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 http://sabin.uc.edu/ 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: The Microbe Hunter

By Jeff O’Flynn, Sabin Project Student Assistant

[Sabin Archivist's Note: This week features the first blog post on the Sabin project from Jeff O'Flynn, one of our new student assistants. Jeff is pursuing a doctoral degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He will be blogging on different Sabin-related topics as we work on the project. Please give Jeff a warm welcome by reading his posts! -SB]

The first assignment I handled when I started at the Sabin Archive nearly a month ago was to inventory a recent acquisition. Mrs. Sabin and her son sent us another large shipment of documents, photographs, awards, videos, and almost everything else imaginable. Sifting through these items served as my introduction to Albert B. Sabin’s life and legacy. This donation offered insight mainly into his later years and his posthumous honors with nearly all the items dating from 1970 forward. I learned many interesting things as I sorted through hundreds of fascinating items and I will share some of the most memorable items on this blog. First, I want to highlight an essay Dr. Sabin wrote in 1992 as an introduction to Paul de Kruif’s “Microbe Hunters” which influenced his life greatly. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Personal Side of Dr. Sabin

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Project Student Assistant

Dr. and Mrs. Sabin feeding deer at a temple in Japan.

I’ve been working with the Sabin Archives for a little over three months now and am still somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of material Dr. Sabin accumulated during his long career. So when we recently received a shipment of even more materials from Mrs. Sabin and her son, I was rather surprised. Not simply because there were items we didn’t have – because judging by where we store our archival collections, it seems we have everything Dr. Sabin ever touched – but because of the amount we received. Looking over the boxes, it’s hard to imagine how one person could amass this amount of materials. Dr. Sabin kept himself quite busy, it seems. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Evolution of Facial Hair

By Mary Kroeger Vuyk, Sabin Project Student Assistant

[Sabin Archivist's Note: This week features the first blog post on the Sabin project from Mary Kroeger Vuyk, one of our new student assistants. Mary is pursuing a Master of Library Science degree from Clarion University. Previously she has worked in the Winkler Center as an intern, processing the UC Public Relations Collection. She will be blogging on different Sabin-related topics as we work on the project. Please give Mary a warm welcome by reading her posts! -SB]

While rearranging several photos albums as part of the Albert B. Sabin digitization project, I ran across the Certificate of Citizenship for a very young Albert Sabin. This certificate reveals that the 23 year old Albert Sabin gained United States Citizenship on April 15, 1930.[1] While the certificate shows other important information about Dr. Sabin, such his height, weight, address, and marital status at the time of naturalization, a photo on the certificate also reveals another interesting detail – Albert Sabin was into facial hair. But, as I continued to look through the photos, I realized that as Dr. Sabin changed, so did his whiskers. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Case of William Brebner

A 1969 letter from Professor Ernest Borek to Dr. Albert Sabin, which is quoted below.

Throughout the redaction process, I have been asked by many people how we select what should be removed from letters and other documents prior to publication of the materials online. It’s quite a complicated process! A way to approach this question is to discuss things we typically would not remove from letters. One illustration of this concept is through the case of Dr. Sabin’s colleague, Dr. William Brebner.

First, a bit of explanation, just in case you are unfamiliar with the Sabin project. As an archivist, it is part of my “Code of Ethics” to follow principles of “Access and Use” and “Privacy.”[1] Because of the nature of the materials within Sabin project, these principles can come into conflict with each other. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Look at Local Commemorations

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Dr. Sabin receiving the award for Outstanding Cincinnatian in 1963.

This is the last week of August and thus marks the finale of our Awards and Honors series. For our final post, we will take a look at how the Cincinnati community has honored Dr. Sabin. For roughly thirty years, Dr. Sabin resided in Cincinnati and continued research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital while occasionally teaching at the University of Cincinnati. During this time, he also participated in local community affairs and was often honored for his accomplishments. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Happy Birthday, Dr. Sabin!

Sabin student assistant Richard Jason Sookoor is seen here browsing through one of the many binders the Winkler Center recently received from Mrs. Heloisa Sabin.

The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives recently received several large boxes full of letters, photographs and realia from Mrs. Heloisa Sabin, which adds to the over 400 linear feet that is already in the collection. It was quite serendipitous that the material arrived at the Winkler Center just a couple days before Dr. Sabin’s birthday on August 26. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin, Part II

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Gold Medal awarded to Dr. Sabin by the Robert Koch Foundation

For the month of August, we will continue our series on the Awards and Honors Dr. Sabin received during his lifetime. This week we take a look at arguably Dr. Sabin most influential achievement: the live, oral polio vaccine. Or rather, we observe the accolades Dr. Sabin received for developing the vaccine. Despite the development of previous polio vaccines, Dr. Sabin’s vaccine was ultimately chosen for worldwide distribution after large scale clinical trials were performed. Not only did this help lead to the eradication of polio in the Western and developing world, but it also helped pave the way for the molding the public perception regarding the importance of vaccination. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: A Celebration of the Achievements of Dr. Sabin

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Student Assistant

Brigadier General J. Johnson is seen here presenting the Legion of Merit to Dr. Sabin.

The month of August is notable here at the Winkler Center, particularly for the Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives. August 26th happens to be Dr. Sabin’s birthday, which gives us good reason to celebrate. To commemorate his birthday, we’d like to present the awards and honors he’s received in a small blog series throughout the month of August. Dr. Sabin has accumulated well over one hundred different awards and while we’d like to acknowledge all of them, we will focus on his most outstanding achievements. Continue reading

The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Example of Compassion and How It Influenced a Life

By Richard Jason Sookoor, Sabin Project Student Assistant

A letter written in 1992 to Dr. Sabin from Dr. Blackman regarding the incident roughly 30 years prior. Their correspondence over the next few months would last until Dr. Sabin's passing in 1993.

Successful people are often described as being driven, strong-willed, or zealous. Though to be definitively admirable, a person should also be compassionate, forgiving, and considerate. Dr. Albert Sabin managed to find a steady balance between these two domains, stern yet soft. In speaking with Dr. Kenneth Blackman, a former assistant to Dr. Sabin, we gain some insight on the level of professionalism and empathy shown by Dr. Sabin.

As the story goes, Dr. Blackman, then a young man with an opportunity to work in Dr. Sabin’s lab, was busy working on a project related to a potential human tumor virus. Dr. Blackman’s duties were to properly identify and collect concentrates in fluid from tissue culture infected with this particular virus. Despite the relatively cramped working space (Old Children’s Research Building R), Dr. Blackman was able to complete this rather standard collection with nary an incident for weeks. On a particular day though, a Friday, things took a heartbreaking turn for the worse. Dr. Blackman, completing the daily collection of concentrates from tissue culture, was steadily handling a bottle containing a few weeks’ worth of sample liquid. Bottle in hand, as he was turning towards away from the tissue culture station, the bottom of the bottle clipped the edge of the work bench causing the contents to fall out. Continue reading

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