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Edith Escobedo
Edith is a Project Archivist for Archives and Special Collections. Contact Edith with questions about UCSF’s physical archives, digital collections, or with research questions pertaining to archival materials.

Collections From Five Pioneers in Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics Available for Research

In 2021, UCSF Archives and Special Collections was awarded a grant by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in support of the project, Pioneering Child Studies: Digitizing and Providing Access to Collection of Women Physicians who Spearheaded Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics.

The project highlights five women physicians and social workers: Hulda Evelyn Thelander, MD, Helen Fahl Gofman, MD, Leona Mayer Bayer, MD, Selma Fraiberg, MSW, and Carol Hardgrove, MA. All five were 20th century trailblazers in developmental-behavioral pediatrics research, patient care, and public health policy. Developmental-behavioral pediatrics arose in the 1920s from an increased demand for mental health services in pediatric care. While infant and child mortality rates in the United States declined, in part due to public health campaigns and medical advancements, concerns over behavioral problems and developmental delays increased. There were also societal influences in the 20th century that impacted child raising such as changes to the family structure, and an increasing demand for technically trained laborers. Thus, the field of pediatrics began to look beyond child survival and started to consider the whole child.

Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD, dean emeritus and Harry & Riva Specht Chair in Publicly Supported Services at the University of California, Berkeley School of Social Welfare noted in a letter of support for the project that these five women were instrumental in developing training programs for healthcare providers. Edleson also acknowledged the impact of their work on families, “All of them published works for the general public addressing issues that emerged at the time and continue to be discussed today, including the role of the mother in early childhood, emotional life of children, and the importance of including the whole family in pediatric patient care.”

All of them published works for the general public addressing issues that emerged at the time and continue to be discussed today, including the role of the mother in early childhood, emotional life of children, and the importance of including the whole family in pediatric patient care.

Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD

Digitizing the collections

The NHPRC award supported the digitization of over 68,000 pages and the creation of five digital collections in collaboration with University of California, Merced Library’s Digital Assets Unit. By digitizing these collections, the materials are more widely accessible for teaching and research purposes. Andrew J. Hogan, associate professor for the Departments of History and Medical Humanities at Creighton University remarked, “Digitization will make these records available for students who are interested in doing research on the powerful, though often untold, impact of women physicians.” These collections capture the contributions these women made as well as the challenges they faced. Furthermore, the materials within these collections will support ongoing educational programs and research within the history of medicine, women in health sciences, disability studies, public health, social work, and medical humanities.

Access the collections

All five collections are available for free via Calisphere.

Collection overviews

Leona Mayer Bayer

Leona Mayer Bayer, MD, received her medical degree from Stanford University Medical School in 1928. She worked with the Institute of Human Development in Berkeley, California, and focused on child development, human growth, and the psychology of sick children. The collection consists of approximately 400 digitized pages and features Mayer Bayer’s professional correspondence. Some items that may be of interest are her correspondence with esteemed psychiatrist Hilde Brunch, MD, and her acceptance remarks for the PSR Broadstreet Pump Award she received in 1987.

Selma Fraiberg

Selma Fraiberg, MSW, received her education from Wayne State University and later completed her psychoanalytic training at the Detroit Psychoanalytic Institute. She was a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School at Ann Arbor. Additionally, she was a professor of child psychoanalysis and a professor of social casework at Tulane University. In 1979, she taught at UCSF, as a professor of child psychoanalysis, a position she held until she died in 1981. The digital collection includes correspondence, teaching files, typescripts, manuscript drafts, project materials, meeting notes, lecture notes, articles, and grants.

Carol Hardgrove

Carol Hardgrove, MA, worked in several nursery and childcare centers and was an educational consultant to Project Head Start from 1966 to 1970. In 1972, Hardgrove joined the Department of Famil Health Care Nursing at UCSF as an assistant clinical professor. At UCSF she served on a variety of campus-wide, School of Nursing, and departmental committees. She was the project director for the Intergenerational Child Caregiving Project, a program to prepare older adults to work with infants and young children. Furthermore, she was a coordinator between the School of Nursing and the UCSF Childcare/Study Center.

Hardgrove taught courses such as Therapeutic Uses of Play, Practicum in Family Health Care Nursing, and Creative Uses of Play with Young Children. She also taught several courses in continuing education for the School of Nursing. The collection contains correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, photographs, and secondary materials on her subjects of interest.

Hulda Evelyn Thelander

Hulda Evelyn Thelander, MD, interned at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco and later became the pediatrics department chief in 1951. Thelander founded the Child Development Center at Children’s Hospital in 1952 and conducted studies on children with traumatic brain injuries and general pediatric neurology. The papers in this collection consist in large part of correspondence (many with friends and family members), diaries, memoirs, travel accounts, some medical manuscripts, and research notes.

Helen Fahl Gofman

Helen Fahl Gofman, MD, was engaged in teaching, patient care, and research at UCSF for 42 years. Fahl Gofman was a national leader in the field of behavioral pediatrics. She completed both her medical degree and residency in pediatrics at UCSF in 1947. She served as director of the California State University system from 1961 – 1973, and co-director from 1973 – 1983. The digital collection includes writings, lectures, correspondence, publications, research materials, diagnostic tools and tests, photographs, and biographical materials.

Primary source sets

We are developing a webpage with primary source sets for educators, students, and researchers in collaboration with Aimee Medeiros, PhD, associate professor of history and health sciences in the UCSF Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. The primary source sets capture the contributions of each woman in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, and they will contain descriptions of each digital collection.

Feature image courtesy of the Gofman (Helen Fahl) Papers, MSS 2014-17, carton 44, folder 6 via Calisphere.