IN MEMORIAM: Julius Cruse ‘99


Dr. Julius M. Cruse, Jr., who was honored by General with a Doctor of Divinity in 1999 and donated his T.S. Eliot collection to our library, died on August 20 at the age of 81, following complications from a long battle with cancer at University of Mississippi Medical Center.

His parents, Julius and Effie, and his sister Julia Cruse Corso preceded him in death. Visitation is scheduled for Friday, August 24, from 4-6:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 25, from 10-11 a.m. at St. Columb's Episcopal Church in Ridgeland, MS. A Solemn High Mass will follow the Saturday visitation at 11 a.m. at St. Columbs, where Cruse was a faithful communicant. 

Dr. Cruse recently retired from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS after a professional tenure of almost fifty years where he served as Guyton Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Microbiology, as well as Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine. He formerly served as the first professor of immunology at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

"The Medical Center has lost one of the great ones, and I have lost a mentor, colleague and friend," said Dr. Ralph Didlake, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Medical Center. "He and I shared a passion for the history of medicine, and I was inspired by his intellectual energy, his curiosity and the integrity of his scholarship." 

Cruse graduated in 1958 with B.A. and B.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of Mississippi. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Graz (Austria) where he received the D.Med.Sc. Degree summa cum laude in 1960. He received the MD/PhD in pathology from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Memphis.

Cruse became one of the most eminent immunologists of his time. He authored or co-authored more than 40 books and more than 300 scholarly articles in professional journals. Among his best-known works were the Illustrated Dictionary of Immunology and the Atlas of Immunology. His former students serve as professors, physicians, researchers and administrators in medical centers throughout the U.S. He was founding editor-in-chief of three international scientific journals, Immunologic Research, Pathobiology and Transgenics, as well as serving as editor-in-chief of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. In addition, he served on the editorial board of International Pathology and Human Immunology.

He was an active member of more than 20 professional societies which include the American Association of Immunologists (historian), the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the American Society for Histocompatability and Immunogenetics (Member of Council 1997-99; Chair of Publications 1987-95; Historian 2000-2015), the Societe Francaise d'Immunologie, the Transplantation Society, the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Health and the Royal Society of Medicine (UK).

At the Medical Center, Cruse was valued for his contributions to the life of the institution. He was a life-time member of the Friends of Rowland Medical Library. He founded the Dean Billy S. Guyton Visiting Professorship in the History of Medicine and presented the fifth Guyton Lecture at the Medical Center.

Cruse was an ardent bibliophile. He gave his medical/immunology collection (4000 plus volumes) to the University of Wisconsin where he was honored by their Medical School Library in 1980 with the establishment of the Julius M. Cruse Collection in the History of Immunology. The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) recognized the significance of this valued resource and adopted it as their official History of Immunology Collection. In 1995, he donated his 3000 plus volume T.S. Eliot Collection, the largest in private hands, to the St. Mark's Library (now Christoph Keller, Jr. Library) at General.

Citing Cruse as a "devout Episcopalian whose life exemplifies the great tradition of Anglican lay people who have, within their professions and through their avocations, enriched and expanded the knowledge of the Gospel and bestowed the special gifts of their genius upon their church." General conferred the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa on Cruse in 1999 and named the T.S. Eliot Collection in his honor. Cruse's T.S. Eliot Collection has recently been transferred to the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University, Woodruff Library in Atlanta.

Memorials may be made to the Julius M. Cruse Professorship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (Office of Development) or to St. Columb's.

Published in the Clarion Ledger, MS from Aug. 23 to Aug. 24, 2018