Irene Pope, Nurse and Activist

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

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re recognizing Irene Pope, nurse and activist.

Irene Pope

Irene Pope was born in Berkeley, CA and graduated from the UCSF School of Nursing in 1947. She worked as a nurse at UC Hospital for eighteen months, then continued her education at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, earning her master’s degree. She returned to the UC as head nurse and later became the assistant director of nursing.

Irene Pope (back row, center) with her UC classmates. From Medi-Cal yearbook, 1947.

Pope came to San Francisco General Hospital in 1960 as director of nursing. She inherited an institution with constant nursing turnover and little to no high-level coordination of nursing activity. Pope transformed the nursing service into a functional, united group while also focusing on improving working conditions for nurses.

At the time, nurses at SFGH were paid very little compared to other San Francisco city workers and nurses around the country. Nurses had never gone on strike before in the U.S. and were in fact prohibited from striking, so in 1966, the SFGH nurses staged a “sickout.” All staff nurses called in sick while Pope and other head nurses kept the hospital going. The sickout lasted three days and resulted in a 40 percent pay raise for the nursing staff.

When asked about the sickout, Pope gave her full support and said, “we are interested in saving the profession, as well as seeking betterment for ourselves.”

In 1971, Pope left SFGH to serve as president-elect and then president of the California Nurses Association, where she lobbied to pass the Nurses Practice Act, paving the way for nurse practitioners. Pope spent her career working tirelessly for nurses and the nursing profession as a whole, and her efforts have created lasting change at ZSFG and beyond.

Archives Talk 3/3/17: The History of Higher Education in California: A Big Data Approach

UCSF School of Medicine class of 1964

Date: Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Zach Bleemer (UCB)
Location: Lange Room, 5th Floor, UCSF Library – Parnassus
530 Parnassus Ave, SF, CA 94143

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

In his talk at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections, Zach Bleemer will discuss how he has used data science – thousands of computer-processed versions of annual registers, directories, and catalogs –  to reconstruct a near-complete database of all students, faculty, and courses at four-year universities in California in the first half of the 20th century, including UC San Francisco (which taught both undergraduates and graduate students at the time). Visualizations of this database display the expansion of higher education into rural California communities, the rise and fall of various academic departments and disciplines, and the slow (and still-incomplete) transition towards egalitarian major selection.

Zach will also discuss his recent CSHE Working Paper, in which he uses additional digitized records to analyze the social impact of the early 20th century’s expansion of female high school science teachers and female doctors across rural California communities. He finds that newly-arrived female STEM professionals serve as important role models for young women in these rural communities, causing substantial increases in female college-going. However, these young women are no more likely to study STEM fields or become doctors themselves.

Zach Bleemer

Zach Bleemer

Zach Bleemer is a PhD student in Economics and Digital Humanities Fellow at UC Berkeley, where his research examines the educational and occupational decisions of young Americans. He has previously held senior research analyst positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Mathematica Policy Research, and has published working papers on student debt, parental coresidence, and university attendance. He is also currently a Research Associate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

UCSF Archives & Special Collections launched this lecture series to introduce a wider community to treasures and collections from its holdings, to provide an opportunity for researchers to discuss how they use this material, and to celebrate clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals who donated their papers to the archives.

Exploring the Bio Files

This is a guest post by Joshua Dela Cruz, UCSF Archives Intern.

For the past few months, I have been working as an amateur archivist. My duties in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections have ranged from everything from processing projects to moving heavy boxes filled with books and manuscript collections.

An example of one of my projects is to help inventory the bio files. For this project, I look through a large collection of biographical files of people who have been affiliated with UCSF. These people range from professors, students, physicians and researchers to donors and people who helped build the physical school itself. As I search through what appears to be a never ending collection, I record each person’s name, birth and death dates, profession, notable facts, and their affiliation to the school.

Bio file drawer in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

One of the bio file drawers in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

The purpose of this project is for the UCSF archivists to have a digital record of the enormous collection of profiles. Additionally, in the long run, they will be able to display the information on an online database where the general public can access it. The project helps the archivists easily locate biographical information and the unique archival material inside the folders.

Bio file of Ichitaro Katsuki, UC School of Medicine graduate, 1896.

Bio file of Ichitaro Katsuki, 1896 UC School of Medicine graduate.

This project has been especially interesting to me because I’m considering a career in the medical field. Half of the bio files project includes reading about the lives of the people, many of them physicians, and their achievements. As a result, I found myself learning about the history of medicine, UCSF, and the school’s amazing physicians and students. Oftentimes, I would read entire biographies or even search more information about the people and work that fascinated me.

Bio file of Benjamin Gross.

Bio file of Benjamin Gross.

Although the work can be repetitive and meticulous, I have enjoyed my time as an intern. After learning about and working behind the scenes of an archive, I have gained a great appreciation for the profession and the people. It has been a very enlightening experience for me, especially in regards to my possible career paths in the future, and I am thankful for the archivists who welcomed and guided me these past few months.