Summary of the Neuroanatomical Collections

Neuroanatomical Collections is a repository of research and educational materials in which continues to acquire more serially-sectioned brain collections. The collections, together with their written documentation and a growing database, are available to qualified researchers.


Yakovlev-Haleem Collection

The Yakovlev-Haleem collection of normal and pathological development of the brain consists of over 1,200 human brain specimens collected between 1930 and 1994. The brains are prepared in whole-mount serial sections on glass slides. Also included are approximately 390 tissue blocks from various organs from stillbirths, fetuses and premature neonates. Each specimen is accompanied by a case record that includes actuarial, clinical, and /or autopsy data. In addition to normative controls, pathological specimens include cerebrovascular disease, pathomorphic cerebra, and postoperative neurosurgery for behavioral diseases, miscellaneous neuropathology, and experimental animals.

The collection was assembled by Dr. Paul Ivan Yakovlev (1894-1983), a neurologist at several hospitals and Harvard Medical School. Yakovlev began the collection in 1930 at Monson State Hospital. In 1974, he transferred the collection from Harvard to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, where it was managed by curator Mohamad Haleem until its transfer to the museum. In 1994, it was renamed the Yakovlev-Haleem Collection. In 1984, the Van Buren collection was incorporated into the Yakovlev-Haleem Collection.


The Blackburn-Neumann collection consists of over 15,000 autopsy cases from St. Elizabeths Hospital (SEH), dating from 1884 to 1982. These cases represent a range of neurological diseases and treatments. Most autopsies include extensive clinical history, gross photographs, photomicrographs, microscope slides, and paraffin blocks. Over 1000 gross brains specimen were also retained. The collection was started on July 11, 1884 by Dr. Isaac Wright Blackburn at St. Elizabeths Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. The cases document pre-antibiotic infectious diseases; schizophrenia; and mental disorders treated by electroshock, metrazol, insulin shock, and lobotomy. Spending over 50 years working in the SEH Blackburn Laboratory, Dr. Meta A. Neumann was the last neuropathologist to work at SEH. The collection was transferred to the museum in 1993.


The Lindenberg collection includes clinical and laboratory records and associated human brain tissue prepared on glass slides and paraffin blocks for nearly 15,000 specimens. The cases included in this collection document effects of traumatic brain injury in the state of Maryland from 1940 to 1989. The collection was founded by Dr. Richard Lindenberg while serving as the neuropathologist for the Office of the Maryland State Medical Examiner. The collection was transferred to the museum from the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s office in 1993.


The Rubinstein collection consists of nearly 4,000 brain specimens that document an assortment of tumors in several developmental states. The collection covers a 20 year period of 1961 to 1981 and is composed of histological preparations on standard 3-inch glass slides with an assortment of histological stains, paraffin blocks, photographs (35 mm), and records of clinical diagnoses for nearly every brain specimen. The collection was founded by Dr. Lucien J. Rubinstein (1924-1990) and transferred to the museum from the University of Virginia in 1991.


The Adolph Meyer collection consists of human and nonhuman comparative and developmental brain material from 535 specimens collected between 1890 and 1985. Included in this collection are serial-sectioned whole mounted brains on glass slides, and three-dimensional glass reconstructions. Specimens are accompanied by documentation that may include autopsy reports, laboratory notebooks, and photographs. This collection was begun by Dr. Adolph Meyer (1866-1950), a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (1908-1941). The collection was transferred from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to the museum in 1995.


The Lockard collection contains serially sectioned comparative neuroanatomy material collected between 1950 and 1995. Specimens are embedded in paraffin, stained and placed on glass slides. The collection consists of 29 boxes of glass slides of fox, ferret, and cat. Dr. Isabel Lockard developed the collection while at the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Medical University of South Carolina. The collection was transferred to the museum in 1995 from the Medical University of South Carolina. The museum’s Human Developmental Anatomy Collection (HDAC) maintains the Isabel Lockard reprint collection.


The Benjamin H. Pubols, Jr. collection includes whole-mount, serially-sectioned brain slides and acrylic brain models of nonhuman primates and other nonhuman mammals from nearly 200 specimens. This collection highlights normal mammalian neuroanatomy. Brain sections are in the standard transverse, horizontal, and sagittal planes. Mounted sections are stained with Nissl and/or Weil stains. The collection was founded by Dr. Pubols during his research on comparative neuroanatomy, and was transferred to the museum in 1998.


The Welker collection contains serial sections of over 275 whole brains, including specimens from over 120 species of mammals in almost as many genera that were collected between 1950 and 1995. This collection is of normal brains of primarily adult animals. Brain sections are in the three major planes, and are stained and mounted on glass slides highlighting both cells and fibers. The specimens are accompanied by documentation. The collection was created by Dr. Wally Welker at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was transferred to the museum in 1995. Many specimens are accessible via the Internet at The website and the transfer of the collection to the museum were supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation grants IBN 0131267, 0131826, 0131028.


The Johnson collection consists of serially-sectioned comparative mammalian brains that are Nissl and myelin stained and mounted on glass slides. The collection dates from 1950 to 2003. The stains highlight cellular and nerve fiber morphology, and each specimen is accompanied by documentation. The collection was created by Dr. John I. Johnson of the Department of Anatomy at Michigan State University. This collection has 156 brain specimens, with emphasis on marsupial mammals. Dr. Johnson turned the collection over to the Museum in 2003. Many specimens are accessible via the Internet at The website and the transfer of the collection to the museum were supported by the US National Science Foundation.


The Van Buren collection consists of 75 serially sectioned brains of post-surgical autopsies of patients with CNS lesions of long duration, brain tumors, epilepsies, parkinsonisms, dyskenesia, akinetic mutism, and hemispherectomy. Dr. John M. Van Buren contributed this material to the museum in 1984. The collection was subsequently incorporated into the Yakovlev-Haleem collection.


The Starr collection includes approximately 37 specimens consisting of human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, gibbon, baboon, marmoset, kangaroo, Tasmanian devil, giraffe, and tapir central nervous systems sectioned in three planes (transverse, sagittal, and horizontal). Also included are a few cases of human fetuses and embryos (24mm; 30mm; 55mm). The sections are glass-mounted and stained to demonstrate cellular and myelin morphology. This collection was prepared by Dr. Moses Allen Star (1854-1932), professor of neurology from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Medical Department of Columbia University. The Starr collection was transferred from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology to the museum in 2002.


The Harrison-Moore collection consists of the auditory system of the brainstems of 51 mammalian specimens covering nearly 30 different species (carnivores, insectivores, primates, lagomorphs and rodents). The brainstems are embedded in paraffin and sectioned at 10 microns. Most species are represented by series of sections in all three planes (transverse, sagittal, and horizontal). In each plane, one or more series of every third section were stained by the Nissl and Bodian methods, thereby highlighting both cell and axonal morphology. This collection was prepared during the 1960s and 1970s by Dr. Michael Harrison, during his tenure at Boston University. The collection came under the control of Dr. Jean Moore, who in 2002 transferred the collection to the museum.


The Fisher collection consists of nearly 2,500 slides of sectioned human cerebral thrombosis and bilateral occlusion of basilar artery branches. The specimens are prepared on standard 3-inch slides and stained with hematoxylin and eosin or Cresyl violet to highlight cellular structures. This collection addresses the neuropathology of cerebral vascular infarcts from various perspectives - lacunes, basilar artery branches, hypertension, and the thalamus. This collection was prepared by Dr. C. Miller Fisher of Massachusetts General Hospital and was transferred by Dr. Fisher to the museum in 2003.


The Cruce collection consists of slide sets used by Dr. William Cruce in his research in neurobiology. The specimens include many rare and unusual species of amphibians, reptiles, elasmobranches, mammals, and birds. Histological slide preparation includes Nissl and myelin stains highlighting cellular and nerve fiber morphology. The Cruce collection was transferred from Dr. Cruce to the museum in 2003.


The Denny-Brown collection spans a 19 year period from 1945 to 1964 and consists of 16 boxes of pathological slides (n = 2500), containing sections of brains in three planes (transverse, sagittal and horizontal). The collection includes nearly all phases of neurology with an emphasis in basic studies on the basal ganglia, related tumors, posture, and movements. Films documenting the cerebral activity of human and nonhuman primates and cats, case file notes, and videos depicting human neurological disease are also associated with the collection. This collection was prepared by Dr. Derek Denny-Brown (1901-1981) between the 1940s and 1960s while he was a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of Harvard's Neurological Unit at the Boston City Hospital. The collection was transferred to the museum in 2002.


The Crosby-Lauer collection consists of nearly 1,000 nonhuman brain specimens. This comparative neuroanatomy collection includes glass histological slides of whole mounted brains from multiple species. The slides are stained demonstrating cellular bodies and nerve fibers. Associated documentation accompanies this collection and includes inventory summaries, card catalog of specimens, lantern slides, brain models, photographs, books, and reprints. This collection was begun by Dr. Elizabeth Caroline Crosby (1888-1983) while a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Michigan, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. Also contributing to this collection was Dr. Crosby’s student and colleague at the University of Michigan, Dr. Ed Lauer (1902-1994). The Crosby-Lauer Collection was transferred to the museum in 2004 by Dr. Sarah Winans Newman of the University of Michigan Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.