Robert L. Day Collection: Anatomy of an Archival Project – Part 1

Robert L. Day

Robert Day as a student, in a UCSF School of Pharmacy lab, 1957. Robert L. Day Collection, MSS 2011-23.

We were fortunate this past spring to benefit from the generosity of Dr. Robert Day and the expertise of the Library’s Archives and Special Collections. Dr. Day retired in 2012 from the UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty after an accomplished 50+-year academic career at UCSF. He retired as well from his unofficial position as the School’s historian. He was a magnet for all things old and wonderful related to the School and pharmacy in general.  His office was a floor-to-ceiling treasure trove, the precious contents of which he generously donated to UCSF upon his retirement. The new Robert L. Day Collection is complete with the 1906-1910 School of Pharmacy faculty meeting minutes; glorious show globes, the predecessors of which were used originally to mark the physical location of a pharmacy; a 1930 prescription for one pint of whiskey (undiluted); photos of our bell-bottomed and side-burned faculty members in the 60’s; and priceless detailed documents showing the transformation here at UCSF of pharmacy into a clinical profession.  Coming soon is Dr. Day’s oral history, a must read. Just as impressive as the items in the collection was the skilled and focused work of the archive professionals in the Library. Under the direction of UCSF Archivist Polina Ilieva, the boxes and boxes of precious items from Dr. Day’s office were collected, preserved, digitized, and catalogued into a findable resource that is now accessible worldwide. I encourage anyone who might have archival documents or special collections of health- or science-related items to contact the Library. In the meantime, enjoy the Robert L. Day Collection.

Susan Levings, MS
Associate Dean, Planning and Communications
UCSF School of Pharmacy

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