75 Years of the
History of the AMI
A glimpse into the art and history of how we came to be.
Welcome to the virtual AMI History Art Gallery! We created this collection to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Association of Medical Illustrators. There is selected artwork by the Nucleus 5 (our founding members), the Charter Members and examples from the decades that followed. The exhibit will grow as the site is completed. We’d very much like to find works and get permissions for as many of the Charter Members as we can first. We are also growing a timeline of AMI Events and medical science breakthroughs to put the art and our history in context. We invite you to offer feedback, as well as suggestions for additions to the show, on the AMI Members Hub.
Years of History
The AMI is comprised of over 800 members across 4 continents. Historically, our roots are in medical textbook and journal publishing. Now, as technology and digital media transform both science and communication, AMI members are on the leading edge of this dynamic multidisciplinary frontier.
July 10, 1944
When Muriel McLatchie and Tom Jones gathered a group of like-minded medical illustrators at the University of Illinois on July 10, 1944, the proposed, among other things, that there would be a Nucleus Committee of Five, representing the five geographical regions:
- East—Muriel McLatchie
- West–Ralph Sweet
- North—Tom Jones
- South—Elon Clark
- Canada—Maria Wishart
These five key people were charged with preparing the constitution and bylaws, applying for a charter, determining how to accept new members, and finding an additional five charter members from each region to form a Board, among other tasks.
The Nucleus Five acted diligently to bring the AMI into being. Murel McLatchie was the pivot around which the communications revolved. Tom Jones was elected as chairman for the group, and Elon Clark put his enormous organizational energies into the enterprise. One year later, on July 16, 1945. the first AMI meeting convened in Chicago.
1948: Logo by Natt Jacobs
In the 1930’s, two of Max Brödel’s students at Hopkins, Jack Wilson and Elon Clark, had made attempts to organize medical illustrators around the country. People were working in an insular way, without much cross-pollination or exchange of ideas. It was in 1944 that Muriel McLatchie, who was working at Massachusetts General in Boston, made contact with Tom Jones at UIC, who had started the country’s second medical illustration curriculum, and who was deeply interested in visual education in medicine. Jones invited Muriel McLatchie to meet in Chicago along with nine others.
During that meeting, several key organizational decisions were made, the first of which was that there would be a Nucleus Committee of Five established. The members of the Nucleus Committee each chose five more (charter) members to serve as delegates at the upcoming 1945 organizational meeting. So many wanted to be in on the ground floor that an additional 30 were selected as ‘alternates’ to avoid bruised egos.
Muriel McLatchie was the glue that held the enterprise together—as secretary, she kept up a vigorous correspondence with the Nucleus Five members, and sent questionnaires to numerous medical artists describing the nascent organization. Responses were positive and overwhelming, with many illustrators volunteering to help with the common goal of creating an association. By January 1945, Tom Jones had been selected as chairman of the Nucleus Five, and July 16, 1945 was the date chosen for the official formation of the Association of Medical Illustrators.
- Mass production of penicillin is in full swing, and Howard Florey, Alexander Fleming and Ernst Chain share a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research on the powerful new antibiotic
- Her most enduring contribution to the AMI was her guidance in developing the guideline Standard for Teaching Departments of Medical Illustration, while she chaired the Council on Education
An Exacting teacher
- Giving the very best he had was a way of life to Ralph Sweet. He never compromised in the struggle toward excellence and expected equal drive from those who worked with him. Yet, in demanding perfection of himself and his staff, he never withheld his generous help and encouragement when lesser talents tried but faltered
- Alfred G. Gilman and Louis S. Goodman are credited with the first use of intravenous chemotherapy treatment after their work is declassified and published following the end of World War II
- An external defibrillator is first used on a human when Claude Beck, professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University, successfully operates on a 14-year-old by with a congenital chest defect
Muriel McLatchie Miller
- As a teacher, Miss Mac (as she was called) was demanding yet encouraging toward her students, and brought out the best in each one. She chose her students partly on grades and merit, but also with an innate intuition about each candidate and their suitability for the role
Champion of History
- His caring about Duke Hospital’s history and archives was one of his main concerns. Many of the archives and artifacts in the library were gathered and protected by him
- 1st – 1946, Philadelphia
2nd – 1947, New Orleans
3rd – 1948, Chicago
4th – 1949, Boston
Thomas Smith Jones IV was born in an antebellum mansion in Chatham, Virginia in 1885. Tom became head of the family after his father’s early death,...
Maria Torrence Wishart was born in Toronto in 1893 into a family of doctors and artists. She pursued art studies extensively in Europe and several...
Ralph Sweet was born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1892, a neighbor to the Mayo brothers, who identified Ralph’s talents early on and who would invite...
From Edith Tagrin and Bob Demarest, The History of the Association of Medical Illustrators: Muriel McLatchie was born in Toronto in 1900. From 1927...
From Geoffrey Mock, Executive Director and Editor in Chief of Duke Today Elon Clark was a Duke University emeritus professor of medical art who...
The original thirty delegates came to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago in July of 1945 to organize a society they called the Association of Medical Illustrators. At this foundational event, they elected officers and the Board of Governors, approved the new constitution and bylaws, decided membership details, and prepared an agenda for the 1946 conference. A group of thirty alternate delegates was chosen to appease the many who wanted to get in on the ground floor.
The objectives of the Charter Members were “to promote the study and to encourage the advancement of medical illustration and allied fields of visual education, and to promote understanding with the medical and dental professions, including public health and nursing.”
Information about several Charter Members is found in this section, with more to come in the future.
Betty Jane “BJ”
*Ranice W. Birch
* designates original charter members
Helen Lewis Loud
Paul “PD” Malone
*Mary Wick Miles
*Ella Hooper Ross
*Ella May Schackelford
*W. Branks Stewart
Leader & Innovator
Dorcas Hager Padget
- Tremendously gifted as an observer, critical thinker and illustrator, Padget received the highest praise ever noted by Brödel regarding any of his students
AMI Annual Meetings
- 1st – 1946, Philadelphia
- 2nd – 1947, New Orleans
- 3rd – 1948, Chicago
- 4th – 1949, Boston
1st Wilmer Illustrator
Annette Smith Burgess
- In 1926, she came to the Wilmer Institute at the behest of Dr. William H. Wilmer to become a full-time ophthalmic illustrator
- A patented process, McHugh’s illustrations were printed on clear acetate pages, so that with each turn of the page, the dissection goes deeper, thereby creating a dimensional anatomical whole
Atlas of Anatomy
- Dorothy Chubb was commissioned to create an entire corpus of original works for the first edition of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. She completed most of the works in one year
1950 - 1959
AMI Annual Meetings
- 5th – 1950, San Francisco
6th – 1951, Toronto, Canada
7th – 1952, St. Louis
8th – 1953, Baltimore
9th – 1954, Nashville
10th – 1955, New York
11th – 1956 Iowa City
12th – 1957 Montreal, Canada
13th – 1958 Dallas
14th – 1959 Seattle
1929 Carbon dust illustration for S.W. Harrington, MD. 10-5/8 x 14 inches. Copyright © 2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All...
Gladys McHugh was a 1927 graduate of the Johns Hopkins program who went on to be an illustrator at the University of Chicago. When she agreed to...
Dorothy Foster Chubb was one of Canada’s early professionally trained medical illustrators. She was born in Hamilton Ontario in 1908. Upon returning...
The 1960’s saw the AMI maturing with an expanded salon, new standards for the schools, and development of aCode of Ethics and Code of Fair Practice. The AMI took its first stand on copyright law.The role of television in medical education was a growing topic of interest, as well as scientific exhibits and medical publishing.New materials and techniques, especially plastics, were being explored for 3D models.
1965: Logo by Bob Demarest
Charlotte Holt was an AMI Charter member, and a pioneer in 3-dimensional models, particularly in...
Frank Armitage worked with Disney studios for many years, and was a designer for the 1966 film...
Spinal Segment Carbon Dust This fine illustration is simple and clear, has an interesting...
A masterful pen and ink treatment showing a novel technique of cardiovascular repair using a...
Eye anatomy Bill’s intricate watercolor painting uses an unusual point of view to display the many...
Canine Heart Transplant This pen and ink illustration may one of the first illustrations of a...
Development of the External Auditory Canal Grayscale wash drawing was a hallmark of the Illinois...
- used 3-dimensions as a great aid to understanding of anatomical forms—the practice hearkens back to the European wax models of the 17th century—but with the new advances in materials technology, the doors opened in mid-century to new ways of visually describing medical topics
A Fantastic Voyage
- worked with Disney studios for many years, and was a designer for the 1966 film ‘Fantastic Voyage’. His first appearance with the AMI was in 1964, when he lectured on Drawing for the Animation Camera
Oral Contraceptives Approved
- The first combined oral contraceptives are approved by the FDA, though contraceptives will not be available to married women in all states until 1965 and unmarried women in all states until 1972
- was the first student at the Georgia program, and soon became the MI at Duke University, replacing Orville Parkes
- Paul Winchell received the first patent for an artificial heart
Liver and Lung Transplants
- The first human liver and the first human lung transplants take place this year
University of Michigan Program
- In 1964, Jerry Hodge became the first director of the new master’s degree program in medical illustration. Under his director and leadership, the program earned the reputation as one of the finest in the country. Professor Hodge received an additional appointment as associate professor of art in 1964. He was promoted to professor of art in 1967
- Christiaan Barnard performs the first successful human-to-human heart transplant. The patient, a 54-year-old man, survives for 18 days, eventually succumbing to pneumonia
- 15th – 1960, Chicago, IL
16th – 1961, Rochester, MN
17th – 1962, Detroit, MI
18th – 1963, Buffalo, NY
19th – 1964, Los Angeles, CA
20th – 1965, Philadelphia, PA
21st – 1966, Atlanta, GA
22nd – 1967, San Francisco, CA
23rd – 1968, Chicago, IL
24th – 1969, Washington, DC
- Member Balloting and Outstanding Illustrated Medical Book Award are added to the AMI Salon
1977: Logo by Bill Winn
The 1970’s was a time of paradigm shifts in many areas. Color was being used more in publishing, illustrators were trying new techniques and materials, and were branching out into television, video and film. Educational design was piquing the interest of the schools. Buckminster Fuller, the influential futurist, gave the Brödel Memorial lecture in 1972. The Journal of Biocommunication was born in 1973, and workshops became a standard feature at meetings. In 1979 the AMI Salon was judged for the first time.
- First combined meeting of the AMI with the Biological Photographer’s Association (BPA) and the Council on Medical Television is held in Houston – Honors Charter Members with a 25-year AMI Medallion
- Preliminary research into MRI technology begins, while CT imaging is first introduced into clinical practice
26th AMI Meeting
- The 26th Annual Meeting was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan
27th AMI Meeting
- The 27th Annual Meeting was held in St. Louis, Missouri
BIO ’73 AMI Meeting
- The 28th Annual Meeting in conjunction with the BPA was held in Richmond, VA
29th AMI Meeting
- The 29th Annual Meeting was held in New Orleans, LA
AMI Salon Grows
- At the 30th Annual Meeting held in Vancouver, BC, the AMI Salon is organized into seven categories.
New Logo / New Awards
- The 31st Annual Meeting (BlO ’76) was held in Las Vegas, NV
- A new logo is approved by the AMI BOG, and the AMI Salon honors our greats with Named Awards
Success in D.C.
- In early Artists Rights effort, Tax Capitalization Regulations are successfully fought and won by Carol Donner in DC
- Copyright Act strengthens author’s rights, making copyright automatic the moment a work is fixed in tangible form and eliminating the notice requirement
Certification is Born
- AMI Members vote to implement Certification, but it takes years to develop.
- Frederick Sanger and colleagues develop the Sanger method of DNA sequencing, which goes on to become the most widely used sequencing method for the next 40 years
32nd AMI Meeting
- The 32nd Annual Meeting was held in Baltimore MD
33rd AMI Meeting / Salon Welcomes Students
- At the 33rd Annual Meeting held in Milwaukee, WI, a salon category for Student Membership is created
In Vitro Fertilization
- Louise Brown, the first successful “test-tube baby,” is born.
34th AMI Meeting / First Juried Salon
- AMI Members vote to establish a system for a juried salon at the 34th Annual Meeting held in Kansas City, MO
Lymphatic Anatomy of Breast This watercolor drawing done in the late ‘70’s shows Ruth’s command of...
Retinal Adhesions William “Bill” Stenstrom had a long and distinguished career in medical...
Bronchial Tree, watercolor Watercolor was a prime medium for Laurel, who trained with Ralph Sweet...
Anatomy of the Axilla Created for the Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations. Volume 8:...
Mitral Valve Replacement (carbon dust) A Charter member of the AMI and Lifetime Achievement Award...
Rhesus Monkey A career-long position at Oregon National Primate Research Center provided Joel Ito...
Veterinary illustrator and ceramicist Dan Beisel was a preceptor for the AMI Summer Internship...
Craig Gosling served as director of the full-service medical illustration department at Indiana...
Bob Demarest is another beloved figure in the history of the AMI, and one whose art...
In the 1980’s, open membership, certification, and fellowship were discussed in depth. The first international AMI meeting was held in 1981 in Toronto. Medical Legal art came into its own as a medical specialty, and in 1983, computer graphics services were being offered in 19 biocommunications departments. Also in 1983 the first Medical Illustration Sourcebook was published. BIO ’84 was a combined meeting with 998 registrants from several societies. The Vesalius Trust was created in 1988.
Using alkyd paints on Mi-Tientes paper, Bill utilizes the middle tone of the background to allow for some dramatic...
Carol’s imagination and intuitive story telling skills inform this dynamic look at ulcer formation in the duodenum. ...
Much original research went into Steve’s many detailed illustrations for his embryological series of books—this one...
The HIV/AIDS retrovirus was only just starting to be understood by the medical world when Neil illustrated it for the...
This elaborate pen and ink figure shows Steve’s keen organizational approach to the very complex anatomy of the...
This image for National Geographic epitomizes Jane’s elegant, aesthetic approach to medical subject matter,...
David was a wonderful watercolorist, as seen here is this knee anatomy figure. Trained formally at the Art Students...
Medical / Legal as a specialist field took off in the 1980’s for medical illustrators, and this hybrid piece...
Edmond Alexander is an early adopter and teacher of digital media—and though this 1981 piece is in traditional...
Bill’s career spans decades, so picking one image from him is a challenge. This editorial piece for the Mayo Clinic...
- The Apple III was released in 1980, one year before IBM released the IBM Personal Computer
AMI Appoints Director
- Peggy Henry is hired as the Executive Director of the Association of Medical Illustrators
- Bruce Reitz performs the world’s first successful human heart-lung transplant
- 35th – (BlO ’79) 1980, Savannah, GA
- 36th – 1981, Toronto, ONT
- 37th – 1982, Anaheim, CA
- IBM shipped its first PC in 1981
First CAD software
Founded in 1982, Autodesk demonstrated the first CAD software for PCs, “AutoCAD Release 1”, in November of that same year
- Adobe was founded in December 1982[ by John Warnock and Charles Geschke, who established the company after leaving Xerox PARC to develop and sell the PostScript page description language
Where can I find a Medical Illustrator?
- First AMI SourceBook is published
- Canadian engineers and physicians develop the first robot to assist in surgery, a device that helps to manipulate and position the patient’s leg
The Macintosh Computer
- With the Macintosh making its debut, Apple introduced its most successful product yet, a personal computer that included a built-in screen and a mouse. The machine’s graphical user interface featured an operating system known as System 1
- 38th – 1983, Chicago, IL
- 39th – (BIO ’84) 1984, Atlanta, GA
- 40th – 1985, Cincinnati, OH
- 41st – 1986, Norfolk, VA
- In 1985, Apple Computer licensed PostScript for use in its LaserWriter printers, which helped spark the desktop publishing revolution
- In the mid-1980s, Adobe entered the consumer software market with Illustrator, a vector-based drawing program for the Apple Macintosh. Illustrator, which grew from the firm’s in-house font-development software, helped popularize PostScript-enabled laser printers
- American Medical Associations Committee on Allied Health Education (CAHEA) for accreditation of medical illustration teaching programs
- Vesalius Trust becomes incorporated
- The AMI sets up a Fellowship program to encourage membership participation in furthering growth and support of the organization
- AZT, a drug that was initially developed as a potential cancer therapy, becomes the first drug to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating AIDS, starting the arduous journey towards successful antiretroviral therapies
A Lifetime Honored
- The AMI presents its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Russell Drake
- Thomas and John Knoll began presenting Photoshop to several Silicon Valley companies, and in March of 1988, Photoshop version 0.87 was licensed to Barneyscan, and about 200 copies of the program were distributed
- 42nd – 1987, Minneapolis, MN
- 43rd – 1988, San Diego, CA
- 44th – 1989, Dallas, TX
The 1990s saw growth in Editorial, Advertising and Medical Legal markets for illustrators, as well as the expansion of studios and new pharmaceutical business. The closing of several in-house service departments compelled many illustrators to move into self-employment.
Computer graphics was moving to center stage initially for basic graphics and slides, but by the end of the decade for Photoshop illustrations and some 3D animation.
Peggy Henry, the AMI’s longtime Executive Director, retired and the AMI went through a decade of different management companies. Certification of Medical Illustrators finally became a reality.
Dr. Frank Netter received an AMI Award of Special Recognition for Contributions to Medical Education, and the Frank H. Netter Award was established by the Vesalius Trust. Ranice Crosby published her biography of Max Brödel: The Man Who Put Art into Medicine.
The AMI Archives were established at Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
The 1990s also saw a 50th Anniversary Celebration of the AMI and the publication of the History of the Association of Medical Illustrators.
- 45th – 1990, Philadelphia
- 46th – 1991, New Orleans
- 47th – 1992, Chicago
- The AMI Board of Governors appoints an independent Board of Certification
- The first group of Certified Medical Illustrators are named
- The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs to accredit Medical Illustration Graduate Programs
- Adobe Photoshop 3.0 was released in 1994. It was the version that brought one of the most important Photoshop features ever to the software; Layers
50th Anniversary Celebrated
- The AMI meets in Phoenix, Arizona to hold its 50th annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel
- Patients with damaged corneas are successfully treated with corneal stem cells via autograft and allograft
- 48th – 1993, Denver
- 49th – (World Congress on Biomedical Communications) 1994, Orlando
- 50th – 1995, Phoenix
- 51st – 1996, Cincinnati
Dolly is born
- The Roslin Institute clones the very first mammal. Dolly was a female domestic sheep cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer
3D Studio Max
- 3D Studio Max version 1.0, codenamed “Jaguar” is released
- 52nd – 1997, Baltimore, MD
- 53rd – 1998, Toronto, ONT
- 54th – 1999, Atlanta, GA
- Autodesk Maya is initially released in 1998
- The Illustrators’ Partnership of America (IPA) is formed. AMI joins Illustrators’ Partnership Reprographics Coalition
Illustration depicts the closing sutures of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair as seen from inside the uterus....
The illustration demonstrates the surgical technique of gastrocnemius tenectomy to correct bovine spastic paresis and...
Illustrations of the four stages of acne: blackhead, whitehead, papule, and pustule. For a brochure for teenage...
Marketing illustration for WL Gore of the ultrastructure of a microporous polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) graft with...
Cover illustration for Cryolife, Inc. depicting implantation of aortic and pulmonary cryopreserved valves. This...
Chart for Anatomical Chart Company illustrates how alcohol affects the nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive systems...
Ross Procedure for Repair of Ascending Aorta and Insufficient Aortic Valve Description: Pen and ink on Denril vellum....
By the 2000s, digital art was mainstay among AMI artists. Adobe Creative Suite (initially released in 2003) provided the industry standards for photo editing, illustration, graphic design, video editing, and web development programs in a convenient package. The decade also saw the rise of 3D applications. By decade’s end, adopters of 3D media were consistently producing award-winning imagery.
Concern and action for protection of artist/illustrator rights regarding copyright was high priority in the AMI, which led to its partnership with other organizations and their coordination of similar efforts.
The 2000s ended with internal debate over the name of the organization as members’ specialties continued to diversify in many directions.
While 2D media remained omnipresent in the AMI, popularity of 3D tools continued to increase. The technology boom of the previous decade led to the release of powerful yet affordable 3D applications. The availability of online production and contract services (e.g., rapid turn-around rendering, voice talent, and interactive programming) combined with increased workstation capabilities allowed individual artists to produce complex media projects previously achieved only by well-funded production studios. Faster processing also negated the computational demands of advance 3D rendering processes, such as raytracing, a technology that simulates how light is dispersed in the real world to produce images with a high degree of realism.
2020 would have marked the association’s 75th anniversary, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Celebration to 2021.
Over 800 members strong, the AMI has grown from the Nucleus 5 founding members into a worldwide organization of interdisciplinary students and professionals that continue to create and promote visual media to advance science and medicine.
The exhibit is continuing to grow and we invite you to offer feedback, as well as suggestions for additions to the show, on the AMI Members Hub.
The Virtual AMI History Art Gallery would not have been possible without the innumerable contributions and volunteer hours of so many individuals and institutions. We sincerely thank all of our volunteers.
AMI History Project Volunteers: Bill Andrews, Cindy Giljames, Chris Gralapp, Ryan Ehredt, Jennifer Fairman, Wendy Hiller Gee, Lydia Gregg, Lindsay Heisler, Kristen Larson Keil, Emily Kief, Liza Knipscher, Michael Jensen, Peter Lawrence, Margot Mackay, Marco Marchionni, Chinami Michaels, Deb Ravin, Mark Schornak, Cassie Todd, Danielle VanBrabant
Thank you to all the individual AMI artists for your support and permissions.
Archives & Institutions:
- Association of Medical Illustrators Archive
- AXS Studio
- Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
- Brödel Archives, Johns Hopkins Art as Applied to Medicine
- David Mascaro Teaching Gallery, Augusta University
- Duke University Medical Center Archives
- Edmond Alexander Collection
- George C. Lynch Collection, Dorothy Carpenter Medical Archives at Wake Forest School of Medicine
- Human Developmental Anatomy Center, National Museum of Health and Medicine
- INVIVO Communications
- Judy Hardy
- Lloyd Library and Museum Collection
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
- Medivisuals Inc.
- Nancy Demarest O’Donnell
- New York Academy of Medicine Library
- Nucleus Medical Media
- O’Brien Library of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
- Susan Wakerlin
- University of California at San Francisco Archives and Special Collections
- University of Illinois at Chicago Biomedical Visualization Collection
- University of Toronto Biomedical Communications Program