Exploring the Archives for 150: UCSF’s Black Caucus

In preparation for UCSF’s 150th anniversary celebration exhibits, we’ve been doing a bit of exploring in the vaults. For the next several months, I’ll be posting some of the treasures we’ve discovered!

In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting UCSF’s Black Caucus, 1968-1982. The Black Caucus was formed at UCSF in May 1968, a month after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. As stated in the organization’s bylaws, the caucus was “a forum open to all black men and women on [UCSF’s] campus. Here they may openly express themselves regarding matters of race as they affect life on the campus and the community.”

Flyer for a Black Caucus event commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., 1981. MSS 85-38, box 2, folder 45

Flyer for a Black Caucus event commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., 1981. MSS 85-38, box 2, folder 45

The caucus engaged in a variety of civil rights initiatives and social justice projects. Members fought to increase minority student admissions, supported custodial and technical staff in labor disputes, and campaigned for more diverse hiring at all levels of the university. They shared personal stories, event updates, and project achievements in a newsletter named the Black Bulletin.

June 1971 edition of the Black Bulletin, created by the Black Caucus. MSS 85-38, box 2, folder 41b

Draft of the cover of the June 1971 edition of the Black Bulletin, created by members of the Black Caucus. MSS 85-38, box 2, folder 41b

Notable UCSF figures 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. Lewis became the first Affirmative Action Coordinator at UCSF and was later named Assistant Vice Chancellor for Capital Projects and Facilities Management. Lewis mentored students throughout her career and advocated for the advancement of women of color at UCSF.

Joanne Lewis

Joanne Lewis

Black Caucus efforts supported a legacy of public service and community involvement at the university. For example, following the death of civil rights activist and UCSF pharmacology professor Dr. Thomas Burbridge in 1972, the caucus proposed that one of the Chancellor’s Public Service Awards be named in his honor. Chancellor Philip Lee approved the proposal and today the Burbridge Award recognizes university individuals whose activities promote social justice and enable equal access to education and employment.

A memorial to Dr. Thomas Burbridge on the back cover of the October 1972 edition of the Black Bulletin, created by members of the Black Caucus. MSS 85-38, box 2, folder 41a

A memorial to Dr. Thomas Burbridge on the back cover of the October 1972 edition of the Black Bulletin, created by members of the Black Caucus. MSS 85-38, carton 1, folder 41a

The passion and dedication of Black Caucus members helped shape UCSF’s commitment to diversity and equal opportunity. To learn more about the organization, register to see the Black Caucus records, MSS 85-38. You can also check out the papers of Dr. Thomas Burbridge, MSS 79-4.

Through the Eyes of an Intern

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Hi everyone, my name is Armani Fontanilla and I am an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco interning at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

At the archives, I am currently tasked with the processing of small box collections, or the creation of box level inventories and the digitizing, and creation of, metadata for the archives that have yet to be placed into the virtual catalog. Other projects that I am potentially tasked with are research for the upcoming 150th Anniversary of UCSF on the level of researching stories, scanning images, and looking for documents, as well as helping with the vast inventory of the Medical Artifacts collection.

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It’s restricted for a reason. We can’t reveal why. All you need to know is Maggie has the really cool “restricted” stamp. It’s actually really cool.

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And wow is our inventory big… Get it? Because the texts are big?

Even though the potential projects are only potential projects, my senior co-workers, Maggie and Kelsi have both taught me a lot in the projects that I am currently working on. For example, Kelsi has taught me about her work with the Medical Artifacts collection: How the UCSF catalogs have changed from one form to another, and that cross-referencing catalogs with each new edition that has come through the library archives since 1864, one also has to decipher the writings and annotations of previous archivists, as well as come up with new ways to reorganize the collections in our possession.

Maggie, on the other hand, has taught me how to do the projects that I am currently doing, as opposed to the potential projects that Kelsi lets me shadow every so often. She has taught me proper labeling procedure, and storage techniques, as well as projects that mirror the one that Kelsi is currently doing, which would be creating catalogs for documents in storage.

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Cataloging kind of like this, but more modern.

Finally, the first project (that I am still working on when I’m not being taught by Maggie or Kelsi, is the creation of a digital inventory of UCSF affiliates and members. Fortunately, most of the physical inventory is in English, and it is all on-site. Unfortunately, the physical inventory itself is not backed up – folders that are not archival standard need to be replaced, labels need to be printed out because of the inconsistent handwriting of previous archivists (and this intern’s), and more files need to be created for the ever expanding role of UCSF affiliated persons who are recognized in the news worldwide – from China, to America, to Brazil, to the Philippines, UCSF’s impact on the world is growing. And my first, and current job, is to help sort the files so that we can keep track of them for people to use and peruse in the future.

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Before this data can hit the internet, I need make sure they’re all in order.

Within these jumbled folders, however, lie treasures that I am so excited to find. While often the files just contain one or two articles, some contain as many as ten plus! And these articles are often varied – they come in the form of obituaries, photocopied documents, magazine clippings, newspaper articles, biographies, and more! But instead of letting me describe them, let me show you some examples.

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A button with 1989 Nobel Prize Winners Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus.

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Brown, Leatha. School of Nursing, Class of 1928.

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Holt A. Cheng, 1904. He was the first Chinese to be licensed to practice medicine in California after graduating from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco. After returning to China, he established the Guang Hua Medical Society, the first medical college of western medicine established by the Chinese, for the Chinese, and the first medical school to accept female applicants.

And finally, the UCSF archives are not only home to just Western schools of thought in medicine, but include Eastern Thought as well. On site and in a state-of-the art archival room, various Eastern texts in Chinese and Japanese are stored, either purchased by the Head Archivist, donated to UCSF, or willed by their owners.

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Chinese medical texts in the archival room.

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Japanese medical texts.

 

Armani Fontanilla

Armani Fontanilla

Armani is currently a senior majoring in History with an emphasis on European and Asian Studies in the University of San Francisco (USF) public history program. After he graduates, he hopes to be able to earn a teaching position at his old high school, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and eventually pursue a Masters. In choosing the UCSF archives through the USF internship program, he hopes to not only practice skills that can only be found through working at an established institution but to also enhance his ability to do archival work and explore history of Western medicine at the archives.

 

Dentistry demonstration photograph series, circa 1900

Walter French Lillard, Anna Christina, and Frank Wagner, 1901. UCSF Hsitoric Photograph Collection, GO-GZ.

Walter French Lillard, Anna Christina Frank Wagner, and Maurice Louis Green, 1901. UCSF Historic Photograph Collection, GO-GZ.

This photograph is comprised of four images of what appears to be a dentistry school demonstration– there seems to be too much smiling going on for a real procedure. Walter French Lillard (mustachioed) of Dixon, California; Maurice Louis Green of Alameda, California; and Anna Christina Frank Wagner of Austin, Nevada graduated from the College of Dentistry in the class of 1901.

See more of UCSF’s Historic Photographs here.