Hysterical? Yes. Comic? Yes. Funny? No.

The San Francisco History Center is presenting the exhibition Quarantine and Eradication: Plague In San Francisco about the third plague pandemic (i.e. bubonic plague) and the effects of its presence in San Francisco in the early 1900s. The material on exhibit examines the movement of the disease, how it was popularly viewed, and the many influences that shaped the city's and the country's responses. As early cases were from the Chinatown district, some items highlight the persecution of Chinese and Chinese Americans, and the hysteria that surrounded the plague due to the lack of information about the disease and the lack of understanding of how best to contain and eradicate it.

80 years later, San Francisco would be hit hard again with another plague, the AIDS epidemic. In conjunction with the larger exhibition, we've selected a few items to illustrate the same sense of hysteria that accompanied the early years of the AIDS crisis. The selection of the items also brings a…

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