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Identifier: WH1996

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of materials written and collected by Hugh Fowler as a Colorado State Senator. Though he served from 1968 to 1980 the bulk of the papers range from 1972 to 1975. Records also document his advertising business from 1969 to 1975.

The bulk of Fowler's legislative papers relate to education. As a commissioner on the Education Commission of the States, some of the materials relate to national education issues.

The collection includes bills and acts proposed and passed by the state legislature in draft and final form. Education topics include: accountability, Auraria, Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Committee on Denver Area Schools, discipline, extended school year, special education, teacher salaries, collective bargaining, and tenure.

Records relating to Fowler's advertising business document the company's activities. At times it was referred to as Fowler and More and Allman and Company, but with no clear differentiation as to when that change occurred - all records here are referred to as Fowler and More and Company. These records include client lists and files, carbon copies of statements, letters regarding past due accounts, legal actions and correspondence between the firm and its clients. Numerous research reports on small companies done for the Small Business Administration are contained in the collection.


This series comprises the legislative papers related to various issues and bills involving education. Documents from other legislatures and other states dealing with similar issues are included. Correspondence with constituents is also contained in this series, as are items pertaining to Fowler's work as a commissioner on the Education Commission of the States. Publications by a wide range of teacher organizations, educational institutions, and individuals are also retained in this series, though Fowler had no role in their creation. These papers are arranged alphabetically within general subjects and then chronologically within those subjects.


This series comprises invoices, statements, correspondence, and other documents relating to the clients of the advertising firm of which Hugh Fowler was president, Fowler and More and Company. Reports for the Small Business Administration on numerous small companies are included in this series. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically.


  • 1969-1980

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

Hugh Charles Fowler was born May 21, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, as was his slightly younger twin brother, Frank Parker Fowler, Jr. Their father, Frank Parker Fowler, was born in Blair, Nebraska, December 14, 1896. He served in World War I as a radioman on the U.S.S. Siboney, and graduated (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1921 from the University of Nebraska. He went to work as a traveling salesman for Denoyer-Geppert, a Chicago publisher of classroom aids including wall maps, globes, and scientific equipment.

The twins’ mother was Dorothy Valentine Hinckley Fowler, a homemaker born in Chicago on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1902. She was named for P.S. Valentine, Armour’s partner in the meatpacking business and her father’s (Charles Newman Hinckley) employer.

In June,1943, Hugh Fowler graduated from Evanston (Illinois) Township High School and immediately enlisted in the US Navy Reserve (V-12), while attending the University of Wisconsin from 1943-1944. He was transferred into the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Colorado in February of 1944. At Boulder he was commissioned an Ensign in the Naval Reserve and subsequently stationed in Guam for most of a year, returning in the fall of 1946 to Boulder. Fowler graduated from the University of Colorado in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.

On July 7, 1949, he married Shirley Sprague, whom he had met during his senior year. He was recalled to active duty by the U.S. Navy in 1951 during the Korean conflict, serving as a fire control officer on a heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Bremerton. Their daughter, Laurie Lynn, was born June 6, 1952, in Glendale, California, before Fowler returned from Korea. Their second child, Hugh Charles "Chuck" Fowler, Jr., was born in Denver, Colorado, on May 8, 1954.

Fowler began his business career in 1948 with Red Comet, Incorporated, a Littleton, Colorado, manufacturer of fire extinguishers. He was a door-to-door salesman in Baca County, Colorado and did very well selling fire extinguishers to farmers who were growing broomcorn. He became promotion manager.

Following sea duty in Korea, he spent some time in a naval hospital and returned to the Reserve Training Center in Denver as Training Officer, specializing in Sonar/Radar/Operations, he separated from active duty in 1954 and received his discharge in 1958.

Fowler worked for Rogers Publishing in Englewood, Colorado from 1954 to 1958 as promotion and then business manager. He also wrote columns for international engineering magazines. In 1958, he became co-owner and general manager of Denver Metals and Chemicals Corporation, a precision machine shop and fiberglass lay-up operation. From 1959 to 1962 he was vice president and general manager of the Tool and Armstrong Advertising Agency in Denver. He then served as Regional Vice President for Campbell-Mithun Advertising from 1962-1965.

In 1965, he started Hugh Fowler and Company, a marketing communications agency which later became Fowler and More and Company in partnership with John More. It operated until 1975. Fowler was Chairman, President and Creative Director of the agency. After closing the agency Fowler worked as a Vice-President of Gregg and Company, a national financial planning firm, doing financial planning for corporate executives.

From 1976-1980 Fowler was in business (HMO Systems, Inc.) with his brother, Parker, (PhD, Berkeley, math and operations research) developing and operating the first data-base administration system, on a mini-computer, for health-care delivery systems. In 1981, he was chosen by Hillsdale College (MI) as a Vice-president for the Shavano Institute, a Colorado outreach conservative think tank. He was Executive Director of the “Counterpoint” TV series.

Fowler held several offices, including Secretary, of the Arapahoe County Republican Party from 1958 until 1970. Disappointed with the education his children were receiving in the Littleton schools, he ran for state Senator in 1968 in a heavily Republican area covering Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Littleton, and Sheridan. He survived a close primary and was eventually elected. He served as State Senator from District 20 for 12 years putting great emphasis on educational issues. In 1973, Fowler was appointed as a commissioner on the Education Commission of the States, and from 1982 to 1994 was the Colorado Commissioner for Presidential Scholars (both volunteer jobs).

Fowler was active in the Presbyterian Church, Denver Ad Club (Vice-President), and Association of Industrial Advertisers (President), as a Scoutmaster (Troop 344, 1960-1968), and President of the Colorado Carwash Association. He also founded and served as President of the Narrow Gauge Preservation Society. As a rookie senator, in 1969, Fowler sponsored the joint purchase of 65 miles of abandoned Denver Rio Grande Western Rail Road narrow gauge railroad. Now known as the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, it runs from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. The scenic railroad, operated jointly by Colorado and New Mexico as a tourist attraction, is also a vital economic engine in the San Luis Valley.

Fowler, author of the first Colorado law to prohibit smoking in public spaces (1977), also sponsored legislation in 1979 to reorganize higher education and also to re-establish light rail service in the Denver Metropolitan area but was so disappointed when the college bill was defeated by one vote and the light-rail bill was killed in conference committee that he decided to leave the legislature. He was quoted in The Rocky Mountain News [April 26, 1980, p. 8] from a letter he wrote to his constituents: "It would be great to leave public office with a feeling of total accomplishment, but our form of government - which I support whole-heartedly - denies to an individual the kind of satisfaction he would earn in the private sector for a similar level of industry or creativity."

After leaving the Colorado Senate in 1980, he was elected to the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado. He declined to run for a second six-year term in 1988. He under-took an automotive service business in Englewood, then in 1994 established Classic Schools, Inc., founding (1995) the Cherry Creek Academy, the only Charter School in the Cherry Creek School District, and several other very successful Core Knowledge charter schools. In August, 2008, he retired from six years service on the Colorado State Capitol Building Advisory Committee, the last three as Chairman. Fowler continues to satisfy a life-long interest in music, singing (bass) in church choirs, and is the patriarch of a family including three grandchildren: Yaisa, Nathan and Emily, and three great-grandchildren: Lise, Mya, and Luka. He is a 25-year member of the Pinehurst Country Club and a bogey golfer.


6 boxes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Hugh C. Fowler, 2007.


Roger L. Dudley

January 2008


Ellen Zazzarino

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