Women’s History Month: Ruby Hirose

Women’s History Month: Ruby Hirose


Ruby Hirose, a name often left out of history books.

Ruby was the first second-generation Japanese American to graduate from high school in Washington. She would go on to receive both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Pharmacology from the University of Washington. She made the decision to move to Ohio, to pursue her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati. This would prove beneficial to her and to the future of science.

Ruby remained in Ohio, after finishing her doctorate in 1932. Had she returned to Washington, where her family remained, she would have likely been sent to the same internment camps that they were. This would have been an unfortunate event for not only Ruby, but for the future of science and medicine as well.

We have much to thank Ruby for, as she was not only instrumental in providing work that helped roll out the polio vaccine worldwide, but discovered ways to lessen the effects of hay fever while working on the diphtheria vaccine, as well.

Ruby was a successful biochemist and bacteriologist. She was also a Japanese American who made major contributions to the overall health and well-being to society while facing racial prejudices and even worked tirelessly while her family was in internment camps because of their heritage.

In 1940, Ruby Hirose was among only 10 women recognized by the American Chemical Society for her accomplishments in Chemistry. But we owe her even more than that. Thank you. Ruby.

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