The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Personal Side of Dr. Sabin

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Project Student Assistant

Dr. and Mrs. Sabin feeding deer at a temple in Japan.

I’ve been working with the Sabin Archives for a little over three months now and am still somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of material Dr. Sabin accumulated during his long career. So when we recently received a shipment of even more materials from Mrs. Sabin and her son, I was rather surprised. Not simply because there were items we didn’t have – because judging by where we store our archival collections, it seems we have everything Dr. Sabin ever touched – but because of the amount we received. Looking over the boxes, it’s hard to imagine how one person could amass this amount of materials. Dr. Sabin kept himself quite busy, it seems. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Personal Side of Dr. Sabin

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Evolution of Facial Hair

By Mary Kroeger Vuyk, Sabin Project Student Assistant

[Sabin Archivist’s Note: This week features the first blog post on the Sabin project from Mary Kroeger Vuyk, one of our new student assistants. Mary is pursuing a Master of Library Science degree from Clarion University. Previously she has worked in the Winkler Center as an intern, processing the UC Public Relations Collection. She will be blogging on different Sabin-related topics as we work on the project. Please give Mary a warm welcome by reading her posts! -SB]

While rearranging several photos albums as part of the Albert B. Sabin digitization project, I ran across the Certificate of Citizenship for a very young Albert Sabin. This certificate reveals that the 23 year old Albert Sabin gained United States Citizenship on April 15, 1930.[1] While the certificate shows other important information about Dr. Sabin, such his height, weight, address, and marital status at the time of naturalization, a photo on the certificate also reveals another interesting detail – Albert Sabin was into facial hair. But, as I continued to look through the photos, I realized that as Dr. Sabin changed, so did his whiskers. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Evolution of Facial Hair

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Case of William Brebner

A 1969 letter from Professor Ernest Borek to Dr. Albert Sabin, which is quoted below.

Throughout the redaction process, I have been asked by many people how we select what should be removed from letters and other documents prior to publication of the materials online. It’s quite a complicated process! A way to approach this question is to discuss things we typically would not remove from letters. One illustration of this concept is through the case of Dr. Sabin’s colleague, Dr. William Brebner.

First, a bit of explanation, just in case you are unfamiliar with the Sabin project. As an archivist, it is part of my “Code of Ethics” to follow principles of “Access and Use” and “Privacy.”[1] Because of the nature of the materials within Sabin project, these principles can come into conflict with each other. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Case of William Brebner

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Look at Local Commemorations

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Dr. Sabin receiving the award for Outstanding Cincinnatian in 1963.

This is the last week of August and thus marks the finale of our Awards and Honors series. For our final post, we will take a look at how the Cincinnati community has honored Dr. Sabin. For roughly thirty years, Dr. Sabin resided in Cincinnati and continued research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital while occasionally teaching at the University of Cincinnati. During this time, he also participated in local community affairs and was often honored for his accomplishments. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Look at Local Commemorations

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Happy Birthday, Dr. Sabin!

Sabin student assistant Richard Jason Sookoor is seen here browsing through one of the many binders the Winkler Center recently received from Mrs. Heloisa Sabin.

The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives recently received several large boxes full of letters, photographs and realia from Mrs. Heloisa Sabin, which adds to the over 400 linear feet that is already in the collection. It was quite serendipitous that the material arrived at the Winkler Center just a couple days before Dr. Sabin’s birthday on August 26. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Happy Birthday, Dr. Sabin!

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin, Part II

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Gold Medal awarded to Dr. Sabin by the Robert Koch Foundation

For the month of August, we will continue our series on the Awards and Honors Dr. Sabin received during his lifetime. This week we take a look at arguably Dr. Sabin most influential achievement: the live, oral polio vaccine. Or rather, we observe the accolades Dr. Sabin received for developing the vaccine. Despite the development of previous polio vaccines, Dr. Sabin’s vaccine was ultimately chosen for worldwide distribution after large scale clinical trials were performed. Not only did this help lead to the eradication of polio in the Western and developing world, but it also helped pave the way for the molding the public perception regarding the importance of vaccination. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin, Part II

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Brigadier General J. Johnson is seen here presenting the Legion of Merit to Dr. Sabin.

The month of August is notable here at the Winkler Center, particularly for the Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives. August 26th happens to be Dr. Sabin’s birthday, which gives us good reason to celebrate. To commemorate his birthday, we’d like to present the awards and honors he’s received in a small blog series throughout the month of August. Dr. Sabin has accumulated well over one hundred different awards and while we’d like to acknowledge all of them, we will focus on his most outstanding achievements. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Example of Compassion and How It Influenced a Life

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Project Student Assistant

A letter written in 1992 to Dr. Sabin from Dr. Blackman regarding the incident roughly 30 years prior. Their correspondence over the next few months would last until Dr. Sabin's passing in 1993.

Successful people are often described as being driven, strong-willed, or zealous. Though to be definitively admirable, a person should also be compassionate, forgiving, and considerate. Dr. Albert Sabin managed to find a steady balance between these two domains, stern yet soft. In speaking with Dr. Kenneth Blackman, a former assistant to Dr. Sabin, we gain some insight on the level of professionalism and empathy shown by Dr. Sabin.

As the story goes, Dr. Blackman, then a young man with an opportunity to work in Dr. Sabin’s lab, was busy working on a project related to a potential human tumor virus. Dr. Blackman’s duties were to properly identify and collect concentrates in fluid from tissue culture infected with this particular virus. Despite the relatively cramped working space (Old Children’s Research Building R), Dr. Blackman was able to complete this rather standard collection with nary an incident for weeks. On a particular day though, a Friday, things took a heartbreaking turn for the worse. Dr. Blackman, completing the daily collection of concentrates from tissue culture, was steadily handling a bottle containing a few weeks’ worth of sample liquid. Bottle in hand, as he was turning towards away from the tissue culture station, the bottom of the bottle clipped the edge of the work bench causing the contents to fall out. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Example of Compassion and How It Influenced a Life

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Sabin and His Travels

By: Richard Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Travel Memorabilia from Europe, South America, and Japan

While perhaps never considering himself an adventurer, Dr. Sabin was surprisingly well traveled. Considering the span of his career, both military and academic, it might not seem unusual to visit quite so many different countries, though it is remarkable nonetheless.

Though he admits his adoration of living in the US, it seems the desire to travel was well within Dr. Sabin’s nature. Having traveled to at least 32 different countries* in his life, the opportunity to experience so many different cultures and lifestyles appears to have been well exploited. From cities as exotic as Dakar [1] and Bombay (at least in the 1960’s) to more contemporary locales like Stockholm and Paris, Dr. Sabin certainly realized the divergence of a (then) disconnected world. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Sabin and His Travels

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: "Do What I Preach and Not What I Practice"

First page of letter from Dr. Sabin to Dr. Feldman, March 1951.

One of my favorite letters that I have come across so far during this project is a 1951 letter from Dr. Sabin to his colleague Dr. Harry A. Feldman. In the letter, Dr. Sabin commented on a grant application Dr. Feldman sent to the National Institutes of Health. As usual, Dr. Sabin did not hold back his opinions on what could be done to improve the application. But in his letter, he also urged Dr. Feldman to write his material up for publication. He wrote:

[I]ndicate what it is you want to test, why, how many, where from, etc. If you don’t mind my saying so, Harry, the best way to achieve that is to outline one or more papers for publication and see what data you would like to have rounded out, get that data rounded out, and I will pray to God that ultimately you will write it up for publication. I can only say that I wish you would do what I preach and not what I practice myself. If you don’t write up the work you do over the years, it is work done for your own personal benefit and does not add to the sum total of scientific knowledge.[1] Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: "Do What I Preach and Not What I Practice"