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Mount Sinai Archives


Selected: Isidor Clinton Rubin, M.D.

Summary | Biography | Scope and Content | Subjects | Container List


Creator: Isidor Clinton Rubin, M.D.
Title: Papers
Dates: 1904-1959
Volume: 7 boxes, 33 inches

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George Baehr, M.D.


Isidor Clinton Rubin was born January 8, 1883 in Vienna, Austria. His parents were Nehemiah and Froma (Keller) Rubin. He attended the College of the City of New York and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1905. For the next three years, he served as an intern and then a resident at the Mount Sinai Hospital.

In 1909, Rubin, along with Dr. Abraham Hyman, went abroad for additional post-graduate training. He traveled in Austria and Germany and studied with Professor Julius Schottlander, Pathologist of the II University Frauenklinik in Vienna. In 1954 he dedicated the publication of his Collected Works to Dr. Schottlander.

Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Rubin set up a private practice and took appointments on the Gynecology staffs at Mount Sinai, Montefiore, and Beth Israel Hospitals. He also worked at the Harlem Hospital for some years. He held a clinical faculty appointment on the Gynecology staff of the College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1937-47. He also taught at the New York Medical College and New York University medical school. In 1945, he retired from active service at Mount Sinai and became a Consultant to the Hospital.

Dr. Rubin's reputation was built on his work in several areas. He was among the first to apply x-rays in the practice of gynecology. He also did work on carcinoma of the cervix, uterine Endoscopy, and ectopic pregnancy. (See his Collected Works for a list of papers.)

He is perhaps best known for what is called the Rubin Test. This is a test to determine the patency of the fallopian tubes; if the tubes are blocked, sterility results. The test consists of insufflating a gaseous medium (originally oxygen, later changed to carbon dioxide) into the uterine cavity. Rubin performed the first test on November 3, 1919 at The Mount Sinai Hospital. Prior to the development of the Rubin Test, doctors could only test patency with any certainty by performing a surgical procedure called a laparotomy. In other cases, where the tubal factor had not been explored, other operative procedures were used to relieve sterility when, in fact, the problem was due to closed fallopian tubes. In sum, the Rubin Test reduced the number of surgical procedures needed to diagnose and treat sterility in women. It also had therapeutic value in that it relieved some cases of dysmenorrhea and sometimes facilitated conception.

Dr. Rubin was very much involved in outside professional activities. In 1928 he served as President of the New York Obstetrical Society. He was a founding member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Obstetrics. In 1955-56, he was the President of the American Gynecological Society. He also helped edit the International Journal of Fertility, Fertility and Sterility, Gynecologie Pratique and the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Rubin received many awards over his life. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Gynecological Society and the New York Obstetrical Society. In 1947, he won the ORTHO Award, and received the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. In 1954, he became Officier of this group. He was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Athens in 1952 and the Sorbonne in 1955. In 1957, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists awarded him an Honorary Fellowship. His alma mater, the College of the City of New York, chose him for their Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Isidor Rubin married Sylvia Unterberg in 1914. When he died, while at a conference in London on July 10, 1958, he was survived by three children, Dr. Harvey N. Rubin, Carol R. Meeger, and Edith R. Fishal.

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Scope and Content

This collection was created from records from Dr. Rubin's office at The Mount Sinai Hospital and from material donated to the Archives by Mrs. Sylvia Rubin, c1975. The papers found in this collection are overwhelmingly of a professional nature: notebooks, notes, papers, reprints. Still, it is possible in reviewing these files to get some insights into Dr. Rubin as a person. The records that serve best to do this are the letters written to him over the years (Box 1) and the photographs that came as a part of this collection. Also, interspersed with his notes (see, for instance Box 3, f.2), are sheets of paper filled with "jottings", lists of trite phrases that seemed to have some relationship, one to the next. In the file of his own writings (Box 1, f.8), further aspects of him can be seen in a note on ancestral worship, and a letter to his wife in 1921. Also of note here is a file compiled in 1935 during a failed attempt to secure Dr. Rubin a Nobel Prize for his development of the Rubin Test. (See Box 2, f.5)

The professional material contains notes and raw data, as well as papers in progress and his collected works. The notebooks include those from his medical school days at Columbia Physicians and Surgeons in 1904 and 1905, as well as notes taken while studying in Vienna. Some of the latter were written in German. The notebooks are arranged chronologically.

The Papers/Reprints files are arranged alphabetically by subject or title, depending on how Rubin labeled the folders. These papers are mostly all undated. The files many times contain long notes on the topic and show Rubin's thoughts and questions he wanted to solve. If no paper was included in the file with the notes, they were simply labeled "Notes" and filed under that heading.

Other items of particular interest or value in this collection include the typed copies of articles relating to fibroid tumors, dating from 1878-1932. (Box 1, f.3) There is a long note about a visit he made to Austria in the early 1920's where he discusses the changes brought by the First World War. (Box 1, f.8) Finally, there are operative assignments from 1911, listing which operations Dr. Rubin performed on a given day and his notes about the case. On these, and throughout the collection, there are many drawings to illustrate pathology or technique. Any patient information here is restricted according to the law and the policies of the Archives.

Non-Paper Material

One of the more interesting parts of this collection is the photographs that accompany it. They date from 1907-1958, mostly black and white. Of special note are a series of snapshots from the Rubins' trip to Greece in June, 1952 to receive an honorary degree from the University of Athens. There is also a photograph of Dr. Rubin's private examining room in 1911. Dr. Hiram Vineberg is pictured in Mount Sinai's clinical amphitheatre in 1907, supervising an operation without surgical masks. There are also many photos of unidentified babies, usually with an inscription of thanks to Dr. Rubin.

Many of the photographs are oversize. These can be found in Box 7. The photographs of events, many in rolls, are stored in Box 6. Memorabilia, a Jacobi Medallion and two souvenir money clips, have been placed in Box 5.

There are a few restrictions on this collection relating to Protected Health Information.

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  • Associated Alumni of MSH: Box 6
  • Columbia University: Box 2, f.6, f.7
  • Education, Med, Undergrad: Box 2, f.6-7
  • Education, Med, Grad: Box 2,f.8
  • Fertility
  • Frank, Robert T.: Box 1, f.10; Box 6
  • Jacobi Medallion: Box 5
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Schottlander, Julius: Box 1, f.9; Box 5
  • Truman, Harry S: Box 6
  • Vineberg, Hiram N.: Box 4, f.23

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Container List

Box Folder Contents
1 1 American Committee For the Weizmann Institute of Science--Reports, Minutes, 1955-1958
  2 American Jewish Physicians' Committee--Minutes, 1922
  3 Articles on Fibroid Tumors--Bound Typed Copies, 1878-1932 (3V.)
  4 Clippings from Trip to S. America, 8/1939
  5 Conference Material, 1954-59
  6 Conference Material: French Conference and Reply to Stabile's Work, 7/1955
  7 Honorary Degree: University of Athens--Clippings; Speeches, 6/1952
  8 Letters and Notes written by I. C. Rubin, Including Notes on a Visit to Austria, c1921; Letter to wife; Jottings, 1921-1952
  9 Letters and Postcards to I. C. Rubin, 1910-1920
  10 Letters to I.C.R., 1939-46, 1950-58
  11 Letters of Appointment, 1916-1938
2 1 Letters of Condolence to Rubin family at I. C. Rubin's death, 1958
  2 Library Fund--Corresp. Re: Establishment, Bookplate, Contributions, 1949, 1957-58
  3 Misc.--Business Cards; Map of Europe showing Route (of 1909 trip?); Leases to Apartments at 50 E. 96th St.; Invoices for Equipment, Poem on his 60th Birthday, 1908-1951
  4 Mosby Company--Copy of Signed Contract for Publication of "Uterotubal Insufflation in Sterility", 1945
  5 Nobel Prize--Material Assembled to Nominate Rubin for Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1936, by Dr. Ira Kaplan, 10/1935
  6 Notebook: Gynecology Lectures, Columbia P & S, 1904
  7 Notebook: Class Notes, Col. P & S, 1905
  8 Notebooks: Kept in Laboratory of Prof. J. Schottlander, II Univ. Frauenklinik, in Vienna, 1909 (5 notebooks)
  9 Notebook: Misc. Notes on Advances in Gynecology, Questions, c1915-1929
  10 Notebook: Cases, observations, 1925-27
3 1 Notebooks: Cases, Experiments, Questions, 1937-1944 (2)
  2 Notebook: European Travels; Trite Expressions, 1956-57
  3 Notes--Misc. Sheets on Various Clinical Areas, n.d.
  4 Notes and Outline Re: Gynecology in Relation to General Medicine, n.d.
  5 Notes on Cases Involving Uteroscopy, 1924-25
  6 Notes on Infantile Cervix, n.d.
  7 Notes on Myomectomy and Sterility--Statistics on Operations, Abstracts of Articles, 1940-1955
  8 Notes on Sterility, Male and Female, c1926-27
  9 Notes on the Spleen, Douches, Castration, The Question of Descent of Placenta, n.d.; Lactation (1925)
  10 Notes on Tubal Contractions, with Paper by F. V. Mikulicz, n.d.
  11 Notes on Vaginitis, 1913
  12 Operation Assignment Sheets, 1911; and Statistics, January-May, 1940
  13 Discussions of Papers by Drs. Robert Walker, Robinson, Stein, Hirst, Vineberg, Hyams, Pierson, Ricci, Kennedy, Bierman, Sovak, Rushmore, Taylor, Child and Dickinson, Geist, Bishop, Huhner and Novak (2)
  14 Papers/Reprints: Appendectomies and Sterility, n.d.
  15 Papers/Reprints: "An Attempt to Extract the Hormone from the Ovary," Read at Newark, N.J., April 22, 1924
  16 Papers/Reprints' Cervical Pregnancy, 1911
  17 Papers/Reprints: "Clinical Observations on the Influence of Coitus and Insemination Upon Tubal Contractions," n.d.
  18 Papers/Reprints: "Diagnosis of Adherent and Strictured Tubes by Means of Utero-Tubal Insufflation and the Kymograph," n.d.; “Diagnosis of Peritubal Adhesions by Means of Utero-Tubal Insufflation and the Kymograph, n.d.
  19 Papers/Reprints. "Chapter XIV: The Diagnosis of Peritubal Adhesions and Tubal Stenosis by Uterotubal Insufflation," n.d.
  20 Papers/Reprints: Endocrinology, n.d.; Ovagenesis, n.d.
  21 Papers/Reprints: "The External Genitals," n.d.
  22 Papers/Reprints: "General Conditions, Infective Diseases, No Peritoneal Involvement,"; "Utero-Vaginal Body, etc."; "The Diagnostic Significance of the Curettage and the Exploratory Excision," n.d.
  23 Papers/Reprints; Genital Bleeding; the Ovary, n.d.
4 1 Papers/Reprints: "Hysteroscopy with the Aid of Uterine Insufflation"--Notes, n.d.
  2 Papers/Reprints: "The Importance of a Uniform Pressure Rate Flow in Transuterine Insufflation to Determine Patency of the Fallopian Tubes," n.d.
  3 Papers/Reprints: Insufflation--Generalities/History, n.d.
  4 Papers/Reprints: "Internal Secretary Factors in Gynecology and Obstetrics with Special Reference to Menstrual Disturbances," n.d.
  5 Papers/Reprints: Ladin's (Ladinski's) Sign of Early Pregnancy, n.d.
  6 Papers/Reprints: "Localization of Tubal Obstruction by Peruterine Tubal Insufflation and Iodized Oil Injection: A Comparative Study of 55 Cases," n.d.
  7 Papers/Reprints: "The Maternity Service of the Future with Special Reference to Mt. Sinai's Institute of Biogenetics," 1/11/1944
  8 Papers/Reprints: "Mesothorium," (in German), 1913
  9 Papers/Reprints: "Obstetric Roentgenology: The Obstetrical Application of Pneumoperitoneum and Lipiodol," n.d.
  10 Papers/Reprints: Oophorogenic Uterine Bleeding, c1924 (with sketches)
  11 Papers/Reprints: "Ovarian Hypofunction as Evidenced by Delayed or Scanty Menstruation in Relation to Sterility and Reduced Fertility," n.d.
  12 Papers/Reprints: "Peristaltic Movement in the Intact Human Fallopian Tube as Determined by Peruterine Gas Insufflation and the Kymograph," n.d.
  13 Papers/Reprints: Pregnancy and Female Organs--Pages from an Article, n.d.
  14 Papers/Reprints: "Pregnancy Following Peruterine Tubal Insufflation: Report and Analysis...," n.d.
  15 Papers/Reprints: Radiation Therapy, n.d.
  16 Papers/Reprints: "Surgical Significance of the Topographical Relationship Between Ureter and Uterine Artery"; "Comparison Between the French and German 'Erytheme Dose'...; Pregnancy following ligation of the tubes; St. Mark's Hospital, n.d.
  17 Papers/Reprints: "Therapy of Female Sterility," c1924
  18 Papers/Reprints: "The Tubal Factor in Sterility; (Eleven Years Experience with Utero-Tubal Insufflation), n.d.
  19 Papers/Reprints: "Tubal Peristalsis and Tubal Spasm, A Clinical Study with the Aid of Peruterine Tubal Insufflation and of the Kymograph," n.d.
  20 Papers/Reprints: Tubal Strictures...at Brooklyn Gynecological Society, Feb. 1930
  21 Papers/Reprints: ."T.B.C. re: Tubal Factors", n.d.
  22 Reprints: Misc. Reprints, 1918-1926
  23 Vineberg, Hiram N., MD--Invitation and Clippings to Presentation of Issue of MS Journal; 5-6/1943
(Bound Volumes and Memorabilia)
  Uterotubal Insufflation: A Clinical Diagnostic Method of Determining the Tubal Factor in Sterility Including Therapeutic Aspects and Comparative Notes on Hysterosalpingography, by I. C. Rubin, M.D., F.A.C.S.. ,By The C. V. Mosby Company St. Louis, Missouri. 1947

Collected Papers of Dr. I. C. Rubin, 1910-1954

Fertility and Sterility, Volume 8. November-December 1957 Number 6. In Honor of Dr. I. C. Rubin's 75th Birthday. Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., Publishers, New York 16. Medical Book Department of Harper and Brothers

Jacobi Medallion, awarded by the Associated Alumni of The Mount Sinai Hospital, 1958

Money clips, name tags given at the Assises Francaises de Gynecologie, July 1954 (2)
Box 6
(Photographs, Rolled)
  Fortieth Reunion Class 1902
College of the City of New York
Hotel Warwick
May 4, 1942

Testimonial Dinner to Howard Atwood Kelly
Lord Baltimore Hotel
February 20, 1933

Dedication Banquet
The International Surgeons' Hall of Fame and Museum of Surgical Science of the International College of Surgeons
Palmer House, Chicago, Ill.
September 9, 1954

Dinner in Honor of Dr. George Blinick Director of Dept. of Obs. and Gyn.
December 11, 1957

45th Anniversary Dinner
Class 1902
City College
Hotel Commodore
April 26, 1947

Brooklyn and Long Island Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Mount Sinai Hospital
The Waldorf-Astoria, New York City
May 19, 1945

Tribute Dinner to the Honorable Harry S. Truman on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday Auspices of the Harry S. Truman Library, Inc.
The Waldorf-Astoria
May 8, 1954

Testimonial Dinner Tendered to Joseph Levy by Joseph Levy-Crawford Clothes Employees Benevolent Association
Hotel Plaza
March 1, 1936

Annual Dinner of the Associated Alumni of Mount Sinai Hospital
Hotel Plaza
April 13, 1958

Testimonial Dinner to Dr. Robert T. Frank on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Anniversary Volume
May 26, 1937

Dinner for Dr. Leopold Stieglitz Tendered by His Friends on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday
Lotos Club,
May 26, 1942.
Box 7
(Ephemera, Awards)
  Framed photograph of two children early in century, Rubin?

Citation to Isidor C. Rubin '02 awarded The Townsend Harris Medal by The Alumni Association of the City College of New York in recognition of his Distinguished contributions to his chosen field of work and to the welfare of his fellow men, 1945

Ordre National de la Legion D'Honneur Paris, August 25, 1954

Certificate from Mount Sinai Hospital honoring I.C. Rubin for his years of service to the Hospital and congratulating him on being elevated to Consulting Gynecologist, February 19, 1946 - framed

Barbara J. Niss, Archivist
May 1987

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