The following tribute by Raffaele Lattes originally appeared in the P&S Quarterly, March, 1968. It is reprinted here by the kind permission of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Arthur Purdy Stout , A. B. Yale '07, M.D. P&S '12, retired Professor of Pathology, Emeritus Professor of Surgery, died in New York on December 20, 1967, at age 82.
Probably no other individual in his generation has had a greater impact on the development of that branch of clinically oriented pathology which we know of as Surgical Pathology. His original training in Clinical Surgery, and the influence of his predecessor, Dr. William Clark, played a decisive role in developing his life-long interest; the correlation of tissue changes seen in the surgical specimen with the clinical course of disease. More especially, he devoted himself to the histological classification of human tumors and the predictability of tumor behavior on the basis of morphology. His influence in this country and abroad on young pathologists and surgeons was great, imparting to them a modern, practically useful knowledge of human neoplastic diseases.
Dr. Stout and his collaborators, including Virginia Kneeland Frantz, Cushman Haagensen and Margaret Murray were responsible for the development of the laboratory of surgical pathology at P&S. The laboratory was originally a division of the department of surgery and was completely independent of the department of pathology until after his "retirements" in 1951 and 1954.
When in 1951, Dr. Stout reached the age limit of 65 as Professor of Surgery, he became Professor and Director of Pathology at the Francis Delafield Hospital, a position which he occupied until 1954. Then, having reached the age limit as Professor of Pathology, he asked to be made Emeritus Professor of Surgery. This appointment was granted in recognition of his lifetime identification with the department of surgery.
Following the second retirement, his activity as a teacher, author and practicing pathologist kept on increasing. He had an ever expanding consultation practice, referred from all parts of the world, of which he always took personal care. He could write long, learned discussions to the referring pathologist or surgeon summarizing the results of his experience and knowledge. This he was able to do with such an unassuming and natural simplicity, that he was never overbearing.
During these later years, he became a member of many important national committees, including the subcommittee on oncology of the national Research Council. He was Chairman of this committee in 1954 and to it he devoted unbelievable energy, aimed at the creation and publication of the fascicles of the Atlas of Tumor Pathology. The high standard and the great success here and abroad of these fasicles, now numbering about forty, is due to a great extent to the devotion and enthusiasm which he was able to impart to the other committee members and to the authors. He was himself the author of four of these fasicles.
Dr. Stout was a member or honorary member of more than twenty medical or scientific societies. He was consultant to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, to the Surgeon General and to dozens of hospitals in the New York area. He served at different times as a member of at least ten editorial boards.
His publications, including the book Human Cancer published in 1932, number more than three hundred. His major contributions were in the field of tumors of soft tissues, tumors of children and a study of the morphological changes in the membranes of the respiratory tract in cigarette smokers.
The imprint that Dr. Stout has left as author and tumor specialist is by itself a lasting monument to his memory. But all of us, those who had the fortune of living and working near him and with him for many years, will remember him also, and perhaps especially so, as the exceptional human being he was. He was a teacher in the humanistic tradition, a teacher of respect and compassion for human life, respect for the opinion of the most junior associates and colleagues, absolute scientific and professional honesty, and especially, to all of us, a great friend. Testimony for these qualities is the Arthur Purdy Stout Society, founded about twenty years ago by a group of former residents, associates and admirers who gathered around him once a year coming from all parts of the country. They came to attend the scientific session, in the form of a seminar, conducted by him, but also for the pleasure of the reunion with the "chief."
I am sure that for many of us it will be difficult to become accustomed to the idea that the never retired "chief" is not there anymore to give us help and counsel when we need it.
Raffaele Lattes, fac.
copyright 2001 Arthur Purdy Stout Society, all rights reserved
us with your comments or suggestions.