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!
It’s Halloween and you know what that means…time for us to post some spooky artifacts! The first items come from the collection of UCSF founder Richard Beverly Cole. Cole facilitated the transfer of Toland Medical College to the UC in 1873 and served as the first dean of the UC Medical Department. These two quirky pieces seemed perfect for All Hallows’ Eve in the archives, enjoy!
Cole received this ceramic humidor in the shape of skull wearing a Sou’wester from the students of the UCSF Medical Department. For those non-smoking, non-seafarers out there, a humidor like this is used to store loose tobacco and a Sou’wester is a waterproof hat often worn by fishermen and sailors. Why the humidor is in the shape of a skull wearing a Sou’wester remains a mystery.
Next we have illustrations from Dr. Alfred Augustus Crawford Williams. Williams served as a surgeon for the Union Army during the American Civil War. His surgical instrument case is one of the items in our artifact collection. In the case, tucked beside the scalpels and bone saws, are several small illustrations of skeletons engaged in a variety of activities.