Oral history interview with Herbert Tabor

Oral history interview with Herbert Tabor

  • 1993-Apr-03

Herbert Tabor begins this interview with a discussion of his family and childhood. He grew up during the Depression in Manhattan, New York, and attended local public schools before becoming a student at City College in 1933. After spending two years at City College, he transferred to Harvard University, where he graduated with an AB in biochemical science in 1937. He earned his MD in 1941. While at Harvard, Tabor was influenced by several of his professors to pursue biochemistry rather than move into a clinical discipline. In 1942, Tabor began an internship at New Haven Hospital, where he was exposed to aspects of both clinical and biochemical medicine.

After his internship at New Haven Hospital ended in 1943, Tabor entered the Public Health Service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and worked closely with Dr. Sanford M. Rosenthal, then head of pharmacology at the NIH. Tabor and Dr. Rosenthal studied electrolyte changes in burns and shock and determined how to treat burn and shock victims using saline instead of plasma. This research proved extremely important during World War II, when there was little or no plasma available. While with the Public Health Service, Tabor was assigned to be a medical officer of one of the US Coast Guard cutters. He made three round trips to Scotland and North Africa providing medical care. In 1961, Tabor joined the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). Later, he advanced to associate editor before becoming editor in chief in 1971, a position he still holds today. While with the JBC, Tabor developed the Minireview Compendium, which is a yearly compilation of all short reviews published in the JBC for a particular year. Tabor discusses the importance of computer technology in advancing the usage and availability of the JBC in today's world. Tabor concludes the interview with a discussion on the future of the JBC and electronic journal availability.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 106 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

Herbert Tabor, interviewed by James J. Bohning in National Institutes of Health (U.S.) on April 3, 1993. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0110. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/bi97dgt.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

15 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads