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Identifier: WH741

Scope and Contents

The Fortnightly Club Recprds include meeting minutes, the constitution, by-laws and committee reports which span the years 1881 to 2022. Files for each member include papers written for the Club as well as personal information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, memorial pamphlets or personal writings. Yearbooks contain the constitution, by-laws, programs and a list of members with the date they joined. Of note is an interview with Dr. Florence Sabin located in Audio-Visual Series 5.

Series 1 Operations 1881-2017 Box 1-5

The series contains the constitution and by-laws. The Club Secretary originally recorded meeting minutes in journals, which are also included in the series. Committee and treasurer reports, loose minutes, yearbooks, information about events, including the Louis Ward Arps Essay Contest, and Club gatherings, such as Anniversary events, comprise the rest of the series.

Series 2 Members 1870-2017 Box 5-13

Material by or about a Club member, including correspondence by the member and their papers for the Club are included in this series. The series is organized alphabetically by member's last name and includes each member's maiden name as well as their husband's first names if known. Unidentified member correspondence and papers are at the end of the series.

Series 3 Related Women's Clubs 1905-1927 Box 13

Programs, yearbooks, and directories from the Colorado Federation of Women's Clubs comprise the series.

Series 4 Memorabilia 1885, 1926, 1976, 1992-1999, undated Box 13, Trunk

The series includes copper printing plates, the print block for the yearbook cover, badges and pins, the keys to the original chest and articles about other Fortnightly Clubs.

Series 5 Audio-Visual 1951-1981 AVBox 1

An interview with Dr. Florence Sabin, a talk by Rosamond McLean and an audio Fortnightly Club paper by Mary Elizabeth Yates on jazz make up the series.

Series 6 Oversize 1956, undated OvBox 1

The oversize series contains a 75th Anniversary scrapbook and a book of photographs from Japan presented to the Club by Mrs. Helen Chain. The chest, as club members called it, was used to store the club's archives and collection of papers written and presented by members, is included in the series.

Series 7 Photographs 1844-2008 PhotoBox 1, 2, PhotoOVFF 1

Black-and-white and color photographs comprise this collection. The photographs portray members, their homes and events of the club. Black-and-white glass slides from the last part of the 19th century, circa 1890, portray Colorado scenes and personalities.

Series 8 Digital Files 2010-2011, Library I: Drive

This series contains two biographical directories of Denver Fortnightly Club members from 2010 and 2011. The directories contain color images of members and were created as .doc files. The two original .doc files (totaling 29.8 MB and two folders) were transferred from two compact discs to Denver Public Library servers.

Series 9 Unprocessed Materials 2017-2023, Box 14

Contains meeting minutes, committee reports, essays, programs, photographs, and member directories from 2017 through 2022.


  • 1844-2023

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


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

Eleven Denver women organized the Denver Fortnightly Club on April 13, 1881. They sought more mental stimulation than their lives previously had provided. They met at the home of Mrs. Charles Denison, 1400 Champa Street, who was the grandmother of another Fortnightly member, Carla Swan Coleman. Mrs. Denison's friends lived nearby and across Cherry Creek. Minutes of this first meeting reflected that their purpose was "to organize a society for mutual benefit in study and thought upon subjects as may present themselves for consideration." They planned to meet each fortnight in winter in one of their homes, with different members presenting the programs.

In October 1881, two more ladies joined, and a decade later forty-one members comprised the Club. The essays on a topic chosen by the author fell in one of four categories: art and history, current topics, literature or social science. The week before the essayist presented the paper, the appropriate committee would read it and could pass or reject it. If passed, members of the committee prepared to critique it following the reading at the meeting. This tradition was the forerunner of the present custom of having a chair of the day introduce the essayist and conduct the discussion.

Other traditions have survived. A member becomes president in the chronological order of her election to membership, assuring that each member eventually assumes that responsibility. The original order of business is still the accepted format for meetings. The year's most outstanding papers are still selected by an anonymous committee to be preserved in the Denver Public Library's Western History/Genealogy Department. Membership is often a family tradition with daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters participating together. Members of the past and present include well-known scientists, artists, educators, city planners, landscape architects, writers, legislators as well as business and civic leaders. - by the Denver Fortnightly Club.


14 boxes (14 linear feet)

2 PhotoBoxes

1 Photo folder

29.8 Megabytes

1 OVBox

1 Audiovisual box

1 Item (wooden chest)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Club members Carla Swan Coleman, Louisa Arps, Janis Falkenberg, Kathy Price and others have donated the club's papers, beginning in the 1950s and continuing up to the present. The collection remains open for additional material. Gift, Julie Anderies, 2022. Gift, Julie Anderies, 2023.

Cynthia Rand, Ann Brown, Katie Rudolph
2004, 2011-2012, 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

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