Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953

Alternative names
Birth 1871-11-09
Death 1953-10-03

Biographical notes:

George Washington Corner worked as an anatomist, endocrinologist, and medical historian.

From the guide to the George Washington Corner papers, 1889-1981, 1903-1982, (American Philosophical Society)

Physician and research scientist. Born in Central City, Colorado. Studied at Johns Hopkins Medical School. First woman to become a full professor there. First woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Research focused on lymphatic system, blood vessels and cells and tuberculosis. Helped modernized Colorado's public health system

From the description of Oral history, 1951 Nov. 27 [sound recording]. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 39888163

Florence Rena Sabin, M.D. was born in Central City, Colo. in 1871. She attended Smith College and became the first woman to graduate from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sabin was elected the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists (1924) and the first lifetime woman member of the National Academy of Scientists. Eventually she became the head of the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City, N.Y. (1925). In 1944 Sabin became the head of a subcommittee on health for the state of Colorado. The "Sabine Health Laws" resulting from her work helped to modernize Colorado's public health system. Florence Sabin died in 1953.

From the description of Florence Sabin guest book, 1959. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 20348124

Florence Rena Sabin was an anatomist and physiologist.

From the description of Papers, 1907-1940. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122488763

Florence Rena Sabin, n.d.

Florence Rena Sabin was born November 9, 1871, in Central City, Colorado, the youngest of two daughters of Serena Miner and George K. Sabin. Her father was a mining engineer and she spent her early years in mining communities. Serena Sabin died when Florence was seven and she and her sister, Mary, lived with relatives in Chicago and Vermont. Sabin graduated from Smith College in 1893. In order to earn money for medical school, she taught mathematics in Denver for two years and was an assistant in the Zoology Department at Smith College from 1895 to1896. She entered Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1896 as a member of the fourth class to admit women. Upon graduation she was awarded an internship with renowned teacher and physician Sir William Osler at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Under the direction of embryologist and head of the Department of Anatomy, Franklin P. Mall, she undertook a project which led to the construction of a three-dimensional model of the mid and lower brain. It was adapted for publication in 1901.

After completing her internship in 1901, Sabin continued her anatomical and histological research with the help of a fellowship from a group of Baltimore women who aided women's education. In 1902, she became assistant in the department of anatomy, the first woman on the Hopkins medical faculty. She rose to full professor in 1917, the first woman at the university to achieve that rank. Sabin spent twenty-five years at Hopkins and during her early years there she concentrated her research mainly upon the origins of blood cells and the lymphatic system. She wrote a number of widely cited papers based upon her work. Sabin had many devoted students, many of whom followed scientific careers, and a number of them became leaders in the fields of anatomy, immunology, and hematology. In 1925, she became the first woman elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. She also was the first woman to receive full membership at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. At the institute she worked for thirteen years as head of a section that studied the cellular aspects of immunity.

Sabin retired to Colorado in 1938 to live with her sister Mary. She remained professionally active and carried on an extensive correspondence with her former students and colleagues. In 1944, she was asked by Colorado governor John Vivian to serve on his post-war planning committee which was organized to assess public health needs in the state. She did research, traveled, spoke, and wrote extensively. She lobbied colleagues, legislators and state officials to support a reorganized and better-financed public health program and worked for successful passage of a series of health laws drafted by her committee and known as the Sabin program. In 1947 she was appointed chair of the Interim Board of Health and Hospitals of Denver, a post she held until 1951. Sabin received many honors and awards. Buildings were named for her at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and at Smith College. She is one of two Coloradoans and one of a handful of women represented by statues in the United States Capitol. Sabin died October 3, 1953, in Denver of a heart attack.

From the guide to the Florence Rena Sabin Papers MS 136., 1872-1985, (Sophia Smith Collection)

Physician; Professor; Public health specialist.

Born Central City, CO, 1871; graduated Smith College, 1893; attended Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1900; completed her internship in 1901 and continued her work in anatomical and histological research under a fellowship. In 1902, Sabin became first woman on Johns Hopkins faculty as assistant in the department of anatomy, and rose to full professor in 1917. She made significant scientific contributions to research in the origins of red blood cells and lymphatic system. She became first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists, 1924; first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1925; and first woman to receive full membership at the Rockefeller Institute, where she headed a section studying cellular aspects of immunity until her retirement in 1938. Published biography of Franklin Mall, 1934. Sabin was asked to serve on Colorado governor John Vivian's Post-War Planning Committee to assess public health needs in Colorado, 1944. She crusaded for basic health reforms and worked successfully for the passage of health laws known as the Sabin program, and chaired the Interim Board of Health and Hospitals of Denver, 1947-51.

From the description of Papers, 1872-1985. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 50119431

Born in the mining town of Central City, Colorado, as the daughter of an engineer, Florence Rena Sabin was raised in New England and carved out a career of firsts in developmental biology and anatomy.

Receiving a bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1893, Sabin entered the three year old medical school at Johns Hopkins University in 1896, becoming the first woman graduate from the school with the class of 1900. At Hopkins, Sabin became the protégé of Franklin P. Mall, who encouraged her research interests in anatomy. By any reckoning, her talent for medical investigation was enormous, earning her an internship at Hopkins Hospital, followed by a special fellowship in the Department of Anatomy from the Baltimore Association for the Advancement of University Education of Women. By 1917, Sabin was made a member of the faculty in the Department of Histology, the first woman at the University to be promoted to the status of full professor.

Her early research centered on the embryological origins of the lymphatic system, and she later worked on the origins of blood, blood cells, and blood vessels, on the histology of the brain, and on the pathology and immunology of tuberculosis.

In September, 1925, Sabin accepted the invitation to head the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute, becoming the first woman faculty member there, and continuing her work on tuberculosis. She retired to Colorado in 1938, but emerged six years later at the request of the governor to chair a subcommittee on public health and help reform and modernize the state's public health system. She retired a second time in 1951 and died October 3, 1953.

Honors accrued to Sabin throughout her career, including a number of firsts. In addition to being the first female graduate of Hopkins medical school, the first full professor there, and the first at Rockefeller, she was the first president of the American Association of Anatomists (1924) and the first woman member of the National Academy of Sciences (1925). She was selected as one of two representatives for the state of Colorado in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

From the guide to the Florence Rena Sabin Papers, 1907-1940, (American Philosophical Society)


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