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Benjamin Duke papers

Identifier: TMD56

Scope and Contents

Collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence (1984-1995), maps with personal notes, memorabilia, military (1942-1945) and personal (1989) papers and manuscript: Skiing Soldiers to Skiing Entrepreneurs: Development of the Colorado Ski Industry (1989).


  • 1983-1996


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical / Historical

Ben Duke (1922-1996) was born in Iowa. He enlisted in the Army August 29, 1942 at Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was living in Cook County, Illinois at the time of his enlistment. He had four years of college, and was single. Duke served with the 10th Mountain Division’s 86th Infantry Regiment, Company L. During combat in Italy, he was wounded in action on April 19, 1945. He received the Bronze Star Medal on the same date.

Following the war, Duke remained a driving force in the ski industry. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Vail Associates in 1966 and served for nearly 20 years. Most notably he served as Chairman from 1983 to 1985. He was one of the first to prompt Vail to go for the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championship, and he assumed the chair of the finance committee for that event. At the time of his death, Ben was chair of the finance committee for the 1999 World Alpine

Ski Championships as well. He also served on the board of the Vail Valley Foundation. Ben's greatest contribution to Vail was in making sure that Vail became family oriented providing something for everyone. He emphasized the importance of providing services such as ski school, children's programs and snow grooming.

As a competitor, he raced in the Rocky Mountain Division of USSA as well as in national events. In 1993 he took a third combined title in the national Masters races in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and in 1994 at Big Sky, Montana, he advanced to second overall at age 72.

One of Ben's greatest attributes was his support of family. He always attended and supported every ski event that his children and grandchildren competed in. To quote nominator Earl Clark, ‘Few have given of themselves so completely to the world of skiing and the ski industry as Ben! In spite of being deeply involved in the business world as a top level executive, he always found the time and energies to lend his skills wherever they were needed!’

To honor his relationship with the Tenth Mountain Division, Ben conceptualized and funded, with his wife Maud, the Tenth Mountain Room at the Denver Public Library. Ben was one of the founders of the Tenth Mountain Division Resource Center and tirelessly traveled the country promoting the importance of such an endeavor. He also served as a member of the Friends Foundation at the Library, and on the board of the Colorado Nature Conservancy.


.5 box(es)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift;Benjamin Duke, Jr. and Benjamin Duke III;1998.


Repository also has H. Benjamin Duke Family Papers (WH1294).


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.

Linking Entry Complexity Note

Forms part of: 10th Mountain Division Resource Center Collection.

Benjamin Duke Papers,1942-1995
Keli Schmid
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States