Body dissection photos reveal hidden beauty

The world-renowned Bassett collection, called the most beautiful and complete collection ever made of images from dissections of the human body, is now available online for free, thanks to the School of Medicine's Lane Library.

In November, the entire 1,547 photographic collection of serial dissections was posted online at:

The collection was donated to the medical school by the children of David Bassett who died in 1966. Lane Library is planning an exhibit later this year to showcase some of the original reels and other memorabilia.

As a faculty member at Stanford, it was Bassett's genius for dissection that attracted the attention of William Gruber, the photographer who invented the View-Master, a stereoscopic viewing device familiar to most children. A 17-year collaboration between them, starting in 1948, resulted in the production of the Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy. It consisted of views of dissections of every body region with labeled drawings and explanatory text.

For permission or information regarding the use of the images, contact librarian Drew Bourn at