Finding Aid to the Roberta F. Fenlon Papers, 1939-1986 (bulk 1968-1972)

Christina Mune
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2010
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Roberta F. Fenlon Papers, 1939-1986 (bulk 1968-1972)

Collection number: BANC MSS 89/149 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Finding Aid Author(s):
Christina Mune
Date Completed:
Finding Aid Encoded By:
© 2011 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Roberta F. Fenlon papers
Date (inclusive): 1939-1986
Date (bulk): 1968-1972
Collection Number: BANC MSS 89/149 c
Creator: Fenlon, Roberta, 1911-1987
Extent: 4 cartons, 2 oversize boxes 6 linear feet
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Roberta Fenlon papers, 1939-1986, include records and correspondence relating to her professional activity in various medical and healthcare organizations, most notably her presidency of the California Medical Association (1970-1971), her presidency of the San Francisco Medical Society, and her tenure at University of California, San Francisco's School of Medicine.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: .

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Roberta F. Fenlon Papers, BANC MSS 89/149 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Alternate Forms Available

There are no alternate forms of this collection.

Related Collections

Photographs from the Roberta F. Fenlon papers (graphic). BANC PIC 1989.057-PIC
Oral history interview with Roberta Fenlon : oral history transcript. BANC MSS 91/89 c

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
California Medical Association
University of California, San Francisco
Women physicians--History

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Roberta F. Fenlon Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Richard Carlson on January 30, 1989.


No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Christina Mune in 2010.

Biographical Information

Roberta F. Fenlon was born in Clinton, Iowa on June 13, 1911. A prominent local San Francisco physician, she was active in many state and national medical associations and organizations. In the 1940s Fenlon began her residency at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (known after 1970 as UCSF School of Medicine), where she continued teaching as a professor of clinical medicine until the early 1980s, while serving on numerous faculty committees. Fenlon was the first woman elected as president of the San Francisco Medical Society (SFMS) in 1960. In 1970 she became the first woman elected president to the California Medical Association (CMA). During her time as president and after, Fenlon contributed to the CMA's response to state and federal legislation regarding the expansion of public services for health care and compensation for medical services. She died on August 31, 1987 in San Francisco.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Roberta F. Fenlon papers document her professional career as a prominent San Francisco physician and the first female president of the California Medical Association (CMA). The collection includes records and correspondence relating to her professional activity at the CMA, the San Francisco Medical Society (SFMS), UCSF and other medical and healthcare organizations. It also contains notes and transcripts of her speeches, especially during her tenure as CMA president. Some of Fenlon's writings and notes on various medical conditions are also included in the collection. Personal correspondence for 1965-1985, letters of congratulations, and news clippings and press releases of her achievements are also present. While the collection spans 1939 to 1985, the majority of the material is from the 1960s-1970s with much of it concentrated on the period of her CMA presidency.
The collection has been divided into three series: Series 1. Professional Activities including subseries for CMA, UCSF and all other organizations and subject files; Series 2. Writings and Addresses; and Series 3. Personalia. Though arranged into these series, original folder titles and arrangement of items inside each folder has been maintained.

Container Listing


Series 1: Professional Activities. 1944-1986

Physical Description: Cartons 1-2; Carton 3, folders 1-51


Arranged hierarchically. Divided into 3 subseries: 1.1 California Medical Association (CMA); 1.2 University of California, San Francisco; 1.3 Other Organizations/Committees and Subject Files.


Contains correspondence between Fenlon and organizational heads and members, notes, meeting minutes and agendas, and reports issued by various organizations, committees and panels. Subject files consist of collected literature, notes and correspondence regarding the particular healthcare or medical issue.

Subseries 1.1: California Medical Association. 1967-1986

Physical Description: Carton 1; Carton 2, folders 1-10


Arranged alphabetically.


Consists of correspondence, minutes, agendas, notes and reports regarding different committees and issues Fenlon was involved with during and after her tenure as president of the CMA. Of special note are the papers of the Committee on Evolving Trends in Society Affecting Life, which formed the CMA's guidelines on controversial topics such as the interview and examination of rape victims, scientific experimentation on prisoners, defining death for purposes of organ harvesting and hospice care.
carton 1, folder 1

Ad Hoc Committee on the Chancellorship of UCSF. 1972

carton 1, folder 2

Ad Hoc Committee to Review Medi-Cal. 1967-1974

carton 1, folder 3

Advisory Panel – Internal Medicine. 1971

carton 1, folder 4

Assembly Office Research. 1970

carton 1, folder 5

CHA Liaison Committee. 1970

carton 1, folder 6

Commission on State Legislature. 1975

carton 1, folder 7

Communications, Radio Station KDIA Speeches. 1970

carton 1, folders 8-10

Council. 1969-1970

carton 1, folder 11

Council Agenda (annotated). 1970 July

carton 1, folder 12

Council Agenda (annotated). 1970 September

carton 1, folder 13

Council Agenda (annotated). 1971 January

carton 1, folders 14-19

Committee on Evolving Trends in Society Affecting Life (CETSAL). 1974-1979

carton 1, folder 20

Drugs. 1971

carton 1, folder 21-23

Executive Committee. 1970

carton 1, folder 24

Executive Committee Miscellaneous. 1971-1972

carton 1, folder 25

Finance Committee. 1970-1974

carton 1, folder 26

Legislature. 1986

carton 1, folder 27

Liaison Committee to California Blue Shield. 1972

carton 1, folder 28

Medi-Cal. 1971-1983

carton 1, folder 29

Medi-Cal Lawsuit. 1971

carton 1, folder 30

Peer Review (PSRO). 1970-1973

carton 1, folder 31

Poll Committee. 1971

carton 1, folder 32

Therapeutic Abortion Litigation. 1971

carton 1, folder 33

Utilization Committee. 1970

carton 1, folder 34

Woman’s Auxiliary. 1971-1972

carton 1, folder 35

Western Union Telegrams. 1971-1972

carton 2, folders 1-2

CMA Correspondence Received by the Office of the Executive Director. 1971-1972

carton 2, folder 3-6

CMA Correspondence. 1971-1975

carton 2, folders 7-10

CMA Miscellaneous. 1971-1979


Subseries 1.2: University of California, San Francisco. 1963-1978

Physical Description: Carton 2, Folders 11-23


Arranged alphabetically.


Consists of notes, minutes, agendas, annotated reports and correspondence generated by various associations and committees that Fenlon served on during her tenure at UCSF (known as University of California San Francisco Medical Center until 1970). Also includes a file on admission procedures and reviews for the UCSF School of Medicine.
carton 2, folder 11

Advisory Committee for Pre-Retirement Planning. 1966-1968

carton 2, folder 12

Alumni-Faculty Association. 1968-1973

carton 1, folders 13-17

Clinical Faculty Association. 1971-1978

carton 2, folder 18

Continuing Education and the Practicing Physician. 1963-1965

carton 2, folder 19

Long Range Development Plan. 1975

carton 2, folder 20

Medical Staff. 1966-1973

carton 2, folder 21

Professional Liability Committee for Medical Staff. 1976

carton 2, folder 22

Teaching File. 1973-1975

carton 2, folder 23

Miscellaneous Correspondence, Reports and Memos. 1964-1975


Subseries 1.3: Other Organizations/Committees and Subject Files. 1944-1982

Physical Description: Carton 2, folders 24-28; Carton 3, folders 1-51


Arranged alphabetically.


Consists of notes, minutes, agenda, annotated reports and correspondence regarding Fenlon’s activity in various local and national organizations concerned with healthcare and medical issues. Also included are subject files on specific medical conditions and issues. Two folders of professional correspondence, keeping their original folder title of "Correspondence Washington" and "Correspondence Copies Washington" dating from Fenlon’s time in Baltimore, Maryland are filed at the end of the subseries.
carton 2, folder 24

Ad Hoc Committee for Suicide Prevention on the Golden Gate Bridge. 1973-1975

carton 2, folder 25

Advisory Panel on Internal Medicine. 1971

carton 2, folder 26

Advisory Panel on National Health Insurance. 1975

carton 2, folder 27

Alliance for Healthcare. 1971-1973

carton 2, folder 28

American Cancer Society. 1971

carton 3, folder 1

American College of Physicians. 1960-1975

carton 3, folder 2

American Geriatrics Society. 1962-1964

carton 3, folder 3

American Medical Association. 1971-1975

carton 3, folder 4

American Medical Women’s Association. 1956-1965

carton 3, folder 5

American Public Health Association. 1966

carton 3, folders 6-8

American Society of Internal Medicine. 1967-1971

carton 3, folder 9

California Academy of Medicine. 1975

carton 3, folder 10

California Association of Home Health Agencies. 1971

carton 3, folder 11

California Council for Health Care Plan Alternatives. 1966-1969

carton 3, folder 12

California Medical Education and Research Foundation. 1972-1976

carton 3, folder 13

California Republicans. 1969

carton 3, folder 14

California Society of Internal Medicine. 1970

carton 3, folder 15

California State Board of Education, Health Advisory Committee. 1967-1968

carton 3, folder 16

California State Board of Medical Examiners. 1962

carton 3, folder 17

California Dental Association. 1972

carton 3, folder 18

CALPAC Board of Directors’ Meeting. 1970-1972

carton 3, folder 19

Casey Bill -- Welfare. 1966

carton 3, folder 20

China Trip. 1979

carton 3, folder 21

Citizens Committee on Transportation for the Handicapped. 1967-1970

carton 3, folder 22

City and County of San Francisco Department of Social Services. 1969

carton 3, folder 23

Clinical Immunology. 1978

carton 3, folder 24

Committee on Medical Services. 1970

carton 3, folder 25

Corporate Governance and the Advancement of Women. 1981

carton 3, folder 26

Diabetes Update. 1982

carton 3, folder 27

Delphi Study. 1972

carton 3, folder 28

Department of Healthcare Service Regulations (proposed). 1972

carton 3, folder 29

Experimental Health Services Planning. 1971-1973

carton 3, folder 30

Euthanasia. 1972

carton 3, folders 31-32

Health Maintenance Organizations. 1970-1971

carton 3, folder 33

Heart Sounds and Murmurs. 1973

carton 3, folder 34

Himier Report (annotated). 1970

carton 3, folder 35

Home Care Conferences. 1967

carton 3, folder 36

Home Medical Care Advisory Committee. 1962

carton 3, folder 37

Home Services Committee. 1964

carton 3, folder 38

Liaison Committee to Medical Schools. 1971

carton 3, folder 39

Medical Foundations. 1971-1972

carton 3, folder 40

National Health Insurance. 1975

carton 3, folder 41

Preventative Medicine and Public Health. 1971

carton 3, folder 42

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, Health Care Delivery Advisory Committee. 1973

carton 3, folder 43

San Francisco School for Health Professionals. 1972

carton 3, folder 44

Self-help for the Elderly Economic Opportunity Council. 1968

carton 3, folder 45

Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis (patient name information redacted). 1944-1946

carton 3, folder 46

Uuniversity of California Liaison Committee. 1977-1978

carton 3, folder 47

Western Podiatry Congress. 1971

carton 3, folder 48

Westside Community Mental Health Center, Inc. 1972

carton 3, folder 49

Women’s Medical Association. 1964-1965

carton 3, folder 50-51

Correspondence Washington. 1965-1966


Series 2: Writings and Addresses. 1967-1986

Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 52-60; Carton 4, folders 1-5


Arranged alphabetically.


Fenlon’s drafts of papers on medical conditions and healthcare issues, 1982-1986. Speech notes and transcripts including speeches on healthcare costs and Medi-Cal, 1967-1972. Correspondence and notes regarding Fenlon’s work as technical medical consultant for the AMA book, Guide to Health and Well-Being After Fifty . Note that Fenlon’s speeches for KDIA Radio are in the CMA subseries 1.1.
carton 3, folder 52

American Medical Association Guide to Health and Well-Being After Fifty (medical advisor correspondence). 1981-1982

carton 3, folder 53

Government in Medicine Panel Discussion. 1972

carton 3, folder 54

Healthcare Costs Speech. 1967

carton 3, folder 55

Medical Society Speeches (includes correspondence and arrangements). 1970-1971

carton 3, folder 56

Medi-Care Speech. 1984

carton 3, folder 57

Notes on Health Care Plans. 1967

carton 3, folder 58

Notes (Miscellaneous). 1984-1986

carton 3, folder 59

Penicillin Speech. undated

carton 3, folder 60

Women and Medicine Addresses and Notes. 1971

carton 4, folder 1-4

Speeches (Miscellaneous). 1967-1973

carton 4, folder 5

Writings on Medical Disorders. undated


Series 3: Personalia. 1939-1985

Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 6-19; Oversized boxes 1-2


Arranged alphabetically.


Contains news clippings, newsletters, announcements, and periodicals promoting Fenlon’s appointments to the San Francisco Medical Society and California Medical Association, as well as her speeches and appearances during her presidency 1970-1971, including three scrapbooks compiled by Fenlon. Also contains personal correspondence 1966-1985; degrees, awards and certificates spanning her entire education and career; student/alumni papers and a "biography" folder.
carton 4, folder 6

Announcements of CMA Presidential Appointment. 1970

carton 4, folder 7

Biography (UCSF biographical forms and CVs). 1959-1974

carton 4, folder 8

College Reunion. 1986

carton 4, folder 9

Congratulations. 1950-1970

carton 4, folders 10-11

Congratulations and Responses. 1970

carton 4, folders 12-16

News Clippings and Press Releases. 1928-1983

carton 4, folder 17

Pathology Reports (Student Paper). 1939-1940

carton 4, folder 18

Personal Correspondence. 1966-1967

carton 4, folder 19

Personal Correspondence. 1971-1985

oversize-box 1, folder 1

Degrees, Awards, and Certificates. 1929-1983

oversize-box 1, folder 2

Loose Clippings and CMA publications found in Scrapbook 1. 1972

oversize-box 1, Scrapbook 1

Clippings of CMA Presidential Election Announcement. 1970-1971

oversize-box 1, Scrapbook 2

Presidents’ Messages written by Fenlon in January-December 1960 editions of SFMA Bulletin. 1960

oversize-box 2, Scrapbook 3

Clippings 1960-1971, gifted to Fenlon from Isabel and Bill Lande. 1960-1971

oversize-box 2

President’s Club of the University of Iowa plaque. undated

oversize-box 2

Blue Shield of California plaque. undated