Natt C. Jacobs was medical illustrator at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry from 1925 until his death in 1958. The Natt C. Jacobs Collection includes original drawings; photographs of original drawings; photographic negatives of original drawings; and reprints of articles containing NCJ illustrations. The original group of materials in the collection was presented to the Rare Books & Manuscripts section by the Medical Center's Photo/Illustration Service in September 1986. A second gift was made with the discovery of additional drawings in November; and a third gift (of negatives) in December 1986. Yet another collection of drawings was discovered and presented to the Rare Books & Manuscripts section in September 1987. This last gift more than doubled the collection's original size. The collection was entirely reprocessed in October 1987. It is contained in nine boxes occupying eight linear feet.
Natt C. Jacobs was born in Rochester, N.Y. in either 1894 or 1896. Graduating from the Mechanics Institute in 1913, NCJ worked for a time as an artist for several Rochester firms and later studied at the School of Fine Arts in Chicago. In 1922 NCJ was accepted at the School of Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he was a student of Max Broedel (1870-1941). NCJ graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1925. The same year he was appointed medical illustrator in the Department of Anatomy of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry.
NCJ held the position of Medical Illustrator from 1925 to 1947, when he was appointed Instructor in Medical Illustration and head of the three-year program in medical illustration instituted at the School of Medicine in September 1948. In 1951 NCJ was appointed Assistant Professor of Medical Illustration, becoming Associate Professor in 1954. He was made full professor in June 1958.
NCJ was active in the Association of Medical Illustrators, which he helped found in 1946 and in which he served as president and chairman of the board of directors. Natt C. Jacobs died of heart problems at Strong Memorial Hospital on 13 September 1958. He was survived by his wife Marguerite; they had no children.
The illustrations preserved in this collection represent only a small portion of Mr. Jacobs' output during his thirty-three years as medical illustrator at the School of Medicine. Drawings from all periods and in all media are present in the collection-from preliminary sketches made in the operating room to his beautifully finished half-tone drawings. Most of the negatives and photographs are of drawings for which the originals no longer exist.
The drawings in this collection are arranged in three series according to container size, i.e., drawings that are approximately letter size, drawings approximately legal size, and folio size drawings of varying dimensions. Within the first two series the drawings are arranged chronologically. Folio and portfolio-size drawings are arranged by dimension for storage reasons.