This fall brings new faces and new publications from the University of Cincinnati Press, along with the conclusion of the university’s Bicentennial celebration, which university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library Kevin Grace uses as the occasion to recount a gift from William A. Procter that was instrumental to the libraries.
The Winkler Center was saddened last week to learn of the passing of former Health Sciences Librarian and Director of the Cincinnati Medical Heritage Center (Winkler Center), Billie Broaddus. Billie is remembered fondly by the colleagues who knew and worked with her. “She often used the ‘iron fist in the velvet glove’ and was able to achieve much through that approach,” remembered Senior Librarian Sharon Purtee.
From 1961 to 1971 Billie worked at the University of Kentucky Medical Library. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in History in 1973 and a M.S.L.S in Library Science in 1974. She began work at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Library in August, 1974 as Head of Reference. She later became the Coordinator of Information Services and then Head of the Health Sciences Library. Serving a dual role in 1981, she directed both the Health Sciences Library and the History of Health Sciences Library. Later that year, she applied to become director of the historical collections, a job in which she could merge her love of history with her library experience.
She held the position of Director, University of Cincinnati Medical Heritage Center until her retirement in 2003. Billie was professionally active in several organizations, including the Medical Library Association, and served on many professional committees. She was elected President of the Midwest Chapter/Medical Library Association in 2001. Billie was also a member of the Archivists and Librarians in History of the Health Sciences and the Ohio Academy of Medical History, the American Association for the History of Medicine, the Ohio Academy of Sciences, the Society of Ohio Archivists and the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine History Committee.
During her tenure as Director of the Medical Heritage Center, the archives of alumni and faculty including, Drs. William Altemeier, Charles D. Aring, Stanley Block, Benjamin Felson, Martin Fisher, and Robert Kehoe were all added to the repository’s holdings. Forging personal relationships with the Sabin family, she was instrumental in bringing the Albert B. Sabin Papers to the Center. In addition, Broaddus supervised the centralization into one repository of the many decentralized historical collections of the departments within the College of Medicine.
She was adamant too that because the Heritage Center served a different audience than the Health Sciences Library, the two institutions keep somewhat distinct identities. In the early 1990s as the UC Libraries developed an online presence for its collections, Broaddus made sure the Heritage Center was given its own webpage. Under Broaddus’s leadership, the Medical Heritage Center became a preeminent resource center for the history of the health sciences. She served the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Libraries for almost 30 years and was appointed Librarian Emerita when she retired from the University of Cincinnati in February 2003.
Another colleague, Edith Starbuck, remembers “Billie was a generous colleague [who] shared her knowledge and skills without hesitation…[she] also knew how to bring history to life with her wealth of knowledge and ability to tell the stories about the individuals whose information and artifacts were housed in the Heritage Center.
The Winkler Center was saddened to hear of the passing recently of Heloisa Sabin. Born, Heloisa Dunshee de Abranches, she married famous medical researcher and developer of the oral polio vaccine, Albert B. Sabin, in 1972.
Before her marriage to Dr. Sabin, she was women’s editor of a family-owned newspaper, Jornal do Brasil, in Rio de Janerio where she worked for 16 years. The Jornal was the largest daily newspaper in Rio at the time. She also studied at Columbia University in New York and held a law degree.
Asked what it was like being the wife of the famous research professor and virologist, “exciting,” she said. “I thought he was fascinating before I met him and I still think he is.” “Life with Dr. Sabin is certainly different from any other kind of life I could lead,” Mrs. Sabin asserted. “We are traveling all the time and I get to meet a lot of people who really enrich my life. Not only do we travel in the United States but we also travel in Europe and other countries where my husband has speaking engagements.” The Sabins not only traveled to numerous locales, but also resided at various times in New York, Washington D.C., Charleston, SC, Switzerland and Israel.
Heloisa became a steward of the Sabin legacy and a tireless activist in later life. Upon Albert Sabin’s death in 1993, she spent a majority of her time speaking out and fundraising to continue her late husband’s work in the study and improvement of immunizations, specifically in regard to Polio. In addition, she became a strong proponent of the use of animals in medical research, as the Polio vaccine her husband developed would not have been so successful had it not been for data gleaned from animal testing. She was a founding member of the Albert Sabin Research Institute, which advocates for global immunization to end all vaccine-preventable diseases.
She visited UC frequently, promoting ways to memorialize her husband’s accomplishments in the place where they occurred. Working with administration of what was then the Cincinnati Medical Heritage Center (now the Winker Center), she saw to it that Albert B. Sabin’s professional and personal papers came here in 1993.
In addition to her meaningful charitable contributions to the University, Mrs. Sabin played a role in the naming of the Children’s Hospital Sabin Center, Albert Sabin Way, and the Hauck Center for the Albert Sabin Archives. She also influenced the development of the Sabin exhibit in the Vontz Center and the Ohio Historical Marker dedicated to Sabin at the Vontz’s entrance.
The Winkler Center will miss Heloisa as will all those whose lives she touched.
If you are interested in researching the Sabin collection at the Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, please call 513.558.5120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To view an online inventory of the Albert B. Sabin Papers please visit Winkler-Albert B. Sabin Papers.
Hembree, Linda. “Life with Noted Researcher Fascinating.” Spartanburg Herald (Spartanburg, SC). Wednesday, 3 December 1975. P. B3.
Marine, Steve. Correspondence with UC Foundation, Donor Files, Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati,
Dr. Albert Bruce Sabin’s extremely influential role in the development and production of an Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) simply cannot be disputed; however, information on the precise details of his contributions are not always as well-known or as accessible as one would hope. Fortunately, The Winkler Center for the History of Health Professions’ NEH-funded project to digitize many of Dr. Sabin’s papers has now reached researchers around the globe. Several months ago, the project attracted the delighted attention of Dr. Harshavardhan, a vaccinologist in India, and the exchange of information since has been enlightening for both sides.
By: Iman Said, Archives & Rare Books Intern for 2014-2015
Hello again! The past few weeks, I have written about student life at UC and various aspects of campus that provide students with a well-rounded college experience. But UC is just one part of a huge community of Cincinnatians. Much of the work that is done on campus by our students, faculty, and staff have a significant impact on the entire city, and even the entire country. Being a student at UC makes it easy to forget that our CCM graduates go on to be Broadway stars, our MBA graduates are CEOs, and our medical students create new medicines and practices. These students succeed because of the outstanding faculty and staff who work for the university, many of whom actually have their own impact on the community. Continue reading Albert Sabin: An Incredible Cincinnatian
At the recent 2013 Society of American Archivists’ annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, I presented a poster on the final results of the Albert B. Sabin digitization project. Several archivists stopped by to discuss the poster, particularly because they were curious about the way project staff handled documents that contained sensitive information. Many of those that stopped by were at archives in similar positions as the Winkler Center, trying to figure out the best way to balance privacy and access. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Spreading the Word
The University of Cincinnati Libraries have completed a three-year project to digitize the correspondence and photographs of Albert B. Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine and distinguished service professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Research Foundation from 1939-1969.
Hilary Koprowski is considered by many to be equally important as Salk and Sabin in the quest to eradicate poliomyelitis. When Koprowski passed away last month, his illustrious career was recounted in his obituary and included such notable achievements as the development of a live-virus polio vaccine, improvement of the rabies vaccine, and directorship of the world-renowned Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania. His interest in the live-virus polio vaccine caused his career to overlap with Albert Sabin’s work regularly. The obituary details the competition between Sabin and Koprowski for the eventual triumph of their various polio vaccines. Letters in the Albert B. Sabin archives indicate that the two great scientists often shared material and data though, unfortunately, they did not have an entirely conflict-free relationship. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Remembering Hilary Koprowski