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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Augustus Sinning Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1892-1948
Creator: Sinning, Augustus (1864-19--)
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0391
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Physician. Correspondence, clippings, notebooks, and other papers.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


Preferred Citation: Augustus Sinning Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

August Sinning was born in Spangenberg in Germany on April 19, 1864 to a well-to-do soap maker and merchant. About the age of sixteen, Sinning and a friend came to America. After staying with a relative of the friend on the east coast, they came to Muscatine, Iowa. Sinning spent a year in Muscatine, working at various jobs before he moved to Nebraska, and then to Marengo, Iowa, and then back to Muscatine. He worked at a greenhouse during the day and attended night school. He read science and medical books in his spare time.

In 1891 he started Liberal Arts courses at the University of Iowa, and in 1892 he entered the medical college. During his years at the University, he taught German to ex-President Macbride's children in return for room and board. He graduated from the Medical School in spring 1895 and moved back to Muscatine to become an associate in the office of Dr. Fulliam. In September 1895 he married Katherine Kranz, the daughter of the family who owned the greenhouse where he had worked earlier. After their marriage, they moved to Germany, where Dr. Sinning attended the University of Berlin from 1895-1896. They returned to the United States in 1897, and Dr. Sinning practiced medicine at several locations in Iowa, including New Liberty, Bennet, Ackley, and finally, Iowa City. For a time he was the surgeon for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. In 1910, he went into practice by himself in Iowa City, where he practiced until he retired.

This small collection contains biographical and autobiographical pieces, correspondence, certificates, newspaper clippings, notebooks on medical lectures (in German), and materials relating to the Straus quarantine case. This is a case in 1904 in which Doctor Sinning was consulted by the Strauss family and diagnosed scarlet fever. Following practice at the time, he notified the Board of Health and placed the Strauss family under quarantine. Mr. Strauss was incensed by this and called in another physician, who declared the case to be measles and wrote to the Board of Health instructing them to remove the quarantine sign. Six doctors were eventually called in, including a representative of the Board of Health. Various dispositions were taken, and the case was decided in favor of the first diagnosis, that of scarlet fever, rendered by Dr. Sinning.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Abgangszeugris (Diploma) -- Royal Friedrich -- Wilhelms Universitat, Berlin - 1895-1896, 1926
  • Autobiographical and biographical sketches
  • Correspondence - 1892-1894, 1927
    Including letters from Thomas H. Macbride and Harriet D. Macbride
  • "Kuno and Else" (Story of an ancestor)
  • Material from the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig, including certificate of matriculation, Ameldebuch, Vorschriften, etc.
  • Newspaper clippings - 1926, 1948
  • Notebooks -- Lectures pertaining to clinical diagnosis and treatment at the bedside - 1895-1896
    2 folders
  • Photographs and tickets
  • Siebert, Adam. Poem and photograph
  • The Strauss Quarantine Case

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Sinning, Augustus, 1864-1960



Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Case histories
Clippings (Information artifacts)