History Exhibit at UCSF’s 150th Anniversary Block Party 8

We had a great time at UCSF’s Block Party, held October 8th on the Mission Bay campus. The event celebrated the university’s growth over the past 150 years and featured live music, food, and entertainment.

The archives team in a Wells Fargo stagecoach at the Block Party. UCSF founder Hugh Toland reportedly used the company’s services in the mid-nineteenth century to transport pharmaceuticals to patients throughout California.

The archives team in a Wells Fargo stagecoach at the Block Party. UCSF founder Hugh Toland reportedly used the company’s services in the mid-nineteenth century to transport pharmaceuticals to patients throughout California.

We organized an exhibit for the event that highlighted key moments and individuals from UCSF’s rich history. The displays featured artifacts and photos from the Archives and Special Collections, including Hugh Toland’s surgical instruments, a student nurse’s uniform, Guy Millberry’s dental equipment, and pharmacist William Searby’s brand-name medications.

School of Medicine artifacts

School of Medicine artifacts. UCSF founders Richard Cole and Hugh Toland are pictured along with Lucy Wanzer, UCSF’s first female graduate.

We also brought duplicate copies of UCSF’s student yearbooks and invited visitors to flip through them. One woman found a wild picture of her dentist from when he was a student in 1985!

School of Nursing artifacts

School of Nursing artifacts. Margaret Tracy and nursing students are pictured. Tracy served as director and dean of the UCSF School of Nursing from 1934-1956

School of Pharmacy artifacts

School of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry artifacts. William Searby and Guy Millberry are pictured. Searby helped found the California College of Pharmacy in 1872 and later served as dean of the School of Pharmacy. Millberry served as Dean of Dentistry from 1914-1939.

It was a lot of fun to share our collections. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the exhibit.

Exploring the Archives for 150: School of Nursing Comic Books

In preparation for UCSF’s 150th anniversary celebration exhibits, we’ve been doing a bit of exploring in the vaults. For the next several months, I’ll be posting some of the treasures we’ve discovered!     

In 1944, the graduating class of the UCSF School of Nursing received a unique gift…a comic book dedicated to their experiences as student nurses.

Cover of The Adventures of Miss Smith, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 1:1

Cover of The Adventures of Miss Smith, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 1:1

This homemade book, created by Marjorie Carlson and titled The Adventures of Miss Smith, includes 31 illustrations that parody everything from late-night cram study sessions to overwhelming patient and doctor requests.

Illustration from The Adventures of Miss Smith, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 1:1

Carlson makes special note of the imposing landscape of Parnassus, a reference to which current students and staff can definitely relate!

Illustration from The Adventures of Miss Smith, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 1:1.

Illustration from The Adventures of Miss Smith, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 1:1.

In 1947, nursing student Phyllis P. Benson created a similar comic book, titled Nurses in Embryo.

Illustration from Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

Cover of Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

In her introduction, Benson notes that the book “is the realization of an idea one of us had during our pre-clinical semester – to record some of the amusing, humiliating and exasperating experiences we’ve had in training both on and off duty. Each of our twenty-nine class members is represented…these things couldn’t have happened – but they did!”

Illustration from Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

Illustration from Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

While Benson maintains a humorous tone throughout, she also illustrates some serious issues that mid-century nursing students faced. For instance, five of the twenty-nine anecdotal illustrations reference sexual harassment from doctors and patients.

Illustration from Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

Illustration from Nurses in Embryo, Archives Classification, N-S, folder 7:1

Documents like these provide excellent evidence for researchers looking to better understand students’ lives and experiences. They speak to the history of nursing training at UCSF and showcase unique individual stories. To view more images from the books, visit our digital collections or come see the real thing in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

Artificial Eyes in the Artifacts Collection

Danz Collection

Danz Collection of Artificial Eyes Depicting Diseases and Defects

Pictured above, one of the many beautiful and unusual artifacts in our collections, the Danz Collection of Artificial Eyes Depicting Diseases and Defects. It was donated to UCSF by a local Ophthalmology firm, G. Danz & Sons, Ophthalmic Prosthetics, San Francisco, CA. The date of the collection is unknown, however our best estimates place it pre-1900.