Happy National Library Week!

In observance of this lovely celebratory week, we bring you a few images of UCSF Library staff and librarians in their natural habitat from the 1950s.

 

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Photograph collection, Medical Sciences Building – The Library

Above, the entrance way to the old UCSF Library, in the Medical Sciences building, in 1959. Check out our previous post that expands a bit on the history of that library.

 

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Photograph collection, Medical Sciences Building – The Library

Tidying the current periodicals section in the 1950s.

 

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Photograph collection, Medical Sciences Building – The Library

Librarians of the Catalog Department (note card catalogs in the background) in the fall of 1958.

 

Women’s History Month – Ellen Brown

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting a few of the many talented and trailblazing women who have been important in the history of UCSF and you may not have heard of before.

Today, read a little about the remarkable life and career of Ellen Brown, MD. We are fortunate to have Brown’s manuscript collection, MSS 87-42, and her oral history in the UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

Ellen Brown was born in San Francisco in 1912. She and her older brother Fred were raised by her parents, Warner and Jessie Brown, in Berkeley. Jessie was a high school teacher and botanist and Warner was a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. Fred died at the age of 16 of respiratory complications of polio. His death had a lasting impact on Brown– she dreamed of becoming a doctor as a child.

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Ed Fong, Tesauro, and Brown in June, 1939.

Brown attended University High School in Oakland and went on to study at the University of California Berkeley, graduating with a bachelors degree in 1934. She continued to the UC Medical School’s San Francisco campus and graduated with her medical degree in 1939. In a class of  63 students, she was one of a handful of women.

Following graduation, Brown became chief resident under William J. Kerr, UC Chair of Medicine, from 1939-1943. The two worked closely for years– prioritizing cardiovascular research at UCSF. Brown helped to found the , which opened in 1958. Kerr was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI), procuring the space on the 13th floor of Moffitt Hospital and funding from both UCSF and the National Heart Institute. The CVRI opened in 1958 with Brown as a co-founder and, later, a senior staff member. (Check out some of the CVRI’s milestones here.)

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Ellen Brown at Harvard Medical School, 1946

Brown’s academic appointment at UCSF began with clinical instructor, 1943-1944, moved to associate professor, 1946-1959, and became professor of medicine in 1959. In 1944-1946 she was a Commonwealth Fund fellow in the Department of Physiology at Harvard Medical School (see photo above) and in 1958 she was a Guggenheim Fellow at Oxford University.

Brown operated a lab on campus for peripheral vascular research though the 1960s and 1970s. Concurrently, she worked on improving teaching techniques in predoctoral medical classes, initiating the “Introduction to Clinical Medicine” course and later serving as a residency evaluator for the School of Medicine.

This quote, from Brown’s oral history, demonstrates her zeal for education, enthusiasm for change in curriculum, and sense of humor: “The wonderful thing was how interested all these people in the non-medicine departments were. An ophthalmologist would sit down with a bunch of absolute nerds, and come and do that, four or five times, and teach them. The hardest thing to learn to do is to see in an ophthalmoscope. It is for most doctors. It’s one of the last things you feel comfortable about. That and a pelvic exam, I guess.”

Over the course of her illustrious career, Brown’s research interests included capillary pressure and permeability, blood volume and vascular capacity, cardiac failure, cardiac complications of pregnancy, and peripheral circulation in relation to pain syndromes and vascular diseases.

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Brown on Edgewood Ave behind the CVRI on May 29, 1960.

When Brown officially retired from UCSF in 1979, she became a professor emeritus of medicine. Ten years later, in 1989, Brown received UCSF’s highest honor, the UCSF Medal, for outstanding personal contributions to the University’s health sciences mission.

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Brown and Francis Sooy, UCSF Chancellor 1972-1982, at the time of her retirement.

 

Brown passed away in October of 2006 at the age of 96. At that time, she gifted over $100,000 to the UCSF School of Medicine for the improvement of teaching for medical students.

Browns’ numerous contributions over the course of fifty plus years can still be felt today– through her impact on cardiovascular research as well as her in her insight and refinement of medical education.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more. And please don’t hesitate to use the calendar on the right to make an appointment to come in and use the collections!

UCSF Clock Tower

Millberry Union Clock Tower as it looks today.

Millberry Union Clock Tower, 2014

Have you ever noticed the large transparent clock on the exterior of Millberry Union? It looks like this:

I walk past it often without giving it a second thought, but the clock tower has quite an interesting history.

Often referred to now as the “Founders’ Clock,” it is also known as the “Toland Clock Tower” and “Seth Thomas Clock.” You may also have seen photographs of the Old Medical School building from time to time, with a large clock atop the center of the building– the same clock as Millberry’s clock.

One of our rotating banner images here on Brought to Light depicts the old Medical Building, including the Seth Thomas Clock, through the lens of well-known photographer Ansel Adams. It’s a slice of this photograph:

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Ansel Adams, Clock Tower of old Affiliated Colleges building, with new structures in fog, August 1964

The above building was the College of Medicine, and the first building to have been erected on the Parnassus campus in 1897. Seth Thomas was a well-known clockmaker in Connecticut in the early and mid 19th century. The clock was brought to San Francisco via ship that traveled around Cape Horn, South America to be a crown jewel in the Affiliated Colleges campus. The image, taken in 1964, shows the old College of Medicine building surrounded by the more modern campus buildings of today in the background and on the left. When the old College of Medicine building was torn down in 1967, a group of “friends of the clock”, led by Alison Saunders, MD and assisted by Meyer Schindler, MD ’38, formed to ensure it’s safekeeping until it could be moved to a new location on campus. “We have salvaged the granite pillars and blocks as well as the clock from the old building that was a landmark on Parnassus Heights . . . ,” Dr. Alison Saunders declared in 1969 as chair of the UCSF Campus Court Development Commission.

The process to find the famous clock a new home took 14 years. Finally, in 1982 the inner-workings of the clock were reinstalled on Millberry Union, 500 Parnassus Ave, where it lives today.

Founders Clock, Millberry Union, circa 1982

Founders Clock, Millberry Union, circa 1982

Next time you’re walking around the Parnassus campus, take a closer look at the historic clock. It is a work of art worthy of our attention.

The inscription reads: “Carried by ship around Cape Horn, this Seth Thomas Clock was installed on the Medical School of the Affiliated Colleges in 1897. Surviving the 1906 earthquake, it served the University and community for 70 years. Members of the UCSF family have made possible its restoration as a campus landmark.”

Check out this article that details the historical inspiration for a new clock, “Saunder’s Clock,” in the Mission Hall courtyard of the UCSF Mission Bay campus.