Sabin, Florence R. | A Model of the Medulla Oblongata, Pons, and Midbrain of a New-Born Babe

  • The uncommon offprint of physician and anatomist Florence Sabin’s first major work, undertaken when she was an undergraduate and published the following year as the classic textbook An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain. WorldCat locates only four copies of this offprint, at King’s College London, Brown University, Washington University St Louis, and the University of Sydney.

    Sabin was born in 1871, and attended Smith College, where she decided to become a doctor. “The newly opened Johns Hopkins Medical School was the obvious choice for an aspiring woman physician, for it had been financed by a group of Baltimore women who had attached to their gift the stipulation that women be admitted on the same terms as men” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1140). Sabin began her medical training in 1896, quickly becoming a favourite of anatomist Franklin Mall, who “encouraged her to go into research. As an undergraduate she constructed a three-dimensional model of the medulla, pons and midbrain, and in connection with this project wrote a laboratory manual, An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain. This manual was published in 1901 and became a popular textbook” (Ogilvie).

    Sabin received her medical degree in 1900 and began an internship in internal medicine, and was then awarded a fellowship in anatomy. “She became the university’s first woman faculty member in 1902 and progressed through the ranks, receiving an appointment as professor of histology in 1917 — the first full professorship awarded to a woman at Hopkins” (Ogilvie). Over the course of her career Sabin studied a wide range of subjects, including cell morphology, the physiology of connective tissues and blood cells, immunology, and particularly the body’s reaction to tuberculosis. “Her research on the lymphatics was original, though controversial at the time. Her idea that the lymphatics represented a one-way system closed at the collecting ends, where the fluids entered by seepage arising from pre-existing veins instead of independently was later proved correct” (Ogilvie). After retiring from Johns Hopkins and moving to Denver Colorado, she had a second career as a public health advocate who achieved the passage of a number of public health reform bills.

  • [Reprinted from Volume IX of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Reports, Contributions to the Science of Medicine: Dedicated by His Pupils to William Henry Welch on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of His Doctorate, pp. 925-1023. Together with Clark, “the Blood Vessels of the Human Ovary” and Young, “The Gonococcus”. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins, 1900].

    Tall quarto. Original buff wrappers. 6 doubled-sided greyscale plates and 3 single-sided chromolithographic plates at rear accompanying the Sabin paper. 5 plates, of which 2 are folding, accompanying the Clark paper. The title page and early portion of the Clark paper seem to be lacking, perhaps due to a production error. Wrappers just a little rubbed with some short splits and creasing at the edges. The extreme edges of the contents, particularly at the front, are a little toned and creased with some nicks and short splits. Excellent, fresh condition.