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. 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
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 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
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.
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
On Saturday, April 21, I had the honor of presenting a poster at the Midwest Archives Conference student poster session called, “The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Balancing Restrictions and Privacy with Access.” This was an exciting opportunity for me to share Dr. Sabin’s collection with fellow archivists and discuss what we are doing here at the Winkler Center to make his materials accessible to researchers worldwide. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Midwest Archives Conference Poster
The April 2012 issue of Scientific American Magazine features an article about Dr. Albert B. Sabin and Dr. Mikhail P. Chumakov called “Birth of a Cold War Vaccine” by William Swanson. Mr. Swanson conducted research in the Sabin Archives for the special report on polio. Regarding the “surprising” alliance of these scientists, Mr. Swanson wrote, “Their joint venture would have outraged fanatics on both sides of the iron curtain if those fanatics had been aware of it. Yet the collaboration—fleshed out in archival materials recently made available at the University of Cincinnati and by several contemporaneous sources—led to one of the greatest medical achievements of the 20th century and saved countless lives around the world” (p. 66). Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Polio and the Cold War
A scientist cannot rest while knowledge which might reduce suffering rests on the shelf.
-Albert B. Sabin 
On March 8, 2006, Dr. Albert B. Sabin was recognized for his work in the elimination of polio by the United States Postal Service. An 87-cent stamp was created to honor the virologist “who developed the ‘sugar-cube’ vaccine that’s credited with wiping out polio in much of the world.” The stamp, part of the Distinguished Americans series, was issued to recognized his various accolades and research accomplishments. The USA Philatelic Catalog explained that Dr. Sabin’s “successful efforts to develop a polio vaccine made him one of the most esteemed scientists in the world. For his dedication to fighting polio and other infectious diseases, he received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science (1970) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986).” Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Commemorative Stamp
In my estimation no man has ever contributed so much effective information — so continuously over so many years — to so many aspects of poliomyelitis, as Sabin.
-John R. Paul, MD, renowned epidemiologist
The Spring 2012 issue of the Ohio Archivist is now available on the Society of Ohio Archivists’ (SOA) website. Along with SOA news and information for Ohio archivists, this issue features an article on the Sabin digitization project by Stephanie Bricking, Linda Newman, and Stephen Marine. The article describes how the Henry R. Winkler Center is “Making Dr. Sabin Accessible for All.”
The One Hundred First Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution marking March 30, 1991, as “National Doctors Day.” This resolution recognized the importance of physicians by saying:
Whereas society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the contributions of physicians in enlarging the reservoir of scientific knowledge, increasing the number of scientific tools, and expanding the ability of health professionals to use the knowledge and tools effectively in the never-ending fight against disease; and
Whereas society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the sympathy and compassion of physicians in ministering to the sick and in alleviating human suffering
The clinical trials for Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine began on February 23rd, 1954. This initial mass inoculation was huge in scale, “the clinical trials of the Salk vaccine were the largest ever conducted, involving nearly two million children”. Immediately the vaccine was announced and hailed as an enormous victory in the medical field against a disease plaguing countries around the world. In Dr. Salk’s obituary the aforementioned announcement was referred to as “the turning point in the battle against polio” and it was said that, “news caused a public sensation probably unequaled by any health development in modern times”. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Reaction to the Salk Polio Vaccine Clinical Trials