Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Jesse Rabinowitz papers
Date (inclusive): 1944-1999,
Date (bulk): bulk 1948-1995
Collection Number: BANC MSS 2003/333 c
Number of containers: 11 cartons, 2 boxes
Linear feet: 14.4 linear feet
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: The Jesse Rabinowitz papers, 1944-1999, consist of correspondence, writings, research, and personal papers relating to his
life and work as a biochemist. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, research material, and professional
papers that Rabinowitz collected during his 40 year career with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California,
Berkeley. Also included is a small array of personal papers which present a view of Rabinowitz's wide-ranging interests, as
well as a limited collection of personal photographs.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English. There are some materials in French and Yiddish.
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information
on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must
be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.
Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted
to research and educational purposes.
[Identification of item], Jesse Rabinowitz Papers, BANC MSS 2003/333 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
No materials have been separated from this collection.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology
Folic acid in human nutrition
History of science and technology collection
The Jesse Rabinowitz Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Mr. Edward Penhoet on October 17, 2003.
No additions are expected.
Processed by Jennifer Davis in 2006.
Jesse Charles Rabinowitz was born on April 28, 1925 in New York, New York. He was the only child of Julius and Frances Rabinowitz,
immigrants to the United States from Eastern Europe. When he was eleven, the family relocated to Jersey Homesteads, an experimental
Jewish co-op. In 1945, Rabinowitz received a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. From
University of Wisconsin, he obtained a master's degree in biochemistry in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1949.
After completing his doctorate, Rabinowitz spent a year studying under David Green at the University of Wisconsin Enzyme Institute.
From 1951-1952, Rabinowitz furthered his postdoctoral study of purine fermentation by anaerobic bacteria at the University
of California, Berkeley. In 1952 he joined the National Institutes of Health. Rabinowitz then joined the Department of Biochemistry
at UC Berkeley in 1957, where he served as chair of the department from 1978 to 1983. During his long and distinguished career,
Professor Rabinowitz taught and mentored many graduate and doctoral students. Rabinowitz became professor emeritus of the
Biochemistry Department in 1991.
Over the course of his career, Rabinowitz did groundbreaking research in the essential B vitamin, folic acid. This research
was begun under the tutelage of his graduate school professor, Esmond Snell and continued with one of Rabinowitz's graduate
students, Dean Appling. As a result of their research, it is now widely advised that pregnant women take folic acid to prevent
birth defects in newborns. In UC Berkeley's "In Memoriam" tribute, a colleague of Rabinowitz is quoted "Jesse worked out a
good part of the basic biology of folic acid. In our research on chromosome breaks caused by folic acid deficiency, we keep
coming across Jesse's old work. All his papers are classics."
Over the course of his career, Rabinowitz authored many scientific articles on the subjects of enzymology, purine fermentation,
folic acid, clostridial ferredoxin, iron-sulfur proteins, and protein synthesis. In recognition of his contributions to science,
he was awarded fellowships with the United States Public Health Service in 1962, the National Science Foundation in 1970,
the Guggenheim Foundation in 1977, the National Academy of Sciences in 1981, and the American Academy of Microbiology in 1997.
Rabinowitz was also the editor of the
Journal of Biological Chemistry from 1965-1970 and from 1974-1977.
In addition to his career as professor at UC Berkeley, Rabinowitz was an avid photographer, music devotee, cellist, cook,
dancer, and traveler. Rabinowitz enjoyed three sabbaticals in Paris and vacationed in Japan, Guatemala, and Egypt, among many
other countries. His photographs of the people he met on his travels have been exhibited at galleries around the San Francisco
Bay Area. For a photograph he made of a child in Mexico, Rabinowitz won the 1969 Saturday Review magazine World Travel Photography
Grand Prize in Color. Rabinowtiz's extensive personal slide collection may be found at the McHenry Library of University of
California, Santa Cruz. The University Library at University of California, Santa Cruz also received a donation of 2,700 classical
CDs from Rabinowtiz's personal collection.
Jesse Rabinowitz died of melanoma Tuesday, September 9, 2003 at his home in Kensington, California.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Jesse Rabinowitz papers, 1944-1999, consist of correspondence, research, and personal papers relating to his life and
work as a biochemist. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence, research material, and professional papers that
Rabinowitz collected during his 40 year career with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.
Also included is a small array of personal papers which present a view of Rabinowitz's wide-ranging interests, as well as
a limited collection of personal photographs.
The correspondence files make up the bulk of the collection and include letters to and from Rabinowitz as well as research
materials, reprints, notes, and personal information. Collected in the General Research series is correspondence, notes, and
various other material representing the following subjects: enzymology, purine fermentation, folic acid coenzymes, ferredoxin,
iron-sulfur proteins, and protein biosynthesis. Grant applications and correspondence relating to grants are also included
in this series. Rabinowitz collected reprints which illustrate 50 years of his research efforts in biochemistry; this work
is also found in the General Research series.
Professional materials pertaining to Rabinowitz's career at the University of California, Berkeley and his outside affiliations
are found in the University of California, Berkeley and the Professional Affiliations series. There is a notable lack of course
materials found in the collection.
Rabinowitz was an avid traveler, amateur photographer, dancer, and cook. These personal interests are represented by his personal
papers files. Included is correspondence, photographs, travelogues, and ephemera. Lastly, a small collection of photographs
of Rabinowitz's lab colleagues and friends is found in the photographs series.