Medicine Chest Video and UC Public Records

Watch the film to see Polina, Head of the UCSF Archives & Special Collections, show off a medicine chest we recently accessioned from the California Historical Society. Medicine chests were once things of beauty: hand-written labels, silver leaf coatings for pills, delicate bottles. The chest belonged to the family of Joseph Donoghue of San Francisco and was used during their travels to Hong Kong and Europe. We’ll bring you a longer post of the history of the chest soon.

 

The chest includes 19th century pharmaceutical drugs from a pharmacy owned by a figure important in UCSF history– William Searby— that was located on Market Street. Searby was was a key player in the founding of the California College of Pharmacy (later UCSF School of Pharmacy). In addition to being the school’s first professor of Materia Medica, and later professor of pharmacy, he was also the second dean of the college. (We recently conserved a portrait of Searby from the 1880’s– read about that process here!)

The University of California Public Records project is on a quest to celebrate UC’s bevy of unique treasures. The University of California houses an incredible diversity of museums, libraries and other collections. Some are small and eclectic; others are recognized as world-class. Many are open to the public, and all are cared for by passionate curators, historians and scholars. Take a behind-the-scenes peek at UC’s incredible collections.