Laurie Garrett Papers Now Open For Research

This a post by Project Archivist Edith Martinez

UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Laurie Garrett papers collection is now processed. The collection’s finding aid is available publicly on the Online Archive of California. The digital collection of the Laurie Garrett papers is also available publicly on Calisphere. It is 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.” 

Laurie Garrett, MSS 2013-03, oversize box 102
Laurie Garrett, MSS 2013-03, oversize box 102

Garrett is a Peabody, Polk, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. The collection features her research on HIV/AIDS and public health, correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, book and article drafts Garrett 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. Researchers are already using the collection and have found great interest in her work.

AIDS Education, MSS 2013-03, carton 25, folder 6

The collection is organized into seven series which include research and subject files, correspondence, newsletters, Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health and The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance drafts and notes, conferences, non-print material, correspondence, and memorabilia

Scrapbook, MSS 2013-03, oversize box 104
Scrapbook, MSS 2013-03, oversize box 104

You can view the collection finding aid on the Online Archive of California. If you would like to visit the UCSF Archives and Special Collections and work with the complete physical collection, please make an appointment with us.

Sue Rochman Papers

This is a post from intern Harold Hardin, working on the NEH grant-funded project The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic.

Sue Rochman papers, GLBTHS 2005-13 miscellaneous research papers
Sue Rochman papers, GLBTHS 2005-13 miscellaneous research papers

The Sue Rochman Papers (Collection 2005-13 at the GLBT Historical Society) contain critical information regarding the systematic oppression of incarcerated people living with HIV/AIDS in the first decade of the epidemic. The collection at just over 350 pages consists of interviews, newspaper clippings, and often most compellingly, correspondence from incarcerated people living with HIV/AIDS. Given the ongoing wave of HIV criminalization (a recent famous example being the case of Michael Johnson, who, incidentally, was released this month after spending five-years of a thirty-year sentence in Missouri, for allegedly seroconverting several partners with HIV without revealing his HIV-positive status) Micheal Johnson and Greg’s Smith’s cases  among others were rallying cries for HIV/AIDS activists bringing to our collective attention the ongoing histories of HIV criminalization. It is particularly important to look back at the particular ways in which this stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS began within the prison system and consider an early case of which the Sue Rochman Papers document. In this way, we can further contextualize our current historical moment in regards to the continuing criminalization of people living with HIV/AIDS–particularly the ways in which black gay men are overwhelmingly impacted by this deleterious trend.
            The correspondence between Ms. Rochman and various incarcerated people in several different prison locations (Attica prison in New York, Chino prison in California among others) echo similar findings. The correspondence notes the systematic way in which prison officials valued “security” to the detriment of the lives of incarcerated people living with HIV/AIDS. Confidentiality rights regarding seroconversion status were routinely trampled and ignored at the behest of prison officials. There was little to no basic health information regarding the spread of the disease. Incarcerated people with HIV/AIDS were often isolated in poor conditions, with little medical attention by qualified specialists in HIV/AIDS. The widespread abuse of incarcerated people with HIV/AIDS by prison guards themselves was also well documented. Having the disease in prison not only meant living in such conditions but additionally meant being socially ostracized through officially sanctioned segregation–barred from participation in vocational programs, college classes, and not allowed to have family visits. A jail in Fort Worth, Texas went as far as mandating LGB incarcerated populations wear colored wrist bands to identify their sexual orientation from afar. From such systematic forms of discrimination it is unsurprising then that HIV criminalization was birthed in such an environment.
            The Rochman papers document the case of Greg Smith who in 1990 was convicted of attempted murder, assault and terroristic threats. Charges were filed after he allegedly bit and spat on a guard in a New Jersey jail in 1989. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial famously saying after his sentence was read, ‘I never bit an officer, and I’ll say that until the day I die. I may die in the next year or two, but I’ll die proud. I told the truth.” His case was taken up by ACLU via ACT UP prison-activist Judy Greenspan and a significant amount of Rochman papers covers Greenspan’s media campaign and legal filings. Smith, who ultimately died in prison in 2003, was an ACT UP activist, black and gay. His case is viewed  as an early example of the compounding effects of race, class, sexual orientation and HIV status-indeed of HIV criminalization.

Not Sanitized for Your Protection: Diseased Pariah News and the Political Uses of Humor

This is a guest post by intern Harold Hardin, who is working on the NEH Grant-Funded Project The Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic.

I came across recently a sardonic, humorously bizarre little zine in the Beowulf Thorne papers (GLBT Historical Society, 2003-10) called Diseased Pariah News (DPN). DPN was a zine created during the early 90’s that used gallows humor to humorously educate/entertain mostly gay (often white) cisgender men about HIV/AIDS among other gay men’s health issues. Humor is not something I would immediately associate with AIDS/HIV. Certainly, in the popular imagination AIDS and humor couldn’t be further apart. Queer white, cis, men living with HIV/AIDS in popular media depictions are generally akin to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia: a “noble, suffering AIDS victim”.

Further, many current LGBTQ media consumers tend to shy away from LGBTQ depictions that have overt internalized homophobia/transphobia, straying away from media depictions that might seem to make light of oppressive circumstances in ways that are ultimately self- cannibalizing. Rupaul was famously castigated for having content on her show that was deemed transphobic. Lisa Lampanelli, though not queer, is known for her gallows humor and recently left show business citing, “people in their 20s and 30s weren’t getting into that [insult comedy] tradition”. I spoke to a friend on Facebook about DPN and they echoed a popularly resonant sentiment, “I really don’t like to view historical media/works of art relating to our [queer] community. Because they always carry the hint of shame, of internalized homophobia and transphobia.”

 Clearly, we are currently living through a shift in what we find humorous from particular groups of people based on their identities.  And to be honest, it shouldn’t be ok for a white, cisgender, straight, man or woman to make jokes about communities that they historically (or contemporaneously, for that matter) oppress.  But should queer people with HIV/AIDS be able to laugh at their own lived experiences? If observational comedy is about illuminating the mundane and often untintentionally humorous aspects of our everyday lives then DPN represents to me a group of queers with HIV/AIDS taking this to its’ logical conclusion: finding humor in the everyday lives of queer folx living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, I think something is foreclosed when we as a queer community rush to quash inter-group humor that may on its surface appear aberrant.  Queer people should be able to laugh at their own lived experiences if they so desire, especially, if by laughing, we find a form of resistance while skewering social and political realities that we ultimately find empowering.

Call for Proposals: Memory Lives On: Documenting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

AIDS activist Bobbi Campbell making a peace sign, wearing University of California San Francisco School of Nursing t-shirt.

Memory Lives On: Documenting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic is an interdisciplinary symposium exploring and reflecting on topics related to archives and the practice of documenting the stories of HIV/AIDS. 

The task of documenting the history of HIV/AIDS and thinking about the present and future of the epidemic is daunting. The enormity and complexity of the stories and perspectives on the disease, which has affected so many millions of patients and families around the world, present significant challenges that demand continual reexamination. Questions of “what do we collect and from where” and “whose stories do we know best.”  The ways in which we handle documentary evidence and produce knowledge from that evidence has profound effects on a huge range of social, economic and health outcomes. In examining and reflecting on our knowledge of the history of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and its future, we hope to improve our understanding of the true effects of the disease, and what it can teach us about future epidemics.

The program committee invites submissions for presentations addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the wide-ranging perspectives of historians, archivists and librarians, artists, journalists, activists and community groups, scientific researchers, health care providers, and people living with HIV. We invite proposals from individuals with diverse experience and expertise on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in scholarship, research and advocacy. Proposals will be considered in a variety of forms including paper presentations, panel discussions and posters.

The Symposium will take place in Byers Auditorium in Genentech Hall at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus in San Francisco, October 4th and 5th 2019.  The program will be an afternoon session and evening reception the first day, followed by a full day of presentations the second.

The Program Committee has identified the following themes to consider when developing your proposal, though we encourage creativity and experimentation in exploring themes, partnerships, and narrative ideas. 

  • Documenting the epidemic: Gaps, silences and unheard voices
  • Creating an interdisciplinary narrative of an epidemic
  • Silent no more: Community, caretaker and patient stories 
  • The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic 
  • Biomedical story: From mystery disease to cure 
  • From local to global: Learning from AIDS to address future epidemics

The Program Committee welcomes proposals for individual papers, panel discussion and posters. Individual papers with a similar focus will be assembled into a single session by the program committee. Usually 3-4 papers are included in a session.
To allow adequate time for questions and discussion,  panels should be limited to four participants in addition to a chair/facilitator.
Please include the following in your complete proposal

  • Session title if submitting a full panel proposal (of no more than 20 words)
  • Session abstract if submitting a full panel proposal (up to 500 words)
  • Short session abstract for the program if submitting a full panel proposal (up to 50 words)
  • Paper or poster or presentation titles (if any), and names of corresponding presenters
  •  Biographical paragraph for each presenter
  •  E-mail address for each participant
  •  Affiliation, city, state, and country for each participant
  •  Social media handles or web addresses for each participant (optional)
  •  Audiovisual needs
  • Special accommodation needs

The deadline for submissions is June 3. We will notify presenters if their proposal has been accepted by July 22. 

Memory Lives On Program Committee

Victoria Harden, Ph.D., Director (retired) of the Office of NIH History

Monica Green, Ph.D.,  Professor of History, Arizona State University

Richard  McKay, DPhil,  Director of Studies for HPS at Magdalene College

Barbara A. Koenig, Professor of Medical Anthropology & Bioethics in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Health & Aging and Head of UCSF Bioethics Program

Jay Levy, MD, Professor UCSF School of Medicine

Eric Jost, Digital Marketing Manager, SF AIDS Foundation

Jon Cohen, Staff writer for Science Magazine

Mark Harrington, Executive Director, Treatment Action Group

William Schupbach, Wellcome Library 

Jason Baumann, Susan and Douglas Dillon Assistant Director for Collection Development and Coordinator of Humanities and LGBT Collections

Polina Ilieva, Head of Archives & Special Collections, UCSF Library

Submit a proposal:

For any inquiries contact David Krah 

More information about the UCSF AIDS History Project:

New Archives Intern: Harold Hardin

Harold Hardin is joining us in Archives & Special Collections this spring to work on finishing the NEH grant-funded project The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic. Harold will be helping QA digital objects among other tasks related to the digitization workflow.

Harold Hardin is a current student in Cuesta Colleges’ Library/Information Technology program and San Francisco City College’s Paralegal Studies program. While pursuing a double major in Sociology/Critical Race Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz Harold developed an academic interest in the often hidden and occluded histories of marginalized communities, particularly histories of oppression and resistance. Through their own experiences of political activism at UC Santa Cruz and beyond (#Blacklivesmatter Oakland/ Stockton, GaySHAME SF) Harold has insisted on moving iteratively between theory and praxis: centering an intersectional feminist analysis of power. 

These analytical lenses and political participation increased Harold’s consciousness regarding the fundamental ways in which access to information (particularly personal/community histories) profoundly shapes participation in our democracy (or lack thereof). Harold is interested in the nuances of political participation and uncovering the innumerable sites of quotidian resistance! Therefore, Harold sees their internship within UCSF’s AIDS History Project as not only a unique privilege to work toward increasing community access to Queer history, but also, and importantly,  an extension of the deeply personal (political) work of (re)understanding their multiple positions within (and outside) of the Archives.

Surviving and Thriving: A new exhibit at ZSFG

By Griffin Burgess

Announcing a new exhibit at ZSFG!

From January 28th to March 9th, the National Libraries of Medicine’s traveling exhibit, Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture will be on display in the lobby of the main hospital (Building 25) at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The exhibit is only available for six weeks, so be sure to visit as soon as you can!

From NLM:

The exhibition explores the rise of AIDS in the early 1980’s and the evolving response to the epidemic over the last 30 years.

The title Surviving and Thriving comes from a book written in 1987 by and for people with AIDS that insisted people could live with AIDS, not just die from it. Jennifer Brier, the exhibition curator, explains that “centering the experience of people with AIDS in the exhibition allows us to see how critical they were, and continue to be, in the political and medical fight against HIV/AIDS.”

 Protestors in front of the James A. Shannon Building, National  Institutes of Health, 1990  Courtesy Donna Binder
Protestors in front of the James A. Shannon Building, National Institutes of Health, 1990 Courtesy Donna Binder

Surviving and Thriving presents their stories alongside those of others involved in the national AIDS crisis. The six-banner traveling exhibition utilizes a variety of historic photographs as well as images of pamphlets and publications to illustrate how a group of people responded to, or failed to respond, to HIV/AIDS.

Robert C. Gallo, M.D. at the National Institutes of Health, early 1980’s . Courtesy National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
Robert C. Gallo, M.D. at the National Institutes of Health, early 1980’s. Courtesy National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

This exhibition was produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and curated by Jennifer Brier, PhD, University of Illinois.

Base Hospital No. 30, One-Hundred Years Later, Part Four: The People

This is a guest post by Aaron J. Jackson, PhD student, UCSF Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine.

Figure 19 - San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, November 11, 1918

Figure 19 – San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, November 11, 1918

One hundred years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the “war to end all wars” effectively came to an end as the Armistice went into effect. This momentous occasion would go on to be celebrated bas a national holiday in Britain, France, and the United States, where Armistice Day eventually expanded to honor the service of all veterans. With the centenary of the Armistice, it is worth reflecting on both the end of the First World War and on what it means to honor veterans’ service.

As a veteran myself, the phrase “thank you for your service” can at times feel like a platitude. It seems assumptive on many levels. Most often, those expressing that sentiment are strangers who have no knowledge of the details or motives of a given veteran’s service. And that can lead to difficult, guarded, or awkward conversation to follow. For the veteran’s part, it may be difficult to convey the multiple and complex layers of what our service means to us. A gulf can thus form between veterans and civilians, and that’s a shame.

As a historian, it is my sincere hope that the exploration of the past can provide useful insight in the present and future. By exploring veterans’ experiences in detail, we may be able to get past the platitudes and patriotic veneer and achieve a better understanding of what veterans’ service means. So it is my genuine privilege to present this brief account of the unit from the University of California School of Medicine during the First World War—the final part of a four-part series on the remarkable men and women who served with Base Hospital No. 30.

Figure 20 - "U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 30, World War I (University of California School of Medicine Unit)," from The Thirtieth, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 20 – “U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 30, World War I (University of California School of Medicine Unit),” from The Thirtieth, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Base Hospital Thirty resulted from the Army’s effort to provide the best medical care the United States had to offer to its fighting men in the Great War. When it became apparent that America was likely to enter the war that had been raging since the summer of 1914, the American Red Cross (ARC) began coordinating with the nation’s leading medical schools to help the Army prepare for the war by organizing hospital units. Shortly after the declaration of war against Germany in April 1917, the ARC approached the University of California School of Medicine to organize one such unit and was received with enthusiasm.

Figure 21 - "Liberty Loan Parade," AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 21 – “Liberty Loan Parade,” AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Twenty-five medical officers, sixty-five nurses, and one-hundred-fifty enlisted men marched down Market Street as part of a highly successful Liberty Loan parade to raise money for the unit and to support the war effort. The Red Cross secured $100,000 to purchase supplies to outfit the hospital unit. Several of the nurses, enlisted personnel, and at least one officer were so eager to go to France that they quit their jobs and packed their belongings in anticipation of a quick deployment. But that initial enthusiasm soon bogged down in the realities of Army bureaucracy. It took more than seven months for the Army to formally organize the unit and another five months of drilling and training at Fort Mason in San Francisco before they received orders for France (for more information, see Part One).

Once in France, the men and women from California discovered that, before they could begin treating the Army’s wounded soldiers, they would have to figure out how to transform several dilapidated hotels in a French resort town into a modern hospital (for more information, see Part Two). They managed to pull it off and just in time as the Allied effort to blunt the German’s offensive and the subsequent Allied counteroffensive kept the hospital and its staff busy from June 1918 through January 1919 (for more information on “the work” of the hospital, see Part Three).

This post will address the human elements of Base Hospital Thirty—their entertainments, celebrations, and the communal bonds that shaped the military unit into something akin to family—and what those things contribute to the veteran experience. Entertainment and leisure activities were rare for units like Base Hospital Thirty, but when such opportunities presented themselves, the personnel and patients were quick to take advantage of the chances to let down their guard in an otherwise rigid and stressful environment and form communities that went well beyond their professional affiliation.

Figure 22 - "Orchestra” from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 22 – “Orchestra” from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

One of the first entertainments the personnel of Base Hospital Thirty developed was the orchestra and bands. Likely in response to the delay in the Army bureaucracy, the orchestra organized at Fort Mason in San Francisco and continued playing together until the unit’s disbandment in 1919. Under the direction of Captain C. M. Richards, the orchestra featured enlisted personnel right alongside the officers—indeed, four of the five “first” violin spots were held by enlisted personnel, including two Privates First Class, then the second-lowest military rank. More remarkable, Lieutenant Colonel E. S. Kilgore, the commanding officer of the entire unit for the majority of its existence during the Great War, played in the “second” violin and was apparently one of the lowest ranking members of the orchestra by measure of musical talent, demonstrating an interesting reversal of the traditional military hierarchy that formed the basis of the unit in all other cases. The orchestra was a meritocracy of talent, and it did not play favors to even the most senior officers.

While the unit drilled and trained during the days at Fort Mason in preparation for their deployment to France, the orchestra’s twenty-five members gathered and practiced diligently at night, eventually providing frequent concerts for the entertainment of the rest of the unit. They continued holding impromptu concerts aboard the S.S. Northern Pacific on its record-breaking journey from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal, and it was especially appreciated at Royat, where patients, hospital personnel, and nearby military units and French civilians alike had many occasions to hear their music.

Not only did the orchestra provide entertainment to the audience—a crucial element in a stressful hospital environment—it provided opportunities for the unit to bond. It is remarkable, given how busy the personnel of Base Hospital Thirty were, that the orchestra as a whole was able to so often practice and play together, given that their musical pursuits would necessarily be secondary to their medical and official duties.

The hospital even boasted its own in-house jazz orchestra, whose members dedicated much of their downtime to entertaining the troops, French civilians, and neighboring units. Led by the musically-talented Private First Class Harold Turner—who played trombone and clarinet with the symphony orchestra, piano with the jazz orchestra, and served as the official bugler for the unit when he was not working in the clinic—the jazz quartet was always featured in the hospital’s entertainment programs.

Figure 23 - "The Base Thirty Vaudeville Aggregation at Les Sables d’Olonne" Program Announcement from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 23 – “The Base Thirty Vaudeville Aggregation at Les Sables d’Olonne” Program Announcement from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

But the orchestra was not the only entertainment. Grace Haviland, an American newspaper correspondent, happened to be in Royat during the Fourth of July celebrations. Lacking fireworks, hospital personnel and patients—most of whom were Marines fresh from the fighting at Belleau Woods—made up for it in a day and night full of “patriotism, entente cordials, fun and feasting.”

Most of the patients were convalescing and restricted to bed rest, recuperating from serious wounds including exposure to mustard gas in the ferocious fighting on the Western Front. But the local French civilians decided to do something for the Americans in the hospital as French schoolchildren brought bouquets of red, white, and blue flowers and a local chocolatier donated large amounts of their sweet desert to the troops free of charge. And to further raise spirits, the personnel of Base Hospital Thirty put together a three-hour long amateur vaudeville show featuring sketches of San Francisco, Egypt, and “Somewhere in France.”

A highlight of the program was the play “In My Harem,” put together by the pharmacist, Sergeant First Class Henry Creger—a man known to all in the unit to have a ready cure for anything from a “hold over” (hangover) to a corn. The play provided a rare opportunity in military entertainment in the form of the comic skit. Haviland described the scene:

The Hero was a cross between Otis Skinner’s Hadj, in his make-up, and the modern idea of a Pirate, and the sinuous dancing by the “not much dressed Egyptian mural decoration” effect of the Lady Turk was—words fail me—we must leave it with the costume to the imagination.

The well-known pharmacist sergeant played the hero, and the equally well-known private in charge of the commissary store, Tom Hill, dressed as a member of the hero’s harem—the Lady Turk—and danced for the crowd to great comedic effect. Their skit left an impression not only on Grace Haviland, but on the entire unit, as the Fourth of July show was well-covered in the unit’s memory book The Record. Dressing in drag for skits for the sake of laughs is, to modern observers, a long-standing tradition in military units, but it was something I was not expecting to find among the troops in the First World War. Unfortunately, no pictures of the event survived, so as Grace Haviland says, we must leave the scene to our imagination.

Figure 24 – “Base Hospital No. 30 rugby team” in Base Hospital #30 Collection,

Members of the unit also engaged in sports, when time allowed, which was not often. They organized a football team to play rugby against a team of local French citizens and managed to play two exhibition games. The team was made up of former high school and university stars like Lieutenant Colonel Alanson Weeks—a former fullback for the undefeated 1898 Michigan Wolverines—in addition to “earnest beginners.” Down six points to none at the end of the first half, the men from California managed to rally in the second and pull off the victory by a score of eight to six, giving the hospital unit a measure of bragging rights for their time in France. But the most popular sport was baseball.

Members of the unit started playing baseball together beginning at Fort Mason, and in France they played many games against teams from neighboring units. They played, and usually won, many games against teams from the aviation and ordnance units stationed near Clermont, France, and even managed to secure a friendly game against Base Hospital No. 20, the unit from the University of Pennsylvania.

Base Thirty had the edge all the way through, and leading by a score of 3 to 2 in the ninth with two out, the umpire (a Base Twenty man and their coach) deeded the game to them by favoring his team with a couple of not-even-close decisions. Thus (as often the case in a prize fight), the best side won, but Twenty was given the decision.

Their crowning achievement was an exhibition game against the Vichy Hospital Center. With a one-score lead in the ninth, the men of Base Thirty ended the game on a double-play with the last out being made on an attempt to tie the score. The Vichy player slid into home plate, intentionally running into Bill King, Base Thirty’s catcher, in an attempt to get him to drop the ball. Bill held the ball firmly, ending the game, though he had to be admitted to the wards of Base Hospital No. 30 on account of having suffered a broken leg in the collision. Private King might have simply been remembered as a member of the Quartermaster Corps but for his heroics on the ballfield that day.

Figure 25 - "Verdun Battlefield" courtesy of Chemins de Mémoire,

Figure 25 – “Verdun Battlefield” courtesy of Chemins de Mémoire,

The announcement of the Armistice on November 11th was well received by all, but the patient load at the hospital at the time prevented any organized celebrations. Lieutenant Colonel Eugene S. Kilgore, the hospital commander, had received orders to a new duty station and had been busy showing Major Alanson Weeks around to make the necessary introductions to ease Weeks’s transition into command. Kilgore caught a train to Paris on the night of the 11th and found the city celebrating the peace in full measure on the 12th.

Everywhere there were informal processions—boys or soldiers with a drum or a bugle and some flags would march hither and thither, and crowds would fall in behind them. Then they would meet a group of soldiers, and the little procession would break up and join hands and dance around the group. Those in the center would throw up their hands and cry “Kamarad” or else would rush at the dancers and kiss the women. As I stared down the Av. Mont-Martre a crowd of girls seized both my arms and my coat-tails and dragged me into the stream. The girl on my left had an American buck private on the other arm and we were all mixed up with Poilus, Australians, Italians, etc. An American soldier kissed an American colonel on both cheeks with the remark, “You’re a colonel and I’m a buck private, but I don’t give a damn!”

The Armistice changed the Army’s plans almost overnight. The Army rescinded Kilgore’s orders and left him in limbo for a time, which he used to take in some sightseeing, including the now-quiet front. He recorded an adventure to Verdun—the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the war—in early December 1918 in his diary:

I soon found a small truck going to Verdun…. We passed thru Verdun and across the Meuse, then… into “Death Valley” and past Dead Man’s Hill. These little villages were good example of large numbers over the battle fields of France that are completely destroyed—just piles of rubbish without anything to indicate where the houses stood…. [We left the truck and] here we began to explore trenches and dugouts not yet entered by the Clean Up Companies. Even the dead were not all buried. I saw one dead German, and others saw a number of corpses a little farther over in the wood. There were, oof course, all sorts of sourvenirs; and in a short time the chauffer and I, who were together, had picked up a couple of helmets, four German rifles, a lot of bayonettes, etc…. In gathering our trinkets we used due care to avoid touching wires or stumbling into any of the numerous traps [and] unexploded grenades and “potato-mashers” lying about.

Dr. Kilgore and his chauffer wandered much further into the battlefield than they had planned and soon found they could not find their way back to the car, so they continued until they found a poor road to follow through a series of shelled-out villages until they stumbled into a dugout still occupied by Allied troops. The Armistice ended the fighting, but the scars of the war were certainly still quite fresh, as Dr. Kilgore’s overnight venture through the Verdun battlefield demonstrated.

Likewise, work at the hospital in Royat continued just as it had before the armistice, though with an expectancy of going home again soon. Allowances were made to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas in a proper manner. This was made possible in large part thanks to a $5,000 donation (about $90,000 today) from banker William H. Crocker—a major financial backer of the UC School of Medicine—which was used to secure food, new musical instruments, and decorations for the holidays.

Figure 26 - Nurses' Masquerade at Hotel Richlieu, Royat from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 26 – Nurses’ Masquerade at Hotel Richlieu, Royat from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

By Christmas, the patient load was beginning to fall off as the Army focused on stabilizing patients for transfer to hospitals in the United States. The Red Cross, hospital personnel, and local officials and businesses worked together to create a full week’s program of festivities between December 24, 1918, and January 1, 1919, complete with a very attractive program published specifically for the occasion. They stuffed hundreds of stockings for the patients and personnel, exchanged gifts throughout the wards on Christmas Eve, held plays and concerts, presented movies at the Red Cross theater, and capped it all off with a New Year’s Eve Reception and Dance for the officers and nurses.

It was a happy time for most as they knew they were going home, but it was also a farewell for most. The hospital received orders to finish processing its remaining patients—it had about six-hundred in the wards on January 1, 1919, in a hospital with an operating capacity of twenty-four-hundred beds—and many of the personnel were being reassigned. By January 20, 1919, the hospital at Royat closed shop and the majority of the unit set out for the trip home.

Figure 27 – “Grunnagle, Parmelee, and Barshinger” (left) and “Creger Leaves Merritt” (right), from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 27 – “Grunnagle, Parmelee, and Barshinger” (left) and “Creger Leaves Merritt” (right), from The Record, AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

A review of the “Enlisted Personnel” section of The Record, written by First Sergeant Alexander Rattray, the “top” or ranking enlisted man in the unit, provides a few sentences of insight into the family that formed at the hospital. First Sergeant Rattray wrote a paragraph for 159 enlisted men, excluding himself, who served with the hospital at some point—demonstrating a senior non-commissioned officer’s unique respect for his men. Not all of the paragraphs were flattering, and some of these paragraphs are longer than others, but they provide insight into the family that developed in Base Hospital Thirty. A few examples from Rattray’s notes are worthy of mention.

Sergeant First Class Henry P. Hauser, “Red” for short by his friends (meaning everybody in Royat). “Red” could tickle a typewriter (meaning, of course, a machine) with the best of them. He could also show a few tricks on the football field and could take his place on the stage when the occasion arose. As an all around man “Red” was there. Was last heard of leading a band of athletes around France. Their headquarters were probably Paris.

Red Hauser was a beloved rabble rouser in Base Hospital Thirty, pushing paper by day, he took part in every opportunity for entertainment. He apparently had a reputation for seeking passes to Paris to take in the sights and serves as an example of the adventurous type of veteran who took full advantage of the opportunities provided by his deployment.

Sergeant First Class Elmer McKnew, “Choate,” had charge of the laundry at Royat and had his hands full. He played shortstop on the ball team, that was, one game. Mac was always sure to produce a smile when you mentioned home, as he was waiting for the first sight of a young son.

Many soldiers, like Elmer McKnew left pregnant wives behind in San Francisco when they deployed to France. Soldiers like McKnew were a constant and poignant reminder of home and what the members of the hospital were missing out on in order to serve their nation. It was also a reminder that those serving in France were not the only ones affected by the war.

Figure 28 - "’Veteran’ Army Nurses Return from Europe” clipping of The San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, March 25, 1919, in AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Figure 28 – “’Veteran’ Army Nurses Return from Europe” clipping of The San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, March 25, 1919, in AR 207-16, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, Parnassus Library, UCSF, San Francisco, California

Back home, in San Francisco, the officers’ wives formed the Women’s Auxiliary for Base Hospital No. 30 to support the unit and each other during the deployment of their loved ones. They raised money for the purchase of instruments used by the orchestra, for athletic equipment used by the baseball and football teams, and to augment the purchase of food and gifts for the holiday celebrations.  Their story is relatively limited in The Record, covering only three paragraphs, but it details the account of their effort to welcome the nurses back to San Francisco in March 1919, and to hold a special dance and reception for the main part of the unit at the Palace Hotel on May 15, 1919.

Readers of the San Francisco Chronicle on March 25, 1919 may have seen the article “‘Veteran’ Army Nurses Return from Europe” covering the reception the nurses received at the Oakland Ferry Canteen, provided that they read through to page ten. Perhaps many of those readers would have viewed it as a colorful little article about the pluck of local nurses, or as an addendum to the patriotic trappings hung on the veterans of the war. But the whole story, as this blog series has hopefully shown, goes much deeper than that.

On Veterans Day we celebrate our nation’s veterans with pomp and circumstance very similar to that displayed in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle. We wave flags, hold parades, and decorate in themes of red, white, and blue. But for many veterans, the day has deeper meaning. It is a reminder of the men and women with whom we had the pleasure (or displeasure) and the privilege to serve and of the communities for which we served—both the ones we left behind and the ones we formed in the military.

Within a year of returning from France, the men and women of Base Hospital Thirty put together and published a memory book they called The Record. In it, they told their story to each other and to anyone interested in flipping through its pages. They also listed the addresses of anyone interested in staying in touch—an indication that they wanted to continue to keep tabs on the members of their military family.

Attached to the copy of The Record stored in UCSF’s Archives and Special Collections is a letter from Dr. Eugene S. Kilgore to Dr. Howard Fleming, dated September 16, 1919. In it, Dr. Kilgore expresses how many of the unit had written him expressing interest in getting everyone together again for another evening of entertainment and reflection, “possibly on Armistice Day Nov. 11.”

So, on this centennial anniversary of the armistice, let us reflect upon and remember the remarkable men and women of Base Hospital Thirty and the surrogate family they formed. Their service and stories are, in many ways, precursors to our own stories, making us extended members of their family. Their story provides examples of service to others, of overcoming difficulties, and of working together towards the best possible outcome. It is a story that is rooted in the traditions of the hospital and healing professions as it is in the military. It is a story of selfless service. And that’s appropriate, for isn’t that what Veteran’s Day is really all about?


I want to offer my sincerest appreciation to the staff at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections—first for not only allowing but encouraging me to explore their collected materials on Base Hospital No. 30, but also for being so incredibly helpful and foundational to this project. Archivists Polina Ilieva, Kelsi Evans, and David Krah all deserve recognition for their contributions and I am extremely grateful for their guidance, assistance, and suggestions throughout the process. I would also be remiss if I did not express my appreciation to the Medical Heritage Library for agreeing to expose these posts to their audience as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Base Hospital No. 30, I highly encourage you to visit the UCSF Archives and Special Collections and ask to see the Base Hospital Thirty collection (AR 2017-16), the Homer Woolsey Papers (MSS 70-5), the Howard Naffziger papers (MSS 97-04), and anything else that the helpful archivists suggest based upon your interests.

UCSF Archives Halloween Open House: Oddities of the Past

Get in the Halloween spirit and join UCSF Archives and Special Collections on Wednesday October 31st and view selected pieces from the historical collections in the UCSF Library 5th Floor Reading Room. You will see “medical oddities” of the past including surgical kits, bloodletting tools and more!

12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Also make sure to drop by the Makers Lab Haunted House anytime from 10am-6pm.


Halloween Open House 2017

Halloween Open House 2017


Internship Opportunities

UCSF Library Archives and Special Collections has 2 new internship opportunities.

Archives Intern for AIDS History

The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic: Digitizing, Reuniting and Providing Universal Access to Historical AIDS Records.

The Archives Intern for AIDS History will be assigned various tasks to assist in completion of the project including performing Quality Control checks on digitized papers, digital objects and metadata. Candidate should be a student or recent graduate from a library or information science program, preferably with a concentration or interest in archives and special collections. Students of public history, and history of health sciences are also encouraged to apply. This is a part time temporary appointment.
Department: Archives and Special Collections
Rank and Salary: Library Intern – $15/hr
Term: 150 hours Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Project Description

The Archives and Special Collections department of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library, in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society, has been awarded a $315,000 implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The collaborating institutions will digitize about 127,000 pages from 49 archival collections related to the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area and make them widely accessible to the public online. In the process, collections whose components had been placed in different archives for various reasons will be digitally reunited, facilitating access for researchers outside the Bay Area.
 The 127,000 pages from the three archives range from handwritten correspondence and notebooks to typed reports and agency records to printed magazines. Also included are photographic prints, negatives, transparencies, and posters. The materials will be digitized by the University of California, Merced Library’s Digital Assets Unit, which has established a reputation for digitizing information resources so that they can be made available to the world via the web. All items selected for digitization will be carefully examined to address any privacy concerns. The digital files generated by this project will be disseminated broadly through the California Digital Library, with the objects freely accessible to the public through both Calisphere, operated by the University of California, and the Digital Public Library of America, which will have an AIDS history primary sources set.

Skills and experience desired:

  • Strong candidates will be detail oriented and possess excellent organizational skills
  • Proficiency  with MS Excel and Google spreadsheets
  • Proficiency with document sharing and cloud computing services (Google drive, Box)
  • Experience with digital asset management systems
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to lift boxes weighing up to 40 pounds.

Hours and Location:

The timing of the internship is flexible, but should be carried out during the Fall of 2018 and ending early Spring 2019,  based on applicant and institutional commitments.  Up to two 8-hour days per week for 10-12 weeks. Work will be performed onsite at the library, though offsite work is possible.


A stipend of $15/hour is available for the internship. 

To Apply:

Applications for the UCSF Archives & Special Collections Internship, including a cover letter, resume, and names/contact info of two references should be sent to 
David Krah, Project Archivist 
UCSF Archives and Special Collections
University of California, San Francisco
530 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94143-0840
Apply for this position

Digital Processing and Implementation Intern

The Digital Processing and Implementation Intern will assist the UCSF Digital Archivist with various aspects of the Digital Archives program as they are implemented and brought online for the first time. Potential projects include:

  • Testing digital forensics and processing hardware and software being implemented in the digital forensics lab.
  • Compiling inventory of physical archival collections containing digital media, and pulling collections and identifying, counting, and cataloging digital media present.
  • Disk-imaging digital media removed from collections and transferring data to library storage systems.
  • Creating metadata about digital media being processed in digital forensics lab, editing metadata for various digitization or cataloging projects.
  • Operating scanning equipment to digitize archival collections for patron and researcher use.
  • Processing digital collections under the supervision of the Digital Archivist, including finding aid and container list creation and manipulation of access copies of born-digital content to create access-ready versions of collection.
  • Researching computer tools and systems for management and preservation of digital objects, and compiling and reporting on capabilities, requirements, dependencies, etc. of these utilities.
  • Participate in staff meetings, assist with writing blog posts, and help with reference/duplication requests.
Department: Archives and Special Collections
Rank and Salary: Library Intern – $15/hr
Term: 150 – 200 hours Fall 2018 – Spring 2019


UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management,
530 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0840

Work Type

Archival Processing, Information Technology, Computer Science

Work To Be Done

On site, with occasional opportunities to work from home or other location

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience with ArchivesSpace, Nuxeo or other archival collections management software
  • Experience with or interest in digital preservation, digital file formats and media, computer science, or history of computing technologies
  • Experience with or interest in digital forensics in archival collections and various digital forensics tools, such as FTK Imager and BitCurator
  • Familiarity with scripting, computer programming in any language, Unix.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills
  • High level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to lift boxes weighing up to 40 pounds


A stipend of $15/hour is available for the internship. The internship is intended for those who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate/graduate program.


Up to two 8-hour days per week for 10-12 weeks. Specific on-site hours are negotiable, but must be completed between 8:00 a.m.  and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Start and end dates are flexible.

Application Process

Please submit a letter of interest, a current resume and contact information for two professional references to:

Charles Macquarie
Digital Archivist
UCSF Archives and Special Collections
University of California, San Francisco
530 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94143-0840

Apply for this position

The UCSF Library is committed to a culture of inclusion and respect. We embrace diversity of thought, experience, and people as a source of strength which is critical to our success. We encourage candidates to apply who thrive in an environment which celebrates and serves our diverse communities.

Equal Employment Opportunity
The University of California San Francisco is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

About UCSF
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It is the only campus in the 10-campus UC system dedicated exclusively to the health sciences.

About UCSF Archives and Special Collections
UCSF Archives & Special Collections is a dynamic health sciences research center that contributes to innovative scholarship, actively engages users through educational activities, preserves past knowledge, enables collaborative research experiences to address contemporary challenges, and translates scientific research into patient care.