UCSF Archives and Special Collections is growing a collection of artifacts and archival materials dating back to the late 19th century documenting the history and development of anesthesia, in particular on the West Coast.
The Arthur E. Guedel Collection was recently added to the archives holdings. This extensive collection contains more than 40 linear feet of personal papers, rare books on the history and development of anesthesia, journals and artifacts, including anesthesia equipment and unique collection of artifacts from Richard Gill’s journey into Ecuador to collect curare, as well as audio-visual materials. It includes the papers and correspondence of several pioneers in the field on anesthesia, in particular, Richard C. Gill, Drs. Ralph Waters, Abram Elting Bennett, William Neff, and Arthur E. Guedel. Dr. John Severinghaus who developed the first blood gas analyzer, which measured pH, PCO2, and PO2 donated to the archives the prototypes of several apparatuses and blood gas machines he work on with Freeman Bradley. For more than a century the library has been assembling a collection of rare books on anesthesia and it holds the Chauncey Leake papers. In 1928 Dr. Leake came to the University of California School of Medicine, where he established the Department of Pharmacology. He was especially noted for work on anesthesia and his lab developed such drugs as divinyl ether.
Basic inventories of these collections, as well as other collections that may contain materials related to anesthesia, are available in the archives. Please contact us using the Ask an Archivist form if you have any questions about our anesthesia materials.