Betsy Garrett Bang, Gorilla Anatomy Drawings

The anatomy of the gorilla

Or, the studies of Henry Cushier Raven, and contributions by William B. Atkinson, Herbert Elftman, John Eric Hill, Adolph H. Schultz, William L. Straus, Jr., S.L. Washburn
Arranged and edited by William King Gregory
New York, Columbia University Press, 1950
A collaborative work of the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University

Henry Cushier Raven's Gorilla drawing (back)

Superficial muscles of the back and thorax (pencil b&w and col., on brown paper, 82 x 110 cm.)

Henry Cushier Raven's gorilla drawing (limbs)

Right forearm and hand (pencil b&w and col., on paper, 115 x 31 cm.)

Henry Cushier Raven (1889–1944) was an expert taxidermist, anatomical illustrator, specimen collector, and an AMNH Mammalogy Department Curator from 1926 to 1943 whose work has incalculably broadened the study of the natural world. Raven frequently led expeditions to remote parts of the world for various institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, to collect specimens and study organisms within their natural habitats. Anatomical drawings, such as Raven’s, served as a key resource in scientific and medical education, particularly before the proliferation of medical imaging technologies. They reveal not only the anatomical structures of animals but also the relationships between different parts of their bodies. Moore’s ornate, hand-drawn animal dissections provocatively show a visual tension between the efficiency of medical knowledge and the intrigues of artistic excess.

In addition to his field work, Raven also served in several curatorial positions throughout his career, including Columbia University, Cornell University, Colorado Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Museum of Natural History. His unfinished and published work on gorilla anatomy was completed after his death in his honor by Miss Betsy Garrett (Mrs. Frederick B. Bang [1912–2003]) and by Mrs. Jeanet Dreskin (1921–) and illustrate minute detail that went into their work.

Co-written by AMNH Staff and Daniel Pfeiffer

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