Artifacts Profile: Sabin Statue

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HSL has featured a rare book profile in the blog, and now we have the first artifacts profile!  This first entry features the Sabin statue, located in the third floor reading room, which was chosen in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

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Florence Rena Sabin, M.D.

1871-1953

Florence Sabin was born in Central City Colorado on November 9th, 1871.  She left Colorado to attend Smith College in 1893, and then attended the John Hopkins University School of Medicine.  She was the first woman to graduate from that institution.  In 1917, she was appointed as a professor of histology.  Dr. Sabin was elected as the president of the American Association of Anatomists and became a member of the National Academy of Sciences.  She was the first women to hold a full professorship and to be admitted to these organizations.

Dr. Sabin became the head of the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, in 1925.  She focused her research in the lymphatic system, blood vessels and cells, and tuberculosis.  She retired in 1938.

She came out of retirement in 1944 to accept a request from John Vivian, the governor of Colorado, to chair a state subcommittee on public health.  The committees work resulted in the Sabin Health Laws, which modernized Colorado’s public health system.  She became the manager of health and charities for Denver in 1948, and donated her salary to medical research.  Dr. Sabin retired again in 1951, just two years before her death.

Dr. Florence Sabin’s connection to the University of Colorado was a long one.  In 1937, she delivered the keynote address at the dedication of the Charles Denison, M.D. Memorial Library.  On her 80th birthday, a wing of the original University of Colorado hospital was named in her honor.  When the new University of Colorado Hospital was built in 1962, the building became the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  The auditorium that bore Dr. Sabin’s name was used by students until the day the 9th Ave campus was closed.  Many of the artifacts displayed here were housed in the auditorium, and when the campus moved, they became a permanent part of the Health Sciences Library’s collection.

In 1954, the people of Colorado choose Dr. Florence Sabin as the first Coloradan to be honored in Statuary Hall, in the National Capital Rotunda.  The statue was sculpted by Joy Buba and was presented to the public in February 26th, 1959.

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The Health Sciences Library has a collection of Dr. Florence Sabin artifacts, including a miniature version of the statue that is exhibited in Washington D.C.  The artifacts are currently exhibited in the Reading Room, on the library’s third floor, but will soon be moved to a new location in the library.

[Article written by Paul Andrews, Collection Development Technician]

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