Reuben Leon Kahn Papers: 1915-1979
Summary Information
Title: Reuben Leon Kahn Papers
Creator: Kahn, Reuben Leon.
Inclusive dates: 1915-1979
Extent: 5 linear feet
Abstract:
The Reuben Leon Kahn collection consists of the personal and professional papers of the developer of the Kahn precipitation test for syphilis. Kahn taught bacteriology and serology at the University of Michigan from 1928 until his retirement in 1956.
Call number: 851598 Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: David Wasmuth, 1980

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The bulk of the collection was donated by Kahn's estate (Donor No. 5083) in 1979.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Reuben Leon Kahn Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Dr. Reuben L. Kahn, professor of bacteriology and serology at the University of Michigan from 1928 to 1956, is best known for developing the Kahn precipitation test for syphilis. However, Kahn, who remained an active researcher until the age of 85, also carried out extensive research in the areas of tissue immunity and cancer irradiation. In addition to his contributions to the medical profession, Kahn was actively concerned with civil rights and human understanding.

Reuben Kahn was born in Lithuania in 1887 and immigrated to America with his family at age 12. He first became interested in medical research as an undergraduate at Valparaiso University. After graduating from here in 1909 he obtained an M.S. from Yale in 1913 and a D.Sc. from New York University in 1916. From 1917 to 1919 Kahn served in the Army Sanitary Corp.

In 1923, while working as an immunologist for the Michigan State Department of Health, Kahn developed the precipitation test for syphilis, which came to be known as the Kahn test. He was appointed director of laboratories of the University Hospitals at the University of Michigan in 1928, where he also became professor of bacteriology and, in 1957, professor of serology. During the 1930's Kahn began his work on tissue immunity, studying the capacity of tissue to localize foreign substances. In 1956, at the age of 69, he became involved in research on the subject of irradiation and tissue localization. This research continued into the 1970's, funded by the Atomic Energy Commission from 1957 to 1967, the American Cancer Society from 1967 to 1969, and the National Cancer Institute from 1969 to 1973. Although Kahn retired from the University of Michigan faculty in 1956, he ,continued to carry out his research at Michigan until 1968 when he became professor of microbiology at Howard University, retiring in 1973.

Kahn and his wife, Dina, were active in the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Kahn's concern with racial equality was demonstrated as early as 1928, when he hired the first black to work in the University Medical Center laboratories. Kahn died in 1979.

The Kahn papers are likely to prove of most interest to biographers and to researchers interested in Kahn's experiments and his approach to research. The correspondence series provides insight into both Kahn's family life and his professional development. Speeches and papers in the collection give an indication of his personal philosophy. Materials relating to his research mostly concern his later studies on tissue immunity and irradiation. The Kahn papers are also significant as an indication of the potential contribution of older people to society.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Reuben L. Kahn papers contain materials relevant to Kahn's personal and professional life. The collection is divided into five series; Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Topical Files, Publications and Photographs.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Physicians -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Scientists -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Syphilis.
  • Laboratories.
  • Physicians -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Classrooms -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Photographs.
  • Kahn, Reuben L. (Reuben Leon), 1887-1979.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. Medical School.
  • Kahn, Reuben L. (Reuben Leon), 1887-1979.
  • Kahn family.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. Medical School.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Biographical Materials [series]

The Biographical Materials series contains both autobiographical and biographical material on Kahn's career and life.

Box   1  
Autobiographical material
Box   1  
Biographical material
 
Correspondence 1915-1977 [series]

The Correspondence series is organized by and contains materials of both a personal and professional nature. The dates range from 1915 to 1977, with the bulk of the correspondence dealing with 1939 to 1977.

Box   1  
Undated, 1915-1938
Box   1  
1939-1943
Box   1  
1944-1958
Box   1  
1959-1962
Box   1  
1963-1965
Box   1  
1966-1968
Box   1  
1969-1970
Box   1  
1971
Box   1  
1972
Box   1  
1973
Box   1  
1974-June 1975
Box   1  
July 1975-1977
 
Topical files 1928-1972 [series]

The Topical Files series is arranged alphabetically by subject and contains materials on Kahn's professional work, associations, conferences, experiments and reports. This series also includes information on Kahn's career in the U.S. Army and his work on the Michigan State Health Department, where he developed the Kahn precipitation test for syphilis.

Box   1  
American Cancer Society Studies 1967-1968
 
Appointments
Box   1  
(Howard University)
Box   1  
(University of Michigan)
 
Articles
Box   1  
Undated (2 folders)
Box   1  
Re. blood tests 1939
Box   1  
1956-1970
Box   1  
Atomic Energy Commission Study (charts and tabler)
Box   1  
Burroughs, John
Box   1  
Chicago Board of Health. Consultant
Box   1  
Children's Education. Correspondence 1967-1970
Box   1  
Clippings (2 folders)
 
Conferences and trips
Box   2  
Brazil 1951
Box   2  
Caribbean 1944
Box   2  
Chile 1960
Box   2  
Copenhagen. League of Nations Health Committee Serological Conference 1928
Box   2  
Iran 1966
Box   2  
Montevideo. League of Nations Health Committee Serological Conference 1930
Box   2  
Philippines 1964
Box   2  
Rome 1933
Box   2  
Miscellaneous
Box   2  
Cosmos Club (support of applicants for admission)
Box   2  
Douglas Gardens Jewish Home for the Aged
 
Experiments (General)
Box   2  
Summary of John Eisses' experiments
Box   2  
Work on experiments, 175-179
Box   2  
Toxin Lesion in Primary Immune Rabbits Experiments, 285-289
Box   2  
Arthus Reaction
Box   2  
Flare-Up Reaction
Box   2  
Intracutaneous Toxin Injections
Box   2  
India Ink and Methylene Blue
Box   2  
Differential Effect of Toxin in X-Irradiated Rabbits
Box   2  
Localization in Various Tissues
Box   2  
Cobalt-60 Irradiated Plasma
Box   2  
Leucopenia
Box   2  
Comparison of Diphtheria
Box   2  
Horse Serum and Antitoxin Localization
Box   2  
Ephedrine and Histamine
Box   2  
Control Experiments
Box   2  
Miscellaneous
Box   2  
Finances, personal
Box   2  
Howard University Health Research and Development Program
Box   2  
Irradiation. Some Effects of X-Irradiation on the Localizing Capacities of Different Areas of Tissue in Rabbits. Description of Experiments September 1961-June 1962
 
Irradiation and Tissue Localizing Response.
Box   2  
Howard University Project 1969-1970
Box   2  
Howard University Project 1971-1972
 
Irradiation and Tissue Localizing Response.
Box   2  
Howard University Project. Grant,1971
 
Irradiation Project. Howard University.
Box   2  
Site visits 1969
Box   2  
Site visit 1971
Box   2  
Irradiation and Tissue Immunity. Tables and Charts
Box   2  
Irradiation. Charts
Box   2  
Irradiation. Tables
Box   2  
Kahn, David. Correspondence 1944-1945
Box   2  
Kahn, Dina
Box   2  
Letters from the children
Box   2  
Letters of congratulation on receiving the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award
Box   2  
Letters of Congratulation on the 25th Anniversary of the Kahn Reaction
Box   2  
"Localizing Response to Antigen in Immunity and Irradiation Effect." Manuscript
Box   2  
McDermott,Elizabeth. Correspondence 1928-1973
Box   3  
Michigan State Health Department Laboratory
Box   3  
Miscellaneous papers and scientific notes
Box   3  
Nominations for awards
Box   3  
Pfeiffer Foundation 1971
Box   3  
Research Funds
Box   3  
Research Projects
Box   3  
Research Reports
Box   3  
Reuben L. Kahn Laboratory in Immunology. Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University
 
Reviews
Box   3  
An Introduction to Universal Serological Reaction in Health and Disease
Box   3  
Serology in Syphilis Control
Box   3  
Serology with Lipid Antigen
Box   3  
Tissue Immunity
Box   3  
School papers. Valparaiso University 1907-1910
Box   3  
Serologic Consultation Service
Box   3  
Speeches (3 folders)
Box   3  
"Studies on Metastasis II: In Relation to Intensity of Tumor Irradiation." Manuscript
Box   3  
Syphilis. Unpublished manuscripts
Box   3  
Testimonials and tributes
 
Tissue Immunity
Box   3  
1936-1937
Box   3  
Correspondence 1936
Box   3  
Charts and Graphs 1956
Box   3  
Tissue Immunity and Irradiation. Experiments 1962-1963
 
Tissue Localization
Box   3  
Injected Antitoxins
Box   3  
Role in Hypersensitivity of Infection
Box   3  
Charts
Box   3  
U.S. Army
Box   3  
U.S. Navy
Box   3  
Universal Serologic Reaction Following Irradiation. Final Report to the Division of Biology and Medicine of the Atomic Energy Commission
 
Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box   3  
Diary September-November 1924, May 1925
Box   3  
Account of trip to Italy 1933
Box   3  
Autographs
Box   3  
Collection of quotes
 
Publications 1916-1967 [series]

The Publications series includes a list of Kahn's publications and copies of many of his published articles and books.

Box   4  
List of Publications (1 folder)
 
Published articles
 
Reprints
Box   4  
Undated, 1923-1959
Box   4  
1960-1972
Box   4  
References on the Kahn Reaction 1922-1931 (4 volumes)
Box   4  
Collected Studies 1916-1959 (3 volumes)
 
Books
Box   5  
Serum Diagnosis of Syphilis Precipitation 1925
Box   5  
The Kahn Test: A Practical Guide 1928
Box   5  
The Kahn Test: A Practical Guide, (Russian Translation) 1931
Box   5  
La Reaccion Kahn 1938
Box   5  
Tissue Immunity 1936
Box   5  
Serology in Syphilis Control 1942
Box   5  
Serology with Lipid Antigen 1950
Box   5  
Universal Serological Reaction 1951
Box   5  
AEC Annual Progress Reports 1957-1967 (1 volume)
 
Photographs [series]

The Photographs series contains photographs of Kahn's professional achievements and his personal family. Included are photographs of award ceremonies honoring Kahn's work, images of Kahn's laboratories and experiments and a personal family photograph album.

Box   5  
Awards to Reuben Leon Kahn (RLK)
Box   5  
Burroughs, John
Box   5  
Colleagues and students
Box   5  
Conference, Santiago, Chile 1960
Box   5  
Family and friends
Box   5  
Honorary degree, Medical School of the National University, Athens, Greece
Box   5  
Kahn, Dina (Mrs. RLK), with RLK and alone
 
Kahn, Reuben L
Box   5  
Formal portraits
Box   5  
In laboratory, office, and teaching
Box   5  
Informal
Box   5  
With colleagues and students
Box   5  
Kahn Laboratory dedication, Teheran, Iran 1966
Box   5  
McDermott, Elizabeth
Box   5  
Reuben L. Kahn Award
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
 
Experiments
Box   5  
Flare-up Reactions. Experiment 163
Box   5  
Flare-up Reactions. Experiments 212 and 218 February 1964, March 1964

(1st Taxoid experiment)

Box   5  
Flare-up Reactions. Experiment 222
Box   5  
Flare-up Reactions. Flare-up dater
Box   5  
Irradiation
Box   5  
Irradiation and Tissue Immunity
Box   5  
Irradiation and Tissue Localization
Box   5  
Irradiation-Rabbits
Box   5  
Irradiation-Rabbits. Experiment 139 October 26, 1962
Box   5  
Localization. Role in hypersensitivity of infection October 1967
Box   5  
Photo Album circa 1910-1920

(personal photos)