Elizabeth Caroline Crosby
Crosby c. 1950
Born(1888-10-25)October 25, 1888
Petersburg, Michigan
DiedJuly 28, 1983(1983-07-28) (aged 94)
Other namesElizabeth C. Crosby
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
AwardsNational Medal of Science, Achievement Award of the American Association of University Women, Henry Gray Award of the American Association of Anatomists
Scientific career
FieldsNeuroanatomy, neuroscience, neurosurgery
InstitutionsUniversity of Alabama Birmingham, University of Michigan Medical School
ThesisThe Forebrain of Alligator Mississippiensis (1915)
Doctoral advisorCharles Judson Herrick

Elizabeth Caroline Crosby (October 25, 1888 – July 28, 1983) was an American neuroanatomist.[1][2] Crosby received the National Medal of Science from President Jimmy Carter in 1979 "for outstanding contributions to comparative and human neuroanatomy and for the synthesis and transmission of knowledge of the entire nervous system of the vertebrate phylum."[3] Her "careful descriptions" of vertebrate brains - especially reptiles - helped "outline evolutionary history" and her work as a clinical diagnostic assistant to neurosurgeons resulted in "the correlation of anatomy and surgery."[4]

Education and career

Elizabeth C. Crosby was born to Lewis Frederick and Francis Kreps Crosby in Petersburg, Michigan in 1888.[1][2] She graduated from Adrian College with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 1910. Influenced by professor of physics and chemistry Elmer Jones, she attended the University of Chicago under C. Judson Herrick and received her Masters of Science in biology in 1912 and then her Ph.D. in anatomy in 1915 via a fellowship.[1] In 1920, Crosby accepted a teaching position in the University of Michigan's department of anatomy under G. Carl Huber; her classes included histology and neuroanatomy. In 1923, Crosby took a sabbatical to work with the renowned scientist C. U. Ariëns Kappers at the Central Institute for Brain Research in Amsterdam. While there, she contributed significantly to The Comparative Anatomy of the Nervous System of Vertebrates (1936). Although Crosby did not have a medical background, she became the first woman to receive full professorship at the University of Michigan Medical School, in 1936[1] and the first to receive the university's Faculty Achievement Award, given in 1956.[1][4]

In 1939 she took a sabbatical to work with Prof Robert Douglas Lockhart at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Due to introduction of war-time trans-Atlantic travel restrictions in the Second World War she unintentionally remained there until 1941.[5]

She eventually became Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Consultant of Neurosurgery before leaving the University of Michigan for University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1963, where she again became Professor Emeritus of Anatomy.[2] She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1987.[6] Crosby's excellence in teaching was officially recognized in 1957 when the Galens Society of the University of Michigan Medical School established the Elizabeth C. Crosby annual award for the best preclinical teaching in the school.[1]

Other distinctions and awards include:

Selected works


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bartlett, Nancy; Nicholas J. Scalera. "Biography". Finding Aid for Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Papers, 1918-1983. University of Michigan: Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Elizabeth Caroline Crosby (1888-1983)". Alabama Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Elizabeth C. Crosby". The President's National Medal of Science. National Science Foundation. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Elizabeth C. Crosby". Michigan Woman's Historical Center & Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  5. ^ Fyfe, FW (1987). "In memoriam. R. D. Lockhart". J Anat. 155: 203–8. PMC 1261888. PMID 3332274.
  6. ^ "Inductees". Alabama Women's Hall of Fame. State of Alabama. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  7. ^ Times, Special to THE NEW York (1950-06-22). "Gets Woman's Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2013.

Further reading