Historical Documents

The San Francisco Microscopical Society has a rich and fascinating history which is revealed through the archives of the society. These are, of course, almost exclusively paper documents which are largely out of reach of the regular membership. we have converted some of these documents to electronic form for the edification of others who might share my enjoyment in them. Time and opportunity permitting, we will add to this modest collection in the future. For now, we share below several such fascinating glimpses into the past of the San Francisco Microscopical Society.

1893 - Transactions of the San Francisco Microscopical Society

The first and likely only issue of the Society's scientific journal. Stanford University generously allowed Google Books to display the entire content of this volume.

View this document at Google Books.

1946 - An Invitation to Re-Form the San Francisco Microscopical Society

After formation in 1872 and a successful existence of some 30 years, the Society was disbanded and lay dormant for more than 40 years until George W. Needham moved to San Francisco and decided that we should, once again, have an active microscopical society. Mr. Needham was just the man to re-organize and re-establish the society, being a Past President of the New York Microscopical Society and a Fellow in the Royal Microscopical Society of London. In 1958 he would published his acclaimed text, The Practical Use of the Microscope, Including Photomicrography, but in 1946 he set his sights on more local endeavors, circulating the invitation we reproduce here. In it he called for the assembly of interested microscopists and the re-establishment of the San Francisco Microscopical Society, noting that,

"After a lapse of forty years, the formation of a new Society to carry on the high ideals of the original organization is a most worthy effort and deserving of the full support of all serious workers with the microscope."

"Here, Here," George! Well said!

View a reproduction of this most interesting document.

1952 - SFMS Microscope Note and News No. 1: Rheinberg Illumination

In April of 1952, then-secretary Patricia Harris, in an effort to stimulate new interest among the membership, published the first issue of the SFMS Microscope Note and News. The News was said to be "Published Occasionally" by the Society, a forecast which has proven to be true only under the most liberal interpretation of "occasionally" as no other example is known to have appeared in the 45 years since! But hey, one is better than none, right? And this one is worth having for its simple explanation of the much under-utilized technique of illumination known as Rheinberg Illumination.

View a reproduction of the first (and only?) issue of the  SFMS Microscope Note and News.

1990s - Michael Kan Archives

A collection of videos, including documentation of a number of meetings of SFMS from the 1990s.

View these videos at Internet Archive.