Prosper Alpini’s De Plantis Exoticis

One of the many volumes in the UCSF Special Collections is a first edition of De Plantis Exoticis, written by Prosper Alpini and first published in 1627. Take a look at the engraved title page below:

Alpini, Prospero, De Plantis Exoticis

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis, title page

De Plantis Exoticis, edited posthumously by Aplini’s son, builds on an earlier work of the author’s, De Plantis Aegypti liber1592. Exoticis boasts 145 beautiful, full-page engravings of plants, comprising nearly half of the entire volume.

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis

Alpini was born in the Republic of Venice in 1553 and died at the age of 63 in 1617. During his career he was a personal physician and a professor of botany at Padua. Alpini was the first to publish descriptions of many plants that were unknown to other botanists at the time. Much of this information was gathered during his travels to Crete, other Greek islands, and Egypt.

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis, p. 46

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis, p. 46

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis, p. 12-125

Alpini, Prosper, De Plantis Exoticis, p. 124-125


New Faces in Archives

During 2013 fall semester the UCSF Archives is hosting two interns:

Rene Radusky, UCSF Archives intern

Rene Radusky, UCSF Archives intern

René Radusky
René is a 5th semester student at San José State University, School of Library and Information Science concentrating in Archival Studies and Records Management. She has an A.B. in Political Science from Brown University, and is making a career change after many years of working with low-income children and families in the not-for-profit sector. She also works part-time as the librarian at Escuela Bilingüe Internacional in Oakland, California. While learning archival theory and practice, René will work on processing the Tobacco Control Oral History Collection. She will also help us survey, arrange, and create an inventory for the UCSF Oral History Collection.


Jesse Chairez, UCSF Archives intern

Jesse Chiarez
Jesse is currently a senior at the University of San Francisco majoring in History with emphasis in Latin America and the United States. He is originally from Los Angeles and has lived there most of his life before coming to school here in the Bay Area. After he graduates from USF, Jesse is planning to apply to either medical school or a master’s program in Public Health, he still hasn’t decided. Jesse selected the UCSF Archives for his USF History Internship. This internship program is designed to be an opportunity for undergraduate history majors to learn about the many ways that history is practiced “in the real world.” Jesse will help us with several projects, including organizing University Relations audio-visual collection and preparing descriptions for the rare books identified for preservation program.

In the past year we have revived a long-standing tradition of providing a space to learn new skills and gain professional experience working in established archives to undergraduate and graduate students from the Bay Area colleges. We are excited that these two hard-working interns joined our team, please be on a look out for their dispatches from archives.

October is Archives Month

The theme of the 2013 Archives Month in California is “Working to Preserve our History.” This month-long celebration helps highlight tireless efforts by archivists, librarians, historians, volunteers, and community members to safeguard the treasures of the past for future generations.

UCSF Archives would like to invite everyone to visit the library to view two exhibits that display materials from our holdings:

  • 1st floor gallery: Japanese woodblock prints: Pharmacy and Pharmacists
  • 5th floor gallery: School of Pharmacy History: Robert L. Day Collection

If you are not able to travel you can enjoy our numerous digital collections online.

We are extending the invitation to all students, staff, faculty, researchers, and general public to make an appointment and visit the archives reading room to find out how we can help you and learn interesting facts about UCSF history.

Visit the California Archives Month website to learn about state-wide events and view images that were submitted by diverse repositories, including UCSF Archives, for this year’s poster that celebrates California’s workers and California archives’ ability to preserve labor history.

UCSF Cornerstone, 1897

This somewhat rusty, old, copper box is a significant piece of UCSF history. It’s the cornerstone of the first medical school building on the UCSF Parnassus campus.

UCSF Cornerstone, 1897

UCSF Cornerstone, 1897

The “Old Medical School Building,” see photographs here and here, was completed in 1898 and torn down in the spring of 1967. The building was originally erected to both provide more room for and consolidate the dispersed campus of the Affiliated Colleges onto Parnassus Avenue. (Briefly, the Affiliated Colleges were part of the University of California and refer to the Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine, and Dentistry– later known as UCSF.) This new site, overlooking Golden Gate Park where the Parnassus campus of UCSF still is today, was donated by the mayor of San Francisco, Alfred Sutro, in 1895.

The cornerstone of the medical school, laid on March 27, 1897, was comprised of a copper box which functioned as a time capsule.  The box was unearthed and cut open in March of 1967 when the building was torn down. Inside the box were well preserved San Francisco newspapers, a copy of the site deed donated by Adolph Sutro, photos of the Affiliated College Buildings, and University announcements of the establishment of the schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and law.

The Evening Post, March 26, 1897

The Evening Post, March 26, 1897

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