Brought to Light

The Mystery Doctor’s Bag

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-05-18 16:33

We don’t know much about this doctor’s bag. It was manufactured by the Feick Brothers medical supply company, probably in the late 19th or early 20th century, in a manner common to the bags that family doctors carried during that time, but much beyond that remains a mystery. We aren’t sure whose bag it was, or how it came into the possession of UCSF Archives & Special Collections. Beyond being a doctor’s bag, we don’t know if it has any connection to UCSF at all.

Even the tools inside the bag invite more questions than give answers: Were all these tools original to this particular bag, or were more tools added after it fell out of use? Is that a bullet extractor scoop, a curette spoon, or a lithotomy instrument? And it seems to have a lot of instruments related to gynecology and child birth—could it perhaps have been the bag of some nameless OBGYN?

For archivists, who rely on provenance to establish historical context, these types of questions can be a little uncomfortable. Yet despite all its mysteries, this doctor’s bag remains a fascinating artifact—and it definitely has some very interesting things inside. It’s almost like unwrapping a gift to discover it is actually a puzzle!

Written by David Uhlich.

Categories: Brought to Light

Remembering Helen Gofman

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-05-17 08:58

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

The UCSF Archives is pleased to announce the official addition of the Helen Fahl Gofman papers. This collection, spanning several decades between the 1950s and the 1980s, details a woman who was a much loved teacher, mentor, doctor, and leader. Dr. Gofman’s affiliation with UCSF pediatrics began in 1945 when she graduated from the School of Medicine and also completed her internship and residency on campus. Gofman received faculty status in 1953 and worked in various programs until her retirement in 1983. Gofman is best remembered as a founding member, and then director, of the UCSF Child Study Unit (CSU).

Helen Gofman playing the viola, circa 1950. MSS 2014-17, Gofman papers.

Helen Gofman was, by all accounts, a passionate and cheerful woman. She was dedicated to the care of the “total patient”—not just the physical or mental condition of the child, but also how that condition impacted their social, emotional, developmental, and behavioral well-being. Considered a national leader in the field of behavioral pediatrics, Gofman was involved with UCSF’s Child Study Unit (now known as the Division of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics) since its inception in 1948.

Helen Gofman and child, circa 1980. Photograph collection, portraits, Gofman.

Dr. Gofman and the rest of the CSU staff of doctors, nurses, social workers, speech pathologists and special education experts sought to help children whose conditions might have otherwise been misdiagnosed or gone untreated (including cases of dyslexia or ADHD) by other healthcare professionals. The goal of the CSU was not only to help these children and their families, but also to develop a new generation of pediatric health professionals; the CSU trained clinicians to value their patients and focus on finding personalized treatments that take into account all aspects of the child’s life, not just their condition.

Helen Gofman at her retirement party, 1984. MSS 2014-17, Gofman papers.

The Helen Gofman papers (MSS 2014-17) include research subject files, restricted patient files, and personal correspondence. Also included are some of Dr. Gofman’s published works, such as The Family is the Patient: An Approach to Behavioral Pediatrics for the Clinician, which is considered a classic work in the field. Multimedia artifacts (such as lecture slides, teaching toys, and film reels) are also included. The Archives is proud to house this material and make it available to researchers.

Categories: Brought to Light

Songs of a Nurse…

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2016-05-12 07:30

We would like to commemorate this International Nurses Day by sharing with you a poem that was written by a San Francisco nurse, Margaret Helen Florine a century ago:

This poem comes from a book, Songs of a Nurse that was published in 1917.

Ms. Florine’s poetry was later advertised in the Pacific Coast Journal of Nursing (volume 15, 1919, p.770).

Categories: Brought to Light

Upcoming Lecture: Heightened Expectations

Brought to Light Blog - Fri, 2016-05-06 15:10

Date: Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Aimee Medeiros, PhD (UCSF)
Location: Lange Room, 5th Floor, UCSF Library – Parnassus
530 Parnassus Ave, SF, CA 94143
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.


Join UCSF Archives & Special Collections for an afternoon talk with author Aimee Medeiros as she discusses her book Heightened Expectations: The Rise of the Human Growth Hormone Industry in America.

Heightened Expectations is a groundbreaking history that illuminates the foundations of the multibillion-dollar human growth hormone (HGH) industry. Drawing on medical and public health histories as well as on photography, film, music, prose, and other examples from popular culture, Aimee Medeiros tracks how the stigmatization of short stature in boys and growth hormone technology came together in the twentieth century. Historical materials from the UCSF Archives collection were used in the research for this book.

Aimee Medeiros, PhD

Aimee Medeiros is an assistant professor of the history of health sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

About the UCSF Archives & Special Collections Lecture Series
UCSF Archives & Special Collections launched this lecture series to introduce a wider community to treasures and collections from its holdings, to provide an opportunity for researchers to discuss how they use this material, and to celebrate clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals who donated their papers to the archives.

Categories: Brought to Light

Highlights from the Photograph Collection – Lost on the Shelf

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-05-03 09:39

You never know what you’re going to find in an archives office. While the idealized vision is probably a mirror-image of the storage vault, with its neat rows of gray manuscript boxes and acid-free record cartons, this is almost never the case. Any flat surface can become a not-so-temporary resting place for the odd accession or accrual, or the item that was removed from its collection for research or exhibit, but has yet to find its way back to its proper housing.

This photograph of an early 20th-century surgical procedure was found a few weeks ago on top of one of our many filing cabinets. Who knows how it ended up there—or how long it had been waiting to be found again. Luckily, it carried a notation that it was from the Julius Comroe collection and the carton dedicated to illustrations for his book, Exploring the Heart. Looking at his notes, it is evident that Comroe had intended to use this photograph as the first illustration in his chapter on open heart surgery, but had later opted to use the Thomas Eakins painting, “The Agnew Clinic,” instead. Unfortunately there are no other notations or attributions on the photograph or its folder to tell us more about it, but at least this orphan work has found its way home—and we were given this opportunity to share it.

“The Agnew Clinic” by Thomas Eakins, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania:

Categories: Brought to Light

New Collections on Calisphere

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-04-27 09:00

Earlier this year the California Digital Library revealed a revamped Calisphere site, offering improved access to and usability for thousands of digital items of historical significance contributed by institutions from across California. Alongside University of California partners such as UCSF, California State University Libraries, public libraries, museums and historical societies are making digital resources more discoverable than ever. The Calisphere site itself features excellent search and filter functions, and items can also be discovered through the Digital Public Library of America and even through Google searches.

UCSF is currently adding items and collections to the site, beginning with newly digitized items from the Eric Berne Papers, Lawrence Crooks Radiologic Imaging Laboratory Records and the UCSF Black Caucus Records. Other collections include the Japanese Woodblock Print Collection, the Tobacco Free Project  (SF Department of Public Health Records), and selections from UCSF’s Photograph Collection. We’re also moving items over from our Omeka site so that all of UCSF’s digitized items can be accessed in one place.

The release of the new Calisphere site also coincides with the implementation of a new Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) connected to Calisphere, that with help from CDL, allows us to have an efficient workflow for managing, preserving and publishing digital items.

You can find UCSF’s collections through the “Contributing Institutions” link at the top of the page. Each collection features a gallery view with thumbnails of the items, with options to filter and sort search results and sets by an number of different facets including date, item type and collection number.

Calisphere’s new user-friendly features include clearly laid-out item information and a nice co-mingling of academic and social media functions to “Get Citation” “Tweet” and “Share on Facebook”. There are also helpful links back to the Contributing Institution page and Collection page and links to the finding aid on the Online Archive of California. The new design is very easily searchable, navigable and easy on the eyes.

We’ll have more items coming online in the next month or so keep an eye out. Take a look around the site, send us your feedback and enjoy!

Categories: Brought to Light

UCSF Archives Coloring Book

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-04-19 09:13

We created a coloring book featuring illustrations from fifteenth to nineteenth-century rare books housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. Coloring reduces stress, inspires creativity, and it’s just plain fun. You can scroll through a few of the images below and download the entire book for free here. Happy coloring!

We would love to see your finished creations. Tweet your pictures @ucsf_archives and use #ColorOurCollections.

Ketham, Joannes de. The Fasciculo di medicina, Venice, 1493.

Konrad, von Megenberg. Buch der Natur, 1482.

Ryff, Walther Hermenuis. Omnium humani corporis partium…, 1541.

Hortus Sanitatis, 1491.

Bartisch, Georg. Ophthalmodouleia. 1583.

Download the complete UCSF Archives and Special Collections Coloring Book

Categories: Brought to Light

Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-04-05 09:00

We’ll be out of the office at the end of this week, April 7-9 for the Annual General Meeting of the Society of California Archivists.

It’s a Northern California year, archivists from across California will be gathering in Santa Rosa for three days of tours, workshops and sessions.

Highlights include a workshop and case study presentations on Stanford’s ePADD email processing project, a lunchtime talk on San Francisco street food, and especially pertinent for us a plenary address by Sonoma State history professor Michelle Jolly on connecting the current generation of students with an awareness of archives and primary sources.

Local institutions opening their doors for tours include Sonoma State University Special Collections, Santa Rosa Junior College Archives and the Charles Schulz Museum

We’re looking forward to learning and sharing a lot, we’ll be back on Monday, April 11.

Hot air balloons in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Categories: Brought to Light

Early MRI technology on display now at the UCSF Library

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:43

The UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit at the UCSF Library, Vision for the Future: Advancing MRI Technology at UCSF’s Radiologic Imaging Laboratory, 1975-2000. The exhibit explores the pivotal role UCSF researchers played in developing imaging technology that revolutionized patient care and transformed the way we see our bodies. View material from the Radiologic Imaging Laboratory records housed in the UCSF Archives, including research notebooks, MRI coil prototypes, rare photographs, and more.

Join us April 5th at 12 noon for the exhibit’s official opening. Archivists will be on hand to answer any of your questions!

MRI scale model and coil prototype on display.

The Radiologic Imaging Laboratory (RIL) was founded in the mid-1970s by a team of UCSF scientists and engineers. Their goal was to create a clinically viable diagnostic tool using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, later called MRI. Over the course of 25 years, the lab brought together venture capitalists, researchers, and clinicians to develop, evaluate, and market new imaging systems and instruments. The lab’s interdisciplinary approach and partnerships with private corporations, including Pfizer, Diasonics, and Toshiba, led to rapid innovation and numerous patents that continue to impact clinical care today.

RIL researchers and technicians Lawrence Crooks, Bob McCree, Ian Duff, and Roger Littlewood, circa 1981. Photograph collection.

The exhibit showcases just a fraction of the over 90 linear feet of engineering records, correspondence, and other material in the collection (call number MSS 2002-08). Through the generous support of RIL engineer, Dr. Lawrence E. Crooks, the UCSF Archives has processed the collection and created a detailed inventory available to researchers on the Online Archive of California. Archives staff have also made hundreds of documents and photographs from the collection available digitally on Calisphere, a public online portal.

MRI coil on display.

The exhibit is located on the main floor (3rd floor) of the UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus Ave. It is free and open to the public during Library hours, April 2016-April 2017.

Categories: Brought to Light

Library Open House and Exhibit

Brought to Light Blog - Mon, 2016-03-14 17:13

Join us this Wednesday, March 16, from 12noon-2pm for an afternoon of activities and history! View the newly opened Library exhibit, An Engine of Inquiry and Change: The UCSF Library, and take a sneak peek at the soon-to-open Makers Lab.

Meet us on the main floor of the UCSF Library for 3D printing demos, knitting, coloring, and more at the Makers Lab preview. Talk to a roaming Library expert to get your questions answered and learn more about how the Library serves students, faculty and staff. View silent films from the Archives and Special Collections then head to the 5th floor to explore the exhibit.

An Engine of Inquiry and Change: The UCSF Library celebrates 150 years of growth, evolution, and user-centered service at the UCSF Library. Discover how the collection grew from less than 2,000 volumes into one of the world’s preeminent health sciences libraries.

View rare books and medical artifacts from the Archives and Special Collections and learn about exciting, technologically-advanced tools for the post-digital age. And don’t forget to “catalog” your Library memories and ideas for the future at our interactive card catalog display!

Sign up here to attend the event. The exhibit runs March 2016-March 2017.

Categories: Brought to Light

New Interns in Archives

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2016-03-08 14:00

During the 2016 Spring semester the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is hosting two interns:

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is our first EXCEL program intern. The UC San Francisco Excellence through Community Engagement & Learning (EXCEL) Program is a clerical/administrative training program which aims to develop the potential workforce in UCSF’s surrounding communities and provide San Francisco residents with access to health-field related employment opportunities. It is a work-based  program that uses both classroom and on-the-job training to prepare participants for career path jobs in the healthcare sector. In the past month Jessica who works in the Archives  four days a week has successfully completed the State Medical Society Journals assessment  and Cholera pamphlets cataloging projects. She is working on rehousing and creating detailed inventory for the Photo Portraits collection which will help preserve these photographs and facilitate their discovery. Jessica will help organize, rehouse and create inventories for newly acquired papers and also learn how to scan and create metadata for materials in diverse formats.

Here is what Jessica wrote for the blog: “I am a mother of two beautiful children ages 1 and 4. I am a San Francisco native and a current intern through the EXCEL Cycle 10 UCSF Medical Administrative Internship. After becoming a mother I realized what I was inspired and motivated by. I have many talents and desires but my main four passions in life are Children, Happiness, Self Love, and Fashion. Due to my natural spirit to connect and adapt with people so well I have a goal to become a professional as a Clinical Social Worker in Pediatrics. I am one step closer to my future by getting my foot in the door within my internship at UCSF.  I plan to reach out and advocate for families that lack social and emotional support. I want to make a difference within children and actually give and instill in them extra love, support, and mentoring . Currently I am interning for the Archives and Special Collections, I plan to enrich my own knowledge and gain plenty experience to become an unparalleled asset. I also plan to look into the development of pediatrics department within UCSF. Finally, I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity. My dream is becoming a reality.”

Kristin Daniel

Kristin Daniel first became interested in library science when she was young; when her curiosity, more often than not, led her to find answers in books.  The importance of information availability stayed with her throughout her schooling.  Her passion was put on hold after she graduated high school in 1998, as economic necessities led her to a decade of service in the retail and hospitality industries.  She got the opportunity to return to school and pursue her dream in 2008.

She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and is currently in her last semester of San Jose State University’s iSchool Masters in Library and Information Science program.  Her coursework at SJSU reflects her interest in public librarianship with an emphasis in archives and preservation.  Kristin is hopeful that she can serve her community’s information needs with the skills she can learn at her internship at UCSF: practical experience in cataloging, collection processing, and digitization.  With so many people turning to digital means of finding information she is a firm proponent of a global library network.

Between being a stay-at-home-mom and a full time grad student, Kristin doesn’t have a lot of time for hobbies.  When she can find a few moments to relax, however, she can usually be found reading sci-fi/fantasy novels, exploring San Francisco’s numerous events/attractions, and daydreaming about winning the lottery so she can build a craft studio.  A lifelong California resident, Kristin currently resides in San Ramon with her husband and two-year-old son.

Kristin is continuing the project started by previous interns – organizing and creating an inventory of biographical files. She also helps with Quality Control of digital files for the State Medical Society Journals project.

Both Jessica and Kristin are assisting with the survey of the Archives and Special Collections manuscript and university records collections. The inventory and reorganization of these collections will greatly increase intellectual control, department efficiency, and user access.

We are grateful to our interns for their dedication and help!

Categories: Brought to Light

Medical Quackery Series: Bloodletting

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-02-17 10:45

In this series, we’ll be exploring artifacts and other material from our collections related to medical misinformation and fraud. Step right up folks and learn how everything from bleedings to electricity can cure your ills!

Bloodletting as a medical practice has existed for thousands of years; ancient peoples, including the Greeks and Egyptians, used bloodletting to cure numerous conditions. The treatment, which involved draining blood with leaches or by puncturing the skin with a sharp instrument, was based on the theory of bodily humors. People believed that good health resulted from a balance of the four humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. A person suffered illness when these humors became unbalanced. Bloodletting was devised as a way to correct harmful imbalances in the body.

“Old wooden barber pole. 1900.” From the Graves (Roy D.) Pictorial Collection, ca. 1850-1968. Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, accessed via Calisphere:

In Europe and the United States, surgeons and barbers offered bloodletting as a treatment for just about everything, from pneumonia to gout to cancer. Barbers so regularly performed bloodletting that they adopted a symbol to help advertise the service: the barber’s pole, a red and white striped pillar reminiscent of blood and bandages.

Leaches and a number of different instruments were used for bloodletting in the 18th and 19th centuries. The lancet was one of the simplest tools; it consisted of a sharp, pointed blade attached to a straight handle. A variation of this was the fleam, a wide double-edged blade at a right angle to the handle. The folding fleam pictured here includes two blades encased in a brass shield.

Folding fleam. Artifact Collection, number 431.

Folding fleam. Artifact Collection, number 431.

A spring lancet was more mechanized. It included a spring trigger that snapped the blade into a vein. Spring lancets were, perhaps unsurprisingly, difficult to clean and often became rife with bacteria.

Spring lancet and case. Artifact Collection, number 416.

Detail of spring lancet. Artifact Collection, number 416.

Scarificators allowed for multiple cuts to be made at once. The octagonal or round base housed six to twenty blades that released from the bottom with the flick of a lever.

Scarificator. Artifact Collection, number 518.

Removing scarificator from original box. Artifact Collection, number 518.

Detail of scarificator with blades extended. Artifact Collection, number 518.

Blades of scarificator. Artifact Collection, number 518.

Bleeding bowls were often used to catch blood during the procedure. These came in different sizes and material, including brass, ceramic, and pewter.

Bleeding bowl. Artifact Collection, number 557.

Today, bloodletting is widely discredited as a medical treatment. However, phlebotomy therapy is used to treat certain conditions, including hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes abnormal iron accumulation. Leaches are making a comeback too; some reconstructive surgeons use them to restore circulation following procedures.

To view more bloodletting instruments, make an appointment with the UCSF Archives. You can also check out our exhibit on the third floor of the UCSF Library until April 2016. You’ll see a 19th-century spring lancet engraved to UC Medical College Dean Richard Beverly Cole from his mother!

Categories: Brought to Light

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Brought to Light Blog - Fri, 2016-02-12 12:00

A heart is a universal symbol of the Valentine’s Day. We would like to share with you a selection of heart illustrations from the UCSF Rare Book Collection.

Diagrams of the heart. Lower, Richard. Richardi Lower … Tractatus de corde : item de motu, colore, & transfusione sanguinis, et de chyli in eum transitu, ut et de venae sectione : his accedit Dissertatio de origine catarrhi .., 1728.

Illustrations of the heart and lungs. Verheyen, Philip. Corporis humani anatomiae, 1710.

Diagram of the heart. Cabrol, Barthelemy. Ontleedingh des menschelycken lichaems, 1633.

Illustrations of the heart and lungs. Vesling, Johann. Syntagma anatomicum, 1666.

Categories: Brought to Light

Kezar Stadium: The Original Home of Professional Football in the Bay Area

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2016-02-03 11:20

Before there was Levi’s Stadium, there was Candlestick Park—and before there was Candlestick, there was Kezar Stadium. In light of the Super Bowl 50 festivities happening on the Embarcadero right now—celebrating a game some 40 miles south of the city—it is good to remember that the original home to both of the Bay Area’s professional football teams is less than five blocks away from UCSF Parnassus.

UCSF aerial, 1959. Kezar in top right corner.

Built in 1924-1925, Kezar first served as a multi-purpose stadium hosting a myriad of sports, ranging from track and field to soccer to cricket. After the San Francisco 49ers inaugural season in 1946, the facility became primarily a football stadium, staging games for the next 25 years, including the Oakland Raiders first four home games in 1960. Though never home to a Super Bowl, Kezar did host two NFL conference championships, including the 49ers last home game there on January 3, 1971 against the Dallas Cowboys.

UCSF aerial, 1938. Kezar to left of frame.

UCSF aerial, circa 1955. Kezar in foreground.

In addition to football and other sports, Kezar stadium presented many other concerts and events, and had a memorable role as the home and workplace of the Scorpio killer in the first Dirty Harry movie. It was torn down in 1989, prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake, and rebuilt in its current incarnation as a much smaller, 10,000 seat venue (some 50,000 seats smaller than its original capacity of 59,942). It was recently renovated, and now features 1,000 seats from Candlestick Park.

UCSF aerial, 1969. Kezar at top left.

Categories: Brought to Light
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