Dr. Hyman Rubinstein, a 'Renaissance man'

July 23, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Hyman Solomon Rubinstein -- a man of broad and stunning talents as a neurologist, violinist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, humanitarian, writer and the inventor of his own shorthand -- died of heart failure March 17 at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 90.

"During the 1940s, he took in Jewish refugees from Germany, Russia and Argentina and they remained lifelong friends," said Roberta Faith Rubinstein, a daughter who lives in Pikesville. "He visited orphanages and was always giving away money to those who were in need."

In 1990, at age 86, Dr. Rubinstein retired from the full-time practice of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He had maintained a private practice at 3900 N. Charles St. since 1964. Before that he worked out of his home on Eutaw Place and, later, in Pikesville.

He was a former first violinist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and he composed "The Maryland March."

He collected books and music, donating much of that material to the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

"He was a Renaissance man," said Ms. Rubinstein, adding that her father also had a passion for art and antiques; wrote more than 70 scientific research studies and two textbooks describing the brain and central nervous system; and contributed to the World Book encyclopedia.

An interest in keeping his medical notes confidential led him to invent his own shorthand in 1953.

"He invented a cursive shorthand that didn't require the user to lift the pencil off the paper," his daughter said. "He thought it would have great application for the United Nations because it was based on phonetics and was cursive rather than printed, so the user could write faster."

Born in Leeds, England, he emigrated with his parents to Granby Street in East Baltimore when he was a child. He attended city schools and graduated in 1922 from City College.

He was a 1928 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and interned at Sinai Hospital from 1927 to 1929. At Maryland, he earned his doctorate in neuroanatomy and endocrinology in 1934.

His graduate studies included original research in endocrinology, neurology and neuropathology at George Washington University, and in psychiatry at the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

He was certified in 1936 as a specialist in neurology and psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. From 1935 to 1951, he was director of neuro-endocrine research and, later, neuropsychiatric research at Sinai Hospital.

He also was on the staff of Seton Psychiatric Institute, was attending physician in neurology and psychiatry at the Army Hospital at Aberdeen Proving Ground and was a consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Rubinstein was president, and later a member of the board, of the Maryland chapter of the American Jewish Congress.

He also was a member of the Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, the Jewish Big Brother and Big Sister League, the Baltimore Jewish Council and the Zionist Organization of America.

After the Jewish Big Brother League gave him an award in 1964, The Evening Sun said: "He has contributed substantially toward making this a better community for us all to live in."

In 1929, he married Ellen Steinhorn, who died in 1987.

Survivors include another daughter, Madelyn R. Shapiro of Bethesda; a sister, Fannie Eudell of Washington; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Phi Lambda Kappa Medical Fraternity, Bucks County Office Center, 1200 New Rodgers Road, Bristol, Pa. 19007.

Services were held March 21 at Sol Levinson & Bros. Home, with interment in the Hebrew Friendship Cemetery.

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