Archives and Special Collections Reading Room is Now Open

The Archives and Special Collections reading room is now open Wednesday–Friday from 9 am–noon and 1–4 pm by appointment only. For non-UCSF visitors, please see the following information:

  • Request materials and make appointments using our new request system; it’s easy to request materials and make reading room appointments. After an initial sign-up, you can track your requests and appointments.
  • The requirements for access to reading room UCSF Library facilities are currently only open to those with a UCSF ID. External researchers can make appointments to review materials in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. At the time of appointment, visitors will be met at the entrance to the library by the archives staff and accompanied to the reading room. Any individuals visiting the UCSF campus facilities are required to follow UCSF campus guest requirements.

New NHPRC Grant Will Bring to Light Stories of Women Physicians and Social Workers

UCSF Archives & Special Collections (A&SC) is excited to announce that it was awarded a grant by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in support of the project titled Pioneering Child Studies: Digitizing and Providing Access to Collection of Women Physicians who Spearheaded Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics.

The $149,814 award will support the creation of a digital collection on Calisphere containing materials from five collections held at UCSF documenting life and work of five women physicians and social workers, Drs. Hulda Evelyn Thelander, Helen Fahl Gofman, Selma Fraiberg, Leona Mayer Bayer, and Ms. Carol Hardgrove, who were pioneers in the developmental-behavioral pediatrics research, patient care, and public-health policy. These materials will enable researchers and general public to understand evolution of social policy and cultural norms as they relate to special education, people with disabilities, and equitable access to health care.

Dr. Selma Fraiberg

In her support letter for this project Dr. Alicia F. Lieberman, the Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Child Trauma Research Program stressed that this grant is extraordinarily timely because these women physicians and social workers “have been trailblazers in creating new knowledge and revolutionizing clinical care, but their contributions are at risk of being neglected or overlooked. These five women excelled against enormous odds in fields where women had difficulty establishing their own independent contributions, and the long-term ramifications of their work continue to benefit millions of children worldwide.”

A relatively new field in medicine, developmental-behavioral pediatrics came out of an increased demand for mental health services in pediatric care starting in the 1920s. While infant and child mortality rates declined in part due to public health campaigns and medical breakthroughs, concerns over behavioral problems and developmental delays grew as pediatrics began to look beyond mere survival and started to consider the whole child.

Dr. Leona Mayer Bayer

“These five women,” says Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson, Professor and Harry & Riva Specht Chair Emeritus in Publicly Supported Social Services in the School of Social Welfare at the UC Berkeley, “studied and practiced in the same time period and were instrumental in establishing and developing training programs for pediatricians, nurses, and social workers. All of them also published works for the general public addressing issues that emerged at that time and continue to be discussed today, including the role of the mother in the early life of the child, emotional life of children and the importance of including the whole family in pediatric patient care.

 A digital collection unifying the records of these five remarkable women scholars […] will benefit historians of medicine and public health, sociologists, educators, social workers, policymakers, health care providers, patient advocates, and parents.”

 Carol Hardgrove with unidentified colleagues
Carol Hardgrove with unidentified colleagues

Documents from these five collections often illustrate the work of their creators on the same or similar projects and collaboration between the creators; these will be digitally “reunited” in the course of the grant by being posted on the same digital platform, Calisphere and being linked through extended metadata. They speak to the contribution women made early on in developmental-behavioral pediatric clinical research through the papers of Dr. Thelander. In 1952, she founded the Child Development Center at the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco where she conducted studies on children with brain-damage and general pediatric neurology. These women were influential in the training of pediatricians as documented by the records of Dr. Gofman. Since 1966 she served as a director of the Child Study Unit at UCSF, one of the first training programs in behavioral pediatrics in the US. The papers of Dr. Fraiberg document several important aspects of developmental-behavioral pediatrics, including the influence of psychoanalysis on the field and her groundbreaking work on intergenerational transmission of trauma. These women were also instrumental in the evolution of pediatric nursing. Ms. Carol Hardgrove collection documents her role as an educator with the School of Nursing and Child Care/Study Center who authored many works dealing with children and parents and the hospital experience. The collection also features professional correspondence of Dr. Leona Mayer Bayer whose life’s work was focused on child development and in particular human growth and psychology of sick children.

 Hulda Evelyn Thelander
Dr. Hulda Evelyn Thelander

According to Dr. Andrew J. Hogan, Associate Professor and Director of the Science and Medicine in Society Program at Creighton University, “Filling in these silences and gaps in the historical records, by making available more widely their various ideas, aspirations, and institutional negotiations, will allow this story to be told in much fuller detail. Gofman, Thelander, and others’ stories are likely to inspire another generation of groundbreaking young physicians to organize care for populations in need. It will be valuable for students and researchers to learn more about the many challenges that these women physicians faced, and how they overcame them to provide improved resources and support for children with behavioral and developmental conditions and disabilities, a population that was historically overlooked in pediatrics, especially in the mid-20th century, when these women were professionally active.”

As part of this project UCSF archivists will engage with communities of women physicians, researchers, and health care providers, discussing how to document their voices that have been underrepresented, absent, or excluded from the history in general and history of their institutions (including UCSF) or professions in particular. By collecting their stories and learning how to document and share them, we will create a more inclusive and equitable historical record.

Helen Gofman, MD, playing with girl with tea set and toys
Helen Gofman, MD, playing with girl with tea set and toys

This 24-month project was launched in September and will be managed by our processing archivist, Edith Escobedo. The materials will be digitized by the UC Merced Library’s Digital Assets Unit that has been partnering with UCSF on successful collaborative digitization projects for more than 10 years. 

A&SC would like to thank the National Historical Publications & Records Commission; the California Historical Records Advisory Board; Dr. Aimee Medeiros, assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Science at UCSF; Emily Lin, Head of Digital Curation and Scholarship, UC Merced Library; and other supporters for their help with this proposal.

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.

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.

October is Archives Month!

Every October we celebrate Archives Month to reflect on the value of historical materials and to highlight UCSF Archives programs and services. This year we are marking the occasion in the midst of the era-defining triple pandemic of COVID-19, systemic racism, and police violence, not to mention momentous political upheaval.

Now as much as ever, it is critical to protect the records of the past and of the present. We are living through and making history; we must ensure that a diverse and inclusive record of this time is preserved for those in the future to access and understand.

Here are some ways you can get involved to celebrate Archives Month:

Get started collecting and caring for your records (emails, photos, blogs, social media, reports, websites, etc). Consider submitting your materials to the UCSF COVID-19 Pandemic Chronicles.

Do you manage or contribute to a UCSF website? Check out our guidelines for preserving UCSF websites as part of the historical record of the University.

Join us on Wednesday October 7 for #AskAnArchivist Day! UCSF archivists will be standing by from 10am-2pm PDT on Twitter to answer your questions and chat about archives and UCSF history. Ask us anything at @ucsf_archives.

Interested in learning from the history of the health sciences to address current challenges? We’re excited to co-present Vesalius and Wrist Pain: Using Medical History to Solve Current Problems with the Bay Area History of Medicine Society on October 21 at 6:30pm PDT, with speaker Dr. David Lincoln Nelson. Please register in advance.

Visit our free online exhibit “’They Were Really Us’: The UCSF Community’s Early Response to AIDS” for a fascinating and moving story of how UCSF leaders in the 1980s and 1990s broke ground in the fight against the virus, launching the first AIDS clinic in the world and contributing to the identification of what came to be known as HIV.

To explore recordings of our past Archives Talks on topics ranging from Black Women Physicians’ Careers, Elderhood, Documenting While Black, and the Myth of the Perfect Pregnancy, please visit our Archives Events and Exhibits page.

New arrivals at UCSF Archives & Special Collections

By Erin Hurley, User Services & Accessioning Archivist

This coming Monday, September 28, 2020, is the day UNESCO has designated as International Access to Information Day. Their website notes that, this year, the day is focused on “the right to information in times of crisis and on the advantages of having constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information to save lives, build trust and help the formulation of sustainable policies through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.” In a time of national and global crisis, this year’s theme may resonate particularly with Americans, whether it brings to mind the availability of voting information or attempts at voter suppression, or of the deliberate obfuscation of scientific data and fact by the highest levels of government.   

To this end, I’d like to celebrate libraries and archives, and their explicit mission to make information accessible. UCSF Library and its Archives & Special Collections, though closed to the public since the City of San Francisco’s “shelter in place” mandate on March 16th, continues to find creative ways to help students, faculty, staff, and outside researchers access the vast stores of information that the library and archives hold, and to find ways to facilitate access across great distances.

As the User Services and Accessioning Archivist, my job is to both make collections accessible through the accessioning process, and to help users navigate the various portals through which Archives and Special Collections shares its information. This may be through finding aids on the Online Archive of California, catalog records in the UCSF Library catalog, or through brief inventories attached to finding aids that tell a user what kinds of materials they can find in a given archival collection and to help them determine whether that particular collection may be of use to them.

Though the majority of my work is still remote, I have accessioned some exciting new collections on-site over the past couple of months, which will soon be available in the above-mentioned locations. Among these is an accrual to UCSF’s Black Caucus collection, focused on the Office of UCSF Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity.  The collection was donated to A&SC in 2019, by Karen Newhouse, who served as Director of this office from 1970-2010, and includes materials documenting the work of various UCSF organizations committed to advancing diversity on campus, including Council of Minority Organizations (COMO), the Latin American Campus Association (LACA), and the pioneering Black Caucus organization, which was founded in May of 1968 – one month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the finding aid to the initial deposit notes, the organization is open to all Black women and men on campus, and “was instrumental in the establishment of an Affirmative Action Office, minority training programs and focused attention on the need for increased minority student enrollment at the UCSF campus.”

UCSF Black Caucus Flyer on a National Survey on Minority Admissions, January 1973, Black Caucus Records, MSS 85-38, UCSF Archives & Special Collections

Another exciting addition to the UCSF Archives includes the papers of Benjamin Libet – a neurophysiologist and professor of physiology at UCSF for nearly 50 years. Very recently donated to the Archives by his daughter Moreen, Libet’s papers consist of his personal files of research into the human brain, as well as extensive documentation of his experiments attempting to locate the origin of “free will.” The “Libet Experiment,” as it has come to be called, was conducted in the 1980s, and tried to determine whether conscious decisions first originate in the body or in the brain by asking subjects to perform simple movements while measuring their brain activity. This study seemed to indicate that the brain registers the decision to make a movement before a person is consciously aware of the decision to move, suggesting that decisions may originate in the body, and, as some have suggested, possibly disproving the idea of “free will.” This assertion of physical determinism has been much debated, and Libet’s experiments continue to be of great interest. His papers include some of the experimental devices that were constructed to help measure these brain activities, as well as handwritten notes, graphs and diagrams, and the data produced over the course these experiments. The collection is still in the process of being accessioned and inventoried, but will be available soon via OAC and the Library catalog.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these collections, or have questions about A&SC’s extensive digital collections, please feel free to get in touch.

Celebrating National Nurses Week and Florence Nightingale, handwashing innovator

By Erin Hurley, User Services & Accessioning Archivist

Although, in 2020, advice like “wash your hands” and “cover your mouth when you cough” seem fairly obvious and common sense, there was a time when this was not the case. That time was March 1855, when the situation in British hospitals outside of Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) during the Crimean War had become so dire that Florence Nightingale and 40 other women acting as trained volunteer nurses were finally allowed access to patients (they had previously been denied access because of their gender). Hospitals were overcrowded and extremely unsanitary conditions encouraged the spread of infectious diseases like cholera, typhoid, typhus and dysentery, which Nightingale recognized immediately. She implemented basic cleanliness measures, such as baths for patients, clean facilities, and fresh linens, and advocated for an approach that addressed the psychological and emotional, as well as the physical, needs of patients. Her improvements brought a dramatic decline in the mortality rate at these hospitals, which had previously been as high as 40%.

While Nightingale is well known as one of the world’s first nurses, she is less well known for her strikingly lovely data visualizations (including pie charts and a rose-shaped design called the “coxcomb”), which she used to highlight the number of deaths from diseases, in addition to deaths from wounds or injury, during the Crimean War. Nightingale, a mathematician and statistician, recognized the importance of eye-catching visuals in communicating the impact of her innovations.

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th (National Nurses Day) and ends each year on May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthday). Today, we celebrate the history of nursing and nurses of all kinds, and the essential, life-saving work that they perform. We hope you enjoy this series of digital images from UCSF’s Archives & Special Collections, all digitized and available online through Calisphere. Archives & Special Collections also holds the fascinating Florence Nightingale Memorial Collection, created by Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe & the Fish, which you can read more about here.

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

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

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*

Base Hospital No. 30, One Hundred Years Later – Part Three: The Work of the Hospital

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

One-hundred years ago, the First World War raged into its fourth year. Millions perished in the conflict as the armies of the “civilized” nations applied industrial efficiency to the brutality of warfare. The first weeks of conflict in 1914 shattered traditional conceptions of war. While battlefield success once depended on the ability to field more and better-trained men, the machines of the modern age leveled numerical and soldiery advantages. These new weapons wreaked death and destruction on unprecedented scales and forced the survivors to dig defensive trenchworks that quickly stretched from the Alps to the English Channel along Germany’s Western Front. A deadly stalemate ensued as opposing armies attempted to cross the no man’s land between the trenchworks, often suffering enormous losses in futile assaults. The war became one of attrition and soon caught civilians in its machinations as the richest economies in Europe quickly drained their resources into supplying the war machine.

The entry of the United States into the war in 1917 promised a glimmer of hope for the Allies that they would finally be able to overwhelm the Germans, but it would take time for the enormous resources of the unscathed Americans to be brought to bear. Meanwhile, the Russian collapse in March 1918 presented the German High Command with an opportunity to break the stalemate and deliver a knockout blow before the Americans could fully mobilize by shifting more than fifty divisions of troops from the Russian frontier to the Western Front. The Kaiserschacht, or Spring Offensive, would be the largest German assault of the entire war, with more than three million soldiers poised to break through the Allies’ lines and force a peace on German terms.

Figure 11 – Group photo, nurses and soldiers, World War I.

Meanwhile, the men and women of U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 30—the University of California School of Medicine Unit—arrived in France with the expectation of providing expert medical care to the soldiers wounded on the front lines. The hospital unit ostensibly formed before Congress officially declared war on April 6, 1917, and they spent more than a year gathering supplies and personnel, raising funds, navigating the Army bureaucracy, training in the latest medical techniques and military drills, and traveling to France where they expected to set up a hospital and get to “the work” of caring for the wounded. What they found in France, however, was the Herculean task of converting an ancient resort town in the Auvergne Mountains into a modern hospital.

This entry, the third of four planned posts, will cover “the work” of Base Hospital No. 30. After the arrival of the first patient train in June 1918, hospital personnel worked around the clock caring for thousands of sick and wounded soldiers—many of them surgical cases—right through the Armistice of November 11, 1918. These stories are derived primarily from materials kept at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections at the Parnassus Library in San Francisco, and it is with great appreciation to the archival staff there that I write about the experiences of the men and women of the University of California School of Medicine in the Great War. If you have not read them yet, please take a moment to read Part One: Organization, Mobilization, and Travel and Part Two: France for the context they provide.

Figure 12 – Fighting in Belleau Wood.

The German army began the Kaiserschlacht in March 1918 with a massive artillery barrage, dropping more than one million heavy shells on the Allies’ trenches followed closely by lightning-fast stormtrooper assaults to break through opposing lines and create gaps that could be exploited and held by masses of infantry. This strategy allowed the Germans to break the stalemate that had dominated the Western Front since late 1914 and gain ground. They repeated their process in five separate assaults between March and July, gaining enough ground to put Paris under threat.

By June, as the offensive approached the Marne River, American troops including elements of the U.S. Marine Corps rushed to form defensive lines to hold back the Kaiser’s troops at Belleau Wood near Chateau-Thierry. As the Marines dug hasty defensive positions, retreating French troops warned them of the coming Germans and encouraged the Marines to fall back to better ground.

“Retreat? Hell! We just got here!” replied Captain Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. Fighting from hastily-dug, shallow fighting positions, the Marines took advantage of an 800-yard long wheat field and their training as expert riflemen to halt the German advance and force the Kaiser’s forward elements to dig their own defensive positions in Belleau Wood and the nearby town of Bouresches. Having stalled the Germans, the Americans knew that they had to counterattack before the Germans could dig in too far.

On the morning of June 6, 1918, the Marines charged across the knee-high wheat fields separating them from the entrenched Germans. As they ran, German machineguns opened up, cutting down the charging Americans like the wheat through which they ran. German artillery rained down on the Marines with the high explosive shells shaking the ground and shattering bodies. Despite heavy losses, the Marines managed to reach the edge of the woods and the outskirts of Bouresches before their assault finally stalled, but they paid a heavy price. It was the costliest single day of fighting in the history of the Marine Corps to that date as 228 men gave up their lives and another 859 suffered wounds. And the fighting was far from over.

Over the subsequent twenty days, the Marines fought so fiercely to dislodge the Germans from Belleau Wood that they earned the nickname Teufel Hunden or “Devil Dogs” from their German opponents. The fighting was often hand-to-hand with artillery splintering the trees and filling the air with deadly wooden splinters in addition to shrapnel. Desperate to halt the American advance, the Germans deployed mustard gas, a chemical weapon that painfully blisters the skin, burns the eyes resulting in blindness, and inflames the lungs making breathing impossible if inhaled. As many as 2,000 Marines fell victim to the gas. By June 26, when the Marines finally secured Belleau Wood, they had suffered 1,811 killed and 7,966 wounded.

Figure 13 – Evacuating the Wounded.

The wounded began a journey through a tiered system of medical care established by the Army. The first stage consisted of regimental aid stations located just behind the front lines. Those who were able to do so walked to these stations while stretcher bearers carried the rest. Medical corpsmen and the occasional doctor would dress their wounds, send superficial cases back to the front lines, and coordinate the evacuation of the seriously wounded by motorized ambulance to the clearing stations and field hospitals located further behind the lines.

The field hospitals and clearing stations, while out of range of small arms fire, were often still within range of enemy artillery and aircraft. Despite these hazards, teams of nurses, doctors, and surgeons worked to stabilize their patients, clean their wounds, and prepare them for evacuation to the base hospitals located well out of danger. It was at these facilities that nurses would flush the eyes of gas attack victims with saline solution and surgeons would perform emergency surgeries under extreme conditions, often lacking proper supplies. The wounded who could be stabilized enough for the trip would then be loaded onto hospital trains for the journey to base hospitals like Base Hospital Thirty at Royat, five-hundred kilometers away from the front at Chateau-Thierry.

Figure 14 – The Hospital Trains.

When the first hospital train arrived at Base Hospital No. 30 on June 12, 1918, the hospital was not yet operational as the main kitchen installation was incomplete. Thankfully, the 360 patients aboard that first train were primarily convalescents who were able to help complete the preparations in time for the second train’s arrival on June 17. This second train held 461 seriously wounded patients from the fighting near Belleau Wood. Captain Earnest H. Falconer, Medical Corps (MC), described the scene for posterity in the pages of The Record:

On June 17 a train arrived in two sections, containing many gas cases…. These cases had been gassed on June 14. Many of them had severe skin burns, some comprising as much as one-eighth to one-half the total skin surface. In the more superficial burns the skin was a dusky purplish to reddish purple hue. The deeper burns were pale, translucent, edematous, with many blisters. In most cases serum was drained from blisters. The serum from these blisters was very irritating to the skin of the hands of the dressers, causing in some cases a mild dermatitis to be set up…. Nearly all these cases had burns on the scrotum and penis, which were painful and very slow healing. Also nearly all the cases had burns of the lids and conjunctiva, with occasional burns of the face and scalp. Many cases of bronchopneumonia were already present when the patients were admitted, and a number of these cases developed shortly after admission. These cases were nearly all fatal…. The cases with superficial burns healed for the most part very slowly. New skin formation progressed slowly, and the crusts that formed invariably contained pus beneath them.

Base Hospital Thirty consisted of 25 officers (all physicians), 65 nurses, and about 150 enlisted corpsmen. By June 18, they were treating 821 wounded soldiers, many requiring extra attention due to the nature of their injuries. The staff worked continually performing surgery, cleaning wounds, and feeding the patients, all the while continuing their efforts to improve the hospital’s infrastructure. Thankfully, the surgical cases in the first two trains were less taxing because their wounds had been debrided of foreign objects and dead and damaged tissue at the clearing stations and field hospitals. Amputations were dressed but kept open, allowing hospital staff to manage the healing process and maintain an aseptic wound environment. This was achieved through the Carrel-Dakin method, which involved applying diluted chlorine and bleach solution to wounds and dressings to prevent infections. It must have been an excruciating experience for the patients, but it worked to prevent deadly infections in the era before antibiotics.

Unfortunately, not all patients arrived in similarly good conditions. A train on August 21 contained men who had been kept in the clearing stations as medical professionals attempted to stabilize them enough for travel. They arrived with infected wounds requiring extensive debridement, additional surgery, and the occasional re-amputation of a limb to establish aseptic wound environments.

After the arrival of the first trains in June, hospital staff worked around the clock for months on end. Patient trains would arrive, usually and preferably with some notice, and the wounded would be carried by stretcher into the hospital and sorted. Surgical teams worked continuously, often without the aid of the x-ray machines for a want of electric power. The laboratory was similarly handicapped, making diagnosis and treatment that much harder for physicians. Nurses worked tirelessly to clean wounds, dole out medications, fill out charts, and keep a clean and ventilated environment. Corpsmen carried patients up several flights of stairs to their rooms, hauled water in buckets for want of proper plumbing, cooked meals in the kitchens and delivered them to non-ambulatory patients’ rooms, removed waste from the rooms, made new batches of Carrel-Dakin solution, worked to improve the plumbing and heating in the old hotels, loaded and unloaded hospital and supply trains, and somehow found a way to help keep the streets of Royat clean and the hotel cesspools from overflowing. There was so much work that ambulatory patients were conscripted to assist. And just when the hospital appeared to find its rhythm, events found a way to throw it off.

Figure 15 – The Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

On September 22, 1918, when the hospital was near full capacity, a train full of French patients arrived in the middle of the night without prior notice. Due to the hour, the hospital staff decided that the best course of action was to distribute the new patients throughout the hospital wherever a spare bed could be found. Unfortunately, they discovered that practically all the new patients were suffering from acute respiratory infection. Distributing them through the hospital into crowded rooms exposed other patients as well as the staff to infection.

By the end of September, as many as 40 of the 150 enlisted men assigned to Base Hospital No. 30 had to be hospitalized themselves, and many officers and nurses were also afflicted to a milder degree. Five corpsmen and one officer died from their infections, and as the epidemic spread among neighboring units, the hospital’s local admissions amounted to between 30 and 70 new patients a day. Making matters more difficult, the hospital’s laboratory officer and his assistants fell ill, necessitating a suspension of investigative work on the mysterious disease. Autopsies of the first victims indicated the cause of death to be pneumonia developed as a complication following a likely infection of influenza. The hospital staff could do little to combat the contagious disease other than to reorganize the patients to attempt to hinder its spread.

While Base Hospital Thirty dealt with its share of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, they received orders to expand the hospital to accommodate anticipated casualties from the ongoing Allied counteroffensive. The Germans’ kaiserschlacht floundered in July and the Allies, their numbers and supplies flush with fresh American troops and materiel, had been pushing the Germans back ever since. Base Hospital No. 30 officers examined potential sites for expansion in Royat and completed leases for new buildings in September. They established another surgical unit and moved their administrative offices into the Royat Palace Hotel on September 26. The new buildings allowed them to finally abandon the old “dungeon” kitchen in the Continental hotel and create a new kitchen in the Grand Hotel, which did not have the Continental’s cesspool problems. The new space also allowed for the creation of a dedicated ward for respiratory and enteric cases, freeing up space in the already-established portions of the hospital for surgical and bed-ridden patients.

Figure 16 – Patient wards at Base Hospital No. 30 in Royat, France, 1918-1919.

The hospital also expanded beyond adding new wards. Corpsmen built warehouses near the rail head to ease the burdens of transferring supplies and coal bunkers to provide a consistent fuel supply for heating the hospital as the days and nights grew colder. The Army assigned more corpsmen to the hospital staff, and the officers organized a small local labor force to help keep up with waste, garbage, and maintenance concerns. Perhaps the most welcome addition to the hospital’s roster was a section of Army engineers to finally improve the hospital’s water, sewer, and electrical supplies. Corpsmen would no longer have to haul buckets of water up stairs or worry about overflowing cesspools, allowing them to do the work for which they trained, and there was plenty of that to go around. By the end of September 1918, Base Hospital No. 30 had roughly 30 physicians, 60 nurses, and 250 corpsmen to take care of a 2,400-bed facility, and the combination of the war and pandemic ensured that the hospital continued to operate near capacity. Beyond the work in Royat, the UC Medical School unit also contributed surgical teams to support the effort of stabilizing the wounded near the front lines. Two such teams, each consisting of two surgeons, two nurses, and three corpsmen, set out for the front lines to work in field hospitals to provide surgical intervention to wounded men, often within only a few hours of their injuries.

Figure 17 – Members of Surgical Team 50: Weeks, Woolsey, Dunn & Ireland.

Surgical Team No. 50 was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alanson Weeks, who once played fullback for the undefeated 1898 Michigan Wolverines before moving to San Francisco to become a surgeon. Alongside Captain John Homer Woolsey, Nurses Agnes Dunn and Alta Ireland, and three enlisted men, Weeks set out for the front lines on June 6, 1918. The team arrived at the American Red Cross Hospital at Juilly (today on the northeast outskirts of Paris) at 3 p.m. on the 7th and his team was immediately assigned to an operating room and remained in surgery until 8 o’clock the following morning.  Dr. Weeks recalled the experiences of the team’s time at Juilly in The Record:

The wounds were very severe in type, many fractures and a high percentage were infected with “gas” bacilli. There were also 300 “gassed” cases who were first treated at this hospital. The sight of these gassed men, lying on stretchers and filling the entire courtyard—blinded, hacking, begging for water, for protection from the sunlight for their sensitive eyes, and for something to relieve their pain—gave all of us a craving desire to meet the Hun and kill. June 16 saw the end of this tremendous rush of wounded…. The Team operated for the most part at night and during its watch cared for all neurological cases and approximately a total of 240 wounded.

Surgical Team Fifty specialized in neurological cases, of which there were many. Due to the nature of trench warfare, headwounds were frighteningly common as the soldier’s head was usually the only part of his body exposed to enemy fire. But like all surgical teams, No. 50 dealt with all types of cases as they came in, often without much notice. Victims of gunshots, artillery shrapnel, high explosive shock, chemical weapons, and even bayonet wounds were common sights, and the work kept coming. The seventeen-hour shift the team worked on its first day at Juilly would become routine until the team returned to Base Hospital Thirty in late October.

Before Surgical Team No. 50 could return, Base Hospital No. 30 sent out another surgical team, No. 51, under the command of Major Herbert S. Thomson on September 10 to support the evacuation hospital at Toul, near Nancy to support the St. Mihiel offensive. Accompanying Dr. Thomson was Captain Homer C. Seaver, who had graduated from the University of California Medical School only weeks before deploying to France, along with nurses Adelaide Brown and Kathleen Fores and three corpsmen.

Shortly after arriving at Toul, Surgical Team Fifty-One was put to work and faced similar working conditions to their predecessors, working seventeen out of the first twenty-four hours. They only saw the most serious cases and had no opportunity to follow up on their patients. As soon as they finished working to stabilize one patient, orderlies would take him off the table and another patient would take his place. The pace of work and long days coincided with the military offensives as the team worked sixteen- or seventeen-hour shifts for a week during the St. Mihiel offensive. During the space between assaults, the teams often found themselves traveling to a new front to support a new offensive.

Imagine graduating medical school and within a matter of weeks finding yourself working 16-hour days, seven days a week, doing nothing but intensive surgery on the most severe trauma cases imaginable and not being able to follow up on the results of your work because there are so many patients waiting—and literally dying in the process—for you to save their life. Such was the medical residency of Dr. Homer C. Seaver.

Figure 18 – The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, September 26 – November 11, 1918.

In October, Surgical Team No. 51 received orders to support the offensive into the Argonne Forest. The fighting there resembled Belleau Wood. The Germans had been beating a slow retreat since June, but now that their homeland was imperiled for the first time of the war, they turned and fought hard. In his account of the event for The Record, Major Thomson described the work in the Argonne:

We were ordered from Toul to the Argonne Forest on October 8 and received transportation by ambulances to Evacuation Hospital No. 14, situated in the Argonne Forest near the village of Les Islettes. This hospital was situated in the heart of the Argonne Forest near the line of American advance and in a country that had been completely destroyed by the Germans in their former campaign. The hospital was entirely under canvas except for a small chateau which housed the nurses and senior officers. This country was very wet; it rained nearly every day and there was mud everywhere. The operating tent was pitched on the ground and for the first few days there was considerable mud on the operating room floor. In order to go from the operating room to the wards, one had to wade through about six or eight inches of mud. While at Les Islettes, the Team was busy all the time, working on the twelve-hour shift. There never was a time when anyone had a breathing spell as the triage was always filled with patients and there was frequently a line of ambulances waiting in the road. At this hospital, only the seriously wounded were treated and there was a very large number of gas infections. Many times, patients were brought in from two or three days after being wounded and a patient was rarely operated on within 15 hours of being wounded. At this hospital, we were near the German lines and were treated to the spectacle of anti-aircraft guns shooting at the German planes and could always see the observation balloons over the forest to the north. It was difficult to get supplies in this region and the hospital was rather poorly equipped. On the 25th of October the Team was ordered to return to Base Hospital Thirty.

Thus, the work of Base Hospital No. 30 continued throughout the long months from June to November 1918. Their commemorative book The Record demonstrates just how busy “the work of the hospital” really was by its absences more than its inclusions. The pages of The Record are filled with pictures from the hospital unit’s early days of organization, its travels to France, and its struggles to transform a resort town into a modern hospital. But it only includes a few pictures of “the work.” Perhaps this absence is due to the fact that everyone was too busy caring for their charges to be able to take pictures or jot down notes for posterity. Or perhaps the absence marks a time in the history of Base Hospital No. 30 that needed no commemoration in something like The Record because those who were there remember it well. Perhaps both possibilities are true.

Figure 19 – Armistice Declared, November 11, 1918.

Regardless, when the Armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and while the world breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the fighting, “the work of the hospital” at Base Hospital No. 30 and other hospitals throughout Europe and the United States continued at a frantic pace. For weeks, wounded men would continue to pour in to Royat.

This concludes Part Three: The Work of the Hospital. One part yet remains in the tale of the remarkable men and women of Base Hospital Thirty. In the final part of this series, we will take a closer look at some of the remarkable people who carried out that work, how they came home again, and what happened to them after the war.

In the meantime, I want to take the opportunity to encourage you to take a moment and visit the collection at the University of California San Francisco’s Parnassus Library in the Archives and Special Collections to read more about the incredible men and women who made up the University of California Medical School Unit in the First World War.

Figures:

11 – “Group photo, nurses and soldiers, World War I,” circa 1917, Mount Zion Photo Collection: Historical Life, UC San Francisco, Library, UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion Archives, Calisphere, https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/c8028ttx/, accessed July 29, 2018.

12 – Georges Scott, “American Marines in Belleau Wood,” circa 1918, Illustrations, Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scott_Belleau_Wood.jpg, accessed July 29, 2018; and George Matthews Harding, “Rounding Up German Prisoners,” July 1, 1918, War Department AF.25747, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_448013, accessed July 29, 2018.

13 – Wallace Morgan, “U.S. Medical Officers,” circa 1918, War Department AF.25791, Smithsonian, http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_448030, accessed July 29, 2018; George Matthews Harding, “First Aid Station with American Wounded,” circa 1918, War Department AF.25742, Smithsonian Museum of American History, http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_448015, accessed July 29, 2018; and Wallace Morgan, “Dressing Station in Ruined Farm,” July 19, 1918, War Department AF.25767, Smithsonian Museum of American History, http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_448052, accessed July 29, 2018.

14 – “Loading and unloading patients during World War I,” circa 1917-1919, Base Hospital #30 Collection, UC San Francisco, Library, University Archives, Calisphere, https://calisphere.org/item/d3c4b7a0-ec00-4a29-99bf-b3157799718a/, accessed July 29, 2018.

15 – “The influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918,” and “St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps personnel wear masks as they hold stretchers next to ambulances in preparation for victims of the influenza epidemic in October 1918,” Library of Congress.

16 – “Surgical ward, an average size room, Hotel Metropole,” circa 1918, Base Hospital #30 Collection, UC San Francisco Library, University Archives, Calisphere, https://calisphere.org/item/ad3fa9c8-8d7e-4068-917f-47c7e4217154, accessed July 29, 2018; and “Surgical ward, German war prisoners, Royat Palace,” circa 1918, Base Hospital #30 Collection, UC San Francisco Library, University Archives, Calisphere, https://calisphere.org/item/69deaae8-23af-4dd4-8092-19237319153d, accessed July 29, 2018.

17 – “Alanson Weeks in uniform,” circa 1917-1919, Woolsey (John Homer) Papers, UC San Francisco Library, Special Collections, https://calisphere.org/item/5d2ca217-a521-4573-b693-0610c6019ac3, accessed July 30, 2018; “John Homer Woolsey in uniform,” circa 1917-1919, Woolsey (John Homer) Papers, UC San Francisco Library, Special Collections, https://calisphere.org/item/ceae074e-bff0-42a2-890b-b819e0480062, accessed July 30, 2018; and “Misses Dunn and Ireland leaving Clermont-Ferrand,” 1918, Woolsey (John Homer) Papers, UC San Francisco Library, Special Collections, https://calisphere.org/item/f187f041-1911-4aa9-aa26-be3a96d813aa, accessed July 30, 2018.

18 – “Soldiers of Headquarters Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, firing a 37mm gun during the Meuse-Argonne offensive,” 1918, U.S. Army Photo; Lester G. Hornby, “Argonne-Meuse 1918,” 1918, US Army Art Collection.

The Craft of Archival Processing: A Journey through Space and Time with Dr. Mary Olney

Introduction by Polina Ilieva

During the spring semester 2018 the archives team co-taught and facilitated a new History of Health Sciences course, the Anatomy of an Archive. The idea of this course was conceived by the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine (DAHSM) Assistant Professor, Aimee Medeiros and UCSF Head of Archives & Special Collections, Polina Ilieva. Kelsi Evans, Project Archivist, co-facilitated the discussion sessions and Kelsi, Polina and David Uhlich, Access and Collections Archivist, served as mentors for students’ processing projects throughout the duration of the course.

The goal of this course was to provide an overview of archival science with an emphasis on the theory, methodology, technologies and best practices of archival research, arrangement and description. The archivists put together a list of collections requiring processing and also corresponding to students’ research interests and each student selected one that she/he worked on with her/his mentor to arrange and create a finding aid. During this 10 week long assignment students developed competence researching and describing an archival collection, as well as interpreting the historical record. At the conclusion of this course students wrote a story about their experience and collections they researched for the archives blog. In the next three weeks we will be sharing these posts with you.

Our final story comes from Hsinyi Hsieh, PhD student, UCSF Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine.

Post by Hsinyi Hsieh

Building an archival collection is similar to traveling through space and time. Before embarking on this journey, archival practitioners need to possess a diverse set of creative and sensitive abilities—specifically, a knowledge of scientific principles, a familiarity with artful practices, and the ability to think critically. Most significantly, processing a collection requires getting your hands dirty, interacting with various types of historical materials, and building a rapport with future researchers. I am grateful to have worked with Kelsi Evans and Polina Ilieva, archivists at UCSF, who not only taught me the craft of archival work through the Mary Olney collection but also provided me with a golden opportunity to travel with Dr. Olney. [1]

Figure 1: Mary Olney’s contribution on “Sugar Free Summer,” San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle June 5, 1983. Olney papers, MSS 98-64.

My archival journey began by imbibing tacit knowledge about processing archival collections. When we encountered some mold affected materials in the Mary Olney collection, the UCSF archivists taught me how to assess a mold bloom. It was truly a fascinating experience to watch as Kelsi and Polina observed the color and smell of the document and defined whether the mold actively presented a hazard to the unaffected materials. This document was sent for professional treatment at the UC Berkeley Library’s Conservation Treatment Division. This is an example of the tacit knowledge possessed by archivists, which only develops through continuous professional practice and education. The mold situation in the archive is akin to unforeseen circumstances arising during a trip. Thanks to the archivists’ expertise, we successfully prevented the other materials from being affected by the mold and kept our archival journey going.

Family camp, 1976. Olney papers, MSS 98-64.

The adventure had the perfect mixture of historical lessons and archival practice. I had the opportunity to learn about Dr. Olney’s experiences as a female pediatrician, social advocate, and director of the Diabetic Youth Foundation (DYF) and its summer camps for diabetic children. As I learned more about the collection, I was able to arrange its photos, pamphlets, and correspondences for future researchers interested not only in Dr. Olney but also pediatric diabetic patients.. Through this immersive experience, I felt as though I had become a part of her camping staff but in the future. In fact, during the archival arrangement, we also reconstructed the progress of Dr. Olney’s efforts in running the summer camps for decades—notably, her hard work in terms of fundraising, staff training, and building relationships with other relevant organizations. Mary Olney was a pioneering pediatrician who not only operated under the broad vision of improving the lives of diabetic children but also employed a practical outlook, doing everything she could to maintain the summer camp for decades.

Figure 3: The cover of Bear Facts, First issue, Second session, Aug 4, 1985. Olney papers, MSS 98-64.

During archival processing, revealing the mystery of certain folders is much like exploring exotic locations while traveling. For example, I was preoccupied with examining several folders in Dr. Olney’s collection that were labeled “loose papers.” Upon examining the documents inside these folders, I found that most of the materials—specifically Bear Facts and Whitaker Whiz—were from the DYF newsletters, which aimed at improving health communication among young diabetic patients. The DYF newsletter was published since the early 1940s and targeted young patients; the newsletter introduced camping programs, provided health information about diabetes, and featured beautiful artwork and written compositions by these patients.

By relabeling these materials, “loose papers,” the archivists were able to provide researchers with more accurate finding aids and inspiration as well. Imagine that you are visiting a new country and are consulting a number of travel guides; the ones that are written more clearly might contain better suggestions on places to explore; these recommendations might be missed if you followed the relatively unclear guidebooks. Further, information that is more accurate can enable researchers to ask questions that might never occur to them otherwise. Take the DYF newsletters, for example. How do the articles in Bear Facts and Whitaker Whiz communicate medical knowledge about diet to young patients and their families? Thus, clarifying vague folder names might improve the experience of users and researchers when exploring such archives, thereby enabling them to contemplate new historical questions.

Figure 4: Diet suggestion on Whitaker Whiz, August 22, 1951. Olney papers, MSS 98-64.

The task of processing the archival collection took me on a journey to Northern California with Dr. Olney and the DYF foundation during the twentieth century. It took me back to when and where the materials originated and how they would go on to influence researchers in the future. During her lifetime, Dr. Olney continued with her efforts to translate her expertise and knowledge into useful information for young diabetic patients. It takes the invisible labor of archivists to make these accomplishments visible and highlight all aspects of her persona: a female pediatrician, a camp organizer, a Northern California resident, a daughter, and a woman. This has been possible only through processing this archival collection. Thus, the work of archival practitioners plays a crucial role in enabling future researchers to embark on a journey with Dr. Mary Olney. Let me tell you, it is a fun and interesting ride!

[1] On the life history of Mary Olney, please see Sharon R. Kaufman, 1994. The Healer’s Tale: Transforming Medicine and Culture. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. Kelsi Evans, 2015. “Celebrating Food Day: Recipes from the Archives.” Source: https://blogs.library.ucsf.edu/broughttolight/2015/10/23/celebrating-food-day-recipes-from-the-archives/.