New UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) Digital Collection

This is a post by Kelsi Evans, Project Archivist, and Lynda Letona, Archives Intern.

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, we’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

We’d like to highlight the new digital collection of the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). CAPS was established in 1986 to educate scientists and stimulate new research projects that impact the practice, theory, and policy of HIV/AIDS prevention and keep pace with the changing epidemic. The scope of CAPS has evolved over the decades to include global projects, the development of prevention interventions, and collaborative work among researchers in fields including biomedicine, psychology, epidemiology, behavioral science, policy, clinical medicine, and other disciplines. The digital collection includes selected conference and research project materials, correspondence, publications, and ephemera.

Correspondence in the digital collection includes a 1994 letter from the American Psychiatric Association Commission on AIDS and the American Psychological Association Committee on Psychology and AIDS to Dr. David Kessler, Commissioner of the FDA. The letter expresses concerns about home sample collection (HSC) testing kits for HIV, including the range of reactions that people testing HIV positive or negative might experience. Such reactions, the letter argues, could result in severe states of anxiety and depression, increased suicidal thoughts and behavior, and increased high risk behavior for HIV transmission. The authors write, “We believe that face-to-face HIV counseling remains the procedure of choice and that HSC kit testing should be utilized only when the former is unavailable or unacceptable to the consumer,” since in-person counseling allows for more adequate assessment and management of psychological responses to testing.

The digital collection also includes issues of the Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) newsletter. This publication includes powerful stories, including “Fighting Two Diseases” from issue number 12. Here, a woman writes about her experience of battling drug addiction in her youth and later HIV. She shares her great appreciation of going to a Kaiser educator who cared about her and helped her through difficult times. She writes that in spite of all the fear and devastation the diagnosis brought her, she has managed to experience many wonderful things and learned to remain focused on the good in life.

You can view the CAPS digital collection on Calisphere at calisphere.org/collections/26898/. To research the CAPS records in person, please make an appointment with us.

SFGH 1930s Photograph Collection on Calisphere

This is a guest post by Griffin Burgess, ZSFG Archivist.

The Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Archives has its first collection available as part of UCSF’s digital collections on Calisphere!

The collection consists of over 100 digitized images scanned from 3 x 5 cellulose acetate negatives that date from the 1930s. The images document the exteriors of the hospital buildings as well as interior rooms, hallways, equipment, and staff.

The ZSFG campus looked very different in the 1930s than it does today. These images capture the arrangement and layout of the buildings as they originally were when the campus was completed in 1915 (with the additions of buildings 80 and 90, which were completed in 1938).

Buildings 1, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 80, 90, and 100, all of which are still standing today, are represented in the photographs. Notably, the large fire escapes that the four “finger wards” have along their north sides today are missing in the images; they were added in the 1950s.

The collection also includes images of the original administration building and the infectious diseases/tuberculosis building, which were demolished prior to the construction of building 5 in 1976. The TB building housed the chest clinic, where patients were treated for TB for up to five years.

Other images document the interior of the hospital, including images of kitchen facilities, waiting rooms, and patient rooms with various types of equipment, such as medicine bottles, IV stands, and even an iron lung.

In the 1930s, San Francisco had several emergency hospitals throughout the city. The collection includes images of the exteriors of some of these, including Alemany Emergency Hospital, Harbor Emergency Hospital, Central Emergency, and Park Emergency Hospital (which still stands today at the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park).

More ZSFG Archives collections will be added to Calisphere as they are processed.

Intern Report: Creating an Exhibit

This is a guest post by Caitlin Toomey, UCSF Archives Intern

Caitlin ToomeyHello, readers! My name is Caitlin Toomey and I was fortunate to be an intern at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections during spring semester. I am currently in the process of receiving my master’s degree in museum studies at USF. Since high school, I have either worked or interned at multiple museums and galleries throughout California, but my time at UCSF stood out as a unique and valuable experience.

While an intern, I was responsible for many different tasks and worked on a number of exciting exhibits. What stood out to me about this internship was the amount of skills I was able to gain and perform throughout the process. For the majority of my internship, I focused on the current exhibit on display in the Library, “DO THE BEST FOR OUR SOLDIERS:” University of California Medical Service in World War I. It was during this time that I completed many different duties.

I began by researching specific subjects, such as the influenza outbreak in 1918 and how troops were entertained on the front, which would be used in the exhibition as stand alone displays. I also wrote the labels with other curators for the exhibit. This was a valuable experience because I mostly have a background in education and collections, so working on more curatorial skills was very helpful. Additionally, collaboratively writing labels can be a challenging but educational experience, and as a result helped me with my writing skills.

WWI exhibit case, “Finding Time to Unwind,” on display in the UCSF Library.

Along with assisting in curation, I was also able to work on exhibit design and collections management for “DO THE BEST FOR OUR SOLDIERS”. I most enjoyed this part of the process because I was able to pick out artifacts for a number of the displays. Looking through the UCSF Archives and Special Collections storage was absolutely fascinating. The collection has so much to explore and discover on the shelves and stacks that I was never at a loss when looking for objects to display. I was also lucky enough to select and help place objects for a number of other special exhibits during my tenure, such as the UCSF Alumni Weekend artifact display of unique health science artifacts and the UCSF Cornerstone demolition series.

WWI-era U.S. Army Medical Department medicine kit used in the exhibit. From the UCSF Archives Artifact Collection, item 218.

Overall, I can look back on my time at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections as a very positive and educational experience. Not many internships give the opportunity to play a large role in exhibitions, as well as learn many different skills that will become valuable for a successful career. I know that I will take with me the many lessons I learned during these past few months. This was a wholly gratifying internship and I will cherish it throughout my career.