Schurman Hall

Ithaca, N.Y. — The portrait of Cornell’s first professor in the Veterinary College’s Department of Anatomy was stolen from a campus building sometime earlier this month, according to Deputy Chief of Cornell Police Dave Honan.

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Grant Sherman Hopkins graduated from the university in 1889 and became the anatomy department’s first professor in 1896, four years after the vet college was founded. Hopkins died in 1952, about two decades after his retirement in 1934, according to “A History of Anatomy at Cornell.”

Deputy Chief Honan said Hopkins’ portrait was stolen from Schurman Hall, a vet college building, sometime between Dec. 1 and Dec. 18. The painting was last appraised at $3,000, according to Honan.

Schurman Hall

Cornell police are currently investigating the theft, which was reported to the Cornell University Police Department on Thursday.

“A History of Anatomy at Cornell,” written by Prof. Howard Evans, says the following of Hopkins:

The first Department of Anatomy in the Veterinary College (1896) had one faculty member, Grant Sherman Hopkins. He had been a student assistant in the Department of Natural History during his senior year. Upon graduation with a BS in 1889 Hopkins was appointed Instructor in Anatomy (in the Department of Natural History). 

He received a Doctor of Science degree from Cornell in 1893 (under Gage) with a thesis on the digestive tract of the gar fish, Lepisosteus. When the Veterinary College opened in 1896 Hopkins, who was teaching for Gage, was appointed Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Head. While in this position he enrolled, by special permission, as a student in the Veterinary College and received the DVM in 1900.

He was made a full Professor in 1903. Hopkins published several well-illustrated Guides for the dissection of the horse and cow. He continued to come to his office in James Law Hall after his retirement in 1934 until his death in 1952.

Anyone with information about the stolen painting should call Cornell police at 607-255-1111.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.