Collection OH020 - Ruth Silberberg Oral History


Reference code


Level of description



Ruth Silberberg Oral History


  • 1/16/1976 (Creation)
  • 16 January 1976 (Creation)


0.05 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in Germany, Ruth Silberberg (1906-1997) studied medicine at the University of Breslau (M.D. 1931) as did her husband Martin Silberberg (1895-1966). They often collaborated on research, particularly the study of aging and degenerative arthritis, until Martin's death in 1966. The Silberbergs met at the University of Breslau, where Martin was Ruth's professor. Martin was already a specialist in bone diseases, experimental cytology, and haematology. While on a Rockefeller traveling fellowship to the United States in 1928 and 1929, Martin worked with Leo Loeb at Washington University. After getting married in 1933, the Silberbergs worked jointly in the Institute of Pathology at Breslau until forced from their positions by the Nazi regime in 1934.

After leaving Germany, the Silberbergs settled in Canada where they joined the department of Pathology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They moved to St. Louis in 1937 to work with Leo Loeb where Ruth was a researcher in the Department of Pathology. The Silberbergs were on staff at New York University in the Department of Pathology from 1941 until 1944. Then the Silberbergs returned to St. Louis to fill positions in the reorganized Department of Pathology at City Hospital and at Jewish Hospital. Both Martin and Ruth were also instructors in the Department of Pathology at Washington University. Ruth became Assistant Professor of Pathology in 1950, Associate Professor in 1957, and a full Professor in 1968. She retired as Professor Emerita and Lecturer in 1975, and later went to live and work in Israel in 1977.

Scope and content

Silberberg discusses differences in medical education in Europe and the United States. She also discusses changes in the field of pathology in general and in the Department of Pathology at the Washington University School of Medicine over the course of her career. Changes due to the development of electron microscopy are recalled, as well as the difficulties Silberberg encountered working under dean of the medical school and head of the pathology department, Robert A. Moore. Silberberg talks of leaving Germany because of the rise of Nazism and her husband and her coming to St. Louis to work in with Leo Loeb. She also describes her research in growth and aging, the study of osteoarthritis, and the relation of diabetes and joint disease. Sound level of audio recording is not consistent. Interviewed by Estelle Brodman on January 16, 1976. OH020. Approximate Length 53 minutes.

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Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

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Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

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"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

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© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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