Florence Barbara Seibert (1897-1991)

ID: SIA Acc. 90-105 [SIA2009-3170]


Form/Genre: Black-and-white photographs


Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 90-105, Science Service Records, Image No. SIA2009-3170

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Biochemist Florence Barbara Seibert (1897-1991) developed the skin test for tuberculosis. After graduating from Goucher College, she worked as a chemist during World War I and then went to Yale University, where she earned a Ph.D. and made important discoveries about the ability of some bacteria to survive distillation techniques and therefore contaminate intravenous injections. During the 1930s, she taught at University of Pennsylvania and developed the tuberculosis skin reaction test, which became the world standard by 1941. In 1942, she received the American Chemical Society's Francis P. Garvan Gold Medal for development of a pure tuberculin, which had made reliable skin tests possible. A Washington Evening Star article in July 30, 1942, described her as a "modest, diminutive" woman who "likes motoring, music, reading biographies." Just then starting a new research project in Phipps Institute, "situated in a congested tenement neighborhood...while ragged children play in the streets outside, she works the hours of an Edison, and then continues her paper work when she reaches her home.


  • Seibert, Florence Barbara 1897-1991
  • Goucher College
  • Yale University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • American Chemical Society
  • Henry Phipps Institute

Cite as

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 90-105, Science Service Records, Image No. SIA2009-3170

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520

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  • No access restrictions Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
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  • Biochemistry
  • Women scientists
  • Diseases
  • Tuberculosis


Black-and-white photographs

Local number

SIA Acc. 90-105 [SIA2009-3170]

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