The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Spreading the Word

At the recent 2013 Society of American Archivists’ annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, I presented a poster on the final results of the Albert B. Sabin digitization project. Several archivists stopped by to discuss the poster, particularly because they were curious about the way project staff handled documents that contained sensitive information. Many of those that stopped by were at archives in similar positions as the Winkler Center, trying to figure out the best way to balance privacy and access. Continue reading

Digitized Correspondence and Photographs of Albert B. Sabin Available on the Web

sabin1The University of Cincinnati Libraries have completed a  three-year project to digitize the correspondence and photographs of Albert B. Sabin,  developer of the oral polio vaccine and distinguished service professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Research Foundation from 1939-1969.

The collection is freely and publicly available via the Albert  B. Sabin website at and includes approximately 35,000 letters and accompanying documents totaling 50,000 pages of correspondence between Sabin and political, cultural, social, and scientific leaders around the world. Also included are nearly 1,000 photographs documenting the events and activities worldwide that were part of Sabin’s crusade to eradicate polio. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Remembering Hilary Koprowski

By Jeff O’Flynn, Sabin Student Assistant

Telegram from Hilary Koprowski to Albert Sabin, indicating he would be unable to attend a polio conference.

Hilary Koprowski is considered by many to be equally important as Salk and Sabin in the quest to eradicate poliomyelitis. When Koprowski passed away last month, his illustrious career was recounted in his obituary and included such notable achievements as the development of a live-virus polio vaccine, improvement of the rabies vaccine, and directorship of the world-renowned Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania. His interest in the live-virus polio vaccine caused his career to overlap with Albert Sabin’s work regularly. The obituary details the competition between Sabin and Koprowski for the eventual triumph of their various polio vaccines.[1] Letters in the Albert B. Sabin archives indicate that the two great scientists often shared material and data though, unfortunately, they did not have an entirely conflict-free relationship. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: New Lesson Plans Available

Dr. Albert B. Sabin

Dr. Albert B. Sabin

Sabin project student assistant Katie Pintz created a couple of lesson plans to encourage the use of the the newly digitized materials in the Albert B. Sabin Archives. They are:

We look forward to hearing what you think about these lesson plans. Please give us feedback either here on the blog, or you can send your comments to
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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: An Unsolved Mystery

Dr. Sabin and Mr. O'Connor

Albert Sabin and Basil O’Connor pose with Dr. Sabin’s bust, sculpted by Edmond Romulus Amateis.

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) recently launched, and, of course, I wanted to see if there was anything Sabin-related in the collection. Doing a quick search for Albert Sabin revealed a bust which resides at the National Portrait Gallery. According to the DPLA, this bust, a 1966 cast after 1958 terra cotta original, was originally sculpted by Edmond Romulus Amateis.[1] This bust was originally created for the Polio Wall of Fame in Warm Springs, Georgia. We have a photograph in our collection of Dr. Sabin and National Foundation President Basil O’Connor posing with the bust created by Amateis. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: National Medal of Science 50th Anniversary

National Medal of Science (front)The National Science Foundation (NSF) is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Medal of Science with a new online exhibit. In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation creating the National Medal of Science. President John F. Kennedy awarded the first medal to Theodore von Kármán in 1963. This new exhibit features some of the 476 men and women who have been recognized for “their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences,”[1] including our own Dr. Albert Bruce Sabin. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Alan Goffe

<em>British Medical Journal</em>, November 15, 1958

British Medical Journal, November 15, 1958

While updating metadata records in the digitized collection, I came across the name “Alan Goffe” several times. I was interested to learn more about this man who frequently communicated with Dr. Sabin. Luckily, I found a book called, Between Two Worlds: The Story of Black British Scientist Alan Goffe. This book was written by Gaia Goffe, cousin of the late scientist, as a high school project. Later, the book was published by Hansib Books.[1] I found this book to be very interesting because it explains the relationship between Drs. Sabin and Goffe, as well as their shared interest in an oral polio vaccine. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: New Finding Aid Available

By Mary Kroeger Vuyk, Sabin Student Assistant

I recently completed the processing of additional materials belonging to the Albert B. Sabin collection. This addendum to the original collection finding aid was received after Sabin’s initial donation of materials and consists of letters, lab data, photographs, and other items. A significant part of this collection reflects Dr. Sabin’s tenure as President of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The finding aid for this addendum can be found at the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.

This photo of Dr. Sabin and Hal Linden was taken at the 1990 Weizmann Founders’ event.

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The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Super Sabin!

By Mary Kroeger Vuyk, Sabin Student Assistant

In 1983, Amanda Magary wrote Dr. Sabin to tell him “Your [sic] my hero!”

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Albert Sabin? While many may view Albert Sabin as a super scientist or a super doctor, I’m not entirely sure that many would consider him a Superhero. And yet… that’s exactly how hundreds of thousands of people worldwide viewed him almost 50 years ago.

While I was aware of Dr. Sabin’s contribution, it wasn’t until I began going through the letters sent to Sabin that I started to fully understand the impact that he had on the lives of others. In one letter, Julie Harrison writes, “How much you have enriched the lives of all of us! Your oral vaccine for polio is surely one of the greatest accomplishments. We do thank you; you are truly an American hero.”[1] Continue reading

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