Letter from Florence R. Sabin to Michael Heidelberger
During the 1930s the anatomist and cell biologist Florence R. Sabin (1871-1953), the first woman to be elected to membership
in the National Academy of Sciences, had investigated how antibodies were formed in response to foreign substances, using
a new protein-bound red dye developed by Heidelberger as a tracer antigen. In this letter Sabin congratulated Heidelberger
on the "wonderful field of further experimentation your quantitative methods have opened up," and suggested that multivalent
antibodies emerge from simpler, univalent ones.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (156,786 Bytes)
1941-10-24 (October 24, 1941)
[Sabin, Florence R.]
Reproduced with permission of Geraldine F. Swan.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
At last I have had time to read and study your wonderful papers. Of course I don't grasp all of the work [...] what I
do get seems [...] a thrilling story.
I want to ask you one or two questions (1) Is it not true that Paulings idea was of a very simply -- physical -- change from
normal U antibodies globulin --just-
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a bending at the two ends of a chain -- whereas your concept involves a more fundamental chemical change at several points
in the molecule (2) Doesn't your concept stress more than ever the element of time necessary for the cells to elaborate
-- the multivalent effection antibodies -- that is to say the low grade--[...]-- antibody [...] be the first
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attempt of the cell and the multivalent the further evolution of the process. (3) Does the presence of actin complement [.
. .] a more effective antigen-antibody reaction -- that is [. . .] a physiological part of the mechanism -- or just a [. .
.] These will all seem pretty stupid questions to you -- at any rate I seem vaguely [. . .] what a wonderful field for future
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experimentation your quantitative methods have opened up. Isn't "Fess" perfectly [. . .]?
I have been asked by the Medical [. . .] here to give a little talk about the cellular [. . .]. If the work -- and I am in
[. . .] whether I [. . .] or not -- and if I do whether I wait until I have been East again and [. . .] things over with you.
I shall be in as usual in January for [. . .]and [. . .] Guggenheim once more. I [. . .] this year
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[. . .] since she is in New York instead of me.
I keep on agonizing [. . .] with short intervals of respite -- for [. . .] cannot keep up the tension [. . .] It was pretty
bad a few days when it seemed as if Moscow was to fall soon -- but now the Russians seem to be holding up and [. . .] will
soon help. I have very great
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Faith in the English [. . .] rear this new collection of Hitler's addresses. I think it's more important from the
standpoint of understanding him [. . .] Mein Kampff. I [. . .] when [. . .] book is coming out.
I hope that Hanna is quite well again and send her [. . .] my love.