New Faces in Archives: Fall 2016

We are continuing our collaboration with the University of San Francisco and in particular, Dr. Kathryn Nasstrom, chair of the History Department and her students. This fall semester we are hosting Joshua Dela Cruz and Allen Smoot who are enrolled in the History Internship Program. This program allows students to gain valuable real-world experience and course credit while helping archives staff to accomplish numerous projects that will benefit our patrons and general public.

Joshua Dela Cruz

Joshua Dela Cruz

Joshua Dela Cruz
Joshua is currently working on several projects including organizing and creating a metadata of a manuscript collection of AIDS periodicals and updating and digitizing a photograph collection of portraits. He has also assisted in smaller tasks such as taking inventory, organizing a digital list of metadata, and taking a survey of various other collections and items kept here in the archives.
Joshua is a 4th year undergraduate student from the University of San Francisco, who will be graduating in the upcoming Spring semester. His strong interest in old artifacts and ancient stories, but also in medicine and the natural sciences has lead him to pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in History along with a Natural Science Minor and a Chemistry Minor.
His hobbies are playing video games, watching anime, playing the piano, learning Japanese, and a little bit of creative writing. Although considering pursuing a career in medicine, Joshua plans to take a gap year. During that time, he intends to expand his experience in health care, to do research, to explore his other fields of interest, or possibly go to Japan.

Allen Smoot

Allen Smoot

Allen Smoot
Allen Smoot is a senior undergrad student at the University of San Francisco.  He will be helping with collection processing, cataloging, and researching.  Allen looks forward to working on arranging and processing smaller collections, such as Tobacco Control and photograph collections.  Allen is also interested in learning the basics of archival theory and practice as well as digitalization and metadata creation.  He will also be conducting quality control for digitized materials for the Medical Heritage Liberty state medical journals project.
Allen is a US history major while also playing baseball at the University of San Francisco.  He was raised in Moraga, CA.  Some of his hobbies include hanging out with friends, watching the San Francisco Giants, and Golden State Warriors.  Allen is excited to begin working at the UCSF library and learning from the full time archivists.

Digitized State Medical Journals: Searching “Alcohol” and “Prohibition”

This is a guest post by Sophia Lahey, UCSF Archives and Special Collections Intern.

Recently, as part of a larger UCSF Archives and Special Collections digitization project, over 200 medical journals from various state medical associations were digitized and added to the Internet Archive. In order to ensure scan quality, I sifted through thousands of pages to make sure everything was clear enough so that the search function would work properly. As long as the scans are clean, you can search for any word in the entire collection! For instance, I searched the words “alcohol” and “prohibition” and came up with some fascinating results.

The first items that struck me when I started to read through the journals were the ads. In addition to the articles, the ads serve as evidence for historians about how people lived, what was socially acceptable, and what they were interested in buying. In these journals, most of the ads were geared towards doctors, advertising things like medicine, medical instruments, insurance, and even computer management systems.

This ad for Dentocain Teething Lotion is from the 1950s. The infant teething medication advertised is 70% alcohol and includes chloroform!  By modern medical standards, this product would definitely raise some red flags. As I kept looking through more journals, I noticed that the older ones featured alcohol in many of the medicines advertised.

In this ad, though the ingredients aren’t listed, you can see on the bottle that the medicine contains 7 1/2% alcohol. The ad was published in 1927, during prohibition. So how could medicine contain alcohol when it was illegal? Well, alcohol could still be prescribed by a doctor. Like other medications, a doctor had to fill out a prescription in order for a patient to get items, like whiskey, for medicinal reasons.

Some doctors wrote prescriptions for liquor off record and for a profit. This created a controversy – government legislation vs. the rights of the practitioner to prescribe as much as he or she felt was needed. This lead to court cases as well as strongly worded opinion pieces about said court cases and ethics in the medical community. These opinion pieces as well as other news stories can be read in the medical journals in the UCSF collection.

Digitizing the UCSF Black Caucus Records

This is a guest post by Jessica Jones, former UCSF Archives & Special Collections Intern.

As an intern for the UCSF Library, Archives and Special Collections, I have worked on many different projects that utilize my skills as a professional administrative assistant, including the State Medical Journals Digitization Project, a collection survey, rehousing and inventorying the portrait photograph collection, and more. I also attended Library Updates meetings and listened to presentations about changes within libraries. Although this was a very new experience to me I adapted very quickly and I am proud to say I have learned so much and have enjoyed my time here with UCSF.

I would like to share a bit more about my most recent project working with the Black Caucus records. I really found this project to be interesting; I researched, digitized, and uploaded material from the collection to the digital asset management system and assisted in creating original metadata to facilitate discovery of these items. You can now access the UCSF Black Caucus Records digital collection on Calisphere.

Black Caucus members at the first Gala, 1991

Black Caucus members at the first Gala, 1991

The Black Caucus was first established on the UCSF campus in May 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This organization worked to provide more job opportunities for qualified minority applicants and lobbied for more minority students in all four professional schools. The organization engaged in many civil rights initiatives and social justice projects, like supporting custodial and technical staff in labor disputes and campaigning for more diverse hiring at all levels of the university. Beginning in the 1970s, the group shared personal stories, event updates, and project achievements in a newsletter named the Black Bulletin. There were many notable UCSF figures that helped found and lead the Black Caucus. For instance, UCSF Medal winner Joanne Lewis served as one of the organization’s first chairpersons and organized the publication of the Black Bulletin.

Black Bulletin, April 1978. Joanne Lewis: In retrospect.

Black Bulletin, April 1978. Joanne Lewis: In retrospect.

The Black Caucus records help to demonstrate that African Americans have contributed remarkable achievements in the fields of science and medicine during the 20th century. To encourage future researchers and clinicians of color I think that it is essential for boys and girls to be given the academic tools to succeed in science and medicine, preferably long before college. There are several programs that help facilitate this, such as the White House initiative “My Brother’s Keeper” that helps young people reach their full potential. Medical schools should also continue to sponsor pipeline programs to encourage minority students to consider careers in medicine.

Affirmative Action protest at Laurel Heights, 1995

Affirmative Action protest at Laurel Heights, 1995

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Jesse Jackson at Laurel Heights Affirmative Action protest, 1995

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Cecil Williams at Laurel Heights Affirmative Action protest, 1995

I am very proud and excited to be a part of this amazing project. The Black Caucus has helped support and encourage people of color at UCSF through advocacy and community. The organization’s message of equality shows how important it is to have a diverse population of practitioners to address healthcare needs and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.