Traditionally, blood and bone marrow cells have been identified based on their characteristic shapes and colors when stained with one of several panoptic stains including Wright's or Giemsa's. As questions arose regarding the origin of normal and leukemic cells, cytochemical stains were developed. These stains help identify cells on the basis of a distinctive metabolite or enzyme. As part of an ongoing tradition in which textile dyes are used for biological staining, several new stains have been applied to hematologic staining. These include C.I. basic blue 41, basic blue 141, basic blue 93, and an asymmetrical polymethine dye. As additional cell-selective stains are developed, we can anticipate further improvements in our ability to identify normal and malignant hematopoietic cells.