In Memoriam: Edmund Slocum Crelin, Jr., Created First Anatomical Atlas of Newborn Infants
Edmund Slocum Crelin, Jr., emeritus professor of anatomy in the Department of Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, who was instrumental in creating the world renowned neo-natal and ultrasound units at Yale-New Haven Hospital, died on June 21 in Branford, Conn. at age 81.
Crelin also pioneered establishment of the Physician Associate program at the Yale School of Medicine and was chair of the Human Growth and Development Study Unit.
Beyond his acclaimed achievements as an educator, he was a prolific research scientist. His 159 published articles in medical and scientific journals cover topics including cell, cancer and bone research, the development and physiology of connective tissues, human development and anthropological evolution.
Crelin is well known for his treatises on newborn anatomy. He authored “Anatomy of the Newborn” in 1969, which was the first atlas of human infant anatomy written. Along with accompanying text, “Functional Anatomy of the Newborn,” published in 1973, it is considered a milestone in medicine. Published in several foreign languages, both are viewed as the premier references in the field.
His third book, “The Human Vocal Tract” (Anatomy, Function, Development and Evolution), was published in 1987 and highlighted his interest in the origins of speech. In one study, he made casts of human throats, duplicated vocal tracts and determined which early types of humans were capable of speech. Crelin was able to trace origins of speech to about 500,000 to one million years ago.
Born in Red Bank, N.J. to the late Agatha Bublin Crelin and Edmund S. Crelin, Sr., Crelin was valedictorian of his 1942 senior class at Red Bank High School. After brief service in the United States Navy, he entered Central College in Pella, IA, where he received his B.A. cum laude in 1947, majoring in biology. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1951 and then joined the School of Medicine faculty. He was appointed Professor of Anatomy in 1968, served as chief of the section of human anatomy in the Department of Surgery, and was awarded the honor of Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1991.
During his 40 years at Yale, Crelin received many honors, including the Blake Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1961, the Kappa Delta Award for Outstanding Research from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1976 and the Yale Physician Associate Program Award for most outstanding teacher in 1973 and 1980. Central College presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree in 1969. Crelin was a member of the American Association of Anatomists, Sigma Xi, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Medical Association, and served as associate editor of the Anatomical Record from 1968-1974. He was also a consultant for CIBA-GEIGY Pharmaceutical Corporation. After his retirement he received an honorary appointment to the Yale Society of Distinguished Teachers.
In addition to having passion for his work, Crelin was an artist, sculptor, music lover, accomplished trumpet player, avid sports fan and a handy man. He is remembered by Yale students for his unique and creative teaching style, often incorporating music and humor into his academic instruction.
Crelin was predeceased by brothers Ralph and Frank Crelin. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joy McCain Crelin, of Branford, daughter Sherry Crelin, of Dunedin, FL, son Edmund Crelin III and wife, Tracy, of South Wallingford, VT, son Robert Crelin and fiancŽe Suzanne Duran, of Branford, and daughter Carole Frassinelli and husband, John, of Willington, Conn. Crelin was the proud grandfather of 10 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 26, at 10 a.m., at the Branford First Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to America’s Second Harvest (35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2,000, Chicago, IL 60601 or www.secondharvest.org) or Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (371 East Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, NY 11787 or www.guidedog.org).