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.

New Donald P. Francis Digital Collection

We’re highlighting the new digital collection of Donald P. Francis, CDC epidemiologist, pediatrician, and AIDS public health advocate. The digital collection includes selections from the Francis papers (MSS 2015-01) that we recently processed with the generous support of a National Archives NHPRC grant.

Francis grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended the University of California, Berkeley. He received his MD from Northwestern University, his Doctor of Science from Harvard University, and completed training in pediatrics. In 1971 he joined the CDC, where he continued to work for the next 21 years. At the CDC, he worked on a number of projects in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), including the Smallpox Eradication Program in Sudan and India. He was also part of the WHO team that investigated the first Ebola outbreak in 1976.

Francis began investigating HIV/AIDS after its emergence in 1981. He directed the AIDS laboratory at the CDC and worked closely with the Institut Pasteur to identify the causative virus. He called attention to the threat of AIDS among gay and straight people and warned of the inadequacy of the public health response and lack of funding. As he stated in a 1983 letter to CDC Center for Infectious Diseases Director Walter R. Dowdle, “Our past and present efforts have been and are far too small and we can’t be proud. It is time to do more. It is time to do what is right.”

In 1992, Francis joined Genentech and helped found what became the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Francis later co-founded VaxGen, which completed the world’s first Phase III trials of two candidate HIV vaccines in 2003. In 2004, Francis co-founded Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases (GSID) and he continues to consult regarding vaccines and public health.

You can view the digital collection on Calisphere. If you would like to research the Francis papers, please make an appointment with us.

Digital Collection of Selma Dritz, Epidemiologist and AIDS Researcher

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, I’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

For our first installment, we’re highlighting the new digital collection of Selma Dritz. Selma K. Dritz, MD, MPH, served as Assistant Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and Chief of the Division of Occupational Health of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) from 1967-1984. She played a seminal role in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area, tracking cases and collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UCSF to help establish the etiology and epidemiology of the disease. She worked to educate gay and straight people about AIDS and its prevention.

The digital collection includes photographs, correspondence, research, ephemera, and other selected material.

The Dritz papers in part document the relationships Dritz cultivated with other physicians, researchers, and community advocates. For instance, during her tenure at SFDPH, Dritz developed a close working relationship with Randy Shilts, author of And the Band Played On, a groundbreaking work that chronicled the early years of the AIDS epidemic. The digital collection includes thank you cards Shilts wrote to Dritz and the program for Shilts’s memorial service and Dritz’s handwritten notes she prepared for it following his death in 1994.

To view the Dritz digital collection, visit Calisphere.org. There you can also view other digitized material from collections in the AIDS History Project, including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation records and AIDS Ephemera collection.

If you would like to research the Dritz papers (MSS 2009-04), please make an appointment with us.