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Ranice W. Crosby, a medical illustrator and head of the Johns Hopkins department of Art as Applied to Medicine, was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. She attended the Connecticut College for Women, graduating in 1937 with a B.A. Crosby was accepted into the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Art as Applied to Medicine program and studied under the program’s first director, Max Brödel. The two had corresponded throughout Crosby’s college career as she looked for guidance in the medical illustration profession. Crosby received a certificate in the program in 1939 and was hired by Johns Hopkins Hospital’s chief of obstetrics, Nicholson Eastman, to illustrate a nursing textbook on obstetrics. By 1943, Crosby was running the Art as Applied to Medicine Department. The medical school’s first female department head, Crosby directed the department for 40 years. She was appointed as an instructor in 1943, assistant professor in 1946 and associate professor in 1969.

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Crosby was a founding member of the Association of Medical Illustrators in 1945. In 1983, she stepped down as department head but continued to teach in the department for an additional 22 years. In 1984, Crosby received the American Urological Association’s William P. Didusch Art and History Award for outstanding contributions to urological illustration.

In 1986, alumni, faculty, and friends established The Ranice W. Crosby Distinguished Achievement Award medallion for scholarly contributions to the advancement of art as applied to the sciences. The medallion is presented at the School of Medicine Convocation to those who best exemplify her ideals. In 1987, Crosby was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Medical Illustrators and in 2002, she received an honorary doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Scope and Content

The Ranice W. Crosby Collection consists of fine art, personal and business correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs and assorted memorabilia collected over her lifetime. Art includes oil on canvas paintings, still-life artwork; pastel portraits from early years, charcoal drawings likely from student years, journal of drawings from the summer of 1939, and medical illustrations. Personal documents including passport, baptismal certificate, records of US citizenship, and a scrapbook with newspaper clippings. Correspondence includes personal and professional correspondence and postcards with a variety of individuals including her family members and a letter from E.E. Cummings. Artifacts includes a gag holiday gift from her students circa 1960s consisting of a letter, a paperback book about marijuana, a pipe, and a small container of an organic leafy substance. Additional artifacts relate to the birth of her daughter.

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