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Medical Illustration drawings

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArt-0099

Scope and Contents

Collection contains a total of fourteen boxes of drawings of medical procedures divided into the following record group series:

  • Series 1: Orthopedic Surgeries
  • Series 2: Infant/Child Surgeries
  • Series 3: N.C. Jacobs Drawings & Misc. Wabnitz
  • Series 4: Exhibition Materials
  • Series 5: Miscellaneous Procedures (Non-Infant)
  • Series 6: Miscellaneous, Mixed, or Unlabeled Drawings
  • Series 7: Medical Illustration Sketches and Teaching Aids
  • Dates

    • Creation: circa 1905-1984
    • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950 - 1975


    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open to researchers.

    Biographical / Historical

    Natt C. Jacobs was the first medical illustrator in Rochester and founded the area's only Medical Illustration program. Born in 1895 in Rochester, he graduated from the Rochester Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute (RAMI) in 1913. He later studied medical illustration with Max Brodel at the John Hopkins Medical School. In 1925, he was hired by the Department of Anatomy at the newly opened University of Rochester School of Medicine. He spent his entire 34 year career at UR. In 1948, he established his own school of Medical Illustration at UR. Jacobs died suddenly in 1959. The program folded shortly afterwards. It was revived several years later, eventually moving to RIT.

    Like Jacobs, Robert Wabnitz began his art training at RAMI, then served in WWII. Upon return hettended Natt Jacobs' Medical Illustration program at UR. After working in New Orleans and New York City, he returned to UR in 1960 to replace the late Natt Jacobs as head of the Medical Illustration Unit, as the teaching program was closed. He directed the Unit for over 25 years. In 1975, UR introduced a Master's degree program in Health Sciences Education with a track in medical illustration. In 1977, Wabnitz created an undergraduate program in Medical Illustration at RIT. In 1978 UR's Master's program was phased out and in 1981 relocated to RIT. Bob "Wabby" Wabnitz retired from RIT in 1998.

    By combining drawing and science, the Medical Illustration major teaches how to translate anatomical and surgical sketches into instructional illustrations to visually support the allied health and medical educational fields. The major spans the full range of artistic media to produce a wide variety of images. Through collaboration with area hospitals, students obtain first-hand experience in real-life medical situations.

    Although traditional media such as pencil, pen & ink, carbon dust, and watercolor are still employed, the program' current emphasis is on computer graphics and other digital technology. 2D and 3D computer illustrations are integrated into the studio environment to facilitate the creation of sophisticated images along with well-designed, interactive educational media displays. This major is one of a very few undergraduate medical illustration majors offered in the country that prepare students to join the medical team as an allied health professional.



    10 Linear Feet (14 boxes)




    Large collection of medical illustration sketches, drawings and teaching aids from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences Fine Arts Medical Illustration program. Illustrators included are Natt Jacobs, Robert Wabnitz, Peter Ng, William Didusch, and Max Brodel.


    Drawings are arranged by Series, then Section.

    Physical Location

    C.S. North, Shelf 13-16

    Other Finding Aids

    In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

    Medical Illustration drawings

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Drawings were transferred to RIT Archive Collections in June 2015 by Glen Hintz, Associate Professor, School of Art, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

    Accession number(s): 2015:072


    Drawings are currently being systematically digitized, therefore some may not be available. Check with the RIT Archives staff before visiting.

    Processing Information

    Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in September 2015.

    Medical Illustration drawings
    RIT Archives
    Jody Sidlauskas
    22 July 2015
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description
    Code for undetermined script
    Language of description note

    Repository Details

    Part of the RIT Archives Repository

    Rochester NY 14623 USA