University of Southern California


About the Artist

Years later, Ms. Lesser continued her artistic interpretation of the medical environment by publishing a second book, An Artist in the University Medical Center, based on her experience as a resident artist at the Tulane University Medical Center. Thus, what began over thirty years ago as a desire to study anatomy in more detail, evolved into a truly remarkable and sensitive portrait of medical study and practice.

May H. Lesser graduated with a B.F.A. degree from H. Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University with honors in drawing. She earned a Master of Arts degree in painting from the University of Alabama and did post-graduate work at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, UCLA, San Fernando Valley State College, and the University of Southern California.

Her color etchings have been featured on eleven covers of JAMA, and her work is exhibited in the permanent collections of the National Library of Medicine, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the University of North Carolina, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London among others. The Norris Medical Library is extremely pleased to have five of May Lesser's prints in the library's permanent collection. Located on the Plaza Level is The Surgeons, which is also the image used on the library's Web homepage. Three other prints may be found on the Upper Level of the library, The Laboratory, J. C. Boileau Grant, M.D., and Monitor. An ink and pastel drawing donated to the library by Ms. Lesser in 1999 hangs in the Conference Room.

On July 24, 2001, May Lesser passed away at her home in New Orleans at the age of 74. Memorials may be made to the May Lesser Student Help Fund at Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, TW 34, New Orleans, LA 70112-2699.

For further information on her career and artwork, consult the following:

Lesser, May H. The Art of Learning Medicine. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts; 1974.

Norris Medical Library:
      Humanities WZ 330 L638a 1974
      Hist Med WZ330 L638a 1974

Lesser, May H. The Art of Caring. Available at:

Lesser, May H. An Artist in the University Medical Center. New Orleans, LA: Tulane University Press; 1989.

Norris Medical Library:
Hist Med 330 L638aa 1989

Choose an image

Glass Study Cells

World Wide Dissemination of Medical Knowledge

Four Stages of Human Life

May Hyman Lesser
Picture taken in 1998








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