The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: What Worried Him Most

Dr. Sabin's handwritten response to a question asked by Ivan Klebanow, 1960

[Sabin Archivist’s Note: This week features the first blog post from Richard Sookoor, the Sabin Project student assistant. Richard is pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in neurobiology from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences here at the University of Cincinnati. He will be blogging on different Sabin-related topics as we work on the project. Please give Richard a warm welcome to the blogging world by reading his posts! -SB]

A typical opinion when speaking of scientists is that they are mostly entrenched in their work, sometimes unmindful of the world around them. However, for many scientists, their view of the world influences their research and scientific endeavors. Dr. Sabin proves to be a good example. Having been deployed to numerous conflict areas by the US Army Medical Corps during World War II, Dr. Sabin was well aware of the impact and outcomes of great wars. His experiences in these areas led him to pursue research focusing on dengue fever [1], Japanese B encephalitis [2], and sandfly fever [3] even after the completion of his military duty. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: What Worried Him Most

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Check Us Out!

Dr. Sabin is seen here administering oral poliovirus vaccine to two children.

The Albert B. Sabin digitization project appeared in a couple of articles this week! I wanted to give you a heads-up on the articles from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC), just in case you wanted to check them out for yourself.

The National Endowment for the Humanities article is the second part of a three part series featuring preservation and access projects that highlight medicine and the humanities. Joel Wurl, Senior Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access, wrote of the projects, “[T]he history of medicine bridges almost every domain of the humanities, from the study of philosophy and ethics to the examination of everyday social and cultural history. Far from being a narrow subfield of study, it opens a pathway for exploring some of the most fundamental questions of human experience over time.” The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives definitely fits into this description of the history of medicine. Not only does the Sabin collection cover the well-known topics associated with him, such as virology and vaccine development, but due to his involvement and interest in so many different areas, the collection also includes materials on many other topics. These include science and the media, medical ethics, public health, politics and science, military medicine, tropical medicine, medical imperialism, and international and scientific cooperation.

Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Check Us Out!

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: More on the AFEB

Portion of letter from John R. Paul to Albert B. Sabin, May 1969

As I continued to look through the administrative materials from the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board that are in the Sabin collection, I found a letter (seen to the right) from Dr. John R. Paul to Dr. Sabin that referred to the the appointment of an archivist for the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board to “immortalize some of the things (the data) which [they] have heretofore treasured only as unwritten memories.”[1] Naturally, as an archivist, I was intrigued by this appointment, especially because the members of the AFEB recognized that it was important to record their history for future generations. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: More on the AFEB

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Armed Forces Epidemiological Board

1963 - Letter from Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of the Army, to Dr. Albert Sabin, confirming his appointment to the AFEB

The past couple of days I have been looking at administrative documents from Dr. Sabin’s time as a member of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB) during the 1960’s, to make sure there are no classified documents in this part of the collection. I thought I would share some things that I have encountered.

In 1963, Dr. Sabin was appointed a member of the AFEB based on a joint nomination by the Surgeons General of the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force for a four year term (see letter to the right). As a member of the AFEB, Dr. Sabin was required to vote on contracts and commission appointments, as well as other issues applicable to military medicine. The memos and letters included in this part of the collection give insight into the issues addressed by the AFEB. They also provide researchers with information about Dr. Sabin’s opinions about these issues, through his own letters to other AFEB members and the notes he scribbled on the various memos he received. Topics included disease prevention and vaccination of troops. Here is just one example of Dr. Sabin’s involvement as a member of the AFEB.
Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Armed Forces Epidemiological Board

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Man after My Archivist Heart

Yesterday, my colleague Laura Laugle and I were discussing how to arrange archival collections, which reminded me of a letter (seen below) that I recently came across during the redaction process. I wanted to share this letter since I thought other archivists reading the blog would also appreciate it.

First page of letter from Dr. Sabin to Dr. Feldman, April 28, 1952

First, a little bit of explanation – one important task that archivists perform when they are processing a collection is referred to as “arrangement.” According to A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology by Richard Pearce-Moses, arrangement is “the process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order, to protect their context and to achieve physical or intellectual control over the materials.”[1] I realize that definition contains a lot of archival jargon, such as “provenance” and “original order.” Provenance, according to the same glossary, essentially refers to the person or organization that created the collection of materials.[2] Original order is the “organization and sequence of records established by the creator of the records,” which hopefully provides perspective into how the record creator used the materials.[3] Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Man after My Archivist Heart

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project at the Society of Ohio Archivists Annual Conference

Hello! I want to welcome our blog visitors from the Society of Ohio Archivists’ Annual Conference! Today, the University of Cincinnati Libraries’ Special Collections division is presenting during the 10:00am concurrent session:

We Look at Giants: The University of Cincinnati Archival Grant Projects
This session will look at two federal grant projects of University of Cincinnati special collections division, examining their implementation and the efforts at building diverse research audiences throughout the grant periods rather than at the conclusion of the projects. Important to the success of the grants is the concerted effort to develop outreach methods that effectively generate public support as the work progresses, and to clearly convey the national or international importance of the individuals whose papers were the subject of the grants. In this way, the sustainability of the projects and the preservation of the heritage they represent is strengthened for future research and pedagogical assignments from secondary through collegiate levels, as well as by professional scholars and journalists.
Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project at the Society of Ohio Archivists Annual Conference

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Sabin-Feldman Dye Test

Letter from Dr. Sabin to Dr. Hogan, December 1948

Recently, I have been working with letters in the Sabin collection about toxoplasmosis, a disease that Dr. Sabin and several of his colleagues researched for quite some time. Some of this correspondence contains health information, so I have been reading letters quite closely to make sure we protect the privacy of those mentioned.

Here is some background information: Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and generally has few symptoms for those with healthy immune systems. However, those who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems are at risk for serious health problems if they are infected with Toxoplasma.[1] Many of the letters in the collection discuss congenital toxoplasmosis, which is when an unborn baby is infected with the parasite during the pregnancy, including labor and delivery. This infection can cause premature birth, as well as hearing loss, low birth weight, vision problems, seizures, and mental retardation. As you can imagine, mothers whose children were born with these types of symptoms were concerned for the health of the child, as well as concerned for their future children. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Sabin-Feldman Dye Test

Albert Sabin, MD, Among 2012 Class of Great Ohioans

Dr. Albert B. Sabin was one of six honorees named a 2012 "Great Ohioan."

This press release originally appeared on the UC Health News website on Thursday, April 19, 2012.

By: Richard Puff

CINCINNATI—Albert Sabin, MD, former distinguished service professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and researcher at Children’s Hospital (today known as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center), was named as a Great Ohioan for his pioneering work in developing the oral, live polio vaccine that helped eliminate polio from most countries. Continue reading Albert Sabin, MD, Among 2012 Class of Great Ohioans

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Interview with Vincent Racaniello

Program from the 1983 International Symposium on Poliomyelitis Control, where Dr. Racaniello met Dr. Sabin for the first time.

The Sabin digitization project has provided me with opportunities to connect with different people about Dr. Sabin and his collection. Last week, I had the chance to speak with Dr. Vincent Racaniello, whom I wrote about in a blog post called “An Influential Man” in February 2012. Dr. Racaniello has been studying viruses for over 30 years and is currently a Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center. I thought I would share a little bit from the interview with you, especially since it was really interesting to talk to someone who has been studying virology (particularly polio) for such a long time and seems very passionate about teaching people about the subject. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Interview with Vincent Racaniello

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Interview with Konstantin Chumakov

Recently, I wrote a blog post about an article that appeared in a recent issue of Scientific American about Drs. Sabin and Chumakov and their cooperation when testing the oral polio vaccine during the Cold War. Through the author of the article Mr. William Swanson, I was connected with Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, son of Dr. Mikhail P. Chumakov. Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with him about his father and Dr. Sabin. I wanted to share a bit about our conversation, as well as some materials in our collection.

Photograph of Dr. Sabin with the Chumakov family in Moscow, 1961

For those of you that don’t know, Dr. Sabin kept everything. So it was not a surprise to me that we have a folder in the “Correspondence” series of the Sabin collection that contains letters to and from Dr. Konstantin Chumakov. Most of these letters are about an article that Dr. Chumakov and his colleagues wrote for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which Dr. Sabin sponsored. However, there is a photograph (seen to the left) which is labeled “Moscow, 1961.” According to the photograph, “Kostya” (Dr. Konstantin Chumakov) is the first child from the left, standing in front of his father. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Interview with Konstantin Chumakov