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Identifier: WH155


The papers in this collection reflect French's interests, primarily genealogy (others as well as her own) and the history of Denver. The papers of the Colorado Genealogical Society, the Morning Study Club and the Territorial Daughters of Colorado comprise a large part of the collection. Historical research notes and articles constitute another portion of the collection. French's diaries are included in the last part of the collection.
SERIES 1 ORGANIZATIONS 1914-1972 BOX 1 Meeting minutes, correspondence, lists of members, annual reports, financial records and handwritten notes comprise this collection of papers of the Colorado Genealogical Society, the Morning Study Club and the Territorial Daughters of Colorado. The meeting minutes for the Morning Study Club include lists of members and the waiting list for membership. The Territorial Daughters of Colorado completed family tree forms for their own genealogies with some family histories written on the backs of the forms.
SERIES 2 HISTORICAL RESEARCH 1952-1962 BOX 2 French's research into early Colorado and Denver historical topics constitutes this series. The topics are arranged alphabetically. Articles compose a portion of the series. Another portion of the series includes notes written as a result of research (usually with the source provided). The series also contains research done by French for Edwina Fallis who wrote When Denver and I Were Young.
SERIES 3 PERSONAL 1832-1974 BOX 3-5 A portion of this series consists of fiction and poetry written by French. The rest of the personal papers are divided into French's own genealogy, family records and diaries.

French wrote most of the diaries after her mother died. For the most part, the diary entries are brief, chronicling the daily weather. However, one diary, written in 1890 when French was 11 and 12 years old, describes life on a Colorado horse ranch in the last part of the nineteenth century. This diary includes long, colorful entries. Excerpts from this diary were selected for publication in Lives of American Women edited by Joyce D. Goodfriend and Claudia M. Christie. The series includes a typed transcription of the excerpts from the diary.
SERIES 4 OVERSIZE 1956-1958 OVFOLIO 1 The scrapbook in this series contains newspaper clippings of Denver, Colorado history.
SERIES 5 PHOTOGRAPHS 1859-1972 PHOTOBOX 1-3 This series contains photographs of French's family and friends from the nineteenth and twentieth century. French's ancestors including the Atwoods, the Stones, the French family and the Willis family are well represented in the collection. A photographer's family (Frank Hardy) from the Northeast that was related by marriage to the Stone family is also well represented in the photographs. French also collected photographs from her Denver High School (later East High School) classmates in the 1895 graduating class. Most are identified and some of the women have their marriage dates and married names noted on the backs.

The series also contains a photograph album of an unidentified Kansas farm family from around 1919.


  • 1832-1974


The collection is open for research.


The Adelaide French Papers are the physical property of 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.


Adelaide French's father, S. Willis French, a realtor, moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Denver, Colorado for his wife's health in 1875. Soon afterwards, his wife and their daughter died. He returned to Boston to marry his wife's sister, Grace Alice Stone. The couple moved to Denver, Colorado where Adelaide Aurora French was born on June 22, 1878. She had four brothers, Sidney, George, Franklin Gay and Richard.

French lived in Denver for the first seven years of her life until 1886 when her father moved the family to a ranch about five miles out of the city (now between the streets of Pecos, Zuni, Mississippi and Florida). They remained on the ranch until 1903. French attended country schools until high school. She attended and graduated from the Denver High School (later East High School) in 1895.

French taught school in the Kiowa and Happy Canyon country schools in Douglas County from 1897 to 1899. In a memoir, French described arriving at the train station for her new teaching assignment. Since nobody met her at the station, she waited until a passerby offered her a ride. The school turned out to be a small sod house with a dirt floor, no outhouse and no water. Her living arrangement was with an elderly woman who also lived in a sod house with a dirt floor and no outhouse. The circumstances were difficult, but French taught for a few months. Eventually, she returned to Denver and assumed the care of her invalid mother.

French started the Morning Study Club in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver to pursue intellectual interests. Meeting once a week, the club members discussed current events, literature, politics and history. French frequently held positions in the club, serving as president, treasurer, secretary or historian.

During World War I, French volunteered for the Red Cross from 1914 to 1919. In later years, she spent most of her time working with The Territorial Daughters of Colorado and the Colorado Genealogical Society. For both organizations, she often served as an officer, usually president. At the same time, French worked on her own genealogy, particularly the French, Willis, Stone and Atwood families. She studied Denver and Colorado history and frequently spoke to various clubs and organizations.

In 1971, French broke her hip and recovered slowly. French died June 27, 1974. She is buried in Riverside Cemetery.


5 boxes (5 linear feet)

1 oversize folio

1 oversize folder

3 photo boxes

Language of Materials



Adelaide French bequeathed her papers to the Denver Public Library in her will. After her death in 1974, the papers were delivered to the library.

Physical Description



Number of Boxes: 6

Oversize: 1 OVFolio, 1 OVFF

Photoboxes: 2 (1.5 lf)

OVPhotoboxes: 1




Ann Brown

July 2007



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