The Herbert Spencer Image Library
Edited by Dr Francesco A. Mauri
The Herbert Spencer’s Image Library of Pulmonary and Tropical Pathology was launched on 26 September during the 2002 Imperial College Surgical Pathology Course. The library comprises numerous photographic images of tissue sections and cytological smears. New immunohistochemical stains were performed and images collected. The aim is to digitise and organize many of these images making them freely available for academic teachers and students. Further images will be added and the web library will grow substantially over time.
Professor Herbert Spencer, who died in 1993, was the foremost pulmonary pathologist of his generation. Through his book Pathology of the Lung (1962) Spencer became an international figure; his life's work centred on the histopathology of lung disease, particularly tumours of the lower respiratory tract. He received cases from all around the world and these cases are part of the collection. He was in his element with a microscope and in the post mortem room, though he was one of the first to use electron microscopy to interpret unusual appearances. Generations of students have reason to be grateful for Spencer's gently didactic presentation of the elements of general pathology. Delivered without notes, hesitation or repetition, his lectures covered the subject from A to Z. He was said never to have forgotten a fact and, unlike many reputedly encyclopaedic minds, had the material organised and available whenever needed. He was in demand to teach and examine throughout the world.
Professor Spencer's unique contribution to pathology, particularly pulmonary pathology, and the legacy of his work is now accessible to future students of medicine and medical research through the generosity of his widow.