Albert Lester Rosenthal
Albert Lester Rosenthal of Princeton and Nantucket Island, Mass., died April 20, 2011. He was born in New Bedford, Mass., in 1926.
Dr. Rosenthal began his career as a dermatologist in Trenton in 1958 and continued to practice until his retirement from Lawrenceville Dermatology in March. He served as chief of dermatology at both Mercer and Helene Fuld hospitals and was acting chief at Hamilton Hospital, all in the 1970s.
He was an associate in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Hospital and was appointed clinical professor of dermatology at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia in 1987. He published numerous articles in professional journals and taught courses in African-American dermatology and in medical ethics at Penn. He also conducted some of the earliest basic research on chem-peels. Among his other publications, he coauthored the first paper on fluorinated topical steroids in JAMA in 1958.
He was a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology for half a century, a member of the AMA’s Mercer County chapter, and a member of the Noah Worcester Dermatologic Society for many decades. He served as president of the Philadelphia Dermatological Society in 1984, and was consistently listed in America’s Top Doctors; Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Medicine, and Who’s Who in the Arts and Sciences; and “Top Doctors in the New York Area.”
The valedictorian of his high school class, he graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Tufts University in 1946 and received his MD from Tufts in 1951. He was an intern and assistant resident in surgery at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. He completed a residency in dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He continued as an assistant in dermatology at the New York Skin and Cancer Institute at NYU.
He served as captain in the U.S. Air Force near the end of the Korean War, where he commanded a medical unit and was later appointed dermatologist for a large Air Force base in Texas.
With his wife, Carol, he collected German Expressionism, American Art, Pre-Columbian Art, African Art, Oriental Art, and scrimshaw walking sticks. The couple was instrumental in building the collections of the New Jersey State Museum. For over 30 years, they contributed significantly and filled in many gaps in the museum’s American Arts collections. He served as chairman of the board of Friends of the NJ State Museum and as chairman of the Fine Arts Committee. He was appointed by two governors to state museum governing boards and served as chairman of the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission for 18 years from 1982 to 2000. He was also on the advisory board for American Art of the Newark Museum and a founding member of the Mercer County Open Space Preservation Board (1992-2000).
On his 80th birthday, he was honored by a commendation from the State Legislature for his devotion to the state and the arts, along with a letter from then-Gov. Jon Corzine. In November 2010, the NJ State Museum held a retrospective of the Rosenthal’s donations.
Dr. Rosenthal also helped the art department at Tufts, and contributed to the Princeton University Art Museum, the Newark Museum, and the Constitution Museum in Salem, Mass., as well as the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Natural History in New York.
He also donated sculpture to the Capital Health System’s Mercer Campus. Mercer County Community College recently honored him and his wife as distinguished benefactors.
He is survived by his wife, Carol (Magruder); two sons, Robert and Bruce; his daughter, Jill; his sister, Charlotte Winston; four grandchildren; and his ex-wife, Vivian Greenberg.
Services were held April 21 with arrangements by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing. Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of New Jersey State Museum, Trenton.