EVIE DENNIS PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The papers in this collection range from 1941 to 2008. Correspondence, certificates and newspaper clippings comprise the bulk of the collection. Also included are numerous photographs of international sites of the Olympics, Pan American Games and International Amateur Athletic events, along with international athletes, political figures and celebrities.
The papers in this series document Dennis' career in the Denver Public Schools. Arranged chronologically, newspaper clippings, programs and certificates comprise the papers that are arranged chronologically.
Volunteer work for the Denver All Stars track team is demonstrated in this series by a certificate and a program. Other certificates, articles, programs and newspaper clippings track Dennis' volunteer career as she worked with the Amateur Athletic Union, the Pan American Games and the Olympics.
Personal papers include awards, biographical information including resumes, papers from educational institutions and correspondence from family and friends.
Awards in the form of medals and plaques comprise the bulk of this series. Also included are Olympics memorabilia such as toys and stuffed animals.
Images of friends and family comprise a portion of this series. The bulk of the photographs portray athletes, the Olympics and other sporting events.
Plaques, certificates and framed photograph and newspaper clipping displays honoring Dennis's accomplishments comprise this series.
The collection is open for research.
Literary and copyrights - as appropriate - have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Born September 9, 1924 in Canton, Mississippi, Evie Garrett Dennis was eighth of the nine children of Reverend Eugene Garrett, who owned a small sawmill, and Ola Brown Garrett. Dennis graduated from Cameron Street High School. In 1950, she married Philip Dennis in Chicago and helped put him through medical school in St. Louis, Missouri. She had a daughter, Pia, in 1951 and in that same year, she divorced her husband.
In 1953, Dennis received a Bachelor's degree in biology from Saint Louis University. She worked as a research associate and assistant at various medical institutions to support herself and her daughter. In 1958, Dennis moved to Denver. She worked as a researcher at Children’s Asthma Research Institute, the Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children and other medical institutions until 1966. She then taught mathematics for the Denver Public Schools, starting at Lake Middle School. Returning to school to certify as a teacher, She received her Master's degree in Education from the University of Colorado in 1971. She earned her doctorate from Nova University of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1976.
In 1971, Dennis began working in the Denver Public School system administration. In 1974, she was assigned to bring together a team that would prepare students, parents and teachers for court-ordered busing. By 1977, she was Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent. Dennis continued to be promoted until she was appointed Deputy Superintendent in 1989. The next year, she became the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, a position she held until her retirement in 1994. Dennis was the first female and first African American superintendent of Denver Public Schools.
Dennis's daughter, Pia, started running in track and field events in fifth grade. She was a talented sprinter but, at the time, girls in Denver high schools did not compete with other schools. Evie Dennis helped form the Mile High Denver Track Club that was able to hold events for girls. Later, the team became the Denver All-Stars, belonging to the Amateur Athletic Union, which became the United States Amateur Athletic Union. Dennis was a member of the Rocky Mountain Association of the Amateur Athletic Union in 1975. In 1978, Dennis was elected the first female vice-president of the national association.
Originally working as a chaperone for women athletes on international trips, Dennis became a manager of the U.S. Women's Track and Field team for the Montreal Olympics in 1976. In 1980, she held the same position although the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics. Dennis became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1992. She also participated in the management of the Pan American games and the International Amateur Athletic Federation, which sponsored track and field events worldwide.
After her retirement from Denver Public Schools in 1994, Mayors Federico Pena and Wellington Webb appointed Dennis to special positions. In 1986 and 1988, Mayor Federico Pena assigned her to the Denver Private Industry Council and to his Mayor's Black Advisory Committee. Dennis received numerous awards and honors. In 1992, she received the Olympic Order for outstanding service to the Olympic cause. In 1994, the National Black Caucus of State Legislatures honored her with a Nation Builder Award. In 1998, Dennis was inducted into the Colorado Sportswomen Hall of Fame and, in 2008, she was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
2 Oversize Boxes
2 oversize folios
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Evie Dennis donated her papers to the Denver Public Library on June 15, 2005. Funding for processing provided by an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant.
Number of Boxes: 3 (3 lf.)
Number of PhotoBoxes: 7
Oversize: 2 OVBoxes, 2 OVFolios
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
- African American teachers -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- African American women school superintendents -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- EVIE DENNIS PAPERS
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Denver Public Library, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Repository
2401 Welton St.
Denver Colorado 80205