Claiborne Robins
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Edwin Claiborne Robins (1910 - 1995)

Edwin Claiborne (Claiborne) Robins
Born in Virginia, USAmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of — married 10 Jun 1937 in Waco, McLennan, Texas, USAmap
[children unknown]
Died in Richmond, Henrico, Virginia, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Nov 2016
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This profile is part of the Robbins Name Study.

A philanthropist who built and lost one of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies.[1]

Birth & Parents

Edwin Claiborne Robins was born July 8, 1910,[2][3] in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Claiborne Robins and Martha Elizabeth née Taylor.[3] His father Claiborne Robins died in 1912, two years after his son's birth. An older brother, Albert H Robins, was born in 1907, but died before his father in 1912.

Marriage and Children

Claiborne met Lora McGlasson June 10, 1937, in Waco, Texas, while he was traveling for business. They were married June 24, 1938 in Waco.[4]

Lora Elizabeth Robins Porter[4][5]
E. Claiborne Jr.[4][5]
Ann Carol Robins Marchant[4][5]


E. Claiborne Robins died July 6, 1995,[4][5][2] two days before his 85th birthday. He died at home in Richmond of Cancer of the pancreas.[5] He is buried in the family mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.[6]


After his fathers death, his mother managed to keep the family business running until her son Claiborne graduated from college.[1] He attended McGuire’s University School for his early education.[4] Claiborne worked in the public library for 25 cents an hour and commuted to classes at the University of Richmond.[5] He was on the honor roll and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, [7] in English, in 1931.[4]

As a member of the freshman class in Pharmacy at the Medical College of Virginia, in 1932, E.C. Robins was in the Kappa Psi fraternity and was the Athletic Representative for his class.[8] He received a scholarship and graduated in 1933.[5]

A. H. Robins

Albert Hartley Robins (1842-1935), grandfather of E. Claiborne Robins, started and ran the A. H. Robins Apothecary in 1866. It was located at 523 North Second Street in Richmond, Virginia, and later moved to 200 East Marshall Steet. The apothecary closed in 1929, due to the failing health of it's founder.[1]

Albert's son Claiborne (1842-1912), started a related business A. H. Robins Company. It sold only to doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies. When Claiborne died in 1912, his wife Martha (Taylor) Robins, ran the business until their son, E. Claiborne Robins, became president of the company in 1936.[1]

Following his graduation E. Claiborne Robins, joined the business. At the time it had three employees including Martha.[1]

"During his administration, Robins was able to hire salesmen, develop new drugs and production facilities, acquire subsidiary companies, and expand into international markets." Some of the highlights:[1]

  • 1942 the company made $100,000 of profit.
  • 1946 the company began exporting to other countries.
  • 1948 they hired a researcher to develop new products
  • 1949 three popular products were introduced: Robitussin, an antitussive-expectorant; Pabalate, an antirheumatic; and Entozyme a digestant.
  • 1953 A. H. Robins opened its first manufacturing plant.
  • 1959 sales were over thirty-three million dollars.
  • 1963 the company began acquiring other companies, such as the company that made Chap Stick
  • 1966 E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. joined the company
  • 1967 Net sales reached one hundred million dollars.
  • 1970 the company bought rights to the Dalkon Shield, an intrauterine contraceptive device. Problems with the device would eventually lead to the down fall of the company.
  • 1972 E. Claiborne Robins had been gradually reducing his everyday involvement with the company. A heart attack, in 1972, further reduced his activities.
  • 1974 two hundred million dollars in sales. The FDA recommended that A. H. Robins suspend domestic sales of the Dalkon Shield.
  • 1975 the company continued to remain strong, but lawsuits were pending from Dalkon Shield users. E. Claiborne Robins stepped down as CEO.
  • Despite the continued excellent sales of it's other products, the settlements and claims related to the Dalton Shield, eventually caused the company to file bankruptcy.
  • 1989 American Home Products took over A. H. Robins. American Home Products became Wyeth in 2002.


The great success of the A. H. Robins company allowed E. Claiborne Robins and his wife Lora Robins to be extremely generous. "Mr. Robins said he gave about half of his income to charity each year." Besides large donations to the University of Richmond and the Virginia Commonwealth University, he also made gifts to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Richmond Public Library, the Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Union University.[5]

Today the Robins Foundation continues to support the Community of Richmond, Virginia, especially promoting projects for children and families.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "A.H. Robins Company" Virginia Historical Society
  2. 2.0 2.1 SSDI Records Name: E . C. Robins SSN: 223-14-0058 Last Residence: 23226 Richmond, Henrico, Virginia, USA BORN: 8 Jul 1910 Died: 6 Jul 1995 State (Year) SSN issued: Virginia (Before 1951) Source Citation Number: 223-14-0058; Issue State: Virginia; Issue Date: Before 1951 Source Information Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Birth certificate Certificate Number 1385 "Virginia, Richmond City Birth Index, 1870-1912," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 18 September 2015), Claiborne Robins in entry for Edwin Claiborne Robins, 08 Jul 1910; citing 08 Jul 1910, Library of Virginia, Richmond; FHL microfilm 2,218,981.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "Happy Birthday, Mr. Robins!" Robins Foundation July 8, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 FREUDENHEIM, MILT "E. Claiborne Robins, 84, Dies; Executive and Philanthropist." The New York Times. July 7, 1995
  6. Photo of Mausoleum Findagrave # 87261108. E Claiborne Robins. Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
  7. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. :University of Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) 1930 (Junior Class); 1931 (Senior Class)
  8. "The Ex-Ray" Volume XiX 1932. The College Annual, published by the Students of The Medical College of Virginia. pp. 148, 238
  9. Robins Foundation About Us
  • 1940 US Federal Census E Claiborne Robins 29, b. Virginia, married, head of household, Rented residence (1940 and 1935) Apt 5 Sheppard Street, Richmond City, Virginia; occupation President; earned $2800 and wife Lora Mig Robins 27 was living in Waco Texas in 1935
    • [1940; Census Place: Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia; Roll: T627_4319; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 118-21. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 November 2016), E Claiborne Robins, Clay Ward, Richmond, Richmond City, Richmond City, Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 118-21, sheet 11B, line 48, family 285, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 4319. ]

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