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Medical Illustrations of Dorothy Sturm

Dorothy Sturm (1910-1988) is a well-known Memphis artist with a national reputation for her watercolors and enamels. She became interested in medical illustration and produced the watercolor images in this exhibit in the 1960s. Dr. L.W. Diggs, a University of Tennessee hematologist, commissioned these images as a way of illustrating normal and abnormal blood cells as they would be seen through a microscope. Sturm was trained as an artist, and was fascinated by the boundless combinations of shapes, colors and textures that were revealed by the microscope. She also produced images that were published in the internationally acclaimed The Morphology of Human Blood Cells written by Diggs, Ann Bell, and Dorothy Sturm. She established her reputation at a time when there was an increasing demand for the illustrator’s talents, because the photomicrographic technology of the day was inadequate for producing the quality images suitable for educational use. Dr. Diggs commissioned these images as a teaching tool for faculty and students. Twenty-five of the fifty-seven watercolor images in Dorothy Sturm Collection are displayed in this exhibit. All the images of this collection are originally arranged in nine panels.

Last modified: April 29, 2010