Finding Aid for the May H. Lesser papers 5342

Marissa Chavez for History Associates Incorporated
USC Libraries Special Collections
2023 August
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California 90089-0189

Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
Title: May H. Lesser papers
Creator: Lesser, May H., 1927-2001
Identifier/Call Number: 5342
Identifier/Call Number: /repositories/3/resources/3014
Physical Description: 0.875 Linear Feet 2 boxes
Date (bulk): 1990s
Abstract: This collection consists of May H. Lesser's unpublished manuscript, including illustrations, for The Art of Caring, her chronical of the experiences of new physicians at the LAC+USC Medical Center in the 1970s.
Language of Material: English.
Container: 1
Container: 2

Biographical / Historical

May H. Lesser created a body of artwork chronicling the study and practice of medicine. The daughter, wife, and mother of physicians, she possessed a keen sense of the culture of medicine. 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. In 1967, she contacted the chairman of the anatomy department at the UCLA School of Medicine and requested permission to attend the anatomy labs in order to learn human bone and muscle anatomy better. This experience led her to follow the Class of '71 through four years of medical school, chronicling their education through her art. Upon completing her four-year medical school experience, Ms. Lesser followed a number of these fledgling doctors through their internship and residency training at the LAC+USC Medical Center. She continued to document her impressions and experiences through her artwork and diaries. The resulting collection of images and stories was entitled The Art of Caring. Years later, Ms. Lesser continued her artistic interpretation of the medical environment by publishing An Artist in the University Medical Center, based on her experience as a resident artist at the Tulane University Medical Center.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the unpublished manuscript for The Art of Caring, May Lesser's illustrated chronicle of physicians and medical care at the LAC+USC Medical Center, along with photographs of her artwork, and a draft introduction by Roy Porter. Correspondence about the manuscript is also included.

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

Finding aid description and metadata are licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Department of Special Collections at Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. Lesser to the Norris Medical Library, July 1999.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder no. or item name], May H. Lesser papers, Collection no. 5342, University Archives, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Medicine in Art -- Pictorial Works
Medical care -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- Archival resources
Slides (photographs)
Porter, Roy, 1946-2002
Lesser, May H., 1927-2001 -- Archives