Michelle Min: The Media Resources Center (special collections)

April 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late post! I somehow thought I had done this after our class on Monday.

The Media Resources Center is two floors down from the main entrance floor of Moffit Undergraduate Library. Take the stairs or elevator, you will get there.

Follow the halls until you come across a purple wall, and you have found the MRC.

It was smaller than I expected, and quite cluttered. Like I mentioned in class, they are in the process of repackaging and reducing their materials in anticipation of a move in the distant future. 

They have all sorts of recorded material, not just DVDs. They have CDs and cassette tapes as well. Unless you know exactly what you want, try out their own page to browse collections: it has been designed to be used for scholarly purposes (divided by academic field, interest, etc). (They could do with a website redesign). http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/

Say you want to study the influence of Disney on popular culture in the post ww2 years..
Check out The Disneyland Anthology from 1954. Interested in how Disney built support of the government’s space programs? Check out Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond from 1955. 

Students can’t check out materials. There are two large viewing rooms and seat between 15 and 20 people, and if you want to view alone, there are cubicles for your viewing pleasure.

Here is a link to my presentation if you are interested in photos: http://prezi.com/zq1d8kd0vzy8/media-resources-center/


M-Th 9AM to 8:45PM
Fri 9AM to 4:45PM 
Sat 12PM to 4:45PM 
Sun 1PM to 8:45PM


Michelle Min: Film Resources

April 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

(1) A Midwife’s Tale

A 1998 PBS American Experience documentary on the life of Martha Ballard. She was an American midwife in the 18th century alive from 1785 to 1812. It uses her diaries (primary source) to understand 18th century America, not only in terms of birthing attitudes, but also poverty, disease, domestic abuse, and social turmoil. It is a relatively rarer look at that time period from a woman’s P.O.V. and even rarer from a midwife, a working woman.

It is available in the MRC (media resources center)

(2) The Business of Being Born

I definitely expected this documentary to be available because it is current and very popular today. (In fact, I helped kickstart the sequel series). It attempts to chronicle the history of medicalized birth in America and outline the key issues in maternal care today. This is the movie that got me started on this topic, disclaimer.

(3) Call the Midwife (BBC series)

This is a currently running show by BBC and run by PBS in the states. It is about working midwives in 1960s West End of London, a “poor” neighborhood. It is based on the memoirs of a midwife of the time. I would consider using this to compare attitudes towards midwives outside of the US (Britain, here). Midwives are pretty common and crucial to the maternal health care central in parts of Europe.

— 1-3 were found using the search term “midwif*” on OskiCat’s film category.

(4) Using the search term “obstetric*” I found All My Babies, a midwife’s own story.

It is a training film for midwives!! This is by far the most interesting result I have gotten today. It gives me the most interesting look at the ideas (medical, social) that were aimed at midwives in the 1950s. Furthermore, it is focused on an African American midwife, and I think that black women were far more likely to receive midwife care at a time that hospital care was costly and discriminatory. I would like to research how this might relate to the higher rate of infant and maternal mortality in black women compared to other women in the US. This is the Pacific Film Archive though so I will have to extra motivated to pay for the screening.

Michelle Min: Visual Resources

April 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

(1) I started my search for visual resources by searching OskiCat. The search term was midwif* and I added the restriction of pictures and visual material only. No luck.
So I tried “american birth” instead and I was surprised that the one hit, though it bore no relation to my research topic, was a library item of a box of photographs of Yoshiko Uchida, who if I am not mistaken, is Yuki’s research subject. Yuki: Here it is if you want to check it out.

(2) I visited the Art History/Classics site but considering that my topic of human birth/medical history, I skimmed the indexes and decided to try my luck elsewhere. (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ARTH/arthistresources.html)

(3) On Calisphere I found some pictures of a woman (naked) moving from a birth area to a menstrual area with her birth attendant. It is unrelated to my topic, though, because it is not American history or the right time period either. Interesting photo.
I found a picture from a March of Dimes parade in LA from the 50s. I can’t see myself using this  specific picture heavily in any argument for “changing attitudes of birth”, but the March of Dimes itself is pretty significant and I hadn’t even considered it. Unfortunately, it is the only March of Dimes photo in the Calisphere collections.Not sure how to add the photo into this wordpress editor so here is the link: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/hb7199p17r/?query=birth%20&brand=calisphere

Then I found a picture of Vorbeck Maternity Hospital in Wilmar, CA. Calisphere didn’t say it was located in Wilmar, but after some google sleuthing, I found that city names have changed and such over the decades. It was very eerie, because many of the commenters on the thread were saying that they did not know why they or someone they knew was born there, or that they can not seem to find Vorbeck… which sounds like a I movie twist to me…

Photo: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/c86h4fbx/?query=maternity&brand=calisphere

Here’s Miss Freise’s Maternity Hospital 1950s: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9290290h/?query=maternity&brand=calisphere

And a Maternity Hospital in Tulare County in the 1940s: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/c83f4mzf/?query=maternity&brand=calisphere

What I find significant about Vorbeck and Miss Freise’s is that they seem to be named after individuals (the doctor or owner, perhaps), while in the 40s the maternity hospital is unnamed, still looks like a private residence, but also looks modernized as well. I study these photographs and wonder why “maternity hospitals” were (or seem to be) separate, stand alone institutions away from larger hospitals.

(4) The library of congress is awesome. I suck at wordpress, so again, have to give link to photo that I wish I could embed.. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/gsc.5a26125/ It is from the late 1950s. A waiting room in a maternity ward in New Jersey. Think it is very sterile looking, with the man, presumably a father-to-be, waiting outside of the delivery. This is consistent with my understanding that in the conservative 50s, men were still discouraged from participating in the birth experience.

Compare that to this undated photo of a natural childbirth, with the father bending over to celebrate with mother and child: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004665454/

That’s it for now!


Michelle Min: Resource for Christina

March 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi there,

So this week I am digging some stuff up for Christina..

First Find: Map of lands of the University Homestead Association
This is a map from San Francisco/Portola from 1867. (so 5 years after the Homestead Act was passed by Congress). It is the Bancroft Case C, and the reason why I mention this item is that the description was not enough for me to tell how it is even related to the Homestead Act. It’s mounted on cloth and from a book publisher in San Francisco named Mansell. It’s usefulness in your research could be to see how the city of San Francisco was divvied up by blocks and lots, and look up the individuals who owned land following the act – what kind of person owned Homestead land in SF after the Gold Rush?
Call No. G4364.S5:2P62 1867 .M3 

Second Find: Reopening the Frontier: Homesteading in the Modern West
This book, published in 2009, is useful for understanding the effects and lingering impact of the Homestead Act today. What has become of it/the legislation? This book covers the repeal of the Homestead Act. Beginning with WWII vets who tried to benefit from the Act to 21st Century homesteaders who experienced “nightmare”, Reopening the Frontier is a good resource for seeing a more whole picture of the Homestead Act instead of focusing on the 19th century/its conception.
Call No. F596 .C2395 2009  Bancroft in prep for storage 

Third Find: Go West, Young Man!
Who is Horace Greeley? Despite hearing this name in the past, I’ve never felt compelled to look up this American figure. He was a liberal Republican reformer (strange combination of words today), and supported reforms like vegetarianism..! He ran for president in 1872 but died before the electoral votes were counted. He didn’t win, either.
Anyways, he promoted the homestead laws as agrarian reform and this book is an account of his reform actions. I think this book would be useful to see the perspective of a congressman who passionately advocated for the passage of the Homestead Act!
Call No. E415.9.G8 C851 1995


Michelle: ROHO + Other Discoveries

March 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve been feeling a little iffy about my topic, whether it is a legitimate or interesting enough topic…
Today, during my reading of Ruth Rosen’s “The World Split Open” for my US Social Movements class, I read something that definitely related to the research I’m doing in this class.
In the context of the women’s movement/liberation, the 70s saw the development of women’s health organizations and awareness. (eg. Boston Women’s Health Collective). In short, it explained how this part of the movement aimed to reclaim women’s bodies for women, and discussed medicalization of birth as well. “Feminists also began to question the safety and rationale for particular practices and procedures” and “..Pregnancy and childbirth as ‘important feminist life-events’ that need not be medicalized. Women .. should be aware and alert, not drugged while giving birth.. ” Rosen 178-9).

This is just to say that, having assumed but not read in print the significance of attitudes towards child birth in the women’s lib movement gave me confidence that this is still a very relevant and important issue in modern times.


In the 1980s the Bancroft/ROHO conducted an oral history with Jessie Bierman. She was a working doctor in the US Children’s Bureau and WHO between 1926 and 1967. Bierman has a relationship with the UC because (I think) she was a faculty member at either Berkeley or UCSF for some time.

The transcription is 270 pages long. (pretty impressive). There is a useful table of contents in the opening of the manuscript so I skipped ahead to the part of her career spent in Montana as a member of the US Children’s Bureau. I found her account of her experience in Eastern Montana (the boonies, I guess) very interesting. There was a woman in “hard” labor, struggling very much. The nurse had to recall from memory what her superiors had done in case of breech delivery. The other children brought in buckets of water they boiled themselves. Though I doubt Montana, or frontier child birth, will be the focus of my thesis, it was still useful information that I will figure out how to incorporate later.

When asked about her opinion on the women’s movement, (this is the mid 80s again, btw) she thought that women in the movement were rejecting femininity and therefore, children were suffering. She believed that women, but not men, were natural nurturers. The interviewer brought up the fact that Bierman herself had rejected marriage at a young age to attend medical school and become a doctor. She called herself an unusual case. (I found this very similar to Marynia Farnham, another career woman who, in the 40s, decried independent women while being a career woman herself. (props to my social movements class for teaching me this).

Jessie M. Bierman, “Maternal and Child Health in Montana, California, the U.S. Children’s Bureau, and WHO, 1926-1967,” an oral history conducted in 1986 by Jacqueline Parker, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1987.

PDF Transcription.

Other Discoveries:

A few weeks ago Katie suggested through a comment on one of my posts that I should search through the UC archives because a faculty member might have been studying midwifery, possibly at UCSF.

I did a few searches on OskiCat under the “UC Archives” collection and didn’t get hits. I think this might be because the faculty members papers aren’t listed with the subject (the same issue we’ve run into in microfilm, etc). But, it did make me wonder why I wasn’t searching through any other collection so I tried Public Health Library. Here’s what I found..

1. The Future of Midwifery. A joint report of the Pew Health Professions Committee and UCSF Center for the Health Professions.  RG950 .F87 1999

2. Legal Aspects of Midwifery. Bridgit Dimond.
KD2968.M5 D56 1994

and a whole bunch of others. My list of possible sources has now expanded to over 50, including 1 microform and newspapers.

What I learned: I might be spending a lot of time in the Public Health Library in the future. And I want to look into formal obstetrics journals.

TL;DR – I learned a lot.

Michelle Min: Newspapers

March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

I want to preface by emphasizing how invaluable the trip to microfilm/microform/microfiche library was on Monday. It’s just one of those resources I would never have tapped into, or known how to, without guidance. Thanks for a great class!

As I’ve mentioned before, the Bancroft is not the appropriate/best archive for my research purposes. Newspapers, on the other hand… Using the newspaper database, I found a trove of relevant articles. For example,

The Pullman Herald, Oct 16, 1916

The Pullman was a publication from WA state between 1888 and 1898. 
This is a great article because it had a very revealing anti-midwifery stance, comparing the profession to ignorant, uneducated women. This gave me the idea of focusing my topic (“Changing US attitudes towards midwifery between the 18th and 20th centuries) to focus on the relationship between media outlets and the medical community and how they influenced the decline of traditional midwifery in the US.


As for the other online citation/record keeping tools..
Zotero seems like a whole ‘nother thing that I don’t want to get into, and I don’t have Firefox as a browser. Katie helped me understand Evernote a little better and so I’m considering using it for saving my research links and sources. On OskiCat, I’ve been using the “My OskiCat” feature to save records of material that I can actually get from the Berkeley libraries. I have a very long list of printed books that I can now refer to!


Michelle: Exploring the Bancroft

February 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

The Bancroft is an amazing archive. The field trip on Monday made me truly proud of UC Berkeley’s collections.

But, as I found out this week, it’s not the best source for american medical history.

I searched every combination of child birth, birthing practices, twilight sleep, obstetrics, etc.. but I don’t think it’s in “western Americana”. Fortunately, I wasn’t expecting good results so it wasn’t a huge letdown. I think the nature of the Bancroft, its collections and goals just do not align with my topic very well. It’s not a classical view of history, like the documents/primary sources we were shown the other day.

The closest result was the Guide to the Graupner Family Papers, 1886-1962. It’s a record of Arther Graupner’s family records (reports, notes). He was an individual who served as a lawyer in the SF area. His wife Annabel Elize Graupner was involved in charitable organizations, one among them being the “Association for Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality”. I can see a potential there for finding evidence of why Annabel thought this was a charity worth supporting and from there, discerning the state of maternity care in that era.

Will hope for better luck in microfilm!

Michelle Min (SY)

PS sorry for late post last week. I was somehow still thinking that the journals deadline is on Sunday night.