Miss Susan Wilkes

Vanderbilt's First Medical Illustrator

(1888- 1969)

Susan Wilkes

Susan Heiskell Wilkes was a native of Nashville and a graduate of Ward Seminary. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and medical illustration at Johns Hopkins University. Her teacher and mentor at Hopkins was famed medical illustrator Max Brodel.

In 1925, Miss Wilkes was hired by Dr. G. Canby Robinson to head the first medical illustration department at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Susan Wilkes worked in many mediums, watercolor, oil, pencil, and pastels. She was also an excellent photographer. The Historical Collection in the Eskind Library is fortunate to have a wide array of Miss Susan Wilkes's medical and non-medical art work and photographs.


Susan Wilkes: Drawing of an eye
The picture that convinced Dr. Robinson to appoint Susan H. Wilkes for 3 yr. term as artist and head of department of Illustration.


Susan Wilkes: Water Color Pencil Drawing of Kirkland Hall,1933
Water Color Pencil Drawing of Kirkland Hall,1933.


Susan Wilkes: Drawing of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1935
Drawing of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1935.


Susan Wilkes: Kirkland Iris- Watercolor pencil drawing, 1933
Kirkland Iris- Watercolor pencil drawing, 1933


Susan Wilkes: Surgical Team headed by Dr. Cobb Pilcher, 1946
Surgical Team headed by Dr. Cobb Pilcher, 1946