Ruby Hirose

Subject: Hirose, Ruby

       William S. Merrell Laboratories

       American Chemical Society


Type: Black-and-White Prints


Topic: Biochemistry


     Women scientists


Local number: SIA Acc. 90-105 [SIA-SIA2008-3224]


Summary: Biochemist and bacteriologist Ruby Hirose researched serums and antitoxins at the William S. Merrell Laboratories. In 1940, Hirose was among ten women recognized by the American Chemical Society for accomplishments in chemistry, and later made major contributions to the development of vaccines against infantile paralysis. The original caption to this photograph read: "A hay fever sufferer herself, Dr. R. Hirose, American-born Japanese girl scientist on the research staff of the Wm. S. Merrell biological laboratories, has found a way to improve the pollen extracts used to desensitize hay fever sufferers. ... The idea of treating the pollen with alum to increase its effectiveness developed while Dr. Hirose was working on alum-precipitated toxoid for protection against diphtheria.


Cite as: Acc. 90-105 - Science Service, Records, 1920s-1970s, Smithsonian Institution Archives


Persistent URL:Link to data base record


Repository:Smithsonian Institution Archives


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  • Fingerprints.of.God 4y

    oh wow, this is really cool.
  • Brenda Anderson 4y

    A newspaper story about her appeared in the Lebanon (PA) Daily News, Oct 13, 1958:

    Joins Staff
    Dr. Ruby S. Hirose has recently been transferred to the Lebanon Veterans Administration Hospital as a bacteriologist. Before coming here, she was affiliated with the Ft. Benjamin Harrison Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind., and the VA Hospital at Dayton, Ohio.
    Born in Kent, WAsh., Dr. Hirose received her college education at the University of Washington, Seattle, and did graduate work at the University of Cincinnati. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1932.
    She first worked in the Biological Division of the William S. Merrill Company in Cincinnati. During the war she was connected with the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology, University of Cincinnati, a consulting laboratory doing toxicological work.
    She also taught at the University of Indiana Medical School as an instructor in microbiology and doing research on cancer using antimetabolites.
    Dr. Hirose is living on the hospital grounds here.

    Only two years later, her obituary was published in the Lebanon (PA) Daily News, Oct 8, 1960:

    Dr Ruby Hirose, VA Hospital Chemist, Dies
    Dr Ruby S Hirose, 54, 1009 S. Kiner St, died on Friday afternoon in the Reading Hospital. She was a member of the Lebanon Veterans Administration Hospital staff.
    Dr Hirose, who previously lived in Dayton, O., was born in Kent, Wash. She held a doctorate in chemistry.
    Her parents were the late Shiusaku and Tome (Kurai) Hirose.
    Surviving are two sisters, Mary T. Hirose, Chicago, and Toki, wife of Dr. Isaac Jawasaki, Honolulu; and a brother, Kimeo Hirose, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Smithsonian Institution 4y

    Thank you for such detailed information, Brenda!

    Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Smithsonian Institution 4y

    Share Hirose's legacy with the wonderful women in your life by sending a free ecard featuring her from the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

    Catherine Shteynberg
    Smithsonian Institution Archives
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