San Francisco, CA
United States
SF History Center, SF Public Library, 100 Larkin St San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Ward 5B/5A Scrapbooks since 25 July 1983
This series of scrapbooks represents the heart of the first AIDS ward, while the communication books, staff meeting minutes, and head nurse files may represent the brains. In these photos, letters, articles, and drawings, we can get a visual sense of important moments in the life of 5B/5A. This series also shows a recognition by the staff that their contribution to medical/nursing history needed to be documented and preserved.
Volume 1 was begun by George Jalbert, a member of the original staff who solicited the red scrapbook as a donation from Mendel's Art Supply in the Haight. From the first week, he encouraged the staff to write the names of patients who died in the front of this book along with comments about them. One of the most moving parts of this collection is the necrology that fills the beginning pages of this book. After several years of use, this scrapbook was retired because it was starting to show significant wear. The necrology was transferred to separate books and that tradition continues to this day. A local bookbinder donated the recovering of the book in the early 1990s.
Volumes 2 - 11 represent a heightened awareness of archival preservation needs brought to the staff by Bill Walker, a nurse, archivist, historian, and librarian who joined the staff in the 80s. Housed in archival-quality, individually-boxed albums, they were assembled by Walker and Steve Keith, one of the original nurses, from a central photo/archive box that was kept on the ward.
Volume 11 remains on 5A and is periodically updated.

San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library