Pioneering Child Studies: Digitizing and Providing Access to Collection of Women Physicians Who Spearheaded Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics Update

We are at the one-year point of the project Pioneering Child Studies: Digitizing and Providing Access to Collection of Women Physicians who Spearheaded Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics. UCSF Archives & Special Collections and UC Merced have made significant headway towards our goal of digitizing and publishing 68,000 pages from the collections of Drs. Hulda Evelyn Thelander, Helen Fahl Gofman, Selma Fraiberg, Leona Mayer Bayer, and Ms. Carol Hardgrove.

To date we have digitized over 33,000 pages. The digitized material are still undergoing quality assurance (QA) procedures. Here are some items we have digitized so far.

Dr. Leona Mayer Bayer

This collection features professional correspondence of Dr. Leona Mayer Bayer. Her work focused on child development and human growth and psychology of sick children.

Dr. Selma Horwitz Fraiberg

This collection includes several drafts of her research papers on important aspects of developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

In the next year we will continue digitizing and will soon publish our collections on Calisphere.  Stay tuned for our next update.

Open-source tools from The COVID Tracking Project Archive.

The COVID Tracking Project Archive has several unique challenges, namely how to preserve unique, born-digital materials in formats that will be easily accessible to researchers far in the future. Tools like Twitter, Instagram, and Slack are constantly changing their interfaces, making preservation difficult. 

To make the job of the archive and other archivists easier, the COVID Tracking Project is releasing several tools we have developed to preserve these digital formats on our Github Organization. These include: 

  • Twitter Preserver – A tool to convert the downloaded Zip file a user gets from Twitter into stable HTML files. This includes Direct Messages as well as public Tweets and Favorites. View a preview of the output of this tool.
  • XLSX Bulk Converted – A python script that will bulk-convert Excel files into folders of CSV files, one file per worksheet. 
  • Instagram Preserver — A tool that logs into Instagram and downloads all the feed data and images from another account. Instagram is particularly difficult to access without logging in, so this tool uses an internal API to access the user’s feed. 

Our XLSX bulk converter was written by our amazing Tech intern Tracy Lee

We believe these kind of tools provide a model of how to preserve and protect information from proprietary and sometimes fleeting platforms for future researchers. 

Support for development came from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Spotlight on the Arlene Hirschfelder Collection

Donated by her husband, Dennis Hirschfelder, the Arlene Hirschfelder Collection  was accessioned into the UCSF Archives & Special Collections this year. Arlene Hirschfelder was an educator and scholar who authored numerous books and other resource materials on tobacco control specifically as it relates to teenagers and young adults. She passed away in 2021. 

The collection contains tobacco control resource materials that Hirschfelder authored such as A Century of Tobacco & Smoking (1998) which chronicles US tobacco history from the 1870s to 1990s with a focus on the marketing strategies of the tobacco industry.

The collection also includes materials that she assembled such as an anti-smoking board game, posters, cigarettes, candy cigarettes, and other ephemera. 

Hirschfelder was also a Native American studies scholar and advocate. Her book collection of Native American and Indigenous subject matters was donated to Northwestern  University’s Center for Native American & Indigenous Research (CNAIR).

Spotlight on the records of the Black Coalition on AIDS (BCA)

The Black Coalition on AIDS (BCA) records are among the AIDS community-based organizations records (MSS 98-49) housed with the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. These records were assembled as part of the UCSF AIDS History Project, acquired with the goal of documenting the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and the San Francisco community response to it.  

The Black Coalition on AIDS was established in 1986 to address the needs of the African American community in the early years of the AIDS epidemic and “to ensure Black people would receive appropriate services and be adequately represented in policy decisions.”  It is still active today and was renamed the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness in 2015 to reflect its expanded health education and health support services.  

The Black Coalition on AIDS (BCA) records housed with us include meeting minutes, handwritten notes, programs from their first two annual awards dinners, newsletters, position papers, and proposals.  

The honorees featured in the annual awards dinner programs for the BCA Second Annual Awards Dinner in 1991, captured my interest. The event highlighted the achievements of African American activists from the Bay Area and since February is Black History Month, it seemed timely and fitting to share a bit of information about some of the celebrated individuals.  

Ken Jones received the Calu Lester Community Activist Award for his work as the Executive Director of STOP AIDS Project, Secretary of the AIDS Life Lobby, Vice Chair of the Lesbian and Gay Caucus to the State Democratic Party, and the founder of BIKE-A-THON for AIDS among many accomplishments. Jones was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He went on to work on police reform issues in response to the 1991 Rodney King beating and in 2011, he served on the citizen review board of the BART Police Department following the BART police killing of Oscar Grant. Jones passed away last year

Yvonne Littleton received the Individual Community Service Award for her community health outreach work for the Haight Ashbury HIV Prevention Outreach Project. In addition to her public health work and background, Littleton trained as an artist. She was one of the 7 muralists who painted the Maestrapeace Mural on the Women’s Building in the Mission District in 1994. She also worked as a commercial artist and a stage and lighting designer.  

The video artist, poet, activist, and educator, Marlon Riggs received the Sylvester Arts Action Award. I was first introduced to Riggs’s work while I was working at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Archives. In 1992, Riggs’s Affirmations won the 2nd Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Video Award. His works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art and in recent years, several arts organizations have mounted exhibitions honoring him and his work: 

Last year, the Criterion Collection, which had in recent years come under some scrutiny for its dearth of African-American directors, released the box set of his works, The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs.  

Riggs died in 1994 at the age of 37 from AIDS. 

Archival records function as time capsules and allow you a glimpse into a specific moment in time and place. And how one document, an event program, can be an introduction to people and places, inviting you to move them beyond just the records. I love this about my job.  

#ColorOurCollections Coloring Book

Once again we contributed to the New York Academy of Medicine’s #ColorOurCollections. We’ve created a coloring book featuring images from our collection of Japanese woodblock prints. Please download the book, color, and tweet your creations @ucsf_archives using #ColorOurCollections.

Download the complete UCSF Archives 2022 Coloring Book here.

You can view other coloring books from participating institutions here. Happy coloring!

UCSF Archives & Special Collections awarded grant to archive data, documents, and social media of The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic

UCSF Archives & Special Collections (A&SC) has been awarded a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to compile and archive the data products, public websites, social media, and select internal documents of The COVID Tracking Project (CTP). The project was a citizen-science initiative housed by The Atlantic magazine which tracked COVID data from March 7, 2020 to March 7, 2021. It had a tremendous impact on public, media, scientific, and governmental understanding of and response to the pandemic. This $249,866 grant will help preserve the products and culture of a unique organization created in difficult times.

Products produced by the CTP include testing, outcomes, and hospitalization data that was used by thousands of news organizations and millions of individuals to understand the early phases of the pandemic. The project’s Racial Data Tracker and Long-term Care Tracker highlighted the different ways the pandemic was impacting people of color and residents of nursing homes and similar facilities. Funding from the grant will help ensure these critical datasets are preserved in Dryad and immediately available to researchers in public health.

As an organization that existed only online, archiving the project will require new approaches to storing data from tools like Slack, Github issues, and Google drive. Unlike digital files similar to a Microsoft Word document, data in these tools have multiple levels of interface and context that is not easily preserved. The grant will support developing tools for archiving these rapidly-adopted forms of communication, and making them open source for other archiving projects.

Every datapoint collected by the project was the result of multiple discussions, revisions, and public inquiry. Capturing the entire history of say, the total number of tests in California on November 22, 2020 requires reviewing Slack threads, Github issues, emails, spreadsheet revisions, and unique tools built by tracking project members. The grant will help build a “Data Explorer” that pulls all these disparate metadata into a single web interface for researchers to understand the many contexts around every datapoint collected by the project.

“We’re extremely proud to support a digital preservation project capturing a remarkable record of online collaboration that also provides a unique blueprint for future archiving initiatives,” says Joshua Greenberg, director of the Sloan Foundation’s technology program. “The team is doing more than just creating a rich and valuable repository of a historic moment—it is generating novel and much-needed methods of storing information from modern technology platforms, an approach that will become invaluable as online collaborations increasingly become the norm.”

This 12-month project is being launched in January 2022 and will be overseen by an advisory board composed of former project staff and advisors with backgrounds in data science, medicine, history, and epidemiology. A&SC would like to thank Amanda L. French, Ph.D., former Community Lead at the COVID Tracking Project and other supporters for their help with this proposal. Kevin Miller will serve as an archive lead for this grant project

About the Sloan Foundation

Logo of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a not-for-profit, mission-driven grantmaking institution dedicated to improving the welfare of all through the advancement of scientific knowledge. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in four broad areas: direct support of research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics; initiatives to increase the quality, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness of scientific institutions and the science workforce; projects to develop or leverage technology to empower research; and efforts to enhance and deepen public engagement with science and scientists.

About UCSF Archives & Special Collections

The mission of the UCSF Archives and Special Collections is to identify, collect, organize, interpret, and maintain rare and unique material to support research and teaching of the health sciences and medical humanities and to preserve institutional memory. Please contact Polina Ilieva, Associate University Librarian for Collections with questions about this award.

Newly Processed Tobacco Control Archive Collections

UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce that three collections have been processed and added to the Tobacco Control Archives. The newly processed collections are the Seth L. Haber Materials, American Heart Association Records, and the Tobacco Control Ephemera Collection.

UCSF has been collecting materials on tobacco control efforts since the 1990s. We have collected papers and organizational records of government agencies and activist groups, as well as papers of individuals active in tobacco control.

Seth L. Haber Material

Seth L. Haber, MD, FCAP, was the founding chief of pathology at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Clara, California, for 35 years, until his retirement in 1998. He was an elected member of the Permanente Medical Group Board of Directors for nine years,
registrar, sommelier, and president of the South Bay Pathology Society. This collection includes publications by Seth Haber, anti-tobacco pamphlets, and correspondence.

Anti-Tobacco Pamphlets. Seth L. Haber material, MSS 97-19, box 1, folder 1.

American Heart Association Records

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research. The American Heart Association records documents the activism that took place in San Francisco and the Bay Area in restricting smoking in restaurants and lounges. The collection includes flyers, tobacco advertisements, videos (VHS), surveys, and correspondence. Some documents from this collection are from the CLASH organization addressing how big tobacco companies targeted the gay and lesbian community through their ads.

Tobacco Control Ephemera Collection

This collection is assembled from a number of different donations of ephemeral materials. Materials include pamphlets, posters, cigarette ads, and reports. Some of the cigarette ads in this collection are Kent and Chesterfield ads showcasing their milder cigarettes for women.

You can view the collection finding aids and other Tobacco Control Archive finding aids on the Online Archive of California. If you are interested in viewing digital collections from the Tobacco Control Archives or any of our other digital collections please visit the UC San Francisco page on Calisphere.

The Women Behind the Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

By Erin Hurley, User Services & Accessioning Archivist

One of UCSF Archives & Special Collections’ most famous and beloved collections is the Japanese Woodblock Print collection – a collection of over 400 colorful and informative woodblock prints on health-related themes, such as women’s health and contagious diseases like cholera, measles, and smallpox. According to the Library website dedicated to the prints, they “offer a visual account of Japanese medical knowledge in the late Edo and Meiji periods. The majority of the prints date to the mid-late nineteenth century, when Japan was opening to the West after almost two hundred and fifty years of self-imposed isolation.”[1] The collection has been used, most recently, in a documentary about woodblock prints to be aired on NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting network, and has been a subject of enduring interest to researchers. I’ve heard colleagues wonder aloud about how UCSF came to own this unique collection, so I did some research. Naturally, an enterprising curator and librarian – Atsumi Minami, MLS – is to thank for the collection’s arrival at UCSF.

Walters, Tom F., “Atsumi Minami with items from UCSF Library East Asian Collection,” 1968. UCSF History Collection.

While I was not able to find the exact dates of her employment at UCSF Library, I do know that Minami began working at UCSF Library in 1959, and soon took charge of a small collection of 70 titles of materials related to East Asian medicine started in 1963 by John B. de C.M. Saunders (a shortening of his full name, John Bertrand de Cusance Morant Saunders), then Provost and University Librarian.[1] Minami could read Japanese script, so she became responsible for the collection and was soon given free rein to begin collecting additional materials. In order to do this, Minami “traveled to Japan and China and purchased items from various smaller, private collections, acquiring the woodblock prints as well as hundreds of rare Chinese and Japanese medical texts, manuscripts, and painted scrolls.”[2] Her collecting efforts spanned over 30 years, and produced a collection with over 10,000 titles. It would appear that Minami was still working at UCSF when this informative article was written for a 1986 issue of UCSF Magazine.[3] At the time that article was published, the East Asian medicine collection was also the only active collection of its kind in the U.S., making it even more notable.  

Another woman who was influential in shaping the East Asian collection was Ilza Veith, a German medical historian and former UCSF professor in both the Department of the History and Philosophy of Health Sciences and the Department of Psychiatry. Veith, who in 1947 was awarded the first ever U.S. Ph.D.in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University, was also awarded later, in 1975, the most advanced medical degree conferred in Japan, the Igaku hakase, from Juntendo University Medical School in Tokyo.  Veith was extremely knowledgeable about both Chinese and Japanese medicine, and, in her time at Hopkins, translated Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen, or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – the oldest known document in Chinese medicine. Though the text has somewhat mythical origins that make its author and date a little difficult to determine, it probably dates from around 300 BC. Veith also helped shaped UCSF’s East Asian medicine collection by donating a number of her Japanese medical books. 

“Ilza Veith,” 1968. UCSF History Collection.

I would encourage anyone interested in the collection to browse the prints on our website, and to read more about their history via a finding aid on the Online Archive of California. Archives & Special Collections also houses the Ilza Veith papers. While we don’t yet have an Atsumi Minami collection, we welcome donations and would appreciate any information that the present-day UCSF community has about this amazing woman.


[1] “Glory of the Special Collections,” UCSF Magazine, V. 9, Issue #342, 1986: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31378005349033&view=1up&seq=341&q1=”Atsumi Minami”

[2] “About the Collection,” UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection, 2007, https://japanesewoodblockprints.library.ucsf.edu/about.html. Accessed April 6, 2021.

[3] “Glory of the Special Collections,” UCSF Magazine, V. 9, Issue #342, 1986: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31378005349033&view=1up&seq=341&q1=”Atsumi Minami”


[1] “About the Collection,” UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection, 2007, https://japanesewoodblockprints.library.ucsf.edu/about.html. Accessed April 6, 2021.

Celebrating Black faculty at UCSF, past and present

By Erin Hurley, User Services and Accessioning Archivist

We are currently more than halfway through Black History Month, a month that takes on special significance this year, following a summer of protests asserting, yet again, that Black Lives Matter. Archives & Special Collections would be remiss if we failed to mention the groundbreaking Black faculty at UCSF, both past and present, who have made significant contributions to the fields of medicine and psychology (as well as many others), and, who, in their work, have found ways to illuminate new facets of racism previously unconsidered and who, on their paths to success, have also sought to support and lift up others.

Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a social psychiatrist who served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) from 1983 until 1990. Her work sits at the intersection of mental health and public health, and she focuses, in her own description, on the “sources and consequences of inequality, with a focus on the American city,” including segregation, gentrification, and the impact of these forces on the mental and physical health of Black families. [1] She is the author of numerous books, including The Black Family: Mental Health Perspectives and Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It.[2] Most recently, she has co-edited a volume titled From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence. In 2018, she gave a TED talk which gives an overview of her work and her personal history and outlines her hopes for achieving equality.

Mindy Thompson Fullilove

Eritrean surgeon Haile T. Debas has, many times over, served as an example of what Black leadership can look like, and has shown how it can benefit others in a variety of ways. Debas, who came to UCSF in 1987 to serve as the Chair of the Department of Surgery, specializes in gastrointestinal physiology. During his time as Chair, UCSF “became one of the country’s leading centers for transplant surgery, the training of young surgeons, and basic and clinical research in surgery.”[3] He then went on to serve as the Dean of the School of Medicine for 10 years, from 1993-2003. In 1997, he was appointed as the 7th Chancellor of UCSF, a position that he agreed to hold for one year while also serving as Dean of the School of Medicine.

Haile T. Debas, photo courtesy of UCSF University Relations

Debas, in his long and distinguished career, has demonstrated a commitment to serving underserved areas, from his work in the Yukon Territories, where he practiced surgery early in his career, to a long-held dream of establishing a medical school in Eritrea. It was this commitment that led him to establish, in 2009, the UC Global Health Institute, which sought to leverage the expertise and resources of all ten UC campuses to address global health issues, which he says are “so big that single disciplines can’t tackle them.”[4] He also served as Executive Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences (GHS), established in 2003, which focuses on issues like diseases of poverty, chronic illnesses, and the global threat posed by certain infectious diseases, like COVID-19.

His work in global health has informed his support for women’s empowerment movements, and he notes, “In global health, women’s empowerment is the critical element—nothing will be accomplished to a successful end without women’s support.”[5] Debas also established the UCSF Department of Surgery’s Haile T. Debas Diversity Fellowship for Fourth Year Medical Students, which offers fourth year medical students a sub-internship in the Department of Surgery, as well as a $2,500 stipend.[6]  Debas appears often in Archives & Special Collections materials, as a part of the Office of the Dean’s records, as well as in the Global Health Sciences records and the Oral History collection.


[1] “Faculty – Mindy Fullilove,” The New School Milano, accessed February 18, 2021,  https://www.newschool.edu/milano/faculty/mindy-fullilove/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Haile Debas, MD,” UCSF Department of Surgery, accessed February 18, 2021, https://surgery.ucsf.edu/faculty/general-surgery/haile-debas,-md.aspx.

[4] Rachel Cox, “10 years, 10 campuses, one trailblazing career: Haile Debas reflects on UCGHI,” November 5, 2019, https://ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/10-years-10-campuses-one-trailblazing-career-haile-debas-reflects-ucghi.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Alexi Callen, “UCSF Department of Surgery Accepting Applications for 2020 Haile T. Debas Diversity Fellowship for Fourth Year Medical Students,” April 21, 2020, https://surgery.ucsf.edu/news-events/ucsf-news.aspx?id=84895/UCSF Department of Surgery Accepting Applications for 2020 Haile T. Debas Diversity Fellowship for Fourth Year Medical Students.

Newly Processed Collection: J. Michael Bishop Papers

UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce that 93 cartons have been processed and added to the J. Michael Bishop papers. The collection was first processed in 2016 with a total of 19 cartons, it grew to 142 linear feet. The new material includes lectures, correspondence, memorabilia, and committee files. The collection’s finding aid is available publicly on the Online Archive of California.

J. Michael Bishop portrait at desk. J. Michael Bishop papers, MSS 2007-21, carton 19, folder 52

Bishop is the recipient of numerous awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research and the American Cancer Society National Medal of Honor. In 1989, Bishop and his colleague, Harold E. Varmus, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that growth regulating genes in normal cells can malfunction and initiate the abnormal growth processes of cancer.In 2003, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. On July 1, 1998, J. Michael Bishop became eighth chancellor of UCSF, and presided over what would become the largest academic biomedical expansion in the nation-the creation of the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

Nobel Attire cartoon. J. Michael Bishop papers, MSS 2007-21, carton 6, folder 31

The collection is arranged into twelve series which include: Series I. Writings and publication files; Series II. Teaching files; Series III. Laboratory research notebooks and binders; Series IV. Working files; Series V. Scrapbook and artifact; Series VI. Exhibit files; Series VII. Committee files; Series VIII. Correspondence; IX. Postdoctoral files; X. Meetings and Travel files; XI. Lectures and Remarks; XII. Photographs, Slides, and Audio/Visual Material.

You can view the collection’s finding aid and many other UCSF collections’ finding aids on the Online Archive of California