Florence R. Sabin

Johns Hopkins University

November 9, 1871 - October 3, 1953

Membership Type:
Member (elected 1925)

Florence Sabin was notable for a number of firsts. In 1925 she was the first woman to be elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. She was also the first woman to become a full professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists.

Born in a Colorado mining town, Sabin enrolled in Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1896. The school had opened in 1893 and from the beginning admitted both men and women, in fulfillment of one of the conditions of the gift that made its opening possible. Following graduation from the medical school, Sabin obtained an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Soon after, a fellowship in the department of anatomy at Johns Hopkins Medical School was created for her; by 1917 she was a professor of histology at the school. In her research work, Sabin made important contributions to knowledge of the histology of the brain and the development of the lymphatic systems, and to the understanding of the pathology and immunology of tuberculosis. After her return to Colorado in 1938, she became active in public health matters, and she played a key role in legislating Colorado's public health program after the end of World War II.

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