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.

While processing some of his correspondence in the Military Service series, I located two particularly interesting items. The first is a letter from Dr. Sabin to Colonel James Simmons of the War Department. Dr. Sabin wrote, “Since the country is now at war I wish to do more than is permitted by the scope of my duties as civilian consultant…” It seems that Dr. Sabin was like many men and women during that time period who wanted to help with the war effort however they could. Eventually, Dr. Sabin got his chance to serve and conduct important research at the same time.

Can you find Dr. Sabin in this photo?

Another interesting item I found was a photo that was located in a folder that was labeled “Tokyo Laboratory” and was dated 1946. Can you find Dr. Sabin in this photograph? It seems that Dr. Sabin made a trip to Japan in 1946 to do research on Japanese B Encephalitis, but the photograph does not give any hints as to where it was taken or who is in the photograph with Dr. Sabin. If you have any ideas, feel free to contact me!

I plan to highlight more of the Dr. Sabin’s military correspondence in the near future. But in the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the documents I have mentioned, as well as others in our collection, please contact the Winkler Center at chhp@uc.edu or visit the Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives website.

In 2010, the University of Cincinnati Libraries received a $314,258 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize the correspondence and photographs of Dr. Albert B. Sabin. This digitization project has been designated a NEH “We the People” project, an initiative to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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