Anida Hodzic is a senior undergrad at the University of San Francisco, who will be graduating in the fall, 2017. She was born in Bosnia and spent time in Berlin before moving to San Francisco. She is majoring Art History and Arts Management with a minor in Classical Studies. She enjoys antiquity, from art to literature, with a strong interest in Greco-Roman culture and society. Before studying art history, she was working towards an International Business degree. Her time as a teacher’s assistant for her art history professor at City College of San Francisco helped her figure out that business was not her calling. Since then she has interned at Schein & Schein, an antique map and rare book gallery. Currently she is looking forward to delving into historical medical artifact at UCSF. She is extremely excited to spend time at the UCSF archives and hopes to soak up as much information as possible. Anida will be designing and building the online component for the archives exhibit, University of California Medical Service in World War I.
UCSF Archives recently showcased historical material at UCSF Alumni Weekend. We had a great time sharing yearbooks and artifacts from the collections and hearing wonderful stories of UCSF history from attendees.Selections from material that we shared at the event (and more!) are now on display on the 5th floor of the UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus Ave. The exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours. Come check out unique and beautiful health sciences artifacts and discover how UCSF community members saved the clock and cornerstone of the original 19th-century School of Medicine building from demolition.
The UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit at the UCSF Library, “DO THE BEST FOR OUR SOLDIERS”: University of California Medical Service in World War I. The exhibit commemorates the centennial anniversary of US involvement in World War I and recognizes the service of UCSF doctors, nurses and dentists at Base Hospital No. 30 in Royat, France. It also highlights the war-related research and care provided by UCSF scientists and healthcare providers in San Francisco and abroad.
The exhibit features photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia from collections housed in the UCSF Archives, including a WWI Army-issued medicine kit, images of doctors and nurses serving in the field, and early 20th-century surgical and dental instruments.
The exhibit will be open from April 2017-April 2018 on the main floor of the UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco. It is free and open to the public during Library hours. Hosted by UCSF Archives and Special Collections and the History of Health Sciences Graduate Program, UCSF Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine. Curated by Cristina Nigro.
It’s been a busy start to spring here at UCSF A&SC: new events and exhibits coming up, lots of researchers, and of course many new collections. As is prone to happen during times like these, there is a pile of new materials sitting on my desk, just waiting for me to enter into our database and (eventually) our library catalog. Here are a few that I am particularly excited about:
Clark Sturges papers (MSS 2017-09)
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we recently were given the papers of Clark Sturges that relate to his profile of Dr. David E. Smith. Smith founded the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in 1967 in response to the medical needs of many of the young people who came to San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Sturges completed the book in 1993, and the papers are composed mainly of taped interviews, research notes, and correspondence.
Steven Deeks papers (MSS 2017-10)
Another recent acquisition is the papers of Dr. Steven Deeks. The Deeks papers are primarily concerned with his involvement in the controversial baboon bone marrow transplant to an AIDS patient in 1995. While the transplant was not successful, it illustrates the sense of desperation of people with AIDS at that time–and also the highly innovative approaches that UCSF and SFGH doctors and researchers were taking at that time to combat the disease.
Mark Jacobson papers (MSS 2017-12)
Finally, another collection that recently found its way to my desk is the papers of Dr. Mark Jacobson. The Jacobson papers are a hodgepodge of different materials, including calendars, index cards with patient symptoms and medication, a multitude of electronic records (including his PalmPilot), and this Triomune 30 box, which he picked up on a trip overseas. Dr. Jacobson also gave us a substantial number of books for our burgeoning AIDS History collection, and recently wrote a novel based upon his experiences that mentions the patient index cards in its foreword.
This spring semester, the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is hosting an intern from the University of San Francisco (USF) Museum Studies Masters Program. Born and raised in California, Caitlin Toomey has spent her life working towards her goal of becoming a museum professional. While in high school, she began her museum career by volunteering at a local art gallery after school and on the weekends. Caitlin’s biggest adventure started when she left home to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from UCLA. It was at UCLA that Caitlin truly began to explore her passions for history, art, and museum education by interning at both the Hammer Museum and the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. Caitlin finished up her degree in Southern California and returned back home to Sacramento. Instead of jumping right into graduate school, Caitlin took some time to explore her interests in museum education by becoming a museum assistant at the Wells Fargo History Museum and an intern at the Crocker Art Museum. At these institutions, Caitlin not only worked with the public by giving tours and interacting with visitors, but she also was integral in policy and program development.
Her time at the Wells Fargo Museum and the Crocker gave Caitlin a clear understanding of what she is passionate about and fueled her desire to pursue a graduate degree in museum studies; therefore, Caitlin entered the Masters Degree program at the University of San Francisco for the 2016 school year. During her first semester, Caitlin co-curated the Thatcher Gallery exhibition “The Depravities of War: Sandow Birk and the Art of Social Critique” as part of the Fall Semester Curatorial Practicum lead by Associate Professor Catherine Lusheck. Her newest role of intern at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is an exciting next step and Caitlin is looking forward to the challenge and prospect of gaining new skills and experiences within the museum field.
Caitlin will be working in the archives through May 2017 and will be assisting with research, design, and installation of the upcoming exhibit, “University of California Medical Service in World War I.” She will also help with collection processing, cataloging, digitization, and exhibit curation.
We’re closing out Archives Month with a Halloween Open House in the Archives. Join us from 12noon-1pm on Halloween, Monday, October 31, in the Archives Reading Room. View some of our favorite oddities from the past and a few of our more gruesome historical medical artifacts.
Plus, receive a Halloween goodie bag while supplies last!
REGISTER HERE for the event.
We’ve been cataloging additions to our Historical Medical Artifact Collection recently. It’s always fun diving into the over 1,000 objects in the collection. This treasure is the Ortho-Fusor, a Bausch & Lomb product for “Modern Visual Training.”
The Ortho-Fusor, dated 1941, includes Polaroid 3D glasses, a reference manual, and a spiral-bound booklet with vectograph images and exercises. A vectograph is a type of stereoscopic image composed of two superimposed, polarized pictures that produce a 3D effect when viewed through polarizing spectacles. Think of it like going to a 3D movie, except you are viewing stills.
The Ortho-Fusor exercises, which involve refocusing your eyes on various points in the image, were designed for “re-educating and training visual skills” for the “modern need.” As noted in the reference manual, “the world of modern occupations has drawn many more thousands of us into factories, offices, libraries, schools, shops, and laboratories. Here for hours at a time we perform sustained and precise tasks with our eyes, frequently at very close distances…The precise teamwork of the eyes is a matter of coordination and habit.” The reference manual encourages 30 minutes of use a day, in five to ten minute intervals.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists, let us know what you think of these visual exercises and the Ortho-Fusor’s medical claims!
Our Medical Artifact Collection includes some pretty amazing items. For instance, the 19th-century medical kits always impress, with their vibrant satin and velvet linings and beautifully crafted (though not necessarily sanitary) instruments.
One highlight is this 19th-century skull and brain surgery kit created by Arnold & Sons, a London-based surgical instrument manufacturer. The kit includes a trephine (with multiple saw bits), forceps, bone brush, and head saw known as a Hey’s saw.
A trephine is a T-shaped, hand-operated drill saw with a cylindrical blade. It would have been used to bore holes in the skull, allowing for the removal of bone and access to the brain. This kit includes multiple saw bits of different sizes.
A Hey’s saw is a double-bladed instrument that, thanks to its unique design, allows for variously angled cuts. It is named after William Hey, an English surgeon who helped refine the tool.
If you would like to see this, or any of our artifacts, in person, please make an appointment with the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.
Another installment in our blog series that explores artifacts related to health practices now considered inaccurate or fraudulent. Check out Carl Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker.
The Lebenswecker, translated as the “Life-Awakener” or the “Resuscitator,” was developed by German inventor Carl Baunscheidt in the mid-19th century. The small instrument included over 30 thin, spring-loaded needles concentrated at the end of an ebony staff.
According to Baunscheidt, the Lebenswecker was designed to quickly puncture the skin, creating “artificial pores.” The “pores,” i.e. puncture wounds, were then covered with a proprietary irritating oil called “Oleum Baunscheidtii” that produced blisters. As another option, the practitioner could dip the needles in the oil before application, thus creating a more concentrated injection. As the blisters formed and drained, Baunscheidt claimed, the “health-destroying morbid matter” in the body naturally escaped.
Baunscheidt developed a health philosophy around the Lebenswecker known as Baunscheidtism. His inspiration, as detailed in his book Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, came from his experience watching mosquitoes bite his rheumatic hand. As he writes, “it seemed as if the pains he had suffered, had fled with the flies…the inflicted sting caused an opening in the epidermis just large enough for the fine, volatile, but pathogenic substances lodged in the skin to exude.”
Baunscheidt claimed that the Lebenswecker could cure everything from sleeplessness to measles to epilepsy. Baunscheidtism practitioners, like John Linden, made similarly broad claims. As Linden noted in his work, Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, the Lebenswecker could eliminate a tapeworm because, after repeated applications, “the unwelcome guest will soon become disgusted with his quarters, and be compelled to vacate.”
Baunscheidt’s philosophy, backed by personal testimonies included in his publications, achieved a measure of popularity in the 19th and early 20th century, especially in Germany and the United States. Today, his treatment is widely discredited.
We house two different “Life-Awakeners” in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections and a similar instrument developed by Baunscheidt called an artificial leech. Please contact us if you would like to come in and see the artifacts! We also have editions of John Linden and Carl Baunscheidt’s writings or you can read Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure online in our digital collection.
We don’t know much about this doctor’s bag. It was manufactured by the Feick Brothers medical supply company, probably in the late 19th or early 20th century, in a manner common to the bags that family doctors carried during that time, but much beyond that remains a mystery. We aren’t sure whose bag it was, or how it came into the possession of UCSF Archives & Special Collections. Beyond being a doctor’s bag, we don’t know if it has any connection to UCSF at all.
Even the tools inside the bag invite more questions than give answers: Were all these tools original to this particular bag, or were more tools added after it fell out of use? Is that a bullet extractor scoop, a curette spoon, or a lithotomy instrument? And it seems to have a lot of instruments related to gynecology and child birth—could it perhaps have been the bag of some nameless OBGYN?
For archivists, who rely on provenance to establish historical context, these types of questions can be a little uncomfortable. Yet despite all its mysteries, this doctor’s bag remains a fascinating artifact—and it definitely has some very interesting things inside. It’s almost like unwrapping a gift to discover it is actually a puzzle!
Written by David Uhlich.