BENJAMIN DRAPER PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Materials found in the Benjamin Draper Collection cover the years 1859-1977. The collection includes all the research notes, informational sources and the rough drafts that Benjamin Draper used in his dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Denver in Colorado.
Information in the collection does, however, extend beyond the actual content of the dissertation, Colorado Theatres 1859-1969. Collection material also includes biographical sketches on Colorado stage performers, an index of plays produced in Colorado theatres and a copy of the doctoral dissertation, The Theatrical History of Greeley, Colorado 1870-1908, by Kenneth Jones for the University of Denver.
In order to preserve the integrity of the collection, all items are listed according to the research order established by Benjamin Draper.
Also included is the general correspondence of Benjamin Draper from 1938 to 1977, articles and papers written by Draper, and papers concerning Helen G. Bonfils and Ida Kruse McFarlane.
The series consists of a speech written by Benjamin Draper for a presentation to the Denver Public Library and binder sheets listing the titles of plays, their performances in Colorado cities and performance dates from 1859-1967.
Materials include a copy of Kenneth Jones's doctoral dissertation and binder sheets listing plays produced only in Aspen, Denver, Georgetown, Leadville and Pueblo, Colorado. The sheets also provide information regarding the theaters, performance dates (1859-1957), companies and show descriptions.
Binder sheets contain short biographical sketches of numerous actors/actresses, who performed in Colorado.
This series reflects the research compiled by Benjamin Draper for his doctoral dissertation, Colorado Theatres 1859-1969. The rough drafts designate Colorado location by city/town, a short descriptive history and information on any local theaters. Correspondence and hand-written notes frequently indicate research sources.
This series contains biographical material written by Draper, notes and drafts for articles, doctoral dissertation on history of Colorado theaters, and television scripts. A transcript of an interview of Draper conducted by Mill Valley Public Library Oral History Committee is also included in the series.
Letters to Benjamin P. Draper, newspaper clippings on legal battle for control of The Denver Post, Bonfil's death and disputed will, and theater programs are contained in this series.
This series contains correspondence about McFarlane, biographical material, notes and drafts for articles about her written by Draper, a theater program and her self-help text.
Benjamin Draper's correspondence comprises the bulk of this series. Also included are family newsletters and Christmas cards.
Benjamin Draper took the bulk of the photographs in this series. The series contains photographic prints, negatives and transparencies. Most images depict exterior views of theaters throughout Colorado. Limited copies of older images depicting cast members and stage performances are also included. Images are arranged alphabetically by city.
Copies of black and white photographs taken by photographer Glenn B. Vetesk during the dedication of a marker to the naming of Mount Wilcox for Edward John Wilcox at Waldorf, Colorado on August 1, 1948. Edward John Wilcox (1857-1928) built and managed the Argentine Central Railroad. Draper is one of the individuals pictured in a number of the images.
The collection is open for research.
Literary rights and copyrights are 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.
Although born on July 10, 1907, in Hot Springs County, Arkansas, Benjamin Poff Draper considered himself a Colorado native. After his mother, Lillian Poff Draper, died in 1914, Benjamin Draper and his father, William Eliot Draper, moved to Denver, Colorado. Benjamin Draper attended Hyde Park School and Manual Training High School in Denver. He graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in speech and drama. Later, he received his Master's in English literature from the same institution. Benjamin Draper earned a Ph.D. in economics from Chicago University and a Ph.D. in theater from the University of Denver.
Benjamin Draper's interest in theater began as a member of the Child Players in 1917. He and his sister performed as extras in Robert B. Mantel's production of Julius Caesar at the old Broadway Theatre in Denver. From 1929-1936, Benjamin Draper held the position of stage manager at the University Civic Theatre, which later became the Bonfils Theatre. As assistant to Ida Kruse McFarlane and Anne Evans at the Central City Festival in the 1930s, he began his initial research into the history of Colorado theaters.
During his high school and college years, Benjamin Draper began his employment with the city of Denver as a messenger boy in the state auditor's office. After his graduation from the University of Denver in 1928, he worked as a payroll auditor and then received a promotion to a position in the mayor's office. In 1936, he moved to Illinois in order to pursue a doctoral degree in economics. World War II interrupted his studies and he became economic advisor to the United States military government. Benjamin Draper served as a Coast Guardsman; he also pursued careers as a writer, a researcher, a historian, a bibliographer, a playwright, an award-winning poet and a pioneer TV producer and scriptwriter.
In 1946, Benjamin Draper ran for the position of State Representative for Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Summit and Pitkin Counties. In 1947, he met and married Barbara McCracken. In 1948, he received an appointment as Director of the Colorado Resources Development Council and he was President of Georgetown Enterprises, Inc., an organization formed for the purpose of restoration of the famous mining town.
After relocating to California in 1949, Benjamin Draper began working for the National Broadcasting Company as an executive producer. For the California Academy of Sciences, he founded and produced the San Francisco Bay area TV series entitled Science in Action. The series won several Emmy awards and the Payne Communications Award. While a professor of broadcast communications at San Francisco State University, he earned an Emmy for his efforts in facilitating the Broadcast Industry Conference.
In 1958, Benjamin Draper won the Westinghouse History Award for his TV show about Sir Francis Drake. Following this award, he became a member of the Drake Navigators Guild and in 1959, he won the Browning Society Award for his dramatic monologue on Sir Francis Drake. Benjamin Draper spent twenty years compiling a bibliography on Drake's voyage. In conjunction with Assemblyman William Bagley, Senator Peter Behr and the California Governor's office, he was progenitor of the bill that created the Sir Francis Drake Commission.
In June 1972, Benjamin Poff Draper presented his Colorado Theater Collection to the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library. His doctoral dissertation, Colorado Theatres 1859-1969, details 1,537 theater structures in Colorado and relates their histories to 517 different communities.
Benjamin Poff Draper died of a heart attack on the 73rd anniversary of his birth, July 10, 1980.
13 Boxes (11.75 linear feet)
1 microfilm reel
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
On December 7, 1975, Benjamin Poff Draper donated the Colorado Theater Collection to the Denver Public Library. Janet C. Neville, Ph.D., donated the funds that made the processing of this collection possible.
Number of Boxes: 13 (11.75 linear feet)
Number of PhotoBoxes: 1
Microfilm (Mflm34): 1 reel
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
Merrie Jo Schroeder
- Actors -- Colorado -- 19th century -- History. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Dissertations. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Microfilms. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Mt. Wilcox (Colo.). Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Personal papers. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Research (document genres). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Theater programs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Theaters -- Colorado -- Denver -- History. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Theaters -- Colorado -- History. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Theaters -- Colorado -- Pictorial works. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- BENJAMIN DRAPER PAPERS
- Revised January 2009
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script