” men. See above.

  1. Add Install Save to RefWorks, this helps you add information to your RefWorks library. You drag and drop this bookmarklet into your browser’s bookmarks toolbar.

  2. Install the plugin for your writing software. Notice the choices: Write-N-Cite for older versions of Word, Refworks Citation Manager for Word 2016, and the plug-in for GoogleDocs. This involves a download, installation, and then checking in Word to make sure it is working.

That’s it for installation. The next installment will talk about adding materials and organizing them in your RefWorks Library.

Please send me questions or comments.


Categories: In Plain Sight

RefWorks Now Supports Word 2016

In Plain Sight - Tue, 2016-08-09 16:15

UCSF Library provides access to the reference manager RefWorks for the UCSF community.  Many rely on RefWorks, rather than EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley or others, to store and organize information, and cite references in  their documents. Microsoft Word is the primary word processor which works with the better-known reference managers.

old to new RefWorks

Microsoft Office 2016 came out in the summer-to-fall of 2015 for both Mac and Windows. Since that time those using RefWorks have faced a problem. If they unknowingly updated  to Office 2016 or bought a shiny new computer with Office 2016 installed they were not able to use RefWorks to format in-text citations and reference lists in Word documents. Either they needed to revert to the previous version of Office or change reference managers.

This problem is finally solved! RefWorks now has an update which works with Word 2016. The new plug-in is accessed through Word 2016.

There is more to the story. I will briefly summarize here. Proquest, the new parent company of RefWorks, is in the middle of upgrading from what is now called legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks. UCSF has not forced users to upgrade to the new version yet, but the legacy version will go away in September, 2017.

There will be more blog posts about RefWorks coming soon.

Let me know questions or if you are finding problems with the installation.


Categories: In Plain Sight

Vanguard cigarette ad acknowledged links to cancer in...

Vanguard cigarette ad acknowledged links to cancer in 1959…as a selling point.

“Now Smoke without Fear!  Vanguard - a discovery that eliminates the 3 agents in cigarettes linked to cancer and heart diseases.  No tobacco tars, No nicotine, and most important, No arsenic”

UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents
Pollay Advertising Collection

Skull and Brain Surgery Kit

Brought to Light Blog - Mon, 2016-08-08 11:49

Our Medical Artifact Collection includes some pretty amazing items. For instance, the 19th-century medical kits always impress, with their vibrant satin and velvet linings and beautifully crafted (though not necessarily sanitary) instruments.

One highlight is this 19th-century skull and brain surgery kit created by Arnold & Sons, a London-based surgical instrument manufacturer. The kit includes a trephine (with multiple saw bits), forceps, bone brush, and head saw known as a Hey’s saw.

Skull and brain surgery kit, 19th century. UCSF Artifact Collection, item 441.

A trephine is a T-shaped, hand-operated drill saw with a cylindrical blade. It would have been used to bore holes in the skull, allowing for the removal of bone and access to the brain. This kit includes multiple saw bits of different sizes.

Detail of trephine, bone brush, and Hey’s saw. UCSF Artifact Collection, item 441.

A Hey’s saw is a double-bladed instrument that, thanks to its unique design, allows for variously angled cuts. It is named after William Hey, an English surgeon who helped refine the tool.

If you would like to see this, or any of our artifacts, in person, please make an appointment with the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

Categories: Brought to Light

New documents posted for August

Industry Documents Library - Thu, 2016-08-04 15:20


238 new health warning labels have been posted to Truth Tobacco Industry Documents!

The Health Warning Labels Collection contains images of health warning labels from a variety of countries, including pictorial warnings that have been implemented on packs and a number of images that have been developed for pilot testing and market research.

You can also browse country- and theme-based galleries of these images at the University of Waterloo’s Tobacco Labelling Resource Centre. Thank you to University of Waterloo for partnering with us to make these available in TTID!

Also for August, a small but significant change to our Bibliography: we’ve added a new search field. Grant lists any contracts, grants, grant applications, or special project numbers mentioned in the cited publication/resource.

CLE Help for Students

Convergence - Fri, 2016-07-29 12:13

In preparation for the Fall 2016 quarter at UCSF, the Learning Tech Group has been busy developing CLE support resources for new and returning students. Below is a short video covering frequently asked questions from students, as well as links to support documents designed to set students up for success in the UCSF CLE.

Are you a faculty member or support staff for a course that uses the CLE? Feel free to add links to these resources in your CLE courses or email this blog post to students. As always, contact us with any questions or feedback, or just leave a comment below. We’d love to know what you think, or if there are other topics you think we should cover.

CLE FAQ Video for Students

CLE Student Help Docs

Good luck this quarter from the Learning Tech Group!

Categories: Convergence

President of the Tobacco Institute had a busy schedule during...


President of the Tobacco Institute had a busy schedule during the Republican National Convention in 1996…

As a part of Team 100, the influential group of donors who give more than $100,000 to the party, the Tobacco Institute was involved in a variety of meet and greets and golf tourneys as well as receptions sponsored by B&W and UST.  

Read the full document on the Industry Documents Library at: https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/hzyc0043

More documents from the archives on the Tobacco Institute and the RNC over the years

Highlights from the Photograph Collection – Radiology Department

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-07-26 09:41

Our extensive Historical Photograph Collection includes some really fascinating images. Check out these from the UCSF Radiology Department.

Verso: “Interior of University of California Hospital; Equipment used for the extraction of radon – an element formed by the disintegration of radium,” 1924. Photograph by H.J. Armstrong. Photograph collection, SM, Department of Radiology.

Cobalt machine, 1963. Instrument used to administer radiation therapy, often used for cancer treatment. Photograph by Cal-Pictures. Photograph collection, R, Radiology Therapy.

Students Debbie Modeiros and Nat Rutherford, in the Radiologic Technology Training School, practicing with doll, 1969. Photograph collection, R, Radiology Technology School.

EMI Scanner, 1975. Verso: “The EMI scanner is an example of recent technological advances that reduces patient X-ray exposure while providing more accurate diagnosis than obtainable with older X-ray machines. Here technician Mary McNally and secretary Penny Foster, as patient, demonstrate the giant 2 1/2 ton machine which diagnoses brain disorders.” Photograph by Juan Saenz. Photograph collection, R, Radiology CT and EMI scanning.

Categories: Brought to Light

Smoke and Fumes: A Hidden History of Oil and Tobacco

Industry Documents Library - Wed, 2016-07-20 14:53

The Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) recently debuted an amazing database of documents pulled from the files of Big Oil as well as our Truth Tobacco Industry Documents archive (TTID). The Smoke and Fumes website is a culmination of their investigation into climate misinformation campaigns which in turn led to a dive into our tobacco documents to look for industry intersections. And find them they did!

The Oil industry’s efforts to mislead the public about climate science are well documented. Amidst the ongoing investigations and recent wave of climate litigation, comparisons to Big Tobacco have been obvious yet Exxon and its associates have rejected these parallels. CIEL’s research into TTID reveals compelling evidence that the relationship between these two industries is “neither coincidental nor casual.” The connections between oil and tobacco date back nearly a century and our tobacco documents show these industries have a long history of shared marketing and advertising strategies, research interests, PR firms, and scientists. For instance, in the 1970s, the Chair of BAT also served on the Board of Directors of Exxon and RJ Reynolds once owned and operated an oil company, American Independent Oil, which engaged in industry-wide projects. In the late 1950s the oil industry lent their expertise in mass spectrometry to tobacco companies looking to test cigarette smoke for toxins and both industries attempted to engage in joint research on filters.

These are just a few examples CIEL pulled from the tobacco documents. If you head over to our search box and type in “Shell Oil”, “Exxon”, or even “Esso”, you’ll be amazed at the thousands of documents that are retrieved.


Smoke and Fumes: A Hidden History of Oil and Tobacco from CIEL on Vimeo.

After all, “…the framers of the Constitution enjoyed the...

After all, “…the framers of the Constitution enjoyed the use of tobacco…how indignant they would have been at any attempt to infringe on that personal right through taxation, restrictions and prohibitions!” - the Tobacco Institute (1978)

In 1978, the Tobacco Institute, the now defunct lobbying arm of the US Tobacco Industry, published a paper entitled “The Smoking Controversy: A Perspective”.  This paper attempted to tell the “other side” of the story, namely that the smoking controversy is just that, a controversy, and that it must be resolved by more scientific research: “years of scientific research have failed to provide conclusive evidence that smoking causes disease…”  

In this short tract, a number of scenarios discredit the anti-tobacco movement including a political maneuver to seize or maintain power through the denial of pleasure, citing “this was true of ancient dietary laws, sexual taboos, restrictions on the theater and Prohibition. Others would say it is true today of anti-tobacco programs”.  A section called “The making of hypochondriacs” notes, “I wonder how many people who just could not give up smoking might have continued to lead a perfectly normal life had they not been plagued by fears of being not only in great peril, but actually sinful.”  And finally, the industry concludes that smoking is pleasurable and therefore a personal right - a fading freedom that should not be infringed upon.

Read the entire paper:

Tobacco Institute (1978) The Smoking Controversy: A Perspective.

An Old-Fashioned Expedition into the Vault

Brought to Light Blog - Mon, 2016-07-18 14:20

This is a guest post by Kristin Daniel, UCSF Archives and Special Collections Intern.

Dear Reader, you may not be aware of the fact that most—if not all—archives must deal with the looming specter of unprocessed legacy collections haunting their vaults.  Hark, what’s that I hear?  The sound of researchers gnashing their teeth at the thought of virgin cartons, brimming with knowledge, just beyond their reach?  In the name of Science and History, what can be done?

I’ll tell you good Reader!  An expedition is being undertaken at this very moment to survey those hidden but not forgotten boxes of lore that reside in the vault of the UCSF Archives. Possessing the requisite skills and patience, archivist David Uhlich and myself (your plucky and adroit, intern) are making our way through shelf after shelf of material – opening boxes, checking contents, and conferring with the notes of archivists gone by.

Sometimes we find what’s on the shelf matches what information we have, but sometimes we come across half-created records or material lacking adequate description.  Despite these setbacks, we roll up our sleeves and soldier on, updating existing records with new information about content and location, or creating shiny new records of our own.

It’s a long process, but it is important work.  Fear not, gentle Reader, for although the task seems Sisyphean in magnitude, the brave souls of the Archives and Special Collections are determined to succeed!

Categories: Brought to Light

Highlights from the State Medical Society Journals digitization project

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2016-07-14 09:56

We’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing “smoking doctor” pictures, typically the product of tobacco advertising cynically appealing to authority. The above image comes from a naturalistic setting however, depicting pathologist Dr. Harrison Martland (see table of contents below) at work.

Dr. Martland is featured on the cover of the January 1984 edition of the Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey (Vol. 81 no. 1), digitized by the Internet Archive as part of the NEH grant-funded project to digitize many of our state medical society journals.

The journal lacks any commentary on the smoking but does lead us to an article on the analysis of Dr. Martland’s historical autopsy records performed at Newark City Hospital from 1908 to 1911.

The author draws some interesting conclusions about the safety and violence of Newark from Dr. Martland’s records, but perhaps one of the most interesting details is his attempt to record all his findings in Latin! He gave up eventually, doubtless making the author’s analysis that little bit easier.

Check out this and many other journals from our collection and four other libraries at the Internet Archive’s State Medical Society Journals project page. Expect continued updates to the collection throughout the year.

Categories: Brought to Light

2014 Counter-marketing Study in NYC used Tobacco Documents to Highlight Racism

Industry Documents Library - Wed, 2016-07-13 12:52

“Racism Still Exists”: A Public Health Intervention Using Racism ‘Countermarketing’ Outdoor Advertising in a Black Neighborhood – a project and paper by Naa Oyo A. Kwate at Rutgers University.

This study and supporting tumblr blog reports on RISE (Racism Still Exists), a high-risk, high-reward public health intervention that used outdoor advertising to disseminate a “counter-marketing” campaign in New York City (NYC).

One component of the campaign was to use internal tobacco industry documents to demonstrate ways the industry marketed cigarettes, targeted specific populations, and sought to deny the dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s targeting of Black populations reveals much about how these companies perceived African Americans and the strategies they used to create and maintain Black smokers.

The RISE campaign generated significant public discourse, particularly in social media and the study results suggest that racism counter-marketing campaigns may have promise as a community-based intervention to address health inequalities.

Tobacco Documents used in a 2014 Countermarketing Study in...

Tobacco Documents used in a 2014 Countermarketing Study in NYC: 

“Racism Still Exists”: A Public Health Intervention Using Racism  ‘Countermarketing’ Outdoor Advertising in a Black Neighborhood - a project and paper by Naa Oyo A. Kwate at Rutgers.  Reported in the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.

http://racismstillexists.tumblr.com/tagged/smoke/ - This amazing study and supporting tumblr blog reports on RISE (Racism Still Exists), a high-risk, high-reward public health intervention that used outdoor advertising to disseminate a “countermarketing” campaign in New York City (NYC). The campaign generated significant public discourse, particularly in social media and the results suggest that racism countermarketing campaigns may have promise as a community-based intervention to address health inequalities. 

One component of the campaign was to show, through the internal tobacco industry documents, the ways the industry marketed cigarettes, targeted specific populations, and sought to deny the dangers of smoking.  Big Tobacco’s targeting of Black populations reveals much about how these companies perceived African Americans and the strategies they used to create and maintain Black smokers.

New Tobacco Documents and New Website Features for July

Industry Documents Library - Fri, 2016-07-08 11:06


52 new documents have been added to the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents today.

This includes:

You may also notice some changes to the Industry Documents Library and Truth Tobacco Industry Documents homepages. Each homepage now contains four big-button links to highlighted materials, such as Industry Videos, Industry Web Archives, and Popular Tobacco Documents. The TTID homepage includes a link to the UCSF Library’s Tobacco Control Archives, located in Archives and Special Collections on the Library’s 5th floor.

We’ve also added a “Featured” section in the bottom right-hand corner, which displays links to random documents in the database; choices change each time you re-visit the page. Try it out for a quick browsing break!

Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker: The 19th-Century “Life-Awakener”

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2016-07-07 09:10

Another installment in our blog series that explores artifacts related to health practices now considered inaccurate or fraudulent. Check out Carl Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker.

Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker, circa 1850. Instrument pictured with cap on and off. Item 436, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

The Lebenswecker, translated as the “Life-Awakener” or the “Resuscitator,” was developed by German inventor Carl Baunscheidt in the mid-19th century. The small instrument included over 30 thin, spring-loaded needles concentrated at the end of an ebony staff.

Detail of Lebenswecker. Item 436, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

According to Baunscheidt, the Lebenswecker was designed to quickly puncture the skin, creating “artificial pores.” The “pores,” i.e. puncture wounds, were then covered with a proprietary irritating oil called “Oleum Baunscheidtii” that produced blisters. As another option, the practitioner could dip the needles in the oil before application, thus creating a more concentrated injection. As the blisters formed and drained, Baunscheidt claimed, the “health-destroying morbid matter” in the body naturally escaped.

Illustration of Adonis and Aphrodite with “most generally appropriate” areas of the body on which to use the Lebenswecker. From Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, 1865.



Baunscheidt developed a health philosophy around the Lebenswecker known as Baunscheidtism. His inspiration, as detailed in his book Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, came from his experience watching mosquitoes bite his rheumatic hand. As he writes, “it seemed as if the pains he had suffered, had fled with the flies…the inflicted sting caused an opening in the epidermis just large enough for the fine, volatile, but pathogenic substances lodged in the skin to exude.”

Detail of illustration from Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, 1865.

Baunscheidt claimed that the Lebenswecker could cure everything from sleeplessness to measles to epilepsy. Baunscheidtism practitioners, like John Linden, made similarly broad claims. As Linden noted in his work, Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, the Lebenswecker could eliminate a tapeworm because, after repeated applications, “the unwelcome guest will soon become disgusted with his quarters, and be compelled to vacate.”

Order sheet fixed inside John Linden’s Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, 1882.

Baunscheidt’s philosophy, backed by personal testimonies included in his publications, achieved a measure of popularity in the 19th and early 20th century, especially in Germany and the United States. Today, his treatment is widely discredited.

Two different designs of Lebenswecker. Items 436 and 242, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

We house two different “Life-Awakeners” in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections and a similar instrument developed by Baunscheidt called an artificial leech. Please contact us if you would like to come in and see the artifacts! We also have editions of John Linden and Carl Baunscheidt’s writings or you can read Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure online in our digital collection.

Categories: Brought to Light
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