Elba Clemente-Lambert and the Black Caucus Re-description Project

The latest round of the Black Caucus Re-description project has been completed and uploaded to Calisphere, with the Black Caucus records now fully reflecting the more than 400 items with updated descriptions and metadata through the fabulous work of Elba Clemente-Lambert — founding member of the UCSF Black Caucus.

First UCSF Black Caucus Gala Committee members; Left to right: Ethel Adams, Karen Newhouse, Avis Ransburg, Elba Clemente-Lambert, Diana Farley-Frierson, Darlene Carter Collins, Claudette “CJ” Johnson

Clemente-Lambert undertook the project to update photo descriptions over the course of 2020 and early 2021, working in batches. Many of the photos in question were photos she herself had taken. Clemente-Lambert reached out to her networks — contacting some of the many folks she had worked with over her years at UCSF, even talking with people as far away as Texas. She also reached deep into her own memory — sharing that she could, surprisingly to her, actually remember the names of many folks in photos. “Sometimes,” she said, “it would take me a day or two, but then all of a sudden I would just say the name.” Additionally, Clemente-Lambert has her own collection of Black Caucus event fliers which she was able to turn to to help remember attendees and speakers at events. She recounted that “It got chaotic!”, but after getting her procedures down she was able to record an immense amount of metadata to enrich the description of the Black Caucus records.

Former UCSF custodians gave Clemente-Lambert some of the most helpful information, especially James Aaron and Ernie Badger — nicknamed “Radio” because “he talked so much and knew everything about everybody”. They recounted how the early group would gather at “Soul Row” — a set of benches in the entryway to Medical Sciences building. As Clemente-Lambert shared, “that was a meeting place, a sacred place for us, even though it was out in the open.” The group also used to have bake sales right by the elevator to the cafeteria, knowing that they would get the most sales from hungry cafeteria-goers. 

Clemente-Lambert also noted significant assistance from others as well. Amy Levine of Women’s Resource center had worked closely with the Black Caucus on events, which they would always co-sponsor. Claudette Johnson, who had worked in the Chancellor’s Office, knew a lot of the people in photographs as well. Kathy Ballistari, who worked in hospital administration, knew a lot of people from the hospital and clinics, and also had a lot of “the names just came to me” moments. Linda Glasscock, Clemente-Lambert’s old manager in Labor Relations, also had a lot of helpful information.

 L to R: Denise Harvey, Edna Mayhand, Amy Levine, Leslie Simon, Janet ____ (unknown), Nellie Wong, guest speaker (unknown), Elba Clemente-Lambert.

The full-list of people who helped Clemente-Lambert with this project is as follows: James Aaron, Ethel Adams, Michael Adams, Ernie “Radio” Badger, Kathy Ballistari, Freeman Bradley, Anita Burton, Ira Butler, Sandy Canchola, Dorla Cantu, Charles Clary, Patricia Coleman, Susan Descalso, Diana Farley Frierson, Linda Glasscock, Corrine “Corky” Guttierez, Stan Hicks, Claudette Johnson, David Johnson, Kerry Johnson, Amy Levine, Fred Logan, Crystal Morris, Karen Newhouse, Sandra Norberg, Maryanne Penta, Drew Pitts, Paul Porter, Bob Rojas, Laurie Rojas, Eugene Salazar, Renee Saulter, Adrianne Sooy, Bill Stevens, Eric Vermillion, John Watson, Nancy Wright, Carol Yates

And finally, a big thank you to Jazmin Dew, the Archives staff-member who did much of the work to facilitate this project.

To explore more materials from the UCSF Black Caucus Records, check out the collection on Calisphere and the Online Archive of California (OAC)

Upcoming Workshop on Computer Programming for Grassroots Digital Archives

Don’t miss the upcoming workshop Our Collections Our Data: Grassroots Digital Archives and Computer Programming for Absolute Beginners. This four day workshop will take place online on 7/26, 7/30, 8/2, and 8/4, from 9:30am to 12:30pm (PDT) each day. The workshop will be led by Charlie Macquarie, UCSF Digital Archivist, and Dr. Clair Kronk, postdoctoral researcher at Yale University and creator of the Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation (GSSO) ontology, with a presentation from Krü Maekdo, founder of the Black Lesbian Archives, and assistance from Rebecca Tang, programmer with the UCSF Industry Documents Library.

For more information, please see our Library News post here: https://www.library.ucsf.edu/news/workshop-digital-archives-and-programming/

Register here: https://calendars.library.ucsf.edu/calendar/events/our-collections-our-data

This workshop is supported by California Revealed and administered in California by the State Librarian. The program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Newly-digitized Phyllis Wrightson sketchbook documents creation of Toland Hall murals

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Archives is excited to provide access to the sketchbook of Phyllis Wrightson, which has been newly-digitized from within the Bernard Zakheim papers. Wrightson was Zakheim’s assistant during the painting of the frescoes inside UCSF’s Toland Hall, and the two later married. 

Photo of 4 people, from left to right: Joseph Allen, Phyllis Wrightson, Bernard Zakheim, and F. Stanley Durie
Phyllis Wrightson, second from left. (from L to R: Joseph Allen, Phyllis Wrightson, Bernard Zakheim, and F. Stanley Durie). Source: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/81983/s9mw27/

The sketchbook contains fascinating detail of the historical research which went into the mural, and includes notes, clippings, and remarkable sketches made by Wrightson in preparation for the painting of the murals. Wrightson’s sketchbook is notable for the way it illuminates the immense amount of collaborative effort that went into creating a mural such as the Toland Hall frescoes, and documents the both the creative process and aesthetic decisions which were a part of the project. 


Find the sketchbook here: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/81983/s9tg6g/.

The digitization of Wrightson’s notebook has been another fruitful collaboration between Archives and our colleagues in other Library departments, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would especially like to thank Andy Panado — Collections Analyst — for his work to create the digital files for this valuable resource.

UCSF Black Caucus Records Re-description Project

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This post has been written by Jazmin Dew.

Group photograph of the original Members at the UCSF Black Caucus Gala in February 2005. From left to right are Elba Clemente-Lambert, Charles Clarey, Claudette Coleman, Freeman Bradley, Anitra (Koehler) Patterson, Paul Porter, Leon Johnson, and Walter "Pop" Nelson (sitting).
Founding members at the UCSF Black Caucus Gala in February 2005. From the left to right: Elba Clemente-Lambert, Charles Clarey, Claudette Coleman, Freeman Bradley, Anitra (Koehler) Patterson, Paul Porter, Leon Johnson, and Walter “Pop” Nelson (sitting).

We are thrilled to announce that the UCSF Black Caucus Records digital collection has added and updated descriptions for over 400 items. The collection documents the history of the UCSF Black Caucus, which began in 1968 to address the social inequalities and inequities at the University of California. It contains photographs, videos, correspondence, publications, and meeting materials about the formation and activities of the Black Caucus. Some of the major events held by the UCSF Black Caucus include the protest to end of racism and discrimination at the University of California, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week and Black History Month programs, in conjunction with other campus organizations including the Women’s Resource Center, and annual Gala fundraisers.

Group photograph of the founding members of the UCSF Black Caucus in December 2013 taken at the Millberry Union following Dr. Daniel Lowenstein’s “Last Lecture Series” at Cole Hall. Standing, left to right, are Bill Stevens, Joseph Lambert, Elba Clemente-Lambert, Michael Adams, Norma Faris Taylor, Dr. John Watson, and Charles Clarey. Sitting, left to right, are Joanne Lewis, Carol Yates, Ethel Adams, Crystal Morris, Karen Newhouse.
Founding members of the UCSF Black Caucus in December 2013 at the Millberry Union following Dr. Daniel Lowenstein’s “Last Lecture Series” at Cole Hall. . Standing, left to right, are Bill Stevens, Joseph Lambert, Elba Clemente-Lambert, Michael Adams, Norma Faris Taylor, Dr. John Watson, and Charles Clarey. Sitting, left to right, are Joanne Lewis, Carol Yates, Ethel Adams, Crystal Morris, Karen Newhouse.

A substantial portion of this incredible collection was complied, preserved, and donated to the archives by Elba Clemente-Lambert. Throughout the recent metadata enrichment project, she has painstakingly researched and provided more detailed descriptions of events and identification of individuals in photographs. Mrs. Clemente-Lambert collaborated with her UCSF colleagues and former Black Caucus members (now retirees) on what became a true crowdsourcing project that couldn’t have been successfully accomplished without her guidance and community support. (We will list the names of all people who supported this project in future blog posts). These additions will enable users to learn about the organization’s history, membership, leadership, and accomplishments.

Elba Clemente-Lambert sitting
Elba Clemente-Lambert

Elba Clemente-Lambert was born and raised in Spanish Harlem in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. Mrs. Clemente-Lambert received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Psychology from the City University of New York. She began her career in 1968 at UCSF as a Secretary II in the Department of Neurology. Then, she obtained an on-the-job training position (initiated by the efforts of the UCSF Black Caucus) in the Personnel Department (now Human Resources). Soon after joining the University of California, Elba became one of the founding members of the UCSF Black Caucus. She was elected to various positions in the Black Caucus’ Steering Committee, including Corresponding Secretary and Chair of the Publications Committee, as well as Member-at-Large. However, one of her most important positions was as “the unofficial, but official” photographer. Her passion for photography began in her high school journalism class, which stirred her belief that “we need to document what is occurring in our environment and beyond”. This dedication unintentionally led her to become a historian for the UCSF Black Caucus. Elba worked at UCSF until 1997 when she retired as a Senior Human Resource Specialist. In retirement, Elba continued to work occasionally with the UCSF Black Caucus while involved in the management of Creative Music Emporium (records store), established in April 1985 together with her late husband, first Black Officer hired at UCSF, Joseph G. Lambert, who decided to change his career after serving 18 years to become an entrepreneur in the music industry.   

We would like to express our gratitude to all those who helped make this project possible: Mrs. Clemente-Lambert, Marisa McFarlane, and Charles Macquarie.

To learn more about the current activities of the UCSF Black Caucus, check out this link: https://blackcaucus.ucsf.edu/

To explore more materials from the UCSF Black Caucus Records, check out the collection on digital portal, Calisphere and the Online Archive of California (OAC).

Dr. Robert E. Allen, Jr., First Black Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCSF

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Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD, (1935-2018), was born in Blountstown, Florida and always aspired to become a doctor. In pursuit of his dreams, Allen received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida A&M University, master’s degree in Genetics from Michigan State University, and a doctorate in Medicine from Meharry Medical College. He completed his residency in surgery at UC San Francisco, and a fellowship in surgery oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Allen also completed two additional postdoctoral fellowships in surgery at the National Institute of Health and peripheral vascular research at San Francisco General Hospital. As a SFGH fellow in trauma, he organized the ambulance paramedic program while training under F. William Blaisdell, MD.

Robert Allen Jr. in hospital, David Powers collection, 1990-1991
Robert Allen Jr., David Powers collection, 1990-1991

Dr. Allen began his career at UCSF as a Surgical Oncologist, specializing in Melanoma Surgery. He soon became the first Black Clinical Professor of Surgery at UC San Francisco, serving as a faculty member for over four decades.

Allen was a cofounder of the Northern California Melanoma Center with Dr. Lynn E. Spitler and other surgeons. Here, he participated in consultation panels and surgeries on the Center’s patients until his retirement.

He has authored many articles for medical periodicals, wrote chapters in medical publications, and spoke a medical conventions throughout the United States and Europe. In addition, he was a member of various honor societies, including the UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society.

To learn more about Dr. Allen’s work, check out these articles:

https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.31378005703296?urlappend=%3Bseq=416

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Allen+RE+Jr

*Authored by Jazmin Dew*

Health and Social Justice Pioneer, Dr. Vicki Alexander

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Vicki Alexander at SFGH with group of patients. Perinatal Health Project.
Vicki Alexander at SFGH. Perinatal Health Project.

Vicki Alexander, MD, has dedicated her life to improving the social determinants of public health.

Alexander attended the UC San Francisco, where she completed her medical degree and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1974. She went on to Columbia University, where she obtained her master’s degree in Public Health.

Dr. Alexander began as an Ob-Gyn Clinical Instructor at San Francisco General Hospital. She soon became the director of SFGH’s Perinatal Health Project, which served high-risk mothers and infants in the community. Alexander then relocated to New York, working as a clinical instructor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Harlem Hospital. Eventually, she returned to the west coast and became the Maternal Child Health Director and Health Officer for the City of Berkeley until she retired in 2006.

Vicki Alexander at SFGH with mother and child. Perinatal Health Project.
Vicki Alexander at SFGH. Perinatal Health Project.

Alexander has participated in many organizations to improve the living conditions for women and children, including: Rainbow Coalition, Center for Constitutional Rights, Reproductive Rights National Network, Planned Parenthood, City Material and Child Health.

In 1978, she established the Coalition to Fight Infant Mortality in Oakland, which helped women with medical care and social issues.

In 2000, Alexander began the Black Infant Health program in Berkeley, which grew from her coalition at Highland Hospital. This was the foundational step to the creation of the Alameda County Coalition to decrease infant mortality.

Alexander is also the current founder and board president of Healthy Black Families (HBF), Inc., which dovetails with the Black Infant Health program. It was founded as a non-profit organization in July 2013 to support the health, growth, development, and future of Black individuals and families.

For her devotion towards health and social justice, Dr. Vicki has won many awards, including: Women of the Year Award (2011); Martin Luther King, Lifetime Achievement Award (2014); National Jefferson Award for Community Service (2015); Alameda County African American Black History Month Award (2017); Madame CJ Walker Award for Black Women (2017); and 15th Assembly District Woman of the Year Award (2017).

To learn more about Dr. Vicki, check out these articles available in our digital collection on HathiTrust and Synapse Archive:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31378005703288&view=plaintext&seq=173
https://synapse.library.ucsf.edu/?a=d&d=ucsf19791004-01.2.3&srpos=3&e=——-en–20–1–txt-%22vicki+alexander%22—–txIN–
https://synapse.library.ucsf.edu/?a=d&d=ucsf19800605-01.2.2&srpos=4&e=——-en–20–1–txt-%22vicki+alexander%22—–txIN–

*Authored by Jazmin Dew*

New Archives Intern: Ganzolboo Ayurzana

Today’s post is an introduction from Ganzolboo Ayurzana, one of our current interns here in the Archives. Ganzolboo has actually been working with us for several months now, and he is helping us inventory born-digital collections materials which are currently stored with physical collections so that we can capture the data off of them before they become unreadable.


Hello, my name is Ganzolboo Ayurzana. I am a senior year student at San Francisco State University. I am currently pursuing a double major of computer and math. I am from Mongolia, and I came to this country in pursuit of greater knowledge and career. One thing interesting about me is that I am able to converse in 5 different languages — Mongolian, Korean, English, Japanese, and Russian. Ever since I was young I had a talent for picking up new languages faster than my peers. In my free time I like to play basketball, hang out with my friends, and write computer code. I am also a huge Marvel movie fan, and every movie that came out in theaters I would go watch at least twice; sometimes even thrice. I also love Harry Potter, and I have read the book and watched the movie enough times to know about it all inside out.

I am very much looking forward to getting to know this excellent group of people and learning more about what librarians do.

New Archives Intern: Brittany Peretiako

Today’s post is an introduction from Brittany Peretiako, our newest intern here in the Archives who will be working on helping us digitize materials and clean metadata in preparation for larger-scale digitization projects.


My name is Brittany Peretiako, and I am excited to join you all as an intern. As a brief introduction, I am originally from Santa Barbara, CA. I have three siblings, one brother and two sisters. My brother lives out in Arizona, and my sisters live in Emeryville. I moved to the bay area about three years ago to attend UC Berkeley where I earned my bachelor’s degree studying US history with a focus on human rights issues.

Currently, I live in Concord, CA with my husband Ivan and our one year old son Emery. We have another addition to our family on the way, who will be arriving in November. As a family, we love to spend time outside exploring the bay. One of our favorite activities is hiking, and we are always looking for new trails to take.

I am enrolled in an online archives and records administration graduate program through San Jose State University. Although I am only in my first year, I have learned so much already and cannot wait to see what lies ahead. During my time as an intern here, I will be working on metadata clean-up and digitization. I may also have the opportunity to participate in web archiving. I was drawn to this position because it provides me with an opportunity to apply the skills I am learning in school to real-world tasks. Much of my schoolwork involves simply learning the importance of items such as metadata and digitization, but does not provide the ability to actually do hands-on work.

I look forward to getting to know all of you better over the next three months! 

Processing the Laurie Garrett papers

As part of our current National Archive NHPRC grant project “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections,” we’ve been processing the papers of Laurie Garrett. Garrett is a Peabody, Polk, and Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for her work chronicling the Ebola virus in Zaire published in Newsday. She is also a bestselling author of the book The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Garrett has worked for National Public Radio, Newsday, and was a senior fellow for The Council of Foreign Relations. She has won many awards including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Bob Considine Award of the Overseas Press Club of America.

Headshot of Laurie Garrett
Laurie Garrett, photograph by Erica Berger, MSS 2013-03

The Laurie Garrett papers include drafts of her two books, The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust. The collection also includes material related to her service in The Council on Foreign Relations. Garrett’s papers feature correspondence, records of the various national and international conferences and meetings of which she was a part. Some unique types of material present in the collection include audiovisual recordings, photographs, videotapes, film reels, notebooks, and interviews.

A conference bag with several flyers for HIV/AIDS conferences laying on a table.
Conference bags, notebook, and press card, Laurie Garrett papers, MSS 2013-03

Once the Laurie Garrett papers are processed, a finding aid will be prepared and put on the Online Archive of California, and a small selection of the collection will be digitized and made available online to researchers via Calisphere.

-Edith Martinez, processing archivist for AIDS History Project

UCSF Archives & Special Collections awarded grant to digitize historical California public health materials

UCSF Archives has been awarded a California Revealed grant to digitize historical reports, newspapers, yearbooks, and other publications that document the development of medicine and public health in California and the Bay Area and various activist and community roles in that history. The publications to be digitized include The Cap & Seal yearbook of the San Francisco General Hospital Nursing School, the Annual Reports of the San Francisco Nursery for Homeless Children, the Annual Reports of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Bay Area Health Liberation News Newspaper, the Annual Reports of the California Women’s Hospital, the Clarion journal of the SF Department of Public Health Tuberculosis division, and the Annual Reports of St. Luke’s Hospital.

These materials contain fascinating and valuable primary source documentation of the development of medicine and public health in California. Included are countless historical images of hospital spaces, technologies, and equipment; historical data on hospital patients, surgeries, and finances; historical patient voices through writings and illustrations; and evidence of the broad and diverse movement building which was a part of progressive public health development in the civil rights era.

The project will include 80 total volumes of the items outlined above. Having the digitization provided for free by California Revealed is equivalent to an estimated $5500 of actual digitization costs. The digitized materials will be published to Calisphere for public access and download.

The front page of the Bay Area Health Liberation News newspaper with an article about medical repression in prisons.

About California Revealed:
California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public libraries, in partnership with other local heritage groups, digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials – books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more – that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State.