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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 26, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 23
Obituary: Ranice Crosby, Director Emerita of Art As Applied to Medicine, 91

Ranice Crosby in a 'Baltimore Sun' photo, circa 1937, when she was a medical illustration student.

Ranice W. Crosby, professor and director emerita of Johns Hopkins' Department of Art as Applied to Medicine and a venerated artist and educator, died on Feb. 18 at the age of 91.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Connecticut College for Women, Crosby arrived at Johns Hopkins in 1937 to begin her studies in medical illustration under the department's first director, Max Brodel. In 1943, she became the first woman to direct a department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, serving as head of Art as Applied to Medicine for 40 years. After stepping down in 1983, she continued to teach in the department for another 22 years.

Crosby's skills as an illustrator were admired by her colleagues, and she inspired and encouraged her students to become the finest members of the profession. A founding member of the Association of Medical Illustrators, she not only contributed to the development of the profession but also led it to the successful establishment and recognition of the accredited graduate programs. Under her leadership, the instructional program in medical and biological illustration was elevated in 1961 to a graduate level degree.

In 1984, Crosby received the American Urological Association's William P. Didusch Award for outstanding contributions to urological illustration, and in 1987 the Association of Medical Illustrators honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Johns Hopkins recognized her dedication to teaching and significant contributions to the field of medical illustration, both at the university and nationally, by conferring on her an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in May 2002.

In a tribute from alumni on the 50th anniversary of her teaching at Johns Hopkins, one of her students, John Cody, wrote, "Known for her teaching, she had the qualities for good administration growing out of perfectionism, persistence, pride, caring, a pre-feminist insistence upon equal ability, an inherent sense of discretion and an ability to inspire teamwork, respect for co-workers and loyalty."

Elizabeth Ramsey, a researcher who worked closely with Crosby, commented that her "historian colleagues have admired and emulated her not alone for her writings in the field but more importantly and creatively for her remarkable work as historical detective, restorer, conservator and as administrator of the Brodel Archives."

Crosby is survived by her daughter, Ranice H. Crosby, and her daughter's partner, Alice Aldrich. A memorial service will be held at a future date, to be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ranice W. Crosby Fund, Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 100 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201.


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