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Kehoe and carbolic acid sprayer
Polina Ilieva
Polina Ilieva
Polina is Associate University Librarian for Collections and UCSF Archivist.

Exploring Healthcare Through Historic Treasures

This upcoming Archives Talk on February 9, 2022 is free but requires registration.

Join UCSF Archives and Special Collections for an afternoon talk with public historian Tegan Kehoe as she shares stories from her book Exploring American Healthcare through 50 Historic Treasures, including the story of this carbolic acid sprayer and others that are part of a larger story about the advent and acceptance of germ theory.

The book presents a history of health and medicine in the United States, tracing paradigm shifts such as the introduction of anesthesia, the adoption of germ theory, and advances in public health. It showcases little-known objects that illustrate our complex relationship with health and highlights objects related to famous moments in medicine, ranging from “vitamin D beer” to the discovery of penicillin. Each artifact illuminates some piece of the social, cultural and technological influences on how people approach fundamental questions about health.

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