James E. Ash

James Earle Ash


Born: 8 September 1884, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: 1986

Academic Degrees

  • MD: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1905

Academic Positions

  • 1913 - 1916 Instructor in Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • 1947- 1948 Scientific Director, American Registry of Pathology
  • 1948 Consultant Oscar B. Hunter Memorial Labs/Washington, DC Pathologist to Suburban Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Consultant in pathology to Veterans Administration and AFIP and Arlington Hospital (Virginia) and Episcopal Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital/Washington, D.C.

Military Service

  • Commissioned U.S. Army, 1916;
  • Retired as Colonel, 1947

Military Assignments

  • 1929 - 1931 Curator, Army Medical Museum
  • 1937 - 1946 Curator, Army Medical Museum
  • 1946 First Director, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology

Selected Career Highlights

  • Responsible for transforming the Army Medical Museum into the Army Institute of Pathology and expansion of the American Registry of Pathology activities. Development of closer relationships between the AFIP and the national groups of clinical medicine. During the war years it was a training center for war-time army pathologists. He was quiet, unassuming, and had no equal in his ability to imbue his staff with a devotion to duty and a desire to excel (and with a minimum of rules, regulations and red tape).

  • Key to the expansion of the educational and training materials in various clinical specialties. Largely responsible for the development of pathology registries. Brought about understanding between civilian and military pathologists. More than any other army medical officer elevated the standing of the army medical corps in the eyes of civilian colleagues.

  • The Ash Library, AFIP is named after him and his many contributions to the AFIP.

  • Published papers on bilateral renal cortical necrosis, epibulbar tumors, the laryngeal node, bladder tumors, pulmonary infarcts, adenomatoid tumors of the genital tract, laboratory methods of the US Army.

  • Published 3 Atlases: Otolaryngic Pathology, Pathology of Tropical Diseases and Ophthalmic Pathology (first edition with DeCoursey).

  • Published two fascicles: Bladder Tumors (with N. Friedman) and Tumors of the Upper Respiratory Tract (with Raum and Col. Beck).

  • Published several fascicles to accompany study sets of slides: Dermatology, GU Pathology, Tropical Diseases, Brain Tumors, Orthopedic Pathology, Neuropathology, Dental/oral pathology, as co-author with various members of the AFIP faculty during the war.

  • The Editors of The Military Surgeon issued a special number of the journal in honor of Col. Ash (1946).

  • A talented pianist and organist.


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