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Stories from UCSF Archives & Special Collections
Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

World AIDS Day – Documenting the Epidemic

Thu, 2016-12-01 10:00

Mount Zion hospital AIDS support group, 1987

The UCSF Archives & Special Collections started building the AIDS History collection almost 30 years ago, in 1987. Early on, the archivists decided to create a collection development policy that would allow researchers to examine diverse aspects of the AIDS epidemic, including political, social, economic, cultural, and biomedical aspects.

The AIDS History Project holdings at UCSF currently include 39 collections; all of them are cataloged and 32 are processed and have detailed inventories. The recently-acquired seven new collections, comprising a total of 373 linear feet, are not yet processed, and the archives are working to secure funding to arrange and describe them. In the past year we added the following collections to our holdings:

John S. Greenspan papers

—John Greenspan, BDS, PhD, and Deborah Greenspan, DSc, BDS, ca. 1984

A faculty member at UCSF since 1976, John S. Greenspan is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology in the Department of Orofacial Sciences. He is a Director-Emeritus of the AIDS Research Institute, which he led from 2003 to 2012, and is the founding Director of the UCSF Oral AIDS Center, as well as UCSF AIDS Specimen Bank. He was the Director of the UCSF AIDS Clinical Research Center/California AIDS Research Center from 1992 to 2005.

His research interests include the global health aspects of AIDS. His own work is rooted in studies of oral aspects of AIDS and the role of viruses in oral epithelial and salivary gland lesions. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to HIV research and care, notably the discovery of the lesion hairy leukoplakia, its association with EBV, and the significance of this and other oral lesions in the natural history of HIV diseases. His papers include correspondence, presentations, lectures, research data and notes, teaching materials, records related to administration of the AIDS Research Institute and AIDS Specimen Bank.

Don Francis papers, MSS 2015-01

Donald P. Francis

As an infectious disease trained pediatrician and epidemiologist, Dr. Francis has over 30 years of experience in epidemic control and vaccines. He spent 21 years working for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) focusing on vaccine-preventable diseases. Dr. Francis has worked on HIV/AIDS since its emergence in 1981. He initially directed the AIDS laboratory at the CDC and worked closely with the Institut Pasteur to identify the causative virus. His early efforts to call attention to the threat of AIDS and warn of the inadequacy of the public health response were chronicled in the book by Randy Shilts And the Band Played On. In 1992, he joined Genentech to spend full time developing vaccines, while he also helped found what became the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Dr. Francis co-founded VaxGen, which completed the world’s first Phase III trials of two candidate HIV vaccines in 2003. His papers include correspondence, news-clippings, research data and notes, conference and presentation materials, and ephemera.

AIDS Treatment News, MSS 94–28 – 2015 addition

This recent donation of more than 68 linear feet complements the ATN records that were transferred to the archives in 1994.

Title page of AIDS Treatment News, Issue #3, May 9, 1986

AIDS Treatment News (ATN) was a biweekly newsletter that reported on both orthodox and experimental treatments of AIDS-related conditions. AIDS Treatment News was frequently the first publication to investigate and write about potential new treatments, clinical trials, and the politics involved in government sanctioned and alternative therapeutics. It was a primary resource for community-based organizations and government agencies, and was also read by many physicians and scientists involved in AIDS research and care. These records include correspondence, telephone logs, presentations, minutes of meetings, photographs, and news clippings.

The mission of the UCSF AHP has broadened from the initial goal of identifying, surveying and describing at-risk records of educational and professional institutions, non-profit service organizations and ad hoc community-based organizations that emerged in San Francisco in the early years of AIDS epidemic.

The multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach to collection development has led UCSF Archives & Special Collections to create a complex and comprehensive AIDS history research collection that documents not only medical aspects of the epidemic, but also changes in cultural values and shifts in policy and social response. UCSF Archives is continuing to build an inclusive AIDS history research collection where patients, activists, researchers, clinicians, journalists, and community based organizations’ perspectives will be preserved and will allow current and future generations of researchers to examine and learn from these materials.

UCSF Archives poster (designed by Mark McGowan)

The need to preserve and provide access to these materials was reinforced by two recent initiatives:

Dan Royles posted a call to action in the October issue of the AHA’s Perspectives on History to teach AIDS history to undergraduates: https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2016/silence-death-its-time-to-teach-aids-history

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory organized a meeting, “HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future” that brought together more than 125 pioneering scientists and clinicians who discussed the key scientific, epidemiological, and clinical discoveries that created this field and stressed the importance of preserving the past to find ways to address and control epidemics in the future: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/gathering-hivaids-pioneers-raw-memories-mix-current-conflicts

The archivists are collaborating with the UCSF AIDS Research Institute on collection development and public outreach efforts and today, to commemorate the World AIDS Day, we will be presenting two posters at the amfAR HIV Cure Summit at Mission Bay campus.

The UCSF Archives is open to anyone regardless of institutional affiliation, to make an appointment to see these materials, please use this contact form.

Categories: Brought to Light

Archives Talk 12/2/2016: Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon

Wed, 2016-11-23 09:30

Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2016
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Paul Blanc, MD, MSPH (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.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: http://calendars.library.ucsf.edu/event/2941746

Join UCSF Archives & Special Collections for an afternoon talk with medical historian and author Paul Blanc MD, MSPH, as he discusses the toxic legacy of viscose rayon portrayed in his new book, Fake Silk. Dr. Blanc poses a basic question: When a new technology makes people ill, how high does the body count have to be before protective steps are taken? His work tells a dark story of hazardous manufacturing, poisonous materials, environmental abuses, political machinations, and economics trumping safety concerns. It explores the century-long history of “fake silk,” or cellulose viscose, used to produce such products as rayon textiles and tires, cellophane, and everyday kitchen sponges. His research uncovers the grim history of a product that crippled and even served a death sentence to many industry workers while also releasing toxic carbon disulfide into the environment.

Viscose, an innovative and lucrative product first introduced in the early twentieth century, quickly became a multinational corporate enterprise. Blanc investigates industry practices from the beginning through two highly profitable world wars, the mid-century export of hazardous manufacturing to developing countries, and the current “green-washing” of viscose as an eco-friendly product. This work brings to light an industrial hazard whose egregious history ranks with those of asbestos, lead, and mercury.

Paul Blanc, MD, MSPH

Dr. Blanc holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the UCSF, where he has been a faculty member since 1988. Blanc received his BA from Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont), where he first became interested in health and the environment, later training at the Harvard School of Public Health (in industrial hygiene), the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, and Cook County Hospital (in a joint Occupational Medicine and Internal Medicine Residency). He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCSF and later a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He also has been a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center (Bellagio, Italy) and the American Academy in Rome. In 2013-4, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Blanc is the author of How Everyday Products Make People Sick (University of California Press, 2009) also writes a blog, “Household Hazards,” that is hosted by the magazine Psychology Today. Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon is published by Yale University Press.

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

St. Joseph College of Nursing

Wed, 2016-11-16 08:29

Recently, we’ve been adding material to our digital collections on Calisphere.org. One highlight is the St. Joseph College of Nursing Collection.

Nuns gathered around an iron lung. St. Joseph College of Nursing collection.

The digital collection includes selected images from the St. Joseph College of Nursing papers and Alumni Association records. St. Joseph College of Nursing was established in 1921 as an affiliate of St. Joseph’s Hospital. The hospital was founded in San Francisco in 1889 by five Catholic sisters of the Order of Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Though the hospital and school closed in the late 1970s, the Alumni Association continued activity until 2015.

Promotional cards for St. Joseph’s Hospital, San Francisco. The hospital and college buildings were located on the 300 block of Buena Vista Avenue East. St. Joseph College of Nursing collection.

Sister M. Frida and researchers in the Pathology Laboratory, circa 1939.  St. Joseph College of Nursing collection.

The collection documents the educational activities of the school as well as the patient care and research performed by the sisters and students. Visit the digital collection to view more images or make an appointment with us to view the material in person.

Nurse with child in St. Joseph’s Hospital Pediatric Ward, circa 1940-1960. St. Joseph College of Nursing collection.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Pharmacy, circa 1940-1960. St. Joseph College of Nursing collection.

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Remembering Base Hospital 30 of the First World War

Thu, 2016-11-10 08:50

This is a guest post by Cristina Nigro, UCSF History of Health Sciences graduate student.

Benjamin Ide Wheeler. Photograph Collection, Portraits.

In his Annual Report of the President of the University to the then-Governor of the State of California, UC President Benjamin Wheeler outlined the part of the university in the Great War:

On February 13, 1917, in view of the increasing probability of the United States entering the European War, the Board of Regents, at the instance of the President of the University, formally offered to the National Government the entire resources of the University for use in meeting whatever needs should arise in prosecuting the war.

The American Red Cross and the Department of Medicine at the University of California Medical School were quick to respond to President Wheeler’s February 1917 call to action. In March, they began organizing plans for Base Hospital #30. According to Wheeler:

The Medical School has furnished the equipment and many of the members of Hospital Unit 30, under Dr. Kilgore. Of the 25 physicians, 23 are from our Medical School, 13 of them graduates. There are also 10 enlisted men among our medical students. Eight of the 65 nurses are from the University Hospital.

In June, the Base Hospital #30 Unit marched up Market Street as part of the Liberty Loan Parade. But the orders for mobilization to Fort Mason did not come until late November, and the unit had to spend the next three months outfitting and equipping the hospital.

Nurses and soldiers, World War I, circa 1917. From the H.M. Fishbon Memorial Library, UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion.

The nurses of Base Hospital #30 left Fort Mason on December 26, 1917, arriving in New York Harbor on January 1, 1918. On January 25 the nurses were split up and sent to various Atlantic Coast camps. Eager to be deployed, Acting Chief Nurse Arabella A. Lombard recalled:

The camps were all in sore need of nurses at that time, and after the first huge disappointment at not being able to go directly to France, each one felt glad to be able to do some work in her own country, and in many, if not all instances, much valuable experience was gained from the nursing on this side.

The men of Base Hospital #30 left aboard the S.S. North Pacific on March 3, 1918. After a brief sojourn in New York, the entire unit set sail for Brest, France aboard the USS Leviathan. Following a forty-six hour train ride from Brest, they arrived in Royat, France on May 10, 1918.

Nurses of Base Hospital No. 30, 1918-01. University publications, The Thirtieth.

The first trainload of patients—half British and half American—arrived in Royat on June 12, 1918. Lieutenant-Colonel Eugene S. Kilgore, M.C. remembered feeling unprepared for that first trainload. Of the 369 patients, two thirds of them went to the surgical ward. The second train arrived on June 18, 1918. Kilgore recounted:

We were somewhat, though not much, better prepared for the second trainload of 461 cases from the Chateau Thierry fight. The train commander stated that this was the worst trainload he had ever seen. There were dozens of cases of terrible skin, lung and eye poisoning from mustard gas, and the staff worked night and day trying to keep up with the work of dressing the enormous burns.

Of the 461 new patients, 278 had to be carried in on stretchers.

U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 30, World War I, circa 1917. University publications, The Thirtieth.

Fifteen more trains would arrive at Royat by November 13, 1918, amounting to 4,827 casualties. In the five months between June and November 1918, Base Hospital #30 treated 7,562 patients and grappled with typhoid fever and “a very serious epidemic of respiratory disease.” A train arriving on September 22, 1918 brought 232 men suffering from acute respiratory infections to the base hospital. By the end of September, thirty to seventy influenza patients were admitted to the hospital daily.

On November 11, 1918 the Allies and Germany signed an armistice, ending the fighting on the Western Front. Beginning on December 6, patients were evacuated from the hospital in waves. Reminiscing about her time at Base Hospital #30, nurse Lombard reflected:

After the first train bearing wounded came in on June 12 until some time after the armistice was signed we were very busy most of the time, with only an occasional lull in the work. At times it seemed almost like a night and day proposition. The wounded and sick were wonderfully courageous and our only regret was that we were unable to do more for them. It was all very much worth while, however, when one met a stretcher coming to the ward and heard some splendid American lad, perhaps minus an arm or a leg, say “Gee, but it’s good to see an talk to an American girl.

The unit sailed from France on April 13, 1919, arriving back home in San Francisco on May 15, 1919. Although formally demobilized on May 26, Base Hospital #30 would revive two decades later, ready to serve the wounded soldiers of World War II.

To learn more about UCSF’s role in World War I, save the date for our upcoming exhibit on Base Hospital 30 and the Great War, opening April 2017 at the UCSF Library.

Categories: Brought to Light

New Faces in Archives: Fall 2016

Mon, 2016-11-07 10:45

We are continuing our collaboration with the University of San Francisco and in particular, Dr. Kathryn Nasstrom, chair of the History Department and her students. This fall semester we are hosting Joshua Dela Cruz and Allen Smoot who are enrolled in the History Internship Program. This program allows students to gain valuable real-world experience and course credit while helping archives staff to accomplish numerous projects that will benefit our patrons and general public.

Joshua Dela Cruz

Joshua Dela Cruz
Joshua is currently working on several projects including organizing and creating a metadata of a manuscript collection of AIDS periodicals and updating and digitizing a photograph collection of portraits. He has also assisted in smaller tasks such as taking inventory, organizing a digital list of metadata, and taking a survey of various other collections and items kept here in the archives.
Joshua is a 4th year undergraduate student from the University of San Francisco, who will be graduating in the upcoming Spring semester. His strong interest in old artifacts and ancient stories, but also in medicine and the natural sciences has lead him to pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in History along with a Natural Science Minor and a Chemistry Minor.
His hobbies are playing video games, watching anime, playing the piano, learning Japanese, and a little bit of creative writing. Although considering pursuing a career in medicine, Joshua plans to take a gap year. During that time, he intends to expand his experience in health care, to do research, to explore his other fields of interest, or possibly go to Japan.

Allen Smoot

Allen Smoot
Allen Smoot is a senior undergrad student at the University of San Francisco.  He will be helping with collection processing, cataloging, and researching.  Allen looks forward to working on arranging and processing smaller collections, such as Tobacco Control and photograph collections.  Allen is also interested in learning the basics of archival theory and practice as well as digitalization and metadata creation.  He will also be conducting quality control for digitized materials for the Medical Heritage Liberty state medical journals project.
Allen is a US history major while also playing baseball at the University of San Francisco.  He was raised in Moraga, CA.  Some of his hobbies include hanging out with friends, watching the San Francisco Giants, and Golden State Warriors.  Allen is excited to begin working at the UCSF library and learning from the full time archivists.

Categories: Brought to Light

The Flying Death and Other Adventures in Anesthesia

Mon, 2016-10-31 06:49

It is amazing to think that curare, a poison sometimes known as “The Flying Death” and used on the tips of darts and arrows by indigenous people of South America, could prove to be an important stepping stone in the path to modern anesthesia. But then again, curare is not a simple poison, but actually a powerful muscle relaxant; after injection, an animal that has been shot with a curare-tipped dart can actually be kept alive through artificial respiration. More importantly to the native tribes—as they would not have needed to resuscitate their dinners—curare brings about paralysis and asphyxiation when injected (either by dart, arrow, or needle), but is not poisonous if ingested.

A native tribesman demonstrating his prowess with a blowgun typically used with curare darts. Clip taken from Richard Gill’s film “White Water and Black Magic”.

Curare was first brought to the United States by Richard Gill, an American living in Ecuador, in 1938. Gill had become interested in the medicinal uses of curare after falling off his horse and developing neurological symptoms including spasticity. After being told about curare by his neurologist, Gill sought out and befriended a tribe who used the arrow poison. The indigenous people then showed him how to procure and use it, and Gill eventually returned to the US with approximately 25 pounds of curare paste.

Richard Gill sitting with a native tribesman while watching another tribesman cook down curare. Clip also taken from “White Water and Black Magic”.

Medical experiments with curare began as early as the 19th century, but its use in anesthesia didn’t start until the mid-20th century, after Gill had introduced it in the US. One of its first uses was to prevent bone fractures brought about by spasms during electro-convulsive therapy. Since it is such a powerful muscle relaxant, curare proved helpful for tracheal intubation, and in keeping the patients’ muscles relaxed during operative procedures. It also lessened the need for the use of deep general anesthesia during highly invasive operations, like abdominal or thoracic surgeries.

1943 cartoon by Clark Haas depicting Richard Gill visiting native peoples to obtain more curare. Arthur Guedel collection, MSS 2016-03.

Despite its usefulness in relaxing patients, curare has no analgesic (painkilling) or anesthetic qualities. This was proven in the 1940s, after curare was given to some infants and children as the sole anesthetic agent during operative procedures. The patients who were old enough to communicate complained that they had felt everything during the surgery but were unable to move or cry out about the excruciating pain they were feeling. Upon hear this, anesthesiologist Dr. Scott Smith volunteered to take the drug in order to test whether curare did have any pain-relieving qualities. He became paralyzed but reported that the reduction of painful sensations was not impacted. Like the young patients before him, Smith had felt everything, but had not been able to move to stop it.

Categories: Brought to Light

Anatomy and Surgery Instruction on Halloween

Wed, 2016-10-26 07:25

As Halloween approaches, we thought it’d be a perfect time to highlight these 19th-century UC Medical Department surgery and anatomy lecture admission tickets, dated October 31, 1878!

Anatomy lecture admission ticket, 1878. Archives Classification H152.

The UC Medical Department tracked attendance and enrollment using lecture admission cards. Note that the lecture on clinical surgery was given by Hugh Toland. This is the same Hugh Toland who gifted his medical school to the University of California in 1873, thus creating what would eventually be the UCSF School of Medicine.

Clinical surgery lecture admission ticket, 1878. Archives Classification H152.

While these tickets were originally designed for academic use, they now look tailor-made for Halloween party invitations!

Students performing dissection in University of California Medical College, 1896. Photograph Collection.

For more spooky fun in the archives, join us Monday, October 31, for a Halloween Open House in the Archives.

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Halloween Open House in the Archives

Fri, 2016-10-21 08:19

Sketch by A.A.C. Williams MD (d. 1870), found tucked inside his surgical instrument case. Artifact Collection, item 79.

We’re closing out Archives Month with a Halloween Open House in the Archives. Join us from 12noon-1pm on Halloween, Monday, October 31, in the Archives Reading Room. View some of our favorite oddities from the past and a few of our more gruesome historical medical artifacts.

Transfusion kit, circa 1870. Artifact Collection, item 240.

Plus, receive a Halloween goodie bag while supplies last!

UCSF School of Nursing students at table with Halloween decorations, 1944. Photograph Collection.

REGISTER HERE for the event.

Categories: Brought to Light

Remembering Thomas N. Burbridge, Superhero of Science and Medicine

Wed, 2016-10-19 08:00

The Society of American Archivists’ Science, Technology and Health Care roundtable recently launched a project titled Forgotten Superheroes of Science and Medicine to highlight “underrepresented and diverse persons and groups in collections of the history of science, technology and health care.” We’ll be contributing to this project by periodically posting to the blog regarding these heroes.

Thomas N. Burbridge, MD, PhD (1921-1972), was an African-American scientist, physician, and civil rights activist. He devoted his life to social justice and his work continues to impact UCSF and the larger San Francisco community.

Thomas N. Burbridge. Photograph collection, portraits.

Burbridge was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1921. He attended Talladega College and later joined the US Navy. After years of military service, he enrolled in the UCSF School of Medicine, earning his MD in 1948. He completed his residency at San Francisco General Hospital and then enrolled in a graduate program in the UCSF Department of Pharmacology.

While in graduate school, Burbridge helped lead UC’s efforts to support development of medical education at the University of Indonesia, following the Indonesian fight for independence. Burbridge worked with local students and officials in Jakarta from 1952-1955.

Thomas N. Burbridge with his wife and medical students at the University of Indonesia, 1952-1955. Photograph published in the Alumni-Faculty Association Bulletin of the UCSF School of Medicine, Winter 1956. University Publications.

After returning to the US, Burbridge joined the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine in 1956, where he conducted research related to the pharmacology of alcohol and the metabolism of marijuana. As a teacher and scientist, Burbridge advocated for increased minority student enrollment at UCSF. In the 1960s, he led recruiting trips to predominantly black universities in the southern United States, speaking with students about opportunities in the health sciences. He also served as a leader of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP and organized sit-ins of auto dealerships and other businesses in protest of their discriminatory employment practices. This non-violent, direct action strategy brought about equal employment opportunities for people of color in San Francisco.

Memorial of Dr. Thomas Burbridge. Published on the back cover of the October 1972 edition of the Black Bulletin, a newsletter created by UCSF’s Black Caucus. Black Caucus records, MSS 85-38.

Following Burbridge’s death in 1972, the UCSF Black Caucus petitioned Chancellor Philip Lee to name a Chancellor’s Award in his honor. Today, Burbridge’s legacy continues to inspire the UCSF community through the Thomas N. Burbridge Chancellor’s Award for Public Service.

UCSF Archives & Special Collections houses the Thomas Nathaniel Burbridge Papers, 1959-1972 and other related collections. Please make an appointment if you would like to research the material.

Categories: Brought to Light

Archives Talk 10/21/16: Historical Medical Collections in the 21st Century

Tue, 2016-10-11 13:15

Date: Friday, October 21, 2016
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD (NLM)
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.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: http://calendars.library.ucsf.edu/event/2851245

 Join UCSF Archives & Special Collections for an afternoon talk with Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, chief of the History of Medicine of the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest biomedical library, located on the Bethesda, Maryland, campus of the National Institutes of Health.
In this talk, Reznick will offer an overview of the division, its current partnerships and programs, and its future plans as he and his colleagues embrace the future as stewards of the past, as the NLM itself anticipates its third century under the leadership of Patricia Flatley Brennan, PhD, RN., RN.

Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, chief of the History of Medicine at the National Library of Medicine

Reznick joined the NLM in 2009 following his tenure as director of the Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Dr. Reznick’s record of scholarly historical research is as extensive as his executive career in the national nonprofit sector. As a social and cultural historian of medicine and war, he maintains and active research portfolio supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, and he is the author of two books, both published by Manchester University Press in its Cultural History of Modern War series, as well as numerous book reviews, articles for the popular press, and entries in major reference works.

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

Archives Month – October 2016

Thu, 2016-09-29 08:38

October is Archives Month! Along with archives from across the country, we’re celebrating the value of historical records and the preservation of the past.

We have special events planned on Wednesday, October 5. Visit us in the Library 5th floor Reading Room from 12noon-1pm to view historical collections, tour library exhibits, and meet archives staff. Also, tweet your questions all day @ucsf_archives using #AskAnArchivist. RSVP preferred for the open house – sign up here.

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New items to be digitized from the Eric L. Berne papers

Wed, 2016-09-28 10:07

Thanks to fundraising and donations from the International Transactional Analysis Association, we are embarking on another round of digitization of papers from the Eric L. Berne collections.

The papers selected for digitization in this round will range from early fiction writings to publisher correspondence, photographs, writings foundational to TA theory, materials documenting ITAA history and other items that continue to round out our understanding of Berne’s life, personality, intellectual process, and legacy.

Eric Berne with Fritz Perls

You can expect to find these items online on Calisphere, alongside previously digitized items under their respective collection numbers. As always, guides to the collections are available on the Online Archive of California. 

Categories: Brought to Light

Forgotten Super Heroes of Science and Medicine: Choh Hao Li

Thu, 2016-09-15 07:37

The Society of American Archivists’ Science, Technology and Health Care roundtable recently launched a project to highlight “underrepresented and diverse persons and groups in collections of the history of science, technology and health care.” The section is calling this endeavor the “Forgotten Super Heroes of Science and Medicine.” UCSF Archives & Special Collections will be contributing to this project by periodically posting to the blog regarding these heroes. This is our first installment.

Biochemist Choh Hao Li was among the first to synthesize the human growth hormone and later discovered beta-endorphin. Born in 1913 in Guangzhou, China, Li graduated from the University of Nanjing before moving to the US to attend graduate school at UC Berkeley in 1935. Upon earning his Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry in 1938, Li began working on the UC Berkeley campus at the Institute of Experimental Biology with Herbert McLean Evans. In 1950, Li became the first director of the newly created Hormone Research Laboratory. He moved with the laboratory to UCSF in 1967, where Li worked until his retirement in 1983. As an emeritus professor at UCSF, Li then established the Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, where he remained director until his death in 1987.

Dr. Li spent most of his career studying the functions of the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain and controls many of the body’s functions.  At the Institute of Experimental Biology, Li first began his attempts to isolate and identify the anterior pituitary hormones; he was eventually able to isolate and purify six of the eight known hormones secreted. It wasn’t until the early 1970s, when heading the Hormone Research Laboratory, that Li was able to actually synthesize human growth hormone. Later that decade, Li discovered beta-endorphin, a neuropeptide that acts as a pain killer. Before his retirement, Li was also able to synthesize insulin-like growth factor 1, a protein that mediates the effects of growth hormone. During his lifetime, Li published over 1100 scientific articles, was given many awards, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, and was nominated at least twice for the Nobel Prize.

The Choh Hao Li papers are open for research at UCSF Archives & Special Collections: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf738nb543/

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Upcoming Lecture: “Vaccination and Society Since the Sixties”

Wed, 2016-09-07 13:30

Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Elena Conis, PhD (UC Berkeley & 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.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: tiny.ucsf.edu/vaccination930

Join UCSF Archives & Special Collections for an afternoon talk with author Elena Conis as she discusses her book Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization. A limited number of books will be available for purchase.

W. McD. Hammon with triplets participating in a polio study at the Hooper Foundation (UCSF)

The past fifty years have witnessed an enormous upsurge in vaccine use in the United States: American children now receive more vaccines than any previous generation, and laws requiring their immunization against a litany of diseases are standard. And yet, while vaccination rates have soared and cases of preventable infections have plummeted, an increasingly vocal cross-section of Americans have questioned the safety and necessity of vaccines. In this talk, Elena Conis explores the emergence of widespread acceptance – and rejection – of vaccines from the 1960s to the present, finding the origins of today’s vaccination controversies in historical debates over topics ranging from national security to body piercing to the role of women in contemporary society. Vaccine acceptance, she argues, has never been simply a scientific matter, but one profoundly shaped by our politics, economics, and culture.

Elena Conis, PhD

Elena Conis is a writer and historian of medicine, public health, and the environment. She is a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine at UCSF. Previously, she was a history professor and the Mellon Fellow in Health and Humanities at Emory University; the Cain Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation; and an award-winning health columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her first book, Vaccine Nation, won the Arthur J. Viseltear Award from the American Public Health Association and was named a Choice magazine outstanding title and a pick of the week by the journal Nature. She is currently working on a book on the history of the pesticide DDT. She holds a PhD in the history of health sciences from UCSF, masters degrees in journalism and public health from Berkeley, and a bachelors degree in biology from Columbia University.

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

Ortho-Fusor for Modern Visual Training

Mon, 2016-08-29 08:28

We’ve been cataloging additions to our Historical Medical Artifact Collection recently. It’s always fun diving into the over 1,000 objects in the collection. This treasure is the Ortho-Fusor, a Bausch & Lomb product for “Modern Visual Training.”

Ortho-Fusor, 1941. Artifact Collection, item 1157.

The Ortho-Fusor, dated 1941, includes Polaroid 3D glasses, a reference manual, and a spiral-bound booklet with vectograph images and exercises. A vectograph is a type of stereoscopic image composed of two superimposed, polarized pictures that produce a 3D effect when viewed through polarizing spectacles. Think of it like going to a 3D movie, except you are viewing stills.

Ortho-Fusor booklet, 1941. Artifact Collection, item 1157.

Ortho-Fusor booklet, 1941. Artifact Collection, item 1157.

The Ortho-Fusor exercises, which involve refocusing your eyes on various points in the image, were designed for “re-educating and training visual skills” for the “modern need.”  As noted in the reference manual, “the world of modern occupations has drawn many more thousands of us into factories, offices, libraries, schools, shops, and laboratories. Here for hours at a time we perform sustained and precise tasks with our eyes, frequently at very close distances…The precise teamwork of the eyes is a matter of coordination and habit.” The reference manual encourages 30 minutes of use a day, in five to ten minute intervals.

Ortho-Fusor Reference Manual, 1941. Artifact Collection, item 1157.

Ophthalmologists and optometrists, let us know what you think of these visual exercises and the Ortho-Fusor’s medical claims!

Categories: Brought to Light

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

Wed, 2016-08-17 09:35

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