The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Sabin’s Military Service

The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives contains 14.5 linear feet (29 boxes) dedicated to Dr. Sabin’s work as a civilian consultant with the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1969.

Dr. Sabin to Colonel James Simmons, 1941

From 1943 to 45, Dr. Sabin served on active duty with the Medical Corps, first as a Major and later as Lieutenant Colonel. He researched such diseases as dengue, sandfly fever, Japanese B and St. Louis encephalitis, and other neurotropic viral infections as part of the military’s effort to reduce non combat-injury related illnesses and deaths. He helped to develop the St. Louis and Japanese B encephalitis and dengue vaccines. His service, both as a civilian and while on active duty, took him to many places across the world and allowed him to interact with many great scientific minds. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Sabin’s Military Service

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Helping the Children

Trip to Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, 1991

Dr. Sabin’s oral polio vaccine has helped millions of children since its first public distribution many years ago. Besides the numerous awards and accolades that Dr. Sabin received for his work, he traveled around the world and advised others on how to implement a vaccination program. Along the way, Dr. Sabin was greeted by crowds, including many children, who expressed their appreciation for his work. The photos seen here are only a couple of the photos we have in our collection from his visits around the world. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Helping the Children

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Awards and Honors

Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award
Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, 1965

For Dr. Sabin’s contributions to the scientific community, particularly the development of the oral polio vaccine and the assistance in its distribution, he was given many different awards and other types of recognition over the years. The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives is home to a large collection of those awards. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a couple of these awards and distinctions and tell you a little more about them. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Awards and Honors

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Always Direct Dr. Sabin

One thing I have noticed about Dr. Sabin by reading his correspondence is that he is passionate. Whether it is his stance on the effectiveness of the oral polio vaccine, biomedical research, or humanitarianism, Dr. Sabin was willing to write a letter or speak about his opinion about many different topics. Here are a couple of samples from the collection that I thought were interesting.

Letter from Dr. Sabin to President Johnson
Letter from Dr. Sabin to President Johnson, 1965

Recently, I found a letter Dr. Sabin wrote to President Lyndon Johnson regarding his Presidential Order to freeze federal funding for a Health Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 1966. This bill, as Dr. Sabin argued, was important to the health and well-being of many Americans because it funded many research projects, including the development of the rubella (German measles) vaccine. He wrote, “I hope very much that the subject can be quickly reconsidered and that what has been frozen may be ‘thawed out’ and allowed to flow to the National Institute that will use the funds for programs of very great importance to the welfare of the people of this country and the world.” Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Always Direct Dr. Sabin

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Frederick Hauck and the John Hauck Foundation

City of Hope BrochureI was recently processing a binder that contained letters and photographs from a ceremony where Dr. Sabin was awarded the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope for his “contributions to mankind” for developing the oral polio vaccine. This banquet was held on September 3, 1986, and the proceeds went to establish a research fellowship in Dr. Sabin’s name at the City of Hope National Pilot Medical Center and the Beckman Research Institute. When accepting the award, Dr. Sabin spoke of the need for compassion in medicine and suggested the idea of a “total care physician” who could provide both medicine and compassion to their patients. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Frederick Hauck and the John Hauck Foundation

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Faces Behind Polio Eradication

Together, these four men represent the public face of polio – the courageous victim, the devoted foundation leader, the brilliant researchers with their lifesaving vaccines.
-Historian David M. Oshinsky,
in reference to President Franklin Roosevelt, Basil O’Connor, and Drs. Sabin and Salk

Prior to starting on the grant to digitize the Albert B. Sabin archives, I wasn’t quite sure what polio was or how much of an impact the Sabin vaccine had. After spending the last couple of months reading Dr. Sabin’s correspondence, I started to learn some of the names of scientists who had a hand in helping to eradicate polio throughout the world.

Several great scientific minds were honored at the Polio Hall of Fame for their contributions to the fight against the disease.

While going through some boxes to locate photographs to scan for this project, I came across several copies of the photo seen here, which was addressed to Dr. Sabin from Basil O’Connor, who was the one of the founders of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The photograph is from the dedication of the Polio Hall of Fame in January 1958 at what is now called the Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia, and the busts on the wall represent the most influential polio researchers at the time.

Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Faces Behind Polio Eradication

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Sabin Sundays

Just last year, the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of April 24, 1960. Why was this date so important? Sunday, April 24, 1960, is also known as “Sabin Sunday,” which was the first public distribution of the Sabin oral polio vaccine in the United States. This took place right here in Hamilton County, Ohio!

Advertisement for Sabin Sundays in the Cincinnati Enquirer, 1960

One document I found (of many) referring to this massive undertaking was a copy of an advertisement from the Cincinnati Enquirer, which was published on Sabin Sunday. Called the “Children’s Crusade,” from April 24-May 11, children could receive a free oral polio vaccine from doctors and clinics around Cincinnati and the surrounding area. This effort was sponsored by the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Pediatrics Society, the Southwestern Ohio Society of General Physicians and the Cincinnati Board of Health. I love the photograph of Dr. Sabin administering the vaccine because this is the way many of that generation remember receiving the vaccine. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Sabin Sundays

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project

Polio is a devastating disease that is currently found in four countries in the world – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. However, this wasn’t always the case. Throughout the 20th century, polio was a disease that caused much anxiety and fear among parents all over the world. This disease was most likely to affect young children and caused paralysis, which could lead to death.

Dr. Sabin in his military uniform

During the mid-20th century, several researchers were trying to find a way to prevent more children from being affected by polio. One of the front runners, Albert B. Sabin, developed the oral polio vaccine for this purpose. Much of the research for this vaccine was done here in Cincinnati, and one of the first trials for the oral polio vaccine in the United States was held in Hamilton County. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project

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