Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00413 - Stephen G. Gilbert Collection of Anatomical Drawings

Identity area

Reference code



Stephen G. Gilbert Collection of Anatomical Drawings


  • 1963-2015 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

532 drawings.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Stephen Goltra Gilbert was born 18 January 1931 in Portland, Oregon. He received a degree in art in a joint degree program with the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in 1952, with a thesis on woodcarving. Following graduation, Gilbert spent three years in the U.S Army Medical Corps and after his discharge, he was accepted to a three-year program to study medical illustration with Muriel McLatchie Miller at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Gilbert received his first job as a medical illustrator from Dr. John Bonica at the Tacoma General Hospital in Washington. Between 1958 and 1961, Gilbert worked as a medical artist for the School of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1961, Gilbert left his position at the University of Washington to work on his own anatomical drawings. He moved to farm in Albany, Oregon and over the period of twelve years produced six zoological anatomical atlases includes: Pictorial Anatomy of the Fetal Pig (1963), Pictorial Anatomy of the Frog (1965), Atlas of General Zoology (1965), Pictorial Anatomy of the Cat (1968), Ms Coll 289 Gilbert (Stephen) Drawings 2 Pictorial Anatomy of the Dogfish (1973) and Pictorial Anatomy of the Necturus (1973). In 1973, Gilbert joined Arts as Applied to Medicine program at the University of Toronto as a part-time lecturer. Between 1982 and 1985, Gilbert spent each summer in Japan training Yuzuru Matsuda’s staff in medical illustration. Gilbert was very successful at the University of Toronto, and was made a full professor in 1995. He also authored Pictorial Human Embryology in 1989 and Outline of Cat Anatomy with Reference to the Human in 1999, both with the University of Toronto Press. One of Gilbert’s ongoing projects was human anatomical illustrations for Dr. Anne Agur, a professor at the University of Toronto and the current editor of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. Gilbert retired in 2010 but continued to teach classes as a Professor Emeritus in pen and ink drawing.

Gilbert’s other passion was tattoos. He received his first tattoo at the age of 15, and according to Dino Pulera in 2006, “today, he is so covered with tattoos that he only has a small patch of ‘blank canvas’ remaining behind his left knee.” Gilbert worked as a tattoo artist and historian and edited and introduced the text Tattoo History: A Source Book: An Anthology of Historical Records of Tattooing throughout the World (2000) (as Steve Gilbert). Gilbert died 21 February 2014 of Parkinson’s disease.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Stephen G. Gilbert over various years from 1993-2015

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Contains anatomical drawings and illustrations from Stephen Gilbert’s publications and professional life as an anatomical illustrator. Collection notably includes anatomical drawings of the adult human, adult embryo, cat, fetal pig, dogfish, necturus, frog and other assorted zoology. Includes accessions from 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2015. Accessions from the gifts of 2001 and 2003 were catalogued separately. For additional drawings and illustrations from Outline of Cat Anatomy with Reference to the Human (University of Toronto Press, 2000) and Atlas of General Zoology (Burgess Publishing Co., 1991), Anatomy of the Fetal Pig (University of Washington Press, 1963). These accessions were amalgamated into finding aid in 2018 and the entire collection was given the number of MS Coll. 413. The collection previously had the number of MS Coll. 289.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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Existence and location of copies

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Alternative identifier(s)

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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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