New Accessions Spotlight (or My Cluttered Desk)

It’s been a busy start to spring here at UCSF A&SC: new events and exhibits coming up, lots of researchers, and of course many new collections. As is prone to happen during times like these, there is a pile of new materials sitting on my desk, just waiting for me to enter into our database and (eventually) our library catalog. Here are a few that I am particularly excited about:

Clark Sturges papers (MSS 2017-09)

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we recently were given the papers of Clark Sturges that relate to his profile of Dr. David E. Smith. Smith founded the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in 1967 in response to the medical needs of many of the young people who came to San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Sturges completed the book in 1993, and the papers are composed mainly of taped interviews, research notes, and correspondence.

Steven Deeks papers (MSS 2017-10)

Another recent acquisition is the papers of Dr. Steven Deeks. The Deeks papers are primarily concerned with his involvement in the controversial baboon bone marrow transplant to an AIDS patient in 1995. While the transplant was not successful, it illustrates the sense of desperation of people with AIDS at that time–and also the highly innovative approaches that UCSF and SFGH doctors and researchers were taking at that time to combat the disease.

Mark Jacobson papers (MSS 2017-12)

Finally, another collection that recently found its way to my desk is the papers of Dr. Mark Jacobson. The Jacobson papers are a hodgepodge of different materials, including calendars, index cards with patient symptoms and medication, a multitude of electronic records (including his PalmPilot), and this Triomune 30 box, which he picked up on a trip overseas. Dr. Jacobson also gave us a substantial number of books for our burgeoning AIDS History collection, and recently wrote a novel based upon his experiences that mentions the patient index cards in its foreword.

Kezar Stadium: The Original Home of Professional Football in the Bay Area

Before there was Levi’s Stadium, there was Candlestick Park—and before there was Candlestick, there was Kezar Stadium. In light of the Super Bowl 50 festivities happening on the Embarcadero right now—celebrating a game some 40 miles south of the city—it is good to remember that the original home to both of the Bay Area’s professional football teams is less than five blocks away from UCSF Parnassus.


UCSF aerial, 1959. Kezar in top right corner.

Built in 1924-1925, Kezar first served as a multi-purpose stadium hosting a myriad of sports, ranging from track and field to soccer to cricket. After the San Francisco 49ers inaugural season in 1946, the facility became primarily a football stadium, staging games for the next 25 years, including the Oakland Raiders first four home games in 1960. Though never home to a Super Bowl, Kezar did host two NFL conference championships, including the 49ers last home game there on January 3, 1971 against the Dallas Cowboys.

UCSF aerial, 1938. Kezar to left of frame.

UCSF aerial, 1938. Kezar to left of frame.

UCSF aerial, circa 1955. Kezar in foreground.

UCSF aerial, circa 1955. Kezar in foreground.

In addition to football and other sports, Kezar stadium presented many other concerts and events, and had a memorable role as the home and workplace of the Scorpio killer in the first Dirty Harry movie. It was torn down in 1989, prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake, and rebuilt in its current incarnation as a much smaller, 10,000 seat venue (some 50,000 seats smaller than its original capacity of 59,942). It was recently renovated, and now features 1,000 seats from Candlestick Park.

UCSF aerial, 1969. Kezar at top left.

UCSF aerial, 1969. Kezar at top left.

Dental Department Buried Treasure

Last week we looked at the Dental Department “Earthquake Class” of 1906. This week we have another unique dentistry story. It involves feuding faculty, buried treasure, and a surprise discovery!

The Dental Department / College of Dentistry of the University of California was established in 1881. San Francisco practitioner Samuel W. Dennis, MD, DDS, was instrumental in its founding; he gathered support from Medical Department faculty, corresponded with other dental programs in the country to create a curriculum, and recruited dental instructors. He served as the first dean of the school from 1881-1882 and was later reappointed, serving from 1883-1885.

Samuel W. Dennis

Samuel W. Dennis

Disagreements concerning curriculum and the school’s administration quickly developed between Dennis and his fellow dental faculty members. Tensions continued to mount for the next fifteen years until a disgruntled Dennis left the college in 1896.

First faculty of the Dental Department, 1882. AR 2015-4 SOD records

First faculty of the Dental Department, 1882. AR 2015-4 SOD records, box 1

When Dennis left, he took with him a number of the school’s early records, including receipts, announcements, lecture notes, and examples of course requirements and examinations. Apparently, he then buried the material in a lead box under a grove of eucalyptus trees in South San Francisco. When Dennis died in 1906 (some accounts say 1907) he had never revealed the exact location of the records.

From the "Treasure Chest" contents: Anatomy test, 1891. AR 2015-4 SOD records, box 1

From the “Treasure Chest” contents: Anatomy test, 1891. AR 2015-4 SOD records, box 1

In 1929, as workers were excavating an area on which the Bayshore Highway was to be constructed, they uncovered a heavy box. Inside they found old documents labeled “Dental Department of the University of California.” Luckily, one of the workers recognized the potential value of the discovery and returned the material to the university. Dean Guy S. Millberry began investigating the papers and came to the conclusion that they had to be the missing Dennis material.

From the "Treasure Chest" contents: Freshman student course requirements, undated

From the “Treasure Chest” contents: Freshman student course requirements, undated. AR 2015-4 SOD records, box 1

The box came to be known as the “Treasure Chest.” Today, the box and its surviving contents are housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections as part of the School of Dentistry records, AR 2015-4.

– Sources for this post include a 1997 School of Dentistry history booklet titled “The Early Days,” published by the University of California. The booklet is available to researchers in the School of Dentistry records, AR 2015-4.