Health Sciences Library’s Stethoscope- finalist as one of Colorado’s most significant artifacts.


The Health Sciences Library recently nominated one of our unique artifacts, an original Charles Denison stethoscope, to the Colorado’s Most Significant Artifacts competition. Voting on Colorado’s 10 Most Significant Artifacts is open at and ends on October 31st, 2014.  The competition is organized by Colorado Collecting to Collections (

The Colorado Connecting to Collections Initiative aims to increase awareness and garner support for the amazing collections that Colorado had in our libraries and museums. It is also concerned with the preservation of Colorado’s cultural legacy.
The artifact that the Health Sciences Library nominated is a binaural stethoscope created by Dr. Charles Denison in the early 1880’s. The stethoscope was widely accepted, but since Dr. Denison didn’t patent it, it was often copied and sold under the Denison name. Dr. Denison finally wrote to the Medical Record on October 22, 1882 to complain not only about the cheap copies, but to lay out his ideas of what made a good stethoscope.
Dr. Charles Denison moved to Colorado for his health, and while in Denver did influential work on the climate of Colorado and its benefits to patients with tuberculosis. He served as Chair of Chest Diseases and Climatology department at the University of Denver. After his death in 1909, his wife Ella Strong Denison donated the initial funds to build the Charles Denison, M.D., Memorial Library at the University of Colorado Health Science Center at 9th Avenue and ColoradoBoulevard, from its completion in 1937 to the relocation to The Anschutz Medical Campus in 2007.

The Charles Denison stethoscope can be seen in the Reading Room on the third floor of the Health Sciences Library, along with several other Denison artifacts.