Making visible the invisible

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Making visible the invisible herstory in Colorado's Queen City
Beaton, Gail Marjorie
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225 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Women -- History -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Women -- Social conditions -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Women -- Societies and clubs -- History -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Women ( fast )
Women -- Social conditions ( fast )
Women -- Societies and clubs ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 210-225).
General Note:
Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
by Gail Marjorie Beaton.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
53379192 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L57 2002m B42 ( lcc )

Full Text
Gail Marjorie Beaton
B.S., University of Colorado, 1976
M.A., University of Colorado, 1987
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Public History

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Gail Marjorie Beaton
has been approved
Pamela W. Laird

Beaton, Gail Marjorie (M.A., Public History)
Making Visible the Invisible: Herstory in Colorados Queen City
Thesis directed by Professor Thomas J. Noel
This thesis presents a history of women in Denver, Colorado between 1858
and 1958 and the location of sites linked to those individuals. Although women have
lived and worked in the capital city since 1858, their lives have generally been
invisible to their contemporaries and later historians. The focus of this thesis is the
contributions of specific Denver women and womens organizations from the citys
founding in 1858 to its centennial year in 1958. This study, however, does not
attempt to be a definitive study on the subject. After all, hundreds of books and
journal articles tell the tale of mens history in Denver. It would be presumptuous to
attempt to tell the story of women in Denver in one thesis. Rather, the intent of this
thesis is to present a slice of womens lives in Denver supported by entries of
specific women or womens groups. The lives of women of color, as well as the
lives of Anglo-European women who contributed in the modem period after 1958,
is left to other historians.
While women and womens organizations have contributed to all areas of
society, this study emphasizes the accomplishments of Denver women in six areas:

education, work, domesticity, benevolence, political action, and creative expression.
A few of these women Elizabeth Byers and Anne Evans will be well known to
anyone with a little bit of knowledge of Denver history. Others the Denver
Womans Press Club and Helen Ring Robinson will only be familiar to those who
are well versed in Denver womens history. Still others Helen Ingersoll and
Elizabeth Kletzsch will be unknown.
Each chapter begins with the historical context of the time period followed
by biographical entries. In addition to the Bibliography, the Colorado Womens
History Bibliography discusses published works and resources on womens history
in the state of Colorado.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.

I dedicate this thesis to all the invisible women who have taken care of
their families, helped the needy in their communities, worked outside the home as
well as in it, used their creative talents to enrich our culture, taught the next
generation, and agitated for political reform. They have done all these things quietly
behind the stage curtain, boldly on the streets, and lovingly in the privacy of their
own homes and work places. They are women from all socio-economic levels, races
and nationalities. Often their stories are neither known nor appreciated except by
those close to them. As we travel through the 21st Century, it is my hope that more
of their stories will become visible.
In addition, I specifically dedicate this thesis to my mother, Alice M. Beaton,
who has always been very visible in and supportive of my life. From her grace, love,
and effort in raising four children in the baby boom years, I have learned hard work,
perseverance, and joy. Thanks, Mom.

I would like to thank Professors Thomas J. Noel, Myra L. Rich, and Pamela
W. Laird for their help, support, and guidance. The time and energy they have given
me in the preparation of this thesis and in my various graduate classes have been
I would also like to thank the Coulter Family Foundation for a tuition
scholarship during my degree program. History students greatly appreciate the
Foundations support of their academic endeavors.
I am also grateful to Sherrie L. Langston who read and reread many drafts of
particular entries over the past three years. A fresh pair of eyes is always
Lastly, I wish to extend my appreciation to the professional staffs in the
Colorado Historical Societys Stephen Hart Library and the Denver Public Library
Western History Department. They have always been most helpful in locating
necessary materials and answering questions.

1. INTRODUCTION...........................................1
OF THE PLAINS, 1858-1892................................9
Our earley setelment in Denver, Mrs. Samuel Dalman...14
Elizabeth Sumner Byers.................................16
Sadie Likens...........................................18
Frances Wisebart Jacobs................................19
St. Marys Academy.....................................21
Suffrage Campaigns of thel870s.........................24
Life so Hard, Emily French...........................28
Alice Eastwood, The Madame Curie of Botany...........32
A Typhoons Victims, Helen Henderson Chain, Artist...45
3. WIDENING THE SPHERE OF DOMESTICITY, 1893-1929..........48
Florence Crittenton Home...............................52
Wolcott School.........................................54
Womens Club Movement..................................58
Sarah Platt Decker, Clubwoman..........................62

The Suffrage Campaign of 1893 ..................................65
Helen Ring Robinson, State Senator..............................69
The Hello Girls...............................................72
Margaret Molly Tobin Brown, Hero and Philanthropist...........75
Mary C. Mulligan, Domestic Servant..............................77
Helen Ingersoll, Librarian......................................78
Dora Moore, Educator............................................87
Denver Womans Press Club.......................................89
Loretto Heights College.........................................91
Mary Florence Lathrop, Attorney.................................95
Emily Griffith.................................................100
1930-1958 .........................................................103
Lucille Stomm and Minnie Peterson, Domestic Servants...........105
Anne Evans, Benefactor of the Denver Art Museum................110
Elizabeth Schroeder and the Denver Department of Public Welfare.... 111
Ethel and Jenne Magafan, Artists...............................131
Denvers W. O. W.s.............................................133
Oleta Crain, W.A.C.............................................134
Women in Military Service, Lowry Air Base......................139
Eudochia Bell Smith, Legislative Activist......................144

Gladys Tommy Colette Bell, Dean of Women...149
5. CONCLUSION..................................154

Although it can be argued that women have been here, there, and
everywhere since the beginning of history, until recently one would have had
trouble proving that point using traditionally written history and preserved historical
sites. The published chronicles of womens history have followed an evolutionary
path similar to that of other minorities--African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and
gay men and lesbians. In the beginning (for womens history up until the 1970s), the
histories of such minority groups were compensatory. That is, the literature began
by focusing on the first (the first woman physician, the first womens college) and
the famous or infamous. Then with the advent of the new social history in the 1970s
and 1980s, historians began looking at contributions of specific women or groups of
women such as Jane Addams and the settlement movement, the suffrage movement
and its leaders, and the womens clubs and their actions during the Progressive Era.
Lastly, since the 1980s, the hidden women have begun to find a voice in historical
literature as new methods such as oral histories and archival documents and as
feminist theory has begun to inform the conceptualization of womens history. The
same evolution can be seen in the preservation of womens historical sites;

unfortunately, however, this process is lagging behind the historical scholarly
literature on women.
While there are books on the famous and infamous women, on the
contributions of womens organizations in social reform, and on the suffrage
movement, historical sites and accompanying literature on these sites are lacking.
Even though Colorado women received the right to vote a quarter of a century
before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, they have very few historical sites
specifically commemorating their various achievements. But perhaps one shouldnt
be surprised by this omission. After all, not until 1980 did the National Park Service
establish The Womens Rights National Historical Park at Seneca Falls, commonly
referred to as the birthplace of the womens suffrage movement. Throughout the
United States, officially recognized womens historic sites are few and far between.
The American Womens Gazetteer and its later videocassette titled Susan B.
Anthony Slept Here are among the first national guides to specific historical places
dealing with womens lives and events.1 Another national guide is Marion Tinlings
Women Remembered: A Guide to Landmarks of Womens History in the United
States. Dividing the country into geographical areas, Tinling gives a very short
biography of important women in particular cities and towns.2 In 1989, Carol
Smallwood wrote An Educational Guide to the National Park System. The author
divided the National Park holdings into forty-eight categories, including Blacks,
Presidents, and Women. The five entries under Women are the Clara Barton

National Historic Site (Glen Echo, Maryland), Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site
(Hyde Park, NY), Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site (Richmond, Virginia),
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House (Washington, D.C.), and the Womens
Rights National Historic Park (Seneca Falls, New York). For each of the entries,
Smallwood included information on tours, free print material, bibliography,
suggested curriculum application, and audiovisual list.3 Also available to
researchers is the National Park Service web site. This includes Places Where
Women Made History, a look at womens history sites in New York and
Massachusetts, articles on preserving and interpreting these and other important
sites, and bibliographies.4 Another important book on womens history landmarks is
Reclaiming the Past: Landmarks of Womens History edited by Page Putnam
Miller. The eight essays integrate recent developments in womens history and
historic preservation in order to illuminate the significance of many sites and
structures associated with womens lives in the United States. The essays discuss
women and architecture, the arts, community, education, politics, religion, and
work.5 Unfortunately, the only mention of women in Colorado is their work in
helping to establish Mesa Verde National Park.
At the city level, there is the Boston Womens Heritage Trail: Four
Centuries of Boston Women. This guidebook is divided into five trails through five
different parts of the city and emphasizes certain themes. Because only eighteen of
the one hundred historical sites have historical markers, the guidebook is essential in

identifying these places.6 Most recently, Katharine Thomas Corbett has written In
Her Place: A Guide to St. Louis Womens History. As indicated by its title, this
book is not only a guide to sites but also to womens contributions to the city of St.
Louis. Divided chronologically, this book emphasizes the themes of domesticity,
benevolence, work, political action, education, and creative expression. Each
chapter begins with a map of the sites and a two to three-page overview of the
particular period in St. Louis. The overview provides the historical context for what
follows: diary entries, letters, short biographies, photographs, and histories of
important women and womens organizations. A bibliographical essay concludes
each individual entry.7
The lack of specific womens history sites and accompanying guides would
not be so glaring if not for the preponderance of sites honoring and commemorating
men which ignore the significant contributions of women (and minorities) tied to
those very same sites. As Heather Huyck argues in Westering Women: Their Land.
Their Lives, it is time to go beyond John Wayne:
Even traditionally masculine sites reveal the unexpected
presence of women. Forts and military outposts had kitchens
and laundries and churches. Even birthplaces of famous men
reveal much of family and of women. Interpreters today must
start with the simple assumption that no matter what the site,
women were there. *
Huyck argues that people preserve what they value, that other types of sites
have had their advocates. Mount Vernon had Miss Pamela Ann Cunningham, Civil

War veterans their battlefields, and the movers and shakers their mansions and
business sites. But womens history has not had such advocates. It is not that women
were not important contributors at a particular site or that their history is less
important. For the most part, it is that historians and the public have not consciously
recognized womens presence. Historic house museums stuffed with feminine
artifacts and domestic objects are rich with resources with which to uncover
womens past. The themes of domesticity and family, of religion and education exist
plentifully in the preservation of the birthplaces and homes of famous men and in
restored schools and churches. Fortunately, the National Park Service sites preserve
a surprising diversity of women in their history. Women homesteaders, Mormon
honeymooners, American Indian traders wives, and outlaw Belle Smith all have
their history under the stewardship of the National Park Service.9
So womens past is there; it is just a matter of drawing it out,
interpreting it, preserving it, and presenting it to the public. While interpreting
history at historic sites has its disadvantages, historic sites allow people to bring
their different backgrounds to them and to extract different experiences from them
precisely because of these sites multidimensionality. The sites show as well as tell.
As Huyck eloquently stresses:
Some people would argue that we must identify, preserve,
and interpret the places of womens history to give women
pride in their past. Such an argument, while emotionally
appealing, is inadequate. We need to know these sites to
come closer to telling what really happened so that

accuracy can beget better understanding. We need them
so that people of both sexes can take pride, sorrow, and
knowledge in them. Women have long taken pride in, and
learned from, mens accomplishments; the reverse should
also happen. An incomplete history hinders full understanding
of our cultural identity.10
The problem is where to start? Into what time periods does a historian split
womens history? Are they the same time periods that are conventionally used for
mens history? Because the lives of the women were often hidden from scholars and
contemporaries, resources that would illuminate their lives are often invisible also.
It has been difficult enough to find the history of minority men; how does one go
about finding the history of minority women? What about the themes of womens
history? Because the lines must be drawn somewhere for chapters, I have chosen
demarcation lines at tuning points in the lives of Denver women. Chapter 2 begins
with the founding of the city of Denver in 1858 and ends in 1892, just before
Colorado women won the right to vote. Chapter 3 begins in 1893, the year of
suffrage for Denver women, and ends in 1929. Between gaining the right to vote
and the onset of the Great Depression, women in Denver actively pushed against the
walls of the domestic sphere as they entered the labor market in large numbers as
secretaries, teachers, telephone operators, and sales clerks. In the political arena,
they labored for progressive reforms as clubwomen and legislators. But as the
effects of the Great Depressions rippled outward and into all facets of American
life, women were pushed back into the home until they were once again needed for

a different American crisis, World War II. Chapter 4, from 1930 to 1958, illustrates
the old problems that beset Denvers women the welfare of their community and
their families and the new challenge of working outside the home in non-
traditional jobs while the men of Denver went off to war.
To best represent the diversity of womens lives, I have used six themes -
domesticity, work, benevolence, creative expression, education, and political action.
Domesticity refers to womens work and activities in the home and/or with the
family. Work refers to labor outside the home for pay. Benevolence refers to
womens efforts to alleviate suffering and promote human welfare. Creative
expression refers to the efforts of women in the fine arts and literature. Women
categorized under Education are school founders, principals, and teachers.
Because women did not receive voting rights as Colorado citizens until after 1919,
the women included under Political Action are those earlier women who
campaigned for womens rights as well those who were later elected to public
Because the topic of women in Denver history is huge, I have intentionally
limited the scope of this thesis, choosing to cover only the first one hundred years of
Denvers existence as a white settlement. Records for the lives of Native American
women in the area that would later be occupied by the town and city of Denver do
not exist. Likewise, the inclusion of women of color and from all levels of socio-
economic status has been compromised by the lack of historical records. Most of the

women in this thesis are white and middle or upper class. Future historians will
hopefully add to the literature on Denver women since Denvers centennial in 1958.
Each chapter begins with the historical context what was going on in
Denver and in the United States at that time. Next, there are nine to fifteen essays on
particular women, womens organizations, and/or womens experiences in Denver
as a small sample of womens lives in Denver during that time period.

PLAINS, 1858-1892
Mrs. Samuel Dalman (Domesticity)
Elizabeth Byers (Benevolence)
Sadie Likens (Work/Benevolence)
Frances Wisebart Jacobs (Benevolence)
St. Marys Academy (Education)
Suffrage Campaign of the 1870s (Political Action)
Emily French (Domesticity/Work)
Alice Eastwood (Work)
Helen Henderson Chain (Creative Expression)
The site along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that would later become
Denver, Colorado had long been a favorite camping site for a variety of Native
American tribes. However, as white settlers moved further and further west in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Native American tribes were pushed ahead,
initiating a domino effect whereby one tribe, driven west, transplanted a western
tribe to lands even further west. In this manner, the Arapahoes, once living in the
northeastern part of what would later be Colorado, were, by the 1850s regular
occupants of the central foothills. When Denver was settled in 1858, natives and
gold-seekers shared the land. But soon the Native Americans were forced out of
Denver, over the Rocky Mountains or east to the plains, and ultimately, nearly
exterminated and reduced to skeletal numbers and power by the 1880s. Native
American women, who had earlier enjoyed some peace and, if not respect than

tolerance, by trading with white settlers and sometimes marrying them, lost much as
their tribes lost land. Their stories, too, have been lost to historians. While few
records exist of the thoughts and lives of Native American male warriors, chiefs,
and negotiators (mostly as a result of their interaction with white governmental
officials), the women, in charge of the children, food-preparation, and domestic
responsibilities, are silent. One can only surmise their thoughts and reactions to the
lost of their land, the disdain at which most whites looked upon their mixed-breed
children, removals to reservations, and the changes wrought upon their male
counterparts by the white inhabitants.
By the early 1880s Denver was an established western city. Since 1858, it
had been transformed from a collection of makeshift shacks into the hub of a rapidly
growing region. Beginning in the early 1870s, two major causes of this growth were
the booster efforts of Denvers leaders and the coming of the railroads. Community
leaders like William N. Byers, Walter S. Cheesman, Fred Z. Salomon, John Evans,
Charles Kountze, and David H. Moffat had consistently publicized the virtues and
advantages of the city and the Colorado region. In 1872, at their urging the state
legislature created and founded the Board of Immigration, whose job it was to
encourage migration to Colorado. In addition, Evans, Moffat, and Kountze were
instrumental in building the first railroad from Denver to Cheyenne, Wyoming to
connect with the transcontinental line. Following that success, other rail lines were

built into and out of Denver. By 1890 there were 4,176 miles of track in the state
that was finally beginning to attract women.
To a large degree, this process mirrored events that occurred in other parts of
the country. Shameless boosterism by city leaders and recruitment of European
workers by businesses were instrumental in the mid-nineteenth century development
of eastern industries and Midwest farms. Of course, horrendous economic, political,
and social conditions in Europe and Asia also played a part in the immigration to
America. Upon the backs of the Irish, fleeing the destruction of the potato famine,
and the Chinese, searching for opportunity, the transcontinental railroad was built in
1867. The factory labor of immigrant women and mobile young women from the
northeastern farms who toiled in the cotton mills of Massachusetts and the
sweatshop labor of East European women and children spawned the great cities of
New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia. German men, women, and children
turned the soil of the Midwest into the American breadbasket. And, decades earlier,
the slave labor of thousands of African men, women, and children turned the south
into an agricultural bonanza for their owners. Still, even after their emancipation,
African-Americans toiled for the whites as sharecroppers and tenant farmers.
Neither the industrialists of the East and Midwest nor the power elite of
Denver did much to ease the burdens of those whom they had encouraged to
immigrate. The residents of the eastern cities were crowded into tenements,
surrounded by city waste rotting in the streets, sickened by polluted rivers, and

covered by the soot of belching coal-fired factories. Many workers lived only an
industrial accident, epidemic, or inner city fire away from total destitution. Intent on
profit and growth, the power elite ignored these working and living conditions. It
was left to a few individuals, primarily upper-class women, freed from many of the
traditional female duties by servants, to come to the aid of the poor, especially the
women and children. In Denver, as early as 1860, William Byers, editor of the
Rocky Mountain News and one of the Denvers chief boosters, persuaded the city
government to raise a stipend for the poor and by 1862 the county levied a tax for
relief, but it was never enough. City and county authorities tried to push the burden
off on each other, and many property owners felt that the indigents were unworthy
of any aid. However, one of Denvers early leaders did take a different approach. In
1860 Elizabeth Byers, the wife of William Byers, organized the first charity devoted
solely for the relief of the poor. The Ladies Union Aid Society (later the Ladies
Relief Society) healed the sick, helped deserted children find homes, and solicited
contributions for food, clothing, and money. Ultimately, the Ladies Union Aid
Society established a kindergarten, a day nursery, a free clinic, a home for destitute
women and children, a home for the aged, and an orphanage.
But not everyone came to the Queen City for wealth. Some came for their
health. Between 1860 and 1900, hundreds of people, like Mary Florence Lathrop
who suffered from tuberculosis, arrived in the Denver region, hoping the dry air
would be a cure. The consumptives were encouraged by many of the same boosters

who lauded Denvers economic advantage. Samuel Bowles wrote of the entire
central Rockies region, Here would seem to be the fountain of health; and among
these hills and plains is surely to be many a summer resort for the invalid.11 But
only wealthy consumptives could afford the seasonal migration between Colorado
and their hometowns. Others, after their pilgrimage to the state, could only hope for
a quick return to health as there were no hospitals or sanitoria available until the
turn of the century. In the meantime, many of them could be found in the tent
cities on the outskirts of Denver and Colorado Springs.
For the non-consumptive Denver resident, life could be a struggle in the
fledging city. Many men had come west for the gold and silver but found
themselves broke with few prospects of getting rich off the mountain ores. Those
with families often returned to the jumping off spot of Denver seeking other
employment. Others left their families in town while they pursued their dreams in
the mountains. And still others abandoned their families at the foot of the Rockies.
These families did the best they could, eking out a living as servants, errand boys,
and homesteaders. Some women even turned to prostitution, either for regular
employment or in particularly lean times. Denvers Market Street became the most
famous red-light district in the Rockies with several hundred working girls.
Founded in 1858, Denvers first census conducted in 1860 found 1978 white
men and 578. By the next census, 1870, Arapahoe County, including Denver,
totaled 6829 residents, of which 6566 were white, 257 were free colored, four

Chinese, and two Indians. While the number of women increased between 1860 and
1870, their percentage of the population remained basically the same. In 1860,
women made up 33 % of the citys population; in 1870, that percentage only
slightly rose to 35.5 %. Among females, women older than eighteen dominated
(1778 to 645 females between the ages of 5 and 18). The 1870 census also recorded
the occupations of women in Colorado. All twenty-two females between the ages of
10 and 15 were domestic servants. Of the 409 females between the ages of 16 and
59 years old, 353 were employed in professional and personal services.12
Our earlev setelment in Denver
Mrs. Samuel Dalman13
Many years after her initial move to Denver, Colorado, Mrs. Samuel Dalman wrote
the following letter to a friend who had inquired about those early years:14
Friend Sandford
I have no Pictures or staticks of our earley setelment in
Denver only from memory.
We arrived in Denver July 18 1859 we put up our Tent
on Blake Streete thare 200 Hundred Indians wigwams of
arrapahoes and Chyans They was very peacible and frendly
Thare was two sod and Log Houses one on McGaw the other
on Blake St. we had started for Pikes Peak but had run out of
money could not pay our way across the Platt river on a
improvsed Pin log Boat we had taken plenty of Provisions
and a no. 7 charter oak stove I commenced Baking Bread Pies
and cookies sold them out readily for thare was so many men
that had done thare own cooking they wanted a chang I go
good Prices for my cooking
The town settled up pretty fast thare was a party put
up a whip saw in the Pinerey at the head of Cherry Creek my
Husband put his 3 ox teams to work we soon had a House up
boarded up an down like you would build a dam the windows

was covered with canvas it was the first House inclosed with
Lumber it was called the Kansas House we kept Boarders we
moved in September 10 took plank and made Tables and
bedsteads and benches to sit on was glad to have that kind of a
shelter thare was a great many Ruff men often heard of Killing
and shooting Theare was onley two woman bysides my selfe
that could assaciate together Richard Denver Dolman was Bom
October 25 1859 the Town company named him Richard whilsett
was secritary of the Town company he afterward married a Miss
Miles her Father had a claim near Central City it has been so
many years ago I expect they are all gone now.
The first Hotel was put up by Mr Broadwell and was
named the Broadwell House the first Dry goods store two men
Mr Phipp and Pears the first meat market by Jacob Shoudy the
first Barber shop by Count Musat the mint was built and gold
Bricks was mad they sent them East to have them coined into
money.15 They laid a walk from the building to the sidewalk of
gold bricks. I dont remember dates. The first Photographer
was WJ [W. G.] Chamberlain his office was on Larimer St I
think the building they used for a Post Office was on the comer
of Larimer and Sixteenth. The first Darie was near where the
Depot is now it was run by a Mr Curtis [Custis?] the Town
company gave my son Denver two lots near whare the Depot
is now we sold the lots for they was so far out of Town we thout
they never would amount to anything we received 60 dollars
for them when Denver was 4 years old didnt expect they would
ever pay taxes they must be very valuble now The first news
Paper the Rocky mountain news was Published by a Mr Byers
I think his widow if alive is thare yet Mr and Mrs McCune was
very good friends of ours they are about all of the old friends
that is left Mrs McCune has passed away since I visited thare
several years ago I think Denver has givin you a bout all of
news I can think of.
Mrs. Samuel Dalman
PS the First Methodist conference was for that districk was held
in our House before the floor was laid The joist was laid and
planks was laid across for seats Col Shivinton was one of the

Elizabeth Sumner Evens
Site: Bvers-Evans House. 1310 Bannock Street
Architectural style: Italianate. 1883
Architect: Lone Hoeft
Old Ladies Home. 4115 West 38th Avenue
After Elizabeth Minerva Sumner married William Newton Byers in 1854,
the young couple settled in Omaha, Nebraska. But Byers wanderlust and gold fever
got the best of him and he soon moved to Denver, Colorado where he published the
first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, on 23 April 1859. That summer he
brought his reluctant wife west to join him. Their first home was in the Tremont
House, at the time Denvers best hotel. Later, the family moved to a dirt-floored,
sod-roofed shanty at Tenth and Stout Streets before they were all housed in the
newspaper office. While William Byers is well-known and honored for his
boosterism of Denver, his wife Elizabeth is less known for her philanthropic role in
Denver history. In 1860, concerned with the plight of men who did not strike it rich
in the gold fields and the families that were left behind in Denver, Elizabeth Byers
organized the first charitable institution in Colorado, the Ladies Union Aid Society.
The ladies made underwear, night shirts, and bandages for Colorado volunteers in
the Civil War. After the war, the society aided the poor and sick.
In 1874, with Margaret Gray Evans, wife of the territorial governor John
Evans, Elizabeth reorganized the Ladies Union Aid Society into the Ladies Relief
Society to help the widows and elderly women of the city. They built the Old
Ladies Home at East Eighth Avenue and Logan Street two years later. The building

was soon labeled an eyesore as it stood in the midst of prime real estate in the
Capitol Hill area. For that reason, the home was moved to 4115 West 38th Avenue
where it still operates today.17
The Ladies Relief Society also opened an Industrial Home for Working
Girls, a day nursery, a free kindergarten, and a free medical dispensary. Many of
those projects became pet projects for the Denver Womans Club, of which Byers
was a founding member, and other Denver womens organizations.
In addition, Elizabeth was instrumental in establishing the Denver Orphans
Home in 1872. Like the Ladies Old Home, this institution still exists; however, its
name has changed to the Denver Childrens Home. Continuing to help the children
of the city, Elizabeth organized the Working Boys Home and School in 1883 to
keep poor boys out of trouble (in 1902, this home was renamed the Elizabeth M.
Byers Home for Boys) even as she and the family moved into their new home at
1310 Bannock Street. The family of William Gray Evans, son of Colorado territorial
governor John Evans, bought the home in 1889 from Elizabeth (because of William
Byers propensity for investing in ill-advised schemes, Elizabeth owned the home).
This two-story Italianate house is now a house museum run by the Colorado
Historical Society containing many artifacts from the Byers and Evans.
Over the course of the next six decades, Elizabeth Byers witnessed the
evolution of Denver from a dirty supply town at the foot of the Rockies into a well-
established capital city. But she was simply no mere witness to these changes.

Instead, she was a catalyst for change. While the male leaders of the city, including
her own husband, shamelessly concentrated on promoting the city and region to the
rest of the nation, Elizabeth concentrated on making the quality of life better for
those who were enticed to come to Denver. Through her personal acts of charity and
leadership in forming institutions and groups to help children, the poor, and the
elderly, Elizabeth Byers endeared herself to the community even if she was never
properly recognized in her lifetime. When some advocated her likeness for a stained
glass window in the new state capitol building, Elizabeth demurred, implying that
while she had contributed greatly to Denvers success, she would reject the honor
since she was only being recognized as the wife of William Byers. She added,
While I gladly accord my husband every honor he is entitled
to, and rejoice that he is so honored and appreciated by his
fellow-citizens, I remember that he and I stood shoulder to
shoulder through all the trials and hardships of pioneer life,
and I feel that I ought not stand wholly in the light of reflected
Sadie M. Likens
Site: Memorial Fountain on the Grounds of the State Canitol,
200 East Colfax Avenue
Before the turn of the century, Sadie M. Likens, abandoned by her husband
and with four children to raise, began working as a matron at the Womens
Christian Temperance home. A former Civil War nurse, Likens was familiar with
helping those who needed it most. After the deplorable conditions at the city jail for
women inmates caught her attention, she became the nations second police matron

and Denvers first, in 1888. She also fought for social reform as director of the
Florence Crittenton Home, as first president and matron of the Colorado Cottage
Home for unwed mothers, and as supporter and volunteer for the Denver Orphans
Home and the Old Ladies Home. With the outbreak of the Spanish American War,
she again returned to nursing. Later, during World War I, she was a leader with the
Womens Relief Corps. Upon her death in 1920, at the age of eighty, the WCTU
campaigned for a memorial in her honor. The Grand Army of the Republic
dedicated this black granite memorial fountain at the southeast comer of East Colfax
and Broadway in Civic Center Park in 1923. It is the citys first monument honoring
a woman.19
Frances Wisebart Jacobs
Sites: National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
1400 Jackson
State Capitol Rotunda (Stained Glass Window).
200 East Colfax
Mrs. Frances Wisebart Jacobs, president of the Hebrew Benevolent Ladies
Aid Society and founder of the Ladies Relief Society of Denver, is honored with a
stained glass window in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Building. At the forefront
of aid and relief efforts in Denver, Mrs. Jacobs was instrumental in the development
of the first Community Chest (which later evolved into the United Way) and in the
creation of the first kindergarten in Colorado (along with Mrs. Charles Denison).
Gold and silver seekers were not the only ones moving to Denver and the
Rocky Mountain region looking for a cure. While the gold seekers searched for a

gold bonanza to cure their financial state of affairs, tuberculosis sufferers searched
the dry climate of Colorado for relief from their consumptive condition. The Charity
Organization Society, formed through the efforts of Frances Jacobs and a rabbi, a
priest and two ministers, looked for ways to build a hospital for these ill and
indigent consumptives. When Temple Emanuels congregation proposed that the
Jewish community build a hospital for the Jewish sick of the United States,
extensive fundraising, planning, and construction began. At the forefront was
Frances Jacobs. But she was not to live to see the hospital for which she had worked
so hard. Helping the citys ill, she contracted pneumonia and died on 3 November
1892. She was only forty-nine years old. Mourned by thousands, those she aided as
well as those she encouraged to participate in aid efforts, Frances was honored by
having the new hospital named The Frances Jacobs Hospital. However, in the wake
of the 1893 depression, the hospital closed for lack of money. It reopened in 1899 as
the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. The hospital has grown into the
world famous National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Its motto continues to
be: None may enter who can pay; none can pay who enter.20 A bronze sculpture
of Frances Wisebart Jacobs stands in the lobby of the hospitals Cohen Clinic and a
stained glass window in the Colorado State Capitol.
Having sacrificed her time, energy, and even her life in bringing relief to the
sick, Frances Wisebart Jacobs was inducted into the Colorado Womens Hall of
Fame and, in 1994, the National Womens Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.

As one familiar with her work said, For long years she gave her time and her
services to the practical work of charity, and looked more poor and wretched people
in the face than any other person in Denver.
St. Marys Academy
Sites: 14th and California Street. 1864-1911
1370 Pennsylvania, from 1911 to 1951 (now Salvation Army building)
4545 S. University Blvd.. Cherry Hills Village (1952-presentl
In 1860, Father Prospectus Machebeuf was sent from Santa Fe to Denver to
administer to the spiritual life of those in the new city. Four years later, in 1864,
three nuns arrived from Santa Fe to open St. Marys Academy. Sister Mary Joanna
Walsh, Sister Mary Ignatia Mora, and Sister Mary Beatrix Maes, members of the
Sisters of Loretto, followed a long line of successful Loretto sisters who had
founded girls schools in Kentucky, site of the motherhouse, and in Santa Fe. The
first private school in Colorado, St. Marys offered girls of all faiths (or none) an
education in the fine and liberal arts.
Years later, at the request of the first graduate, Sister Mary Vitalis Forshee,
Sister Mary Joanna Walsh, First Superior, wrote a sketch of the sisters journey to
Denver from Santa Fe and their early years in Denver. Their five days journey had
taken them through Glorieta Pass, site of a Civil War battle in which the Union
soldiers defeated the Texas troops, thwarting the Southern attempt to reach the rich
gold fields of the Rocky Mountains in order to finance the struggling Confederacy.
Although the sisters wanted to pause at such a significant site, their driver was less

than impressed. The coach did not even pause at the place from which only weeks
earlier the sisters had heard the battle cannons at their convent in Santa Fe. Upon
their arrival in Denver,
the coach halts at the Church, the Vicar Generals residence
close by. And what an unpretentious one it is! But it speaks
volumes of his [Vicar General Machebeuf s] missionary spirit
of self-sacrifice and that of his faithful companion, our good
and holy Father Raverdy.22
After a few hours sleep, the sisters began working to prepare the school
located at Fourteenth and California Streets for its first students:
Well, school opened with quite a number of pupils large and
small, and though we were so few, we were obliged to receive
as many boarders as space could accommodate, Father Vicar
General having promised the parents this advantage. We had to
do everything ourselves. No help to be had just then. So with
boarders and day scholars, classes of different grades in the
school, music lessons and all the accessories of day and boarding
school confronting us, we had besides to apportion all the house
work and cooking, and reserve tune for our spiritual exercises.
In 1868, the sisters asked for additional help as St. Marys Academy continued
to grow. One of those to answer the call was Sister Mary Pancratia Bonfils. In 1853,
Mary Louis Bonfils was bom to Doctor and Mrs. Francis Bonfils in St. Louis,
Missouri. She converted to Catholicism at the age often. Two years later, she was
vested in the Sisters of Loretto habit as Sister Mary Pancratia Bonfils. Later, she
would become the first Superior at Loretto Heights College. One year after the
arrival of additional sisters to teach at the academy, a fire destroyed part of it. The
sisters enlarged the school during the rebuilding effort. An additional building was

erected in 1881 to meet the demands of the continually growing school. By 1884,
the academy was teaching one hundred boarders from various states and 125 day
students from Denver. The faculty numbered twenty-five. By 1892, a new school,
Loretto Heights, was opened to provide a college education. In order to continue to
be close to the Church, St. Marys Academy built a large and stylish, still standing
edifice at 1370 Pennsylvania in 1911. Classes were also initiated for the advanced
training of teachers. In 1912, the nuns opened a chemistry and physics laboratory,
disregarding the conventional idea that only boys pursued sciences.24
The first graduate, Miss Jessie Forshee of Denver, became Sister Mary Vitalis
on 15 August 1875. In 1919, she became a member of the faculty at Loretto Heights
College. She continued to educate women almost until her death in 1937 at the age
of 79.25
During World War I, St. Marys Academy students did Red Cross work.
This included training in first aid, and sponsoring dances to collect money for relief
work. The Victory Corps associated with the Red Cross cleaned, painted, and
planted a victory garden at Little Flower Social Service Center on Denvers Larimer
Street skid row. The students also held a scrap drive and packed boxes for children
in Great Britain.
Generations of women have attended St. Marys Academy. In 1938, Ellen
Kenehan, the third generation of her family to attend St. Marys Academy, was
chosen to cement the statue at the new grotto. Her grandmother, Mrs. Julia Casey

Kenehan studied at the old St. Marys Academy on California Street where she
graduated in 1877 from the eighth grade. Ellens aunt, Katherine, was a 1907
graduate and Denver Public School teacher. Grace Kenehan, another daughter of
Julia, graduated in 1913 and became on e of Denvers pioneer women attorneys in
the 1930s.
In 1952, St. Marys Academy moved from Pennsylvania Street in Denver to
4545 South University in the upscale neighborhood of Cherry Hills Village, where it
thrives as Denvers oldest private school and still offers its female students an
excellent educational experience.
Suffrage Campaigns of the 1870s
Site: 339 Twentieth Street
(residence of Dr. Alida Avery,
president of Colorado Equal Suffrage Association!
Colorado was the first state to enfranchise women through the votes of its
men (Wyoming women were given the right to vote in the state constitution). But
this feat was not easily accomplished. In 1870, Miss Matilda Hindman of South
Dakota came to Colorado to lecture and raise funds in behalf of the Equal Rights
Campaign then pending in that territory. She encouraged six women in Colorado to
organize the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association (CESA). Later that same year,
Mrs. Louise M. Tyler of Boston settled in Denver, bringing with her a letter from
Lucy Stone, urging the women in Colorado to form a state organization as an
auxiliary to the National Association. Mrs. Tyler met with Mrs. Iona (John R.)

Hanna. Tyler and Mrs. Elizabeth P. Ensley, an African-American, attended one of
the regular meetings and became members. Shortly, the association was regularly
organized as an auxiliary. Also in 1870, Governor Edward H. McCooks speech to
the territorial legislature supporting votes for women prompted the first womens
suffrage campaign. Both houses debated the issue, with racist arguments used by
both sides. A. H. De France, chairman of the special house committee, pointed out
that it was unfair for an uneducated, non-property holding Negro to vote on matters
of property owned by white women who were not themselves permitted to vote. In
opposition, Representative M. S. Taylor argued, From nature, education and
principle I am a Democrat, consequently opposed to negro suffrage in any shape or
form. Are the supporters of this measure aware that in passing this bill as it now
reads, they confer upon negro wenches the right to vote.26 Taylor suggested that
the women of Colorado did not want the franchise; but felt were being henpecked
by national leaders such as Anna Dickinson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy
Stone. Another anti-suffrage argument was that rather than purifying politics, the
right to vote would sully the sensitive nature of woman. By February, the Colorado
state legislature had defeated both the house and council versions for woman
suffrage. Accusatory fingers were pointed at many villains. Some suffrage
supporters vilified legislators for lacking backbone or being prejudiced. Others
blamed the women themselves as the most potent opponents of woman suffrage.

Whatever the cause undoubtedly a combination of many reasons the suffrage
issue was killed for several years.
Then, in late 1875 and through 1876, as Colorado prepared for its state
constitutional convention, the woman suffrage issue arose again. The women of
Colorado realized the significance of the nations centennial year. In 1776, taxation
without representation had been a favorite slogan and they were quite prepared to
use the slogan for their own campaign for political rights a century later.
Mrs. Margaret Campbell organized a woman suffrage association during the
state constitutional convention. Dr. Alida C. Avery, chosen as the associations
president, encouraged the convention members and the press to present arguments
for and against suffrage.27 One of the major opponents was the Right Reverend
Joseph P. Machebeuf, the first Catholic Bishop of Denver. He especially targeted
the leaders for womens rights:
The class of women wanting suffrage are battalions of old maids
disappointed in love women separated from their husbands or
divorced by men from their sacred obligations women who,
though married, wish to hold the reins of the family government,
for there never was a woman happy in her home who wished for
female suffrage.28
Ultimately, however, granting women the right to vote in the new state
constitution foiled because members of the convention were unwilling to risk
rejection of the whole constitution over the inclusion of female suffrage. As
approved, the state constitution stated: Every male persons over the age of twenty-

one years ... shall be entitled to vote at all elections.. .29 Even though the last part
of the section stated that women would be allowed to vote in all elections for district
school officers and issues relating to public schools, it was small consolation to the
The Colorado State Constitution granted the General Assembly the power to
extend suffrage if the people voted to do so at a general election. In fact, the
Constitution as approved, made it mandatory that the first legislature of the state
provide for such an election on the issue. Hoping to win the right to vote by a
mandate of the male voters of the newly-formed state, the suffrage association
brought in Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Susan B. Anthony to speak
throughout the state. Stone and Blackwell traveled through the southern part of the
state before returning to the north where they campaigned in Boulder, Weld, Gilpin,
and Clear Creek counties. Anthony, on the other hand, spent most of her time in the
southern part of the state, including the communities of Las Animas, Pueblo,
Trinidad, Walsenburg, Del Norte, and Lake City. In this part of the state, Anthony
struggled to just reach the towns themselves. Then she faced speaking situations in
which she was often forced to speak in saloons, hotel dining rooms, and railway
stations. Finally, the townspeople strongly opposed woman suffrage. As Anthony
later reported, she found her audience to be made up of a densely ignorant class of
foreigners and almost entirely Mexican. It was to these men that an American

woman [Anthony], her grandfather a soldier in the Revolution, appealed for the
right of women to representation in this government.30
On Election Day, 2 October 1877, the women spent the day at the polls,
hoping to bolster their cause. But as the results came in, womens suffrage lost by a
substantial margin. The final count showed 6612 in favor, while 14,053 had voted
against it. Once again, fingers were pointed at various groups as the reason for the
defeat. Susan B. Anthony blamed the Mexicans in the southern part of the state.
While it is true that the southern counties and mining districts heavily voted against
the measure, it should be pointed out that these regions were also not as heavily
populated as other parts of the state. For example, Boulder County, the only county
to pass the measure, also had more people vote against it than in any of the southern
counties except one. Other supporters blamed the loss on election fraud. Others
blamed women themselves saying that the desire for suffrage was not strong
enough. It would be another sixteen years before Colorado women pushed the
suffrage issue.
Life So Hard
Emily French
Emily French was a laundress, cleaning woman, and nurse.31 Her 1890 diary
contrasts greatly with temperance orator and fiiture attorney Mary Lathrops of the
same year. At the time of writing her diary, Emily, a forty-seven years old divorced
mother, struggled to survive. For the first three months of 1890, she lived and

worked in Elbert, Colorado with her disabled sister Annis whom she cared for. In
the spring she moved to Denver, anxious to be reunited with her children. In May
she began to build a four-room story-and-a-half frame house. Unable to afford a
well, she used the polluted waters of the South Platte River for household needs and
for watering her horse. The cost of the lot and house left her destitute. But when she
went looking for a job in Denver, she found none. To pay her debts, she left Denver
in the summer to work in the mountains returning to the city in the autumn. She was
just one of thousands of single working women in Denver. With very few factories
in the city, uneducated women had a great deal of difficulty making a living. Fifteen
percent of all Colorado women worked in 1890, most of them as domestics,
laundresses, or seamstresses. The competition between the women was intense and
helped keep wages low which made getting by even more difficult.
When she first came to Denver, Emily stayed at Dan Larkins house in
Fairview just west of the South Platte River.32 As several of her entries attest,
Emilys days were filled with hard physical labor for Larkin:
May, Tuesday 6, 1890
I got up at 4. Dannie [her son] so sick all night, vomited all
over the bed. I gave him oil twice, he covered the floor. I
changed his clothes. Went and fed the horse at 6,1 have to go
see where the men at Halleck and Howard have taken it to. I
eat our poor breakfast-potatoes, flour grava, good bread, coffee.
I started at 7, went immediately to the office. He had sent all his
teams out, I would have to wait an hour before I could get a team
to go. I went to the P.O., saw Joe Carrin-said I would get the
window caseing in a day or so. I went again then to see about
getting the sewing machine. Then went to see the man that lives

next to my lots, he perfectly willing to move the rubbish off.
Then came around the Sheney settlement, home. Luella ready
to do I took her to the Fair, 16th and Champa, then to lumber
office, he ready at last, 4 times I went this morning, he put the
load down all right. I had a long talk with Longfellow. I cam
home so sick, I took 3 pills this morning, I gave Dan 2 pills,
Olive 2, she took them good, she, Sue & Agnes took the express
wagon, hauled Agnes over to Addies, they full.33
Dannie, Emilys son, continued to be sick the rest of the week so Emily sent
for a doctor again:
May, Friday 9, 1890
Up with Dannie till 3 this morning, he no better, Olive some.
I sent for a Dr again, Mr Hart in Platte Park came, he thought
Dannie would get along all right-He wrote a prescription. I
went to the Golden Drugstore, had it bill, he trusted me. Went
to Mrs. Shirell to clean, now I can begin to pay my honest
debts again. I worked all day hard, I got lunch at 11, cider,
bread, cheese, blackberries. Took out the carpet, dusted &
cleaned the woodwork, moped the floor. I sewed the carpet
over so it will be all new again. Ida got supper, greens,
roast pork, tea, potatoes mashed, rye bread, jelle cake,
Doughnuts, so good. I can work better when I have something
to eat, now I shall get it done, put the things to place. She
gave me 10 cents to go on the cable to see Patsey Heferon at
the Liquor Store of Clark & Walker 1536 Larmier. I walked
down, I so hard pressed-saw him come home, fed Prince, it
Little changed day after day for Emily. She worked for others, sometimes
paid in wages, sometimes with foodstuffs. The children, while a joy at times, were
also headaches as she battled to keep them healthy, fed, and clothed. But her dream
of finishing the frame house rested on her success in finding steady work. This
proved to be impossible. So Emily moved to the mountains in the summer to work

only to return to Denver in the fell. But in Denver, the weather, inconsistent pay,
and the verbal abuse of her employer, Mrs. Bertha Mauck, thwarted Emilys efforts.
Mrs. Mauck often criticized her washing and once called her an adventuress. Emily
does not explain the term but one can assume that Mrs. Mauck was lumping her in
with the domestic servants who sometimes resorted to prostitution when they could
not make a living as a servant.35 By November, Emily felt as if she was no more to
them [the Maucks] than an old horse. As the Maucks prepared to move to a new
house at 2922 Downing, Mrs. Maucks tirades increased in intensity and
frequency.36 The situation was especially galling to Emily who was toiling as hard
as she could and still could not pay off her lot and house debt. The day after stating
that she felt she was no more than a horse to the Maucks, Emily wrote:
November, Tuesday 18, 1890
Give us this daily bread
Yet we must work. I dont feel as I could do scarce a thing
I had to, life so hard. On the base burner, it is so verry
heavy, has to be cleaned, tis covered with hen drop and
rust, has been in the bam all summer, such a nice stove
mined. I do wish I could have such nice things, but the
Mrs Mauck is jawing away and in a big ugly fit. Must I
go through more of her abuse, yes, she wont try to get
the bedstead set up in the back room, I would get a good
nights rest, that she dont wish.
For the next week Emily endured more of Mrs. Maucks abuse until she finished her
employment with the couple. For all the criticizing she had done, Mrs. Mauck wrote
Emily a verry nice recommend to carry to future employers.38 But first Emily
went back to Elbert to visit her sister until mid-December. Upon her return to

Denver, she found that no work had been done on her home. But soon she was able
to hire men to lath and plaster while she cleaned and cooked for a variety of
different women. Emilys diary ends with the close of 1890. In the 1891 City
Directory, she was listed as a nurse living in Fairview at the site of Corbin Dairy
(located on Monroe near Main in Fairview and owned by George E. Corbin), and
not her own home. Undoubtedly, she lost the home to creditors. Janet Lecompte,
editor of the diary, surmises that Emily remarried, though no record of it exists in
Denver, and left the city. She does not appear in the Denver directories after 1891.39
Perhaps, as so many others were forced to do, Emily, with or without a new
husband, left for greener pastures elsewhere.
Alice Eastwood. The Madame Curie of Botany
Residences: 635 Larimer
784 Stout (later renumbered to 2810 Stout)
2349 Gilpin
960 Goss
Work Site: 19th and Stout. East Side High School. 1881-1925
(present East High School located at 1545 Detroit Street!:
Sold in 1927: Torn down in 1929
Site is presently the U.S. Customs House Building
Alice Eastwood was bom 19 January 1859, the first of three children to
Colin Skinner Eastwood and Eliza Jane Gowdey. At the time of her birth, her father
was steward of the Toronto (Canada) Asylum for the Insane, of which her mothers
cousin, neurologist Dr. Joseph Workman, was director. Her mother had come to the
New World from the hamlet of Ballymacash in northern Ireland. Alice was only six
when her mother, a semi-invalid, called her to her bedside and told her to look after

her four year-old sister Kate and fourteen month-old brother Sidney before she died.
Her grief-stricken father gave up his job and parceled the children out to various
relatives and wandered away. Alice was left with a paternal uncle at Highland
Creek. Here she played in his garden, awakening to the joy of growing things. But
these happy days were cut short. Within two years, her father started a grocery store
in a nearby town. When his housekeeper quit, little Alice took over the duties at the
age of eight. Joined once again with Kate and Sidney, Alice attended school. Given
a head start on learning by her mother, Alice thrived at the school. But this too was
a short-lived experience. The grocery store foiled and her father again left his son
with relatives and left the two girls at the Oshawa Convent. Although the nuns were
charitable and kind, the only books in the library were lives of the saints. However,
from Alices devotion to a particular Sister, the music teacher at the convent, she
developed her love of music. By the age of eleven, she was giving music lessons to
a married woman in the village. In later years, Alice said that had this Sister
remained at the convent rather than being transferred to another, she might have
become a creative musician instead of a botanist.
As it was, Father Pugh, the old French gardener-priest, was the one who
exerted the most lasting influence on young Alice Eastwood. Alice and Kate often
used the orchard as their playground where Alice followed after Father Pugh as he
grafted his apple trees. Then when the Sisters went to the Mother House in Toronto
once a year for a retreat, Alice and Kate visited their uncle, Dr. Eastwood.

Recognizing Alices fascination with his hybrid vegetables, he presented her with
her first book on plants.
As happened to many other young girls who lost their mothers at an early
age, especially those who never married, Alice was to be at her fathers beck and
call throughout her life. First, she was the housekeeper and mother to her younger
sister and brother. Later she became housekeeper and second wage earner for the
family. At fourteen, Alice received a letter from her lather whom she had not seen
for six years. He now had a job in Denver. An acquaintance that had returned to
Ontario to give birth wanted Alice to accompany her to Denver and help care for the
infant on the journey. Her joy of joining her father and brother were quickly
tempered when she arrived in Denver only to be sent to live with the acquaintances
family. Mr. Eastwood and Sidney were living at the Carr House (168 and 179 15th
Street), no place for a young teen-age girl. Alice became nursemaid for a two-year
old boy and the infant. But all was not lost. Alice found the family library well
stocked and read voraciously, bouncing the baby buggy with her foot. The well to
do family also could afford pleasure trips into the mountains whose columbines,
mariposa lilies, and other plants aroused Alices interest.
As had happened so many times in the young girls life, just as she found
mentors her uncle, the Sister, the priest-gardener it was time to move on. Her
father had purchased a lot on Larimer Street and was building a store with living
quarters in the back. Once more she became the family housekeeper. Each morning,

Alice hauled water from the well at the back of the store, did the family washing,
cleaned the house, and prepared breakfast. Her school, the Arapahoe Street School
in the 1500 block of Arapahoe Street, housed all grades from primary to high school
in one building. True to form, here she found another mentor. Alice attended the
classroom of Mrs. Anna Palmer, who later resigned to become Head Mistress of
Wolfe Hall, an Episcopal School for Girls. But before she moved on, Mrs. Palmer
recognized Alices capabilities and pushed her ahead. After her first year she was
ready for High School. The High School principal, James H. Baker (he would later
become President of the University of Colorado and author with Leroy Hafen of a
four volume history of Colorado) taught the entire student body in one room. Other
changes also occurred in Alices life. Two years after she moved to Denver, her
father remarried. Although Lydia Hodge White Johnston had a considerable
educational background, Alice resented her intrusion. Over time Alice relented,
especially since it meant that Kate, left behind in Canada, could once again join the
rest of the family.
In June of 1879 Alice Eastwood gave the valedictory address at the Denver
High School graduation. A reception followed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Junius
F. Brown at 330 Welton Street. In a newspaper article, Alice is described as wearing
a dark silk dress with trimmings of cardinal satin and garlanded-as all were-with
smilax, tea roses, and other dainty subjects of the queen of flowers.40 In
attendance were Superintendent of Denver Schools Aaron Gove and his wife, Miss

lone T. Hanna, and Miss Nichols. Being valedictorian was quite an achievement
considering Alice had been the familys sole housekeeper for a couple of years and
had been pulled out of school for one term by her father when the family needed her
labor for additional income. When she was a senior in high school, her father and
brother were both working morning newspaper routes so it was up to her to make
and keep the furnace fires in the school basement. Up at four, she studied while
tending the furnace. In the afternoons she sewed at the Daniel and Fishers
department store in the ready-made department from two to six and all day
Saturday. For this she earned $12.00 a month. This paid for her school supplies and
clothing. She had learned this sewing trade the previous summer as an unpaid
cutters assistant. Her graduation dress, black silk with cardinal satin trimmings, was
a joint effort of the twenty girls who worked in the large sewing room. Besides work
and schoolwork, Alice became one of the first girls to participate in the high school
lyceum. A month before her graduation, she spoke for the negative on the topic,
Will the negro exodus from the south prove injurious to the United States? As
reported in the newspaper account the next day, Alice argued:
that the elections in the south would be peaceful, and intimidation
would cease, which would have a good effect upon the country;
that the sooner the ill-feeling engendered by the late civil war
would be one away with, and harmony prevail, the better it
would be for the United States, and this state of things would
be brought about sooner by the exodus. As long as the negro
remains in the south capital will remain in the hands of a few,
which would be to the disadvantage of the country. She also
argued in opposition to her opponent, that the condition of the

negro is improved, which works a good in the country. In her
opinion the case of the exodus was intimidation.41
In her valedictory address she said goodbye to her fellow students and
Good-bye is always a hard word to say, but doubly so when
addressed to what we hold dear. With that one word we take
leave of the school whose benefits we have received; of the
schoolmates, to whose society we owe so many pleasant hours;
of our teachers whose care and kindness will never be forgotten,
and of one another.42
But Alice Eastwood was not going away. Even before her graduation she
had an appointment to teach in the school. She had relieved teachers from time to
time in the lower grades. First though, she traveled out east to Kiowa, Colorado, a
small farming and ranching community sixty miles southeast of Denver. There she
taught summer school in preparation for her Denver position. By now she knew
botany was her love. In Kiowa, the students caught her enthusiasm and constantly
brought her rocks, insects, wild flowers, and birds eggs. Besides gaining
confidence and practical teaching skills, Alice learned to ride horseback, a skill that
would come in handy later when she journeyed throughout Colorado collecting
For ten years Alice Eastwood taught any subject the school requested. This
meant constantly learning new material herself to keep one step ahead of the
students. But Alice never shied from challenges or hard work. At the age of 83, she
reminisced: When teachers married or moved away I had to take over their subjects

and do the best that I could. Although I never had a college education, I found that
Lord Byron was right when he said, She by teaching learns to spell.43 She also
found time to participate in another lyceum at which the topic of debate was Ought
Chinese immigration to be prohibited? Her critique was considered good, alike
censuring and praising when the critic thought it deserved.44 She also was elected
Third Vice President of the Denver High School Alumni Association in 1880.45
During these teaching years, as a single woman, Alice usually lived with her
brother Sidney and father Colin. Through the years, they moved several times. The
city directories for Denver show them living at 635 Larimer, presumably the site
that Colin had bought earlier, during the early 1880s. By the middle of that decade
they were living at 784 Stout Street, later renumbered 2810 Stout, by the latter part
of the 1880s. In 1890, Alice was living aparte from her father and brother at 2349
Gilpin Street while the two men lived at 940 Goss (now Tejon Street). However, by
the next year her last full year in Denver Alice was residing next door to her
father on Goss Street. Sidney had moved to 1744 Berthoud.46 Societys expectations
for a single woman would have made such living arrangements through the years
the norm. Sydney, who had been working at a variety of jobs since 1877, would
have been allowed and perhaps even expected to move away from his father and
become more independent. The siblings remained close throughout their lives. In
1942, at the age of 83, she visited her brother in Denver.

During her teaching career, summers were spent in the mountains collecting
specimens. In July 1881, under Georgetown News, the Rocky Mountain News
reported that Miss Alice Eastwood and Miss Roberts, two of the brightest young
schoolmarms of Denver, came up from the valley yesterday to spend a few weeks in
Georgetown.47 Alice scrimped by on her $475 yearly salary. She sewed her own
simple dresses in to save the money for her two extravagances: botany books and
her summer travels. Later in life she commented that she could never spend enough
money on books.48 Her travel expenses were eased when a school board member
introduced her to David H. Moffat, railroad builder, who gave her railroad passes
which made possible visits throughout the state.49 These specimen collecting trips
more often than not required horseback riding. At the time, women still rode
sidesaddle, their long skirts and bustles making any other method impossible. Later
Alice made her own special dress that allowed her to gracefully ride and frequently
dismount and mount as she stopped to gather plants. On a trip into the Santa Lucia
Mountains of California, Alice designed a blue denim outfit that became her
identification on all future excursions. The skirt was open in front and back,
fastened for walking by buttons concealed by a flap. It was finished with a wide
hem trimmed by a border of reversed material. When she rode a horse, the buttons
on the front were fastened to the corresponding holes on the back, making a perfect
riding garment. She also wore a bolero over the tightly buttoned waist.50 But during
those many summer trips in Colorado in the 1880s, she simply wore a slightly

shorter dress, one that reached only to the tops of her high-button shoes. The
dilemma of how to cany her long-sleeved full-gathered nightgown on horseback
was solved when she remembered a friends habit of wearing it as a bustle. Thus
attired, she explored the state of Colorado. In 1889, she wrote a book, The Flora of
Colorado, based on her many excursions and specimens.
For ten years Alice split her energy and time between her teaching vocation
in the winters and her botanical avocation in the summers. Gradually her salary
increased but without a husband for financial support, she continued to live frugally.
She was able to join her savings with her fathers to buy a comer lot in Denver.
Later they sold the property for $20,000. She invested some of the money in a
Denver building and the rest on two lots on which she built small brick houses in
Durango. With the investments assuring her of steady income, Alice, at age thirty,
could consider retirement: Now I can retire. I can devote all the rest of my life to
my beloved Botany.51 In 1890, she went to California and developed professional
and personal friendships with botanists at the California Academy of Sciences. In
1892, she accepted a position at the academy and made California her home. Before
leaving Colorado, she donated her botanical specimens to East High School. The
collection was termed a very valuable and interesting one and is now properly
mounted off room number one. It will well repay a visit.52
Gone but not forgotten, Alice Eastwoods name would periodically turn up
in Denver newspapers. In 1902, the front page of the Denver Times carried the

headline, Young Denver Girls Thrilling Ride in Mountain Cataracts. This article
was a rather exaggerated account of Alices mishap while out specimen-hunting in
California. In reality, some time earlier, Alice had been invited by Philip Knapp,
president of the Cross Country Club, to join him and other club members as they
guided Arthur Sanborn on the Tamalpais trails for his upcoming map. She had spent
Sunday after Sunday on those trails and Knapp invited her on a special hike down
the Kent Trail in hopes she might find some unusual specimens. Her stamina, hiking
skills, and intelligent conversation earned her future invitations. In September of
1902, she and John Franklin Forbes attempted Cataract Gulch in a downpour. When
they reached it, there was only a narrow place where they could step across on the
mossy rocks. Alice, leading the way, slipped and the raging torrent carried her into
the pool below. She swam to the edge, just in time to escape being swept over the
more dangerous lower falls. Laughing off her bruises, she caught up with Forbes.
Together, they walked the seven miles back to the station. Along the way, the only
thing she complained about was her clumsiness and lack of balance. But the
newspapers, starting with the San Francisco Examiner and picked up by the Denver
Times, vividly detailed her fell over a 200-foot cliff and struggle up the mountain.
To Alices dismay, the accounts concluded that she had had to take restoratives at
the tavern for her shattered nerves!53
Except for a six-year period, 1906-1912, Alice worked at the Academy of
Sciences until retiring in 1949. The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 in San

Francisco destroyed nearly everything in the botany department. When the
Academy leaders chose to ignore the plight of her department, she left California
and spent the next six years traveling and working elsewhere including at the Gray
Herbarium (Harvard University). In 1912 the Academy asked her to return as
Curator of Botany. For the next four decades, she rebuilt the departments
collection, mentored new botanists, continued her own research, bought rare
editions of botany books for the Academy often with her own money, and originated
the Gardens of Shakespeare Flowers in Golden Gate Park. She also wrote several
books and many articles for the magazine Zoe. Her wonderfully descriptive prose of
the plant life she loved delighted her readers. Of the newly discovered Encelia
nutans, she wrote:
Its large head is full of good sense as well as many flowers.
When the flowers expand, the head is erect, so that the sun
can have its full effect; but when the seeds are nearly ripe, it
begins to nod and drop lower until it finally touches the ground
and the seeds scramble out so that they may travel far away
from their big-rooted mother on the first rush of water that
comes down from the hills from the heavy rains that sometimes
fall. They thus secure a congenial home in a branch wash
and do not have to starve on their greedy mothers leavings.54
Surrounded by men in her work and travels, they accepted her as an equal
and admired her physical stamina, hard work, and the scientific knowledge she had
gained without the benefit of a college education. But she never allowed these
professional relationships to develop into anything different. As she explained to her

friends, I never had time for a man but Ive always had men friends. I just couldnt
let any one of them interfere with my work.55
Upon her retirement in 1949, the Academy honored her with the title of
Curator-Emeritus. With Eleanor Roosevelt, she was interviewed as The Woman of
the Day. But that was only one of many honors for the eminent botanist. In 1942
Academy officials celebrated the Alice Eastwood Semi-Centennial. The Tamalpais
Conservation Club also dedicated Camp Alice Eastwood, on her 90th birthday in
1949. The Alice Eastwood Hall of Botany housed her herbarium and a grove of
redwoods perpetuated her name. But her personal favorite honor was the invitation
to be the honorary president of the Vllth International Botanical Congress in
Sweden. There, she was invited to sit in the chair of Carolus Linneus, the father of
botany, had once occupied and at the desk where he had written his source book of
modem botany. Other honors that gave her pleasure were the many plants she had
discovered and introduced to others. Two were the blue Mertensia eastwoodiae of
the Alaskan tundra and the scarlet Mimulus eastwoodiae of the caves of the
Southwest plateau.
Upon her death in 1953, Alice Eastwood, erstwhile young daughter of a
grief-stricken father, housekeeper and substitute mother to her two younger siblings,
Colorado schoolteacher, and botanist, was famous world wide for her botanical
knowledge and descriptive essays. Her love of and work in the field of botany lives

on in the plants that she shared with others. Of the mariposa lilies that so inspired
her on one of her early trips into the Colorado mountains, she wrote:
So distinct, so individual are those [Colorado mariposa lilies]
blossoms that they seem to have souls. They speak wonderfully
enticing language to draw the wandering insects to their honeyed
depths.. .The bands of color on both divisions of the perianth are
bewildering, impossible to describe; but more than aught else,
they cause each flower to say proudly, with uplifted head, I am
myself; there is no other like me.56
Much the same could be said of Alice Eastwood. In a time when
professional women were a rarity and opportunities to attend college financially
beyond her familys means, Alice still achieved her dream of devoting the rest of
her life to botany. She originally supported that work through sewing and teaching,
traditional jobs for women at the time. But the traditional sphere was only a means
for her to accomplish the unique. Eternally frugal, she saved enough money to retire
from that first career as a high school teacher at the age of thirty while gaining
invaluable experience and knowledge during summer excursions. Passionate,
generous in her mentoring and gifts, she became the Madame Curie of botany.

A Typhoons Victims
Helen Henderson Chain. Artist
Residences: 1615 Aranahoe (1888-1892)
Business land site of her displayed paintings during her lifetime!: 414 Larimer
Site: Central Presbyterian Church. 1660 Sherman Street
Thus was the first page headline of the Denver Republican on the 20th of
October in 1892.57 The victims were Mr. and Mrs. James Albert Chain, Denver
residents and members of Central Presbyterian Church. In March 1892, the Chains
had departed from Victoria, British Columbia for a two-year around-the-world tour.
They first traveled to Japan where they stayed for several weeks, then went to Korea
before heading to China. A childless couple, devoted to one another, the Chains had
spent much of the last five years traveling. But on October 9th, the couple and 198
other men and women drowned when a typhoon swept through the Chinese
Channel, sinking their steamer Bokhara Only twenty-three passengers survived.
Helen Henderson was bom in Indianapolis in 1849. She was reared there and
in California. After her marriage to James Albert Chain, who was more than twenty
years her senior, the couple moved to Colorado for his health. His first business was
cattle ranching in the Wet Mountain Valley near Canon City. A year later they
moved to Denver where he opened a stationery and bookstore with Solomon B.
Hardy. Within a decade the store had been expanded and other partners were added
to the company, allowing James Chain the freedom to travel extensively with his
wife. In 1877, the Chains offered a room in the rear of their store at 414 Larimer

Street for the Chinese School founded by their church, Central Presbyterian.
Although proclaimed by the Denver Republican as a leader in womens work for
the betterment of mankind, Helen Chain was first and foremost a talented painter
of western subjects, one of the few professional women artists working in Denver in
the late 1800s.58 She is listed under Artists in the Denver Business Directory for the
years 1890-1892. She had had formal art training at the Jacksonville Seminary
(Illinois) and had studied in Europe and one winter in New York with George Innes
shortly after her marriage. In Denver she opened an art studio in 1877 offering art
classes which she often advertised in the city newspaper. She also displayed her oil
and watercolor work in the show window of Chain and Hardy at 414 Larimer Street.
Her work was praised by noted artists such as Thomas Moran: Productions of her
brush are numerous and are distinguished by the delicacy of touch and coloring and
the command of technique which characterize the work of all true artists.59
Admiring the Colorado landscape, Helen often took her students on
sketching sessions in the mountains. She was famous for her exploits in mountain
climbing, conquering Longs, Grays, and Pikes Peaks and Mount Lincoln. Helen is
believed to be the first woman to climb the Mount of the Holy Cross which she
sketched. She also painted in New Mexico, Mexico, and California. Her subjects
ranged from pueblos to animal and marine life to landscapes. Helen and her husband
had a ranch at Buena Vista and a home in Denver on the present site of the Daniels
and Fisher Tower at Sixteenth and Arapahoe streets. Here they opened a modem art

gallery. In 1891 this was described as having incandescent lights with reflectors
that are kinder to colors in the paintings than gas light.60 This gallery was one of
the few places for artists to exhibit their work since art was much less popular than
theater among the elite of the 1880s and 1890s.
Helen Henderson Chains paintings are now held by the Law School of the
University of Colorado {Source of the Platte, a gift of Mrs. Henry S. Lindsley in
memory of her husband, Judge Lindsley), the Colorado Historical Society, and the
Western History Department, Denver Public Library {Pikes Peak, oil on ivory).61

Chapter 3
Widening the Sphere of Domesticity. 1893-1929
Crittenton Home (Benevolence)
Wolcott School (Education)
Women's Club Movement (Benevolence and Political Action)
Sarah Platt Decker (Benevolence)
The Women's Suffrage Campaign (Political Action)
Helen Ring Robinson (Political Action)
Telephone Girls (Work)
Molly Brown (Benevolence)
Domestic Servants (Domesticity)
Helen Ingersoll (Work)
Dora Moore (Work)
Denver Womans Press Club (Creative Expression)
Loretto Heights (Education and Benevolence)
Mary Florence Lathrop (Work)
Emily Griffith (Education)
By the late 1800s, the industrialization, immigration, and imperialism of the
latter half of the century had wrought their collective changes on the American
landscape. The movers and shakers, pushing for economic development at home
attracted wave after wave of immigrants. In Denver, the boosterism of William N.
Byers, John Evans, and their cronies did much the same as the citys population
grew from 4,759 in 1870 to 133,859 by 1900. Within a decade, the city population
had once again mushroomed, this time, by nearly sixty percent, growing to over
213,000. Another ten percent increase occurred between 1910 and 1920. Despite
this population explosion, the boundaries remained unchanged after annexations in
1902 brought Denver to nearly fifty-nine square miles. Thus, many more people

occupied the same space, creating increased demands on housing, water, sewage,
public transportation, and police and fire protection. The new residents were
ethnically mixed. Twenty-five thousand foreign-bom immigrants lived in the city in
1900. Another thirteen thousand arrived by 1920. The black population grew by
more than 2000, from less than 4000 to more than 6000, during the same years. By
1930, a large influx of Russians and other East Europeans brought the total
population of professed Jews to 11,000 and newly arrived immigrants from Mexico
increased the number of Catholics to 35,000 in predominantly native Protestant
Denver.62 The new residents were instrumental in raising production levels in
mountain mines and city factories and businesses as well as fueling a construction
boom. But low wages and lack of skills kept many of the new and old residents in
poor housing centered in the downtown region, in ill health, and with few resources
to lift themselves out of poverty.
For women, the situation could become especially dire. Attaining the right to
vote in Colorado in 1893 had done little to help the average womans financial
situation. She was still generally denied the equal opportunity to get vocational
training, attend college, and work as a professional. Most women were still
homemakers, domestic servants, clerks, and the like. Women who had professional
jobs were few and far between. Most were employed in education, writing, and
nursing. However, through the twentieth century, changes could be seen. The
founding of womens schools, the political opportunities opened to women through

suffrage, and the passage of progressive reforms at the city, state, and national level
enabled women to push beyond the limits of the traditional sphere of domesticity.
Changes at the city level the public library, art museum, and other establishments
designed to improve the culture and reputation of Denver opened doors for
women employees. The various womens clubs formed between 1880 and 1900
became effective training grounds for women reformers and activists.63 These clubs
provided a congenial place for women to develop their public speaking and writing
skills, their political acumen, and self-confidence. Thus armed, the clubwomen
investigated social problems, lobbied for certain political laws, and initiated a wide
variety of social programs. Some of these were designed to help the less fortunate,
especially women and children. Other programs strove to improve upper middle
class lives, and still others to protect the land and environment for future
generations. In Denver, Benjamin Lindsey, John Shafroth, and even Mayor Robert
Speer, the boss of Denver, joined these progressive-minded women in reforming
Between 1900 and 1920, the percentage of women employed in gainful
occupations increased for all age groups. However, it was women between 16 and
24 years of age that joined the workforce in greater numbers in 1920. In 1900, 34 %
of these women were gainfully employed; by 1920, that percentage had increased to
nearly 47 %. In contrast, women 45 years of age and over who were gainfully
employed increased a mere three percentage points while those between the ages of

25 and 44 increased five percent.64 Between 1880 and 1920, many new jobs for
women were created with the formation of large department stores, the rise of
telephone companies, and the founding of public and private schools and colleges in
need of teachers. In Denver, the Denver Dry Goods and Daniels and Fisher stores
were enlarged during this time. Telephone service began in Denver in 1879 and
steadily expanded. Wolcott School for Girls, Colorado Womans College and
Loretto Heights College provided not only education for young girls but
employment for female teachers. Of the 28,563 working women in 1920, nearly 30
percent were employed in domestic and personal service. Most were servants,
boarding and lodging house keepers, stewardesses and housekeepers, and untrained
midwives and nurses. The second most common occupation for women was
clerical. Here the majority were bookkeepers, cashiers, accountants and clerks
(except in stores). The growth of white-collar businesses spurred the number of
women in these jobs. Professional service employed the next largest number of
women. While this may sound encouraging, it is important to note that it was not the
professional fields of law or medicine that employed women. Rather, professional
women were concentrated in the teaching and nursing fields. Of the 4375 women
listed under professional service, only 712 (16 %) were not teachers, nurses,
librarians, religious, charity, and welfare workers, artists, sculptors, actresses, or
musicians. Lastly, dressmaker and seamstress or semiskilled operative in the food
industries (under manufacturing and mechanical industries), telephone operator

(under transportation), and store saleswoman (under trade) were the other
occupations for working women in Denver in 1920.65
Florence Crittenton Home
Site: 4901 West Colfax and 1555 Xavier Street
(the latter now the site of the Volunteers of America^
In 1892, the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) held its
national convention in Denver. Charles N. Crittenton, attending this meeting, was so
impressed with the organizations work and the leadership of Frances Willard, its
national president, that he pledged five thousand dollars to the WCTU to establish
five Florence Crittenton Homes to be operated as part of the WCTU purity
campaign. The name, Florence Crittenton, was in memory of his daughter who had
died in childhood. Denver was chosen as one of the five cities. In February of 1893,
fifty-eight women met at the First Baptist Church and agreed to become members of
an organization to establish the home. In March, the women adopted a constitution
was adopted and elected officers. At that meeting in the city hall office of police
matron Sadie Likens, Mrs. David Waite, wife of the governor, was elected
president. Mrs. E. M. Battis, wife of the minister at Trinity M. E. Church, was
elected first vice-president. The police matron was elected second vice-president,
Mrs. E. M. Chaise, recording secretary, Mrs. Cameron, corresponding secretary, Dr.
May Ordway, treasurer, and Mrs. James Belford, to the auditing committee.

By April, the committee reported that a house at 3138 Lawrence Street had
been rented. By the next month, Dr. Minnie C. T. Love had offered her services as
house physician and two girls had been admitted.66 Founded as a door of escape for
fallen women who desire to return to a better life, the home helped prostitutes who
wanted to make good, girls or women down and out, and sometimes women who
were sent from police court through the police matron or by a physician. In later
years the Home gradually become a haven for younger girls and unwed mothers.
Additions to the original building included a maternity hospital, schoolrooms with
Denver Public Schools teachers, recreation rooms, a nursery, etc. By 1906, an
appeal to contribute to its building fund referred to the Home as being substantially
a maternity hospital.67
In 1894, the WCTU withdrew as sponsor of the Home because the financial
burden was too heavy. At that point, the Home turned to the Charity Organization
Society (COS) of Denver for support.68 Chester S. Morey, leader of the COS,
emerged as the Homes biggest supporter. In 1913, Morey, head of Morey
Mercantile Company, gave three hundred dollars for the first payment on twenty-
three lots across the street from the Home on Xavier Street. These lots were
originally used for garden and berry patches.69 Later the Hattie Steele Memorial
Schoolroom, in honor of a long-time board member, was built on the site. In
January of 1920, another three-story addition was built. This housed a delivery room
furnished by Gail Laughlin in memory of Mary A. Sperry, M. D., and an operating

room. Women physicians of Denver and other friends furnished the latter in
memory of Dr. Mary Hawes who had given years of free service to the Home in
one year she had made 439 visits to the Home without charge when funds were
Although the mission of the Florence Crittenton Home was not as glamorous
as other causes, it was fortunate to have a number of women support it in various
ways.70 Besides the women physicians who often donated their time and expertise to
the Home and its patients, Mary Lathrop (see entry later in this chapter) was the
Homes pro bono attorney from its founding days. The various womens clubs in
Denver regularly donated money, time, and energy to the Home as their members
served on the board of trustees, on fundraising committees, and as staff members.71
Wolcott School
Site: 1410 Marion Street
Anna Wolcott, daughter of a minister, was bom in Providence, Rhode Island
on 25 May 1868. She graduated from Wellesley College before becoming principal
of the prestigious and Episcopal Church-supported, but secular girls school, Wolfe
Hall at the East Fourteenth and Clarkson streets in 1892. In 1898, she opened her
own school, the Wolcott School. The Rocky Mountain News eagerly anticipated its
Among the new buildings which are to be erected in Denver
summer none will add more to the atmosphere of the city than
Miss Wolcotts School. The plans call for fireplaces in the

various study halls and, in winter weather, open fires will be
one of the more attractive features of the school. It will be
distinctively a school for girls, but boys will be admitted to
the kindergarten and primary departments.72
This high-class college preparatory school offered classes in English,
mathematics, history, science, foreign languages, art, and literature, averaging three
hundred students a year, kindergarten through high school. Besides the quality
academic education, students were exposed to the social issues of the day. The
school program for 1909-1910 included a lecture, Relation of Playgrounds to Child
Labor by the venerable Miss Jane Addams of Chicagos Hull House. In addition to
the K-12 school, Anna founded the Wolcott Conservatory of Music.
Student leadership, academic skills, and community service were regularly
developed at the Wolcott School. The students published The Spokesman several
times a year. This twenty to thirty-five page pamphlet contained editorials, student
poems and short stories, and notes on the activities of each grade level, athletic
activities and clubs (the French Club notes were written in French). In July 1918,
Florence Flick won first place at the horse show. The horse show was the most
important event of the year since field day, usually the highlight of Wolcott School,
was cancelled due to World War I. But war was not the only event that interfered
with usual Wolcott School festivities and activities. The following February, the flu
and the subsequent temporary closing of the school, postponed the tennis and
basketball club activities for another month. In the May 1919 issue, Helen Ruffner,

editor-in-chief, pleaded with the school students to continue helping in the war
Another plea has come to us from the Red Cross. We
all know what that means: it means giving all we can in money
and in work, especially work, to help on this cause. Now that
the war is over, we are all perhaps rather inclined to think that
there is nothing left to do but to rejoice in our victory and
welcome home the soldiers; but the task isnt finished yet;
assistance of every kind is needed all over the world in taking
care of the refugees and in reconstruction work, while right here
at home e have the Recuperation Camp to think of.
Perhaps some of think that we havent the time, and
many no longer feel the same need or inspiration for work or
the same glory and pride in it that we felt when there was a
war to win. But only by self-sacrifice and hard work was the
victory won, and only by the same grit and perseverance can
that victory be followed up.
The Red Cross has asked us to help; shall the school
refuse to do its part? Come on, everybody, and see how much
we can accomplish; let all the classes vie with one another in
this as in other things, and dont let any one get behind.
Remember, too, that it isnt the money alone that counts,
although thats very important; its the work.73
By April 1920, life at the Wolcott School returned to normal. The bowling season
started on a rousing and very loud note: We also discovered the superiority, or at
least the volume of the voices of the Sophomores at said toumament-for if yells
could decide results, they certainly would have won the tournament for their sister
class by their cheers. Besides bowling, fencing had become quite popular as the
new sport of choice.74 This issue also contained a several jokes with the picture of a
very dark, young African-American girl clad in overalls and shirt strumming a banjo

while sitting with one leg crossed over the other knee on the K of the title
Notable graduates of Wolcott School include E. Federica LaFevre Bellamy
(daughter of Eva LaFevre, president of the Monday Literary Club), Estelle Kramer
Sudler (president of the Board of Trustees for the Denver Bureau of Public
Welfare), and Carla Swan Coleman (daughter of Ella and Charles Denison, and a
graduate of Bryn Mawr). Many graduates fondly recall Miss Wolcotts flashy
mauve automobile that she drove around town and her priceless possession, her
speaking voice.76
While principal at her school, Anna was appointed the first woman regent
for the University of Colorado in 1910, serving six years. During this time, in 1913,
she married Joel F. Vaile, attorney for the Rio Grande Railroad. Following his death
in 1916, Anna became involved in Republican politics, serving many years as a
member of the Republican National Committee and member of the Colorado Civil
Service Commission. She continued to work behind the scenes at Wolcott School
and in the early 1920s returned as its principal, before closing the school in 1924.
An active clubwoman, Anna was a thirty-year member of the Denver Fortnightly
Club (1898 until her death in 1928), a still active literary study and philanthropic
womens club, and a member of the Womans Club of Denver. When she died in
1928 of pneumonia, the entire city grieved the loss: No woman in America had a

more gracious manner; a more open mind;77 more sincere enthusiasms than this
daughter of colonial ancestors.
The Wolcott School is presently the Wolcott Arms, a series of apartment
The Womens Club Movement
Site:Denver Womans Club. 1447 Tremont Steet
Architectural Style: French Renaissance
Architects: Fisher and Huntington
The womens club movement in the United States was initiated in 1868 by
journalist Jane Cunningham Croly (Jennie June), who founded the Sorosis Club in
New York City, and by reformer Caroline Severance, who founded the New
England Womans Club in Boston.78 Between 1868 and 1900, white middle- and
upper-class women banded together to form womens clubs in cities across the
nation. In 1890 Jane Croly called upon the clubwomen to form a national
organization of womens clubs for the benefit of all. In April they organized the
General Federation of Womens Clubs to bring into communication with each
other the various clubs throughout the world, in order that they may compare
methods of work and become mutually helpful. By the height of the Progressive
era in 1914, the General Federation had grown to a membership of nearly two
million American women who were active on many committees of reform and
philanthropy, such as legislation, public health, conservation, household economics,
civil service, and child labor.

In the beginning, however, womens groups were not primarily politically
active. The first womens literary clubs arose primarily for intellectual stimulation.
The women studied classical literature, languages, history, and art. The clubs
became, in Crolys words, middle-aged womens universities. Members held
meetings weekly or biweekly for two hours in the evening or afternoon between
October and June. These months, when school was in session, allowed the women
the opportunity to meet free of immediate motherly duties. There were no club
meetings or activities in the summer because some families left town for extended
vacations. To join, a candidate had to be sponsored by two or more members and
approved by a large percentage of the executive committee or by the entire club.
Because most sponsors informally sounded out other members before a nomination,
candidates were rarely rejected for membership.
In the early years, criticism was often directed at the clubs for supporting
woman suffrage, and to avoid this charge, many adopted innocuous or nonpolitical
names. Many of these were based, for example, on the day of the week on which the
club met, or on fruit-bearing flowers, neighborhoods, or allusions to classical and
literary figures. For added protection, the clubs forbade discussion of suffrage and
religion. A city library was usually the first project the clubwomen became involved
in, often in answer to their own need for books to read for club papers and

During the 1870s and 1880s, however, several clubs began studying the
living and working conditions of the poor, the public and private charities organized
to help them, and laws concerning women. From this effort, clubwomen developed
a permanent concern for the poor and the need for reform legislation. With the
organization of the General Federation in 1890, the work of the womens literary
clubs embraced the causes of reform, and philanthropy became a permanent part of
all club work. Newer organizations were formed, known as departmental clubs,
which stressed philanthropy rather than literary arts, as had the older clubs of the
1870s and 1880s. By the 1890s the club movement accommodated both efforts
within an organizational structure that consisted of permanent committees or
departments, each of which chose themes or projects on which to work. The
individual clubs then adapted national and state projects to the specific needs of
their own communities.
But it was the early literary study and discussions that had laid the
foundation for all that followed. The literary clubs introduced a sense of sisterhood
and increased self-confidence in public speaking, in researching, and in writing
skills that enable the women to forge ahead. The leaders of the General Federation
encouraged all member clubs to pursue some form of philanthropic project among
the poor in their communities and to lobby for the passage of all kinds of reform
legislation in their state legislatures. This reform spirit flourished in the federation

and its member clubs from 1890 to 1914. At that point, the First World War brought
new problems and concerns for clubwomen.
In Colorado, the pattern of the womans club was much the same as the rest
of the nation. However, because the state itself was so young, the first womans
clubs did not appear until the early 1880s. In Denver, among white women, the
Fortnightly Club and the Monday Literary Club were the first clubs to organize. In
subsequent years, these two were joined by other womens clubs, including the Clio,
Reviewers, Womans Club, Round Table, Twenty-Second Avenue Study, North
Side Womans, Sphinx, and Tuesday Morning Class. In 1895, the four oldest clubs-
the Fortnightly, Monday Literary, Round Table, and Clio-and the rapidly growing
Womans Club issued the call to others in the state to organize a state federation.
Although many of these clubs were already members of the General Federation, the
organization of the Colorado Federation of Womens Clubs brought greater
cooperation among the state clubs. It offered more opportunities for personal
leadership, more effective lobbying efforts, and greater visibility and publicity for
the clubs and their leaders. By 1899 the 108 Colorado federated clubs and their
4700 members were participating in committee work in education, traveling
libraries, music, art, school legislation, and the preservation and restoration of
prehistoric ruins in southwestern Colorado.
Through the Progressive era, the Colorado womens clubs labored for a wide
variety of reforms at the local, state, and national levels in matters of health, public

hygiene, education, and sensible fashions. The welfare of women and children was a
special concern of the womens club movement in the United States, and Colorado
was no exception. Not only did club members lobby strongly for mothers
compensation, an eight-hour workday for women, and the child labor amendment,
but they also supported pensions for the blind, the Workshop for the Adult Blind,
and equal pay for equal work. For the youth of the state, the Colorado federated
clubs achieved success in working with the Juvenile Detention Home and Judge
Benjamin Lindseys juvenile court. The establishment of a Childrens Bureau and
codification of childrens laws at the state and federal levels can be attributed to the
work of the clubwomen.
Sarah Platt Decker. Clubwoman
Sarah Piatt Decker Branch Library
Site: 1501 South Logan
Architectural Style: English Cottage
Architects: Willis Marean and Albert Norton
A member of Colorados Womens Hall of Fame, Sarah Sophia Chase was
bom in Vermont in 1852. Her family moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts when Sarah
was a young girl. While still in her teens she had her first contact with social
problems when she was named a trustee for administering a fund bequeathed to the
indigent of Holyoke. At age 22, she married a Holyoke merchant but he died three
years later and she remarried a Colonel James H. Platt. The couple moved from
New York to Denver in 1887. Platt drowned in a fishing accident; leaving Sarah
widowed once again. She turned her attention, considerable energy, and leadership

skills to charity work and the successful Colorado suffrage campaign of 1893. In
1894, she was chosen president of the newly formed Womans Club of Denver.
Under her direction the club undertook numerous civic and social welfare projects.
Her vigor, sense of humor, and easy platform manner impressed club women at all
levels. In 1904 she began the first of her two terms as president of the General
Federation of Womens Clubs. Her addresses to the federation reveal a keen sense
of the practical, an ability to cut to the core of a problem and devise workable
solutions. Illustrative of her incisiveness is her reply to the president of a New York
musical club who had complained that its members were bored with singing to
themselves: Try to sing to others. My busy day. Excuse brevity. A year later, after
the club had sung in hospitals, orphanages, and schools, President Decker received a
warm letter of thanks.79
Decker was also very active at the national level, both in the womens clubs
where she served as president of the General Federation of Womens Clubs
(GWFC) and in national reform efforts. She was a member of the National Child
Labor Committee and a vigorous champion of conservation. In 1902 she startled
Eastern delegates to the GFWC convention in Los Angeles by proclaiming, In the
arid Southwest irrigation is not politics; it is religion!80 She took great pride in the
federations role in the establishment of Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain National
Park. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed her as the only woman
delegate to the national conference on the conservation of natural resources.

Decker used her many talents in state and city affairs as well. As chairman
and long time member of the Colorado Board of Charities and Correction, she was
credited with instigating needed reforms in the state penal system. At her death she
was a member of the state civil service commission, president of the Denver Civic
Federation, and a former president of the Womans Public Service League, a Denver
civic organization she had founded. In 1912, Decker was being considered for the
United States Senate, but she unexpectedly died that July while in San Francisco. In
her honor, Denver City and County offices were closed at noon on the day of her
funeral and flags were flown at half-mast. Among the honorary pallbearers were
three Colorado governors. Funeral services were held at St. Johns Cathedral. Words
of tribute poured in. One former mayor said, Her name heads the honor roll among
women of the world as a distinguished club-woman, leader of suffrage,
philanthropist, and tireless worker in every movement for the public good.81
The Sarah Platt Decker Branch Library at 1501 South Logan Street is a V-
shaped English Cottage. This 1913 structure has leaded, diamond-shaped windows
and a gable roof of green tile with ornate chimneys. Over the fireplaces are murals,
The Pied Piper of Hamlin and The Lady of the Lake and the Sword Excalibur,
painted by Denver artist Dudley Carpenter. Designated a Denver Landmark in 1985,
it was restored in 1993 by David Owen Tryba.

The Suffrage Campaign of 1893
Site: Colorado State Capitol. 200 East Colfax
While the lives and work of most Colorado women remained invisible, the
original plans for the Colorado State Capitol building called for at least had a
representation of womanhood. Elijah Myers designed the building and work began
in 1886; however, the Capitol Board of Managers dismissed Myers in 1889 to save
money, explaining that since the state had his plans and had paid for them, they no
longer needed the architect. Frank E. Edbrooke completed the structure in 1908,
basically following Myers design. One major change, though, was the
disappearance of the female figure Myers had planned to place on the top of the
dome. Apparently, the legislature studied many models in various states of dress but
could not agree on which one to use.82 Thus, the most invisible woman of the early
twentieth century in Denver may very well have been the missing woman of the
Capitol Dome. Such a snub, though, did not deter the suffrage proponents from
continuing their campaign for equal suffrage in the Centennial State. Thirteen years
after their 1877 defeat, the women of Colorado renewed their campaign for woman
suffrage. Miss Georgiana Watson, who had been president of the Colorado Equal
Suffrage Association (CESA), gave way to Mrs. Tyler who held the office until
Mrs. A. W. Hogle became her successor in 1892. The following year, Miss Martha
A. Pease was elected president. Other significant members in the organization at this
time were Mrs. Ella C. Adams and Miss Minnie J. Reynolds.83 At the Ninth General

Assembly session in 1893, J. Warner Mills sponsored a bill submitting the question
of woman suffrage to the voters at the next general election. When it passed both
houses, the suffragists found themselves facing the next general election only
months away.
The association entered the campaign with only twenty-eight members and
twenty-five dollars in the treasury. At its annual election in 1893, the Non-Partisan
Suffrage Association of Colorado elected Pease president, Mrs. H. S. Stansbury,
vice-president, Mrs. Elizabeth Ensley, treasurer, Mrs. C. A. Bradley, secretary, and
Mrs. Louise M. Tyler, chairman of the executive committee. For the annual Denver
school board election, Mrs. lone T. Hanna was nominated for director. With women
voters behind her she decisively won, ending the argument that women, even if they
had the right to vote, would not.
Without a sizable war chest, the Colorado women appealed to the National
American Womans Suffrage Association (NAWSA) for help. But, remembering
the defeat in 1877, the national leaders held out little hope that the western women
would be successful sixteen years later. Susan B. Anthony even asked if they had
converted all those Mexicans out in the southern counties.84 But the national
association did send Carrie Lane Chapman (later Carrie Chapman Catt, president of
the National American Woman Suffrage Association), whose contribution greatly
helped, to Colorado.

Meetings were held and auxiliary leagues were formed throughout the state.
In addition, an enormous amount of suffrage literature was distributed. Because the
majority of the states newspapers supported equal suffrage, the women were given
favorable press coverage. Equally important was the work of women journalists.
Miss Minnie J. Reynolds, writing for the Denver Republican, and Mrs. H. S.
Stansbury, writing for the Rocky Mountain News, were indispensable to the cause.
Caroline Nichols Churchill was the editor of the Queen Bee, a womens rights
Fortunately, the liquor interests did not take woman suffrage in 1893
seriously until late fall. And when they did take note and try to form opposition to
the measure, they made a significant mistake. A broadside, ridiculing suffragists and
their supporters and inadvertently identifying its sponsor the liquor industry only
strengthened the womens case.
On the seventh of November 1893, male voters in the Centennial State went
to the polls. One of the issues was the state amendment granting equal suffrage in
Colorado. As the members of the Equal Suffrage Association looked on, they
witnessed history in the making. The next morning the incomplete returns showed
that for the first time in the United States, the male voters, in a general election, had
granted women equal suffrage. Later the complete returns were 35,698 in favor and
29,461 against. Governor Davis H. Waites proclamation read:

Section 1. That every female person shall be entitled to vote
at all elections in the same manner in all respects as male
persons are, or shall be entitled to vote by the constitution
and laws of this state, and the same qualifications as to age,
citizenship and time of residence in the state, county, city,
ward and precinct and all other qualifications required by
law to entitle male persons to vote shall be required to
entitle female persons to vote.85
Following their successful suffrage campaign in 1893, the women of
Colorado turned their attention to getting women to vote and to securing legislation
in favor of women and children. Between 1893 and 1898, a number of women were
elected or appointed to state offices, many of those in the field of education and
reform. These offices include the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board of
Charities and Corrections, State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children, and
Board of Control, State Industrial School. But women also voted at general
elections. Three years before the rest of the nation, Colorado went completely dry.
By 1912 Colorados women had helped enact over 150 statutes, many protecting
women and children. Between 1894 and 1916, eighteen different women were
elected to state representative offices, including Martha Conine (state
representative), Evangeline Heartz (three terms as state representative), and Helen
Ring Robinson (state senator).

Helen Ring Robinson. State Senator
Site: State Capitol Building. 200 East Colfax Avenue
Residence: 1222 Gavlord Street (1912-1918)
Helen Ring Robinson (Mrs. Ewing Robinson) was twice elected state
senator. Bom to Thomas and Mary Prescott Ring in Eastport, Maine, Helen moved
to Denver in 1894 after attending Wellesley College. In Denver, she taught at Wolfe
Hall and Wolcott School. In 1902, she married Ewing Robinson, a prominent
Denver attorney. Prior to her political career, Helen worked as an editorial staff
member of the Rocky Mountain News, headed the book review section of the
Denver Times, wrote literary criticism for a number of national publications, and
was a member of the Denver Womans Press Club.
Upon her election to the Colorado Senate in 1912, she was quoted in the
I am going to be the housewife of the senate. There will be
so many men there that I shall let them look after themselves
and I shall take it upon myself to look after the women and
children. I wish to be spokeswoman of the women and children
in Colorado in the legislature and I shall feel honored to
introduce any laws drawn up for their welfare and protection.
I have some bills in mind which I plan to introduce. I believe
a woman who has qualified as a capable mother and housewife
can qualify as a capable legislator. I hold my new responsibilities
to the people of the state as sacred as I hold my responsibilities
to my husband and my daughter.86
True to her word, in her elected position, Robinson was instrumental in
getting legislation passed that provided financial support for the state home for

neglected and abandoned children. She introduced legislation promoting the safety
of food and drugs as well as a minimum wage law for women and minors which
was passed in 1913. She also pushed for minimum salaries for teachers. Three
decades before another woman senator was successful, Helen also sponsored a bill
allowing women to serve on juries but it was defeated. Once asked if she had any
problems as the only woman senator, Robinson replied, The only difference I
remarked was they [the male senators] did remove their hats and cigars when
speaking to me.87
A leader in the womans suffrage movement, Helen often traveled to other
states to speak at suffrage meetings. In 1913, she embarked on a lecture tour that
took her through five states where she was very popular and persuasive in dispelling
the stereotype that many easterners had of western female politicians. At New York
Citys Astor Hotel she said, All those stories you read in the ladies lingerie
journals are false. Our feminine voters and officeholders do not have faces like
vinegar jugs. Neither do they drink cocktails and highballs and stuff ballot boxes at
the antis say they do.88
Just as some Colorado women had opposed woman suffrage prior to winning the
right to vote in 1893, there were Eastern women in the oppositions camp. In one of
her speeches, Helen called these women ingrowing Tories. The next days paper,
though, reported her as labeling them ingrowing toenails.89 As she stated upon her
return to Denver, her aim was:

to allay that haunting, panicky fear among the men that when
the women get the ballot they would take the American home
out in the back yard and shoot it full of holes. I spoke not as a
senator nor a politician but as a housewife. I told what equal
suffrage would mean to women as housewives and mothers,
what relation the gargabe can bore to the ballot, and I think I
gave a side of the question not before presented and one that
impressed the men.
I was glad to be heckled because of the opportunity it
gave me to answer lies circulated about Denver and Colorado.
I was astonished and distressed to see the opinion of Colorado
held abroad. The most infamous lies have been circulated about
it and I did all I could to set it right... I feel no vain pride in
my success because I feel that most of it was due to my being
advertised as a sort of curiosity or freak. Most of those who
came to hear me came to see what sort of a creature a woman
senator was, and I know I disappointed them because I wore
petticoats and had unshorn hair.90
Helen returned East in October for a series of lectures at the request of Ohio and
Michigan women who, like their counterparts in New York, New Jersey, and
Pennsylvania, were campaigning for the right to vote.
During the First World War, Helen lectured for the National Food
Administration and was appointed to the Federal Commission on Training Camp
Activities. In Colorado, she was the chairman of the Womens Third and Fourth
Liberty Loan Committees. In 1915, Henry Ford invited her to travel on his Peace
Ship to Europe. This heavy burden of wartime work (she also wrote several articles
during this time including Preparing Women for Citizenship) so damaged
Robinsons health that she suffered a breakdown after the armistice.91 She moved to
California for her health for several years but returned to Denver in 1922. She died

of heart failure at Hearts Ease, Oakes Home, in July of 1923. In a deathbed
message to newspaper friends, she blamed the overwork of those war years for
causing her death. The message was contained in a letter to her stepdaughter,
Alcyon Robinson of Los Angeles: Will you please see personally all the editors. I
had no idea it (death) was coming so quickly. I want the brief story of my days to
make plain the fact that it was the overworking of war days that made me an
invalid.92 As a tribute to the contributions she made to the people of the State of
Colorado, Helen Ring Robinson became only the second woman in the states
history to lie in state in Colorados Capitol rotunda.
The Hello Girls
Site: Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company (formerly Colorado
Telephone Company. 1879 to 1911L1421 Champa Street (from 1903 on!
In 1871, Alexander Graham Bell of Scotland immigrated to Boston,
Massachusetts, to instruct the hearing impaired. After experimenting with an electric
current to transmit sounds, he achieved a talking telegraph in 1876. Bell set up his
own telephone company and sold the rights to other entrepreneurs to establish
telephone companies in their own cities. Soon telephone companies across the
nation became a major source of employment for women. On 24 February 1879,
Frederick O. Vaille, who had bought the rights from Bell Telephone Company of
Boston to develop telephone service in Colorado, established the Colorado
Telephone Company with 161 subscribers. The first central office was located on

the south side of Larimer Street between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets on the
second floor of a building owned by George Tritch and over Fricks Shoe Store. In
1880, the company moved to the top floor of the newly completed Tabor Block.
Within three years of its founding, the Colorado Telephone Company had nearly six
hundred subscribers, having overcome early resistance by lawyers and doctors and
others who feared being disturbed at home by clients or patients. In 1890, the
company erected a fireproof building at 1447 Lawrence Street, which it occupied
until 1903. In that year, the company built the first four stories of a building at 1421
Champa Street. In 1915, a one-story building to the east was erected. Later the
company leased the greater part of the Wyoming Building at the southeast comer of
Fourteenth and Champa. The reason for these changes was twofold. One, the
number of subscribers increased (by 1915, the number of Denver subscribers was
forty-five percent of Colorados 92,561 subscribers).93 Second, lines to other cities
were continually being added. In 1884, a line was laid from Denver to Colorado
Springs and Pueblo. In 1911, the Denver to New York line was established, a total
of 2160 miles. Four years later, the New York to San Francisco through Denver
(3600 miles) line was completed.94
Colorado Telephone Company first hired exclusively male operators but
soon discovered that subscribers would act much more reasonably with a girl at
central office than a boy or a man. Furthermore, girls were more patient and
obliging so that the employment of lady operators had already begun. Soon after

they were exclusively hired.95 Originally, a female operator would shout out the
connections to young boys in the next room who would then have to dash around,
behind, and often times into each other in order to make the correct connections for
the phone call. Things were so chaotic and noisy that passers-by on the street were
known to run into the building thinking a fight was in progress. Fortunately, new
technology and feminine grace eliminated this bedlam. In 1901, the main Denver
exchange employed 120 girls. In addition, another eighty girls were employed at the
two branch offices, York and South. After six months of training, these hello girls
wore black uniforms, broad white collars, and black ties. Sixty girls worked the
phones during busy hours, 9:00 to 5:00, but only seven or eight girls were on duty at
night. Thirty operators ran the toll line department. Supervisors, each watching over
nine girls, walked back and forth the whole shift. In the middle of the work area
were three desks at which information clerks answered questions from the public. In
addition to the work areas, the telephone company provided an employees dining
room and a sitting room furnished with couches, easy chairs, magazines, and books,
and many lockers. A matron and her assistant were in charge of the latter.96
Although the hello girls proved to be more patient and obliging, they also
proved to be assertive. In one instance, when a male subscriber repeatedly called his
home and received no response, he blamed the operator. He then called the
information clerk and told her that he knew there was someone in the house as he
had just left his wife, who was indisposed and could not leave home. Blaming the

telephone company, he became quite abusive to the operators. The management
decided to make a test case out of it and sent a messenger to the home where the lad
found the wife not at home. The embarrassed husband apologized.97
Margaret Molly Tobin Brown. Hero and Philanthropist
Site: Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania Street
Architectural Style; Queen Anne
Architect: William Loup
Margaret Tobin, bom in Hannibal, Missouri in 1867, is best known as the
Unsinkable Molly Brown of the Titanic disaster of 1912. However, Maggie Tobin
Brown (she was never known as Molly during her lifetime) was also a
philanthropist, political activist, and suffragist.
Like so many others in search of economic opportunities, Margaret Tobin
moved to Colorado during the mining bonanza years. She went to Leadville in 1886
and shortly thereafter married Jim (J.J.) Brown. After striking it rich in 1893, the
Browns moved to Denver and settled at 1152 York Street. Later they bought this
Queen Anne home for $30,000. The Browns added two rear porches and a new roof
of French tiles. The biggest change was the addition of a sidewalk-level retaining
wall and south steps. They also replaced the wooden porch banisters with sandstone
columns. The houses nickname, The House of Lions, is from the two stone lions
that Mrs. Brown placed at the front of the home.

In 1912, Maggie was one of the passengers on the maiden journey of the
Titanic. Striking an iceberg, the ship floundered and sunk. Maggie, who had helped
other women and children into lifeboats, was finally put in one herself. For six
hours, the passengers waited for rescue by the Carpathia. On this ship, Maggie
comforted other survivors and organized a relief drive. Finally, ashore in New York,
Maggie reportedly replied to a reporters question of how she survived, with It was
typical Brown luck. Im unsinkable. Back in Denver, the unsinkable Brown was
invited to a luncheon held in her honor at Mrs. Crawford Hills mansion. Finally,
she had broken into the Sacred 36, the name given the social elite of Denver who
were invited to and attended Mrs. Louise Sneed (Mrs. Nathaniel Hill) Crawfords
bridge parties and social events. The number derived from the six bridge tables of
six persons.
Later Maggie used her wealth and fame to support womens suffrage and
local Catholic charities. She raised money for St. Josephs Hospital and the
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In the aftermath of the Ludlow coal mine
disaster in 1914, she contributed to the needy families of striking miners. In that
same year, she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate on the National Womens
Party ticket. In addition, she aided World War I orphans and worked with Judge
Ben Lindseys Juvenile Court.
In the late 1920s, Maggie led the successful drive to save the home of the
Denver poet Eugene Field. Saved from demolition, the home, originally at 315 West

Colfax, was moved to Washington Park, where it still resides. Nearly forty years
later, Maggies own home was saved and restored by an equally determined group
of preservation-minded Denverites. In 1969, Historic Denver, Inc., led by Ann
Love, Colorados First Lady, purchased Maggies home on the eve of its
demolition. It is now a house museum owned and maintained by Historic Denver,
Inc. Maggie died in New York City in 1932. She is buried next to J.J. in Rhode
Mary C. Mulligan.
Domestic Servant for Margaret T. Brown
But Maggie Brown and her family were not the only ones residing at 1340
Pennsylvania Street. A small room on the third floor of the Brown house is restored
as a servants room in the first decade of the twentieth century. Mary C. Mulligan,
the Brown familys primary servant from 1900-1904, was both the housekeeper and
the dressmaker. As was the case with many Denver domestics, Mary was a first
generation American. She was raised in Nebraska and Kansas by Irish-born parents.
Sometime in her young adulthood, Mary came to Denver. By age 36 she was
working for the Browns.
Marys life was similar to that of many other domestics. She never married
and was childless. The average wage for domestic service was just enough for
women to support themselves, or approximately twenty-five dollars a month. Living
at the Brown house, she had the advantage of free room and board. But for this,

Mary probably worked long, difficult hours to please Maggie Browns feisty and
demanding spirit.98 Many servants, like Mary, worked six and a half days per
week, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner, dusting, waxing, sweeping, washing,
drying, tending to fires, handling deliveries, aiding sick family members, etc.
Domestics were always on call and sometimes worked up to sixteen hours a day.
For their labors, most domestics were given half of Sunday off and one
evening a week for rest. Mary possible spent her free time sewing, mending, writing
letters, or some such other activity. She probably did not have many close friends
since domestic work was notorious for isolating young women from others their
age. The third floor servant room, representative of Marys life as a domestic, shows
a very utilitarian and simple life.99
Helen IneersolL Librarian
Residences: E. Brighton Avenue between Geneva (now Oneida) and Belleview
fnow Niagara) Avenues, Montclair (1898-1899)
Brighton Avenue NE corner of Newport Avenue. Montclair (1900-19011
Southwest Corner East Eighth Avenue. Montclair (1902-71
785 Keamev (bv 191(M
Work Site: 1913-1916. Woodbury Branch Library.
3265 Federal Boulevard
Because library work and teaching have been seen as extensions of the
home, libraries and schools have traditionally offered women occupational
opportunities. Both have often been founded, supported, and staffed by women.
Many women in these two professions made life-long commitments to the school or
library. In Denver, this was especially true. Although men supported the public

library with funds and as head librarians, hundreds of women lent their support
through the establishment of the travelling libraries, bond drives, and their own
employment. Between 1884 and 1898, the City Library, originally called the
Mercantile Library was housed in the Chamber of Commerce Building at 14th and
Lawrence Streets. This was not, however, a free public library. Patrons paid a fee
for the privilege of borrowing the librarys books. But there was a Public Library
housed in the East Denver High School Building at 19th and Stout between 1889-
1898. In 1898, the two libraries merged. For the next several years the books were
in a variety of different buildings until the Carnegie Library was completed in 1910
at Colfax and Bannock. From that location the Denver Public Library has expanded
While the Public Library was housed at East High School, the public
librarian started training classes for prospective librarians. In 1894 the first training
class was held with five young female students in attendance. The students were
Eva L. Simmons, Hyla Long, Fanny Burlingame, Myrtle McKissick, Charlotte
Baker, and Zoe Guernsey. The librarian, John Cotton Dana, and his secretary, Lila
Van, were the teachers. Under Danas leadership, a free circulating library
developed with a childrens room, picture collections, and most importantly, open
shelves, where a borrower could peruse the shelves himself without the required aid
of a librarian. In 1898, Helen F. Ingersoll was accepted into the fifth training class
along with three other girls. Helen was the daughter of William M. and Caroline

Ingersoll of Montclair. Baron Walter von Richthofen was developing this rural
township four miles east of town. The Ingersolls eight-room house on five lots was
two blocks away from their closest neighbor. They had a windmill, horses,
strawberry plants, and a Jersey cow on land described by Helen as dry as a brown
leaf in an autumn blast.100 Soon after graduating from Montclair School in 1897,
Helen read an announcement in the morning paper about the library training class.
Her father, a mining man, had been hit hard in the Panic of 1893 so there was no
hope of Helen attending the University of Denver at that time. Her sister lived in a
small town near Leadville so her mom did not want Helen away from home too.
Although her dad thought it was useless to try for the class, her mother
encouraged her to take the examination. When she walked into the room filled with
girls, some familiar, she thought, You havent a chance in the world with all these
smart girls taking the examination.101 But she was selected along with Hazel Grove
from East Denver High School, Anna Hillkowitz from West Denver High School,
and Florence Irene Willard from the Boston Latin School. The first half-hour of
each morning was spent shelf reading. Then, Miss Charlotte Baker, who had
completed Danas first training class, taught the girls English and American
literature for three hours. In the afternoon, Mrs. Frances Tandy taught the girls the
Dewey Decimal System: We were to learn by heart the ten sub-divisions. It was
like learning a foreign language.102 During this six-month training program the
students were not paid but were given five dollars a month for car fare. For Helen,

who lived in Montclair with her parents, it was quite a job to get into town to attend
the classes in the basement of East Denver High School. First, there was a little
donkey engine that carried a small trailer with seats on the side. This ran once an
hour from Syracuse Street along Colfax to a waiting room on Josephine Street. The
fare was five cents. From Josephine Street, Helen rode an old cable car into Denver.
Later as a paid member of the Denver Public Library staff, Helen worked until 9:00
in the evening. At that time, she took the 17th Avenue cable car to the end of the
line on York Street and then transferred to an electric car going to Park Hill.
Because that only went as far as East 23rd and Hudson Street, she then walked the
last mile and a half across the prairie to her house. But I didnt mind it when it was
clear and the sky was a blue dome and the stars were bright and the Big Dipper and
North Star were there to show me the way; but when it was dark and cloudy or
raining then it was slippery going and the dogs barked and I felt very much alone
and afraid.103
Public places are often a microcosm of society at that time as has been the
Denver Public Library. At the library workers and patrons alike often showed their
true colors. Upon her retirement, Helen recalled one day in particular that captured
the health concerns in a growing city and womens modesty or lack of in the late
nineteenth century:
One cold day in December a physician came in and looked
around the newspaper room to find an eastern paper. He then

went to Mr. Dudleys office and said, Theres a very well-
developed case of smallpox in the newspaper room. That
year Denver was having a smallpox epidemic it may have
been 1899. The Board of Health had been vaccinating everyone.
Of course the librarian sent for the police surgeon, who came
galloping up to the library literally galloping the horses hitched
to the ambulance. A policeman was stationed at every door and
unless one could show a well-developed, new vaccination mark,
he was vaccinated on the spot. One very prominent woman, Mrs.
Mary C.C. Bradford, then Superintendent of Schools in the State
of Colorado, tried to crawl out of one of the back windows; she
had one leg out when a policeman caught her and pulled her in.
She was very angry and exclaimed: I will send for my own
physician! and pranced into Mr. Dudleys office to use the
telephone. Other women also summoned their own physicians.
Most of them rolled down their stockings and were vaccinated
and walked around barelegged to let the vaccination dry. I, very
modestly, was vaccinated on the arm. It was all very exciting and
When Helen began working as a regular staff member of the library she was
paid twenty dollars a month. But when the two libraries merged, she was first fired
and then re-hired but at only fifteen dollars a month. She worked nights, fifty-eight
hours a week, cataloguing and accessioning books. As if the pay cut wasnt bad
enough, the librarian, Charles R. Dudley, did not believe in open shelves: I can not
tell you how unhappy we all were. All the women felt that Mr. Dudley, John Cotton
Danas successor, showed favoritism to the men on the staff, even when they did not
bother to wait on the public at all.105 Perhaps one of the reasons they did not wait on
the public was because they were too busy looking through the librarys catalog of
holdings themselves. Because of their controversial nature (at the time anyhow),
some books, such as Huckleberry Finn. Zola, and The Arabian Nights, were marked

with an S for Special Collection. With closed shelves, a patron first looked at the
librarys catalog of holdings to find a book and then asked for a librarian to get the
book off the caged shelves. When the library was in the Prudential Insurance
Company Building at Fifteenth Street and Court Place, a special night staff of young
men were hired, presumably to ensure the safety of the usually all-female staff.
However, many times the young men could be found perusing the catalog, trying to
find all the S books! Another complaint against Charles Dudley as librarian is that
he did not encourage his staff to go to library school.106 But Cornelia Barnes,
another staff member, had attended Simmons College in Boston and encouraged
Helen to go. She did in 1906-1907, although Mr. Dudley did not approve of my
going. To him we were just deck hands. In addition, the women always thought
the men folks on the staff were getting more money than the women.107
When Helen returned to Denver after her year at Simmons College, she was
given her old job in the Circulation Department at fifty dollars a month even though
she now had a Masters in Library Science. Still, there existed considerable
discontent among the staff members with the leadership of Charles Dudley. Finally
Mrs. Galbreath, who worked in the Catalogue Department as Mr. John Parsons
assistant (she would later become the librarian at the University of Denver and in
the State Library), took the lead in letting the Library Commission know about the
problems at the library. A meeting was held at the Ingersoll house with Miss Anne
Evans, a member of the commission, Mrs. Galbreath, Irene Smith, Anna Hillkowitz,

and Helen in attendance. The four staff members were able to convince Miss Evans
that Mr. Dudley was no librarian.
In 1910 Dudley, John Parsons, and F.M. Ritchie were retired. In
management, only Herbert Ritchie was retained. Staff members were quite upset
with the retirement of Parsons and immediately tried to get him retained. But the
Library Commission refused to change their decision. Anne Evans and Mrs. Jasper
Writer of the commission were sent to the American Library Association
headquarters in Chicago to the search for a new librarian. They chose Chalmers
Hadley, who unlike Dudley believed in the open shelf system and encouraged and
spent money for his staff members to receive additional training.
The year 1910 not only marked the start of Hadleys reign, but it was also
the year that the new library building was completed. Helen had attended the
groundbreaking ceremony in 1906 before she left for Boston. She even helped break
the ground with a spade while wearing a white pique dress and a most ravishing
chiffon hat with pink roses.108 The Carnegie building was a dream come true for
staff members who, like Helen Ingersoll, Anna Hillkowitz, and Charlotte Baker, had
been through the upheaval of three previous moves and numerous changes in
administration. But not everyone in Denver was as impressed with the new large
building: There was so much room and so many empty shelves. We thought we
would never fill them. One patron exclaimed, You will never have enough books
to fill all those shelves. The wastefulness of it!109 That citizen would probably be

amazed that by the time Helen Ingersoll retired from Denver Public Library in 1947,
the facility housed over 400,000 books. The shelves definitely had become filled.
In 1913, the Denver Public Library opened up four branch buildings: Sarah
Platt Decker, Charles E. Dickinson, Warren, and Woodbury in Highland Park. Sarah
Platt Decker had been president of the Womans Club of Denver and of the General
Federation of Womens Clubs. Dickinson had been a member of the Library
Commission and vice president of the International Trust Company. The Warren
Branch was named after Henry W. Warren of the IlifF School of Theology. Roger
W. Woodbury, first president of the Denver Chamber of Commerce, editor of the
Denver Tribune and former member of the school board, was one of the first
businessmen to push for a library in the city. With his backing, the Directors of the
Chamber of Commerce voted to establish the Mercantile Library in 1884. Helen
Ingersoll served as librarian of the Woodbury Branch at West 33rd Avenue and
Federal Boulevard from the time of its opening in 1913 until 1916.110 Designed by
Jacques Benedict, the Italian Renaissance building was partly funded by Andrew
Carnegie. His portrait hangs above one of the two fireplaces. The beige brick, one-
story building is adorned with terracotta pilasters and medallions. Three arches
frame the front entryway. In 1992, David Owen Tryba added a rotunda in the rear
that opens to an outdoor stage and restored the original ornately carved open trusses
and silver birch decking.

This was the setting for Helen Ingersolls first and only position as head
librarian. Here, in Highland Park, she visited the neighborhood schools to teach the
students library use. She worked long hours between commuting to and from her
home at 785 Kearney Street and teaching students and overseeing all library matters
at the Woodbury Branch. On the 4th of December in 1913, her day became even
longer than usual. On that day, a blizzard buried Denver. Over twenty inches of
snow fell on the city. By evening, when the entire trolley system was shut down,
Helen was one of the thousands stranded at their places of business with no way to
get home. Helen decided to walk to a friends home in the neighborhood but it took
her over thirty minutes to reach this home less than one block away. The following
day, Friday, another sixteen inches fell on the struggling city. The evening headline
of the Denver Times proclaimed, Many Missing, Trains Snow-Tied, Buildings
Collapse, All Business Halted. By Saturday, nearly forty-eight inches of snow had
buried the city. Much of the snow was removed to Civic Center where the huge
piles lasted almost until the summer of 1914. Fortunately, no other blizzards of that
magnitude occurred again during Helens time at the Woodbury Branch. Still the
commute was long and so she was happy to return to the main library downtown in
In that year, Helen was recalled to the central library to head the Juvenile
Department. Here, she worked through two world wars, the Great Depression, and
the outbreak of Spanish influenza. In recalling this epidemic of 1918, Helen

remembered wearing masks on the street coming to work, and taking inventory
when we closed the library.111 Soon after this epidemic, Helen went to work for the
Cleveland Public Library for nearly two years. When she returned to Denver,
Chalmers Hadley made her supervisor of Branches and of Childrens Work. She
held this position for ten years. During this time, Hadley turned the library over to
Malcolm G. Wyer.
Wyer continued to promote Helen. During the Great Depression, she became
manager of the Circulation Department. She served in that capacity until her
retirement. In 1947, nearly half a century after she had first begun as a library
trainee in the basement of East High School, Helen Ingersoll retired from the
Denver Public Library.112 She died in Denver on February 16, 1966, at the age of
88. Services were held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church with burial at Fairmount
Cemetery. Surviving her was her sister Ruth, a former teacher, with whom she lived
for so many years at 785 Kearney Street.113 At the time of her death, Helen was
living at 1324 Gilpin Street.
Dora Moore. Educator
Site of Dora Moore (Coronal School: 846 Corona Street
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Built: 1889
Architect: Robert S. Roeschlaub
Women, as the first teachers of their own children, have always been
actively involved in public education. In Colorado this has been proven true over

and over again as schools at all levels have been named in honor of female teachers,
principals, and school board members. The Dora Moore School, originally Corona
School, was constructed in 1884, with an east wing addition in 1909. In 1893, Dora
Moore was named principal of this school. Bom in Ohio in 1855, Miss Moore came
to Denver in 1881 and first taught at Ebert for one year before teaching one year at
Corona in 1892. While still a teacher, she purchased lots at 1031 Venice Street (later
changed to Emerson Street in 1894). Here she built a home in which she lived from
1890 until her death nearly 50 years later (1938).
As principal of Corona School, Miss Moore was highly respected by the
children and their parents. In 1903, a group of mothers sent her on a trip to Europe
to show their appreciation. The feelings were mutual. Upon her forced retirement in
1929 (due to an injury), Miss Moore said,
From these children I gain vitality and enthusiasm and
hope for each days work. What I have gained from my
long service as teacher is an even deepening love of and
faith in humanity, especially that portion of humanity
we call Youth. There is nothing discouraging about
their attitude toward personal freedom. They know
the way and will not be deceived.114
Many famous Americans, such as actor Douglas Fairbanks, musician Paul
Whiteman, singer and songwriter Judy Collins, and Mamie Doud Eisenhower, First
Lady of the United States, 1952-1961, were educated at Dora Moore School
(Corona School). Besides receiving an education, these students and thousands of

others were treated to a facility built by one of the finest architects, Robert S.
Roeschlaub. Dora Moore School is organized around a central court. Bell-shaped
domes top the square-cornered entry towers. Stone trim and a terracotta frieze blend
with the brick walls. Through the years as the school population grew, two large
additions were completed. However, even though the school is unique and a
pleasant escape from more common cement and steel school boxes of the modem
period, Dora Moore School faced demolition until students and alumni convinced
the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission and the Denver City Council to
declare it a landmark school.115
Denver Womans Press Club
Site of Club House: 1325 Logan Street
Architectural Style: English Cottage
Built: 1910
Architect: Varian and Varian
Writer Minnie J. Reynolds formed the Denver Womans Press Club
(DWPC) in 1898. Its purpose was to advance and encourage women in literary
work, to cultivate acquaintance and friendship among women of literary tastes, to
secure the benefits arising from organized effort, and to drive dull care away. Bars
to membership included a total deficiency of brains, being a bore, and one who
could not drive dull care away.116
Minnie J. Reynolds (1865-1936) was hired as a reporter by the editors of the
Rocky Mountain News (RMN) who were impressed with the articles of a certain M.

J. Reynolds, not realizing that the writer was a woman. When she arrived at the
newspaper offices and the editors realized their mistake, she was banished to the
society page department. But Miss Reynolds worked her way up from that position.
She became an outspoken advocate of the downtrodden in Denver, especially the
Chinese and the African Americans. Not only did she found the DWPC, but she also
was one of the founders of the Womans Club of Denver, the Colorado Federation
of Womens Clubs traveling library, and the Round Table Club.
Two other well-known DWPC members were Antoinette Hawley, a
suffragist and president of the Womens Christian Temperance Union, and attorney
Mary Lathrop, one of the first two women selected to the American Bar
Colorado women doctors who published articles based on their medical
research and practices included Dr. Florence Sabin, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bates, and
Dr. Eleanor M. Lawney. Dr. Bates (1861-1954) was also a member of the Colorado
Equal Suffrage League, the American Medical Association, the Colorado Medical
Society, and Womans Club of Denver. As a member of the Denver Dumb Friends
League, Dr. Bates had water fountains placed throughout the city for humans and
their animal friends. Dr. Lawney (1851-1922) was Colorados first female graduate
of a medical school. She helped found the Flower Mission, now the Visiting Nurses
Association. A founder of the DWPC and a member of the Artists Club (see

Denver Art Museum), Dr. Lawney was on the staff of Denver Childrens Hospital
and the Arapahoe County Hospital (later Denver General Hospital).
Alice Polk Hill (1854-1920) was Colorados poet laureate as well as the
founder and president of the Round Table Club from its inception in 1889 until her
death in 1920. Mary Coyle Chase, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning play Harvey has
delighted thousands since its first production, was also a member of the Denver
Womans Press Club.
George Elbert Burr, an artist and etcher of natural scenes, built the home at
1325 Logan Street as his home and studio in 1910. When he moved to Phoenix,
Arizona in 1924, the Denver Womens Press Club bought it for $9,000. The large
studio on the first floor has an impressive skylight. On the second floor are two
small bedrooms, a balcony overlooking the main floor, hall, and bath. In the
basement, the DWPC women installed a large kitchen for their club functions. This
building was designated Denver Landmark #11 in December of 1968.
Loretto Heights College
Site; 3001 South Federal Boulevard
As St. Marys Academy became overcrowded, Mother Pancratia Bonfils and
the Sisters of Loretto selected a site for a new academy for young girls. In late 1888,
the first forty acres were bought at the present-site of Federal and Yale on a high hill
with a commanding view of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. By 1890, the ground
was broken, building began, and the cornerstone laid. The next year, twenty Sisters