Why Archives?

Have you ever wondered what San Francisco General Hospital was like 20, 50, or 100 years ago?  What patient care looked like before the invention of plastic?  How the hospital handled devastating epidemics like tuberculosis and AIDS?

The answers to these questions, and many more, are locked in the old documents and records produced in the everyday business of the hospital.  However, until now, SFGH has never had its own archives to house these valuable materials.

Soon, that’s going to change.  With dedicated space in the Barnett-Briggs Medical Library and funding from an SFGH Foundation Hearts Grant, the SFGH archives is becoming a reality.  We already have a small collection of photographs, documents, scrapbooks, blueprints, and other materials, and we’re searching for more materials that help record the history of the hospital and tell the multitude of stories that SFGH has accumulated over the years.

The archives accepts all kinds of materials, from posters and ephemera to annual reports and correspondence.  We’ll even accept some artifacts that are closely tied to SFGH’s history.  If it records what SFGH has done, keeps track of the hospital’s accomplishments and achievements, or describes the people of SFGH, we want it!

An archives at SFGH means a record of all the good that is done here and a lasting legacy of the people who dedicate their time and energy to caring for the San Francisco community.  It means that the tireless work performed, the advances in patient care developed, the stories and memories created, and the effort put forth every day to change lives and care for those who need it most will not be forgotten.

The archives will be a physical place that members of the SFGH and San Francisco communities can visit to learn more about the history of the hospital and its impact on the city as a whole.  It will create a greater presence in the hearts, minds, and lives of the community, while also cementing SFGH in the history of San Francisco as an integral part of the culture and character of the city.

The archives will be a historical presence representing SFGH as a prominent contributor of standards and practices of patient care in the medical community.  It will ensure that the research and advancement of evidence-based practice at SFGH will be remembered and recognized, and we’ll know that SFGH will be included in the work of scholars, historians, and academics for future generations to learn from and appreciate.

We need your help to develop this valuable resource!  You can contribute to the record of SFGH’s history by providing materials to go into the archives.  We’re looking for materials that are no longer in use but that have lasting historical, administrative, legal, or financial value.  Let’s do this!

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