Arthur E. Guedel Anesthesia Collection transferred to UCSF archives

The UCSF archives would like to announce the acquisition of the Arthur E. Guedel Anesthesia Collection. The agreement to transfer these unique materials of high research value that will complement existing archival holding was signed by the Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Anesthesia Center Board of Trustees and the UCSF Library last March. 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.

Drs. Merlin Larson and Selma Calmes

Drs. Merlin Larson and Selma Calmes signing the agreement to transfer the Arthur E. Guedel Anesthesia Collection to the UCSF Archives & Special Collections, March 2015

The Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Anesthesia Center was founded in 1963 by a small group of anesthesiologists who were interested in preserving the history of their specialty. The center is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Arthur E. Guedel, a pioneer of modern anesthesiology on the West Coast. For many years it was housed in the Health Sciences Library at California Pacific Medical Center and we are grateful to our colleagues there, in particular Anne Shew, director of the Health Sciences Library for an outstanding stewardship of these materials. The personal papers have detailed finding aids and after they are moved to the UCSF library later this summer, they will be made accessible to the visitors in the archives reading room. The reminder of the collection will be transferred to archives after removing duplicate material within a year. The Guedel collection materials will be incorporated into UCSF library catalog and archival collections finding aids describing the contents of personal papers will be added to the Online Archive of California. At the conclusion of the transfer, a Guedel collection digital portal describing history and materials in the collection will be built by the archives and linked to the UCSF Department of Anesthesia website.
Dr. Selma Calmes, retired Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology at UCLA and president of the Guedel Board of Trustees, noted in her 2004 article that Dr. Chauncey Leake, Professor of Pharmacology at UCSF was a person with strong ties to anesthesia and was instrumental in naming and organizing the center: “He suggested dedicating it to the memory of the only pioneer of modern anesthesia on the West Coast, Dr. Arthur Guedel of Los Angeles. Leake had been good friends with Guedel, who often visited UCSF to do research.” (1) The UCSF archives is the home of the Leake papers (as well as collection of rare books on anesthesia) and the addition of the Guedel collection will reunite these resources. 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.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Guedel Board and in particular Drs. John Severinghaus, Merlin Larson, and Selma Calmes. Tomorrow we will be publishing a guest post written by Dr. Calmes and in the next year are planning to share updates about the transfer of the collection to UCSF, as well as showcase its treasures.
1.    Calmes, Selma. “The History of the Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Anesthesia Center.” California Society of Anesthesiologists Bulletin. 2004 July-September; 53 (3): 71-72.

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