By Chris Casey | University Communications
AURORA, Colo. - Carl Bartecchi, MD, MACP, is a physician who readily admits he has an affliction. "I have become a bibliomaniac," he said with a wide smile.
Bartecchi talked about his love of books, especially tomes on the history of medicine, at the naming celebration of the Carl and Kay Bartecchi Special Collections Reading Area of the Health Sciences Library. About 25 people attended the June 22 reception in the third-floor reading room at the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Bartecchi's love of medical history books started when he was a medical student and served an internal medicine rotation at Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's oldest hospital. At the hospital's library, "I'd pull these old books off the shelves. I saw things I wouldn't have believed ... Malaria in the Midwest. I thought, 'jeez, this is interesting stuff.'"
His passion for collecting continued when he started his internal medicine practice in Pueblo in 1970. In downtown Pueblo or at regional and national conferences he would browse old bookstores and antique shops, buying old books and historic medical instruments.
His bibliomania eventually reached a point where his wife, Kay, stepped in. Having become a distinguished clinical professor of medicine in the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Bartecchi said he realized that the Health Sciences Library "would be an ideal place (for my collections) because other people could enjoy them as well," he said. "Also, it was a beautiful library and a wonderful place... My wife was very happy to leave them here."
Bartecchi's books have been integrated into the Waring History of Medicine and Health Sciences Collection on the library's third floor.
Speakers at Friday's event included Jerry Perry, Health Sciences Library director, Regina Kilkenny, associate vice chancellor for academic resources and services, and Provost Roderick Nairn.
Perry noted that the library has been "blessed by the support of Carl Bartecchi for many years," including the recent donation of newer books -- many reflecting his passion for flight surgery -- as well as photographs from his travels to South America and Southeast Asia that grace the library's walls.
Particularly with the medical artifacts, which are housed in a cabinet in the reading room, "he has been really helpful for the outreach we do. We bring middle and high school students in quite a bit," Perry said. The Bartecchi collection "substantially enhances the collection, our resources and ability to serve."
Kilkenny said many of Bartecchi's contributions are behind the scenes, but they've "done much to make it a richer learning environment ... It means the world to us and we're most appreciative."
Nairn also thanked the Bartecchis for their generosity. "It means an awful lot to the students, it means a lot to faculty and I think a lot of people are going to see the things you've provided," he said. "The rare books collection is just tremendous. I enjoyed looking at the artifacts. I can just imagine the school kids who come through here looking at those. They're probably going to do what I did and wonder what some of them are."
Carl Bartecchi also leads service missions to Vietnam where he is involved in supporting and providing hospital facilities and medical education. He is co-author of "Living Healthier and Longer: What Works, What Doesn't" and "A Doctor's Vietnam Journal," both of which are in the library's collection.
"We thank you for your service to the School of Medicine and the university as well and all the things you do for folks around the world," Nairn said. "You're a great example for us, and people are going to benefit from that."
(Photo: Carl Bartecchi, left, looks on as people flip through one of his books at the naming celebration of the Carl and Kay Bartecchi Special Collections Reading Area on June 22.)