UCSF Archives & Special Collections awarded grant to digitize historical California public health materials

UCSF Archives has been awarded a California Revealed grant to digitize historical reports, newspapers, yearbooks, and other publications that document the development of medicine and public health in California and the Bay Area and various activist and community roles in that history. The publications to be digitized include The Cap & Seal yearbook of the San Francisco General Hospital Nursing School, the Annual Reports of the San Francisco Nursery for Homeless Children, the Annual Reports of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Bay Area Health Liberation News Newspaper, the Annual Reports of the California Women’s Hospital, the Clarion journal of the SF Department of Public Health Tuberculosis division, and the Annual Reports of St. Luke’s Hospital.

These materials contain fascinating and valuable primary source documentation of the development of medicine and public health in California. Included are countless historical images of hospital spaces, technologies, and equipment; historical data on hospital patients, surgeries, and finances; historical patient voices through writings and illustrations; and evidence of the broad and diverse movement building which was a part of progressive public health development in the civil rights era.

The project will include 80 total volumes of the items outlined above. Having the digitization provided for free by California Revealed is equivalent to an estimated $5500 of actual digitization costs. The digitized materials will be published to Calisphere for public access and download.

The front page of the Bay Area Health Liberation News newspaper with an article about medical repression in prisons.

About California Revealed:
California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public libraries, in partnership with other local heritage groups, digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials – books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more – that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State.

UCSF Awarded California Revealed grant

We’re happy to announce that we have been selected to digitize several of our collections through the latest round of the California Revealed digitization granting program. California Revealed is a California State Library-funded initiative to digitize, preserve, and serve historically significant Californiana in partnership with archives and other repositories across the state.

For this latest round of digitization, which will begin in April of this year, we will be digitizing our Tales and Traditions scrapbooks, several of our scrapbooks documenting the experiences of Hospital Unit 30 in World War II, and several folders from the records of the Black Caucus, specifically production materials for their Black Bulletin newsletter.

All of these collections combined document some fascinating slices of California history where it intersects with the history of UCSF. Since UCSF is one of the older UCs (though it has changed form several times), it should come as no surprise that they intersect a lot! Just as a sample, these materials contain histories of the development of a public health program in the state of California, an account of California survivors of WWII war crimes such as Nazi medical experiments and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb of Hiroshima, the development of one of the first summer camps created specifically for people with diabetes, the medical questions that were at the beginning of the California drug craze, and the development of the civil rights movement in California and the intimate ties between organizers who were employed at UCSF and the larger nationwide movement.

We’re excited to get these materials digitized and available to everyone, no matter their location. We’ll announce when they’re online.

Introducing “A Century of Health”

This is a guest post by Zach Bleemer. Zach is a Research Associate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education, where he directs the University of California Cliometric History Project, and a Graduate Intern in Institutional Research and Academic Planning at the UC Office of the President. 

A few months ago, I gave a lecture entitled “A History of Higher Education in California: A Big Data Approach” at the UCSF Archives. The lecture presented a large trove of newly-collected UC student records from the first half of the 20th century, including a complete register of University of California undergraduate and graduate students—their names, home towns, degrees, and years of graduation—from 1893 to 1946. These records enable descriptive analysis like Figure 1, which extends well-documented trends in college major selection back to the late 19th century (for UC Berkeley).

A recent Topic Brief published by the Institutional Research and Academic Planning Group (IRAP) at the UC Office of the President integrated this historical data with contemporary records of UC-trained medical professionals. Figure 2 uses California state medical license records from 1920 and 2016 to map the towns in which UC-trained doctors practice medicine, color-coding the towns by the doctors’ gender. Between 10 and 15 percent of UC medical students in the first decade of the 20th century were women, but women accounted for more than half of UC medical students in the first decade of the 21st century.

We also published an interactive map feature displaying the more than 850 cities and towns in which health professionals—doctors, dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians—trained by the University of California since 1999 currently practice, including both former graduate students as well as former residents (constructed by merging student and employment records with 2016 state licensing records). Toggles allow the viewer to restrict the map by UC campus, professional discipline, ethnicity, and level of training, and the map is color-coded by the professionals’ gender. The map displays both the demographic and geographic diversity of UC’s health-oriented graduates, who work in more than 60 percent of California towns with any health professionals. The interactive display also includes bar charts showing the number of health professionals who graduated UC each year (by campus and demographic group).

Both of these projects are part of a new initiative, A Century of Health, which aims to visualize and analyze the long-run contributions of UC’s health-oriented graduate schools to the state of California and beyond. Future components of this initiative will extend to pharmacists, nurses, physicians assistants, and more, and will leverage both new and very old sources of data, partly thanks to the UCSF Archives. The most exciting and comprehensive source of data is historical student transcripts housed in the UCSF Registrar, which we have recently concluded digitizing. A Century of Health aims to provide new insight into the University of California’s role in fostering wellness, economic mobility, and gender/ethnic equality across California by expanding, deepening, and repackaging information detailing the ubiquity of the University of California’s health-oriented graduate schools. To keep up with new developments, check the UC ClioMetric History Project’s website, or contact zachary.bleemer@ucop.edu.