GERALD KOPEL PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The papers range from 1950 to 2011, the bulk covering the years in which Kopel was a reporter, editor, legislator and unpaid assistant to legislators. Bills, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and memos regarding legislative issues comprise the bulk of the collection. Kopel's working papers, notes, speech transcripts and newspaper columns also constitute a part of the collection. Papers from Kopel's many neighborhood organizations are also included in the collection as well as papers having to do with Jewish issues.
A few personal papers, mostly those having to do with organizations and his family, comprise a small portion of the collection.
Correspondence and newspaper clippings comprise this series reflecting Kopel's career as a reporter for Walsenburg, Colorado Springs and Denver newspapers as well as a stringer for United Press International.
Legal papers, correspondence, speech transcripts, articles and certificates constitute this series detailing Kopel's private practice as an attorney.
Arranged by legislative year, then alphabetically by topic, the legislative papers consist of: campaign literature for elections, drafts and final copies of bills, correspondence about legislative issues and newspaper clippings both about legislative issues and columns written by Kopel.
Of interest in this series are the papers from the 1978 election. Having lost in 1976 to Paul Swalm, Kopel mounted a comprehensive campaign to be elected in 1978. The correspondence, campaign literature, speech transcripts and volunteer forms reflect the breadth of this successful effort.
Again arranged by year, scrapbooks created by Kopel with key correspondence and bills constitute the last part of the series. The scrapbook pages were arranged by Kopel loosely following the progress of the legislative sessions.
Arranged alphabetically by the name of the organization, then chronologically, meeting minutes, correspondence and newspaper clippings comprise this series. Newsletters containing articles written by Kopel or about Kopel are included. Pages from scrapbooks created by Kopel constitute the last part of the series.
Papers documenting awards, legal articles and Kopel's retirement comprise this series.
Papers documenting awards a Denver Public Library display celebrating Kopel's role in freeing the "Refuseniks" comprise this series.
Audiotapes and one videotape form this series. The audiotapes consist of testimony by Paul Swalm, Kopel's 1976 and 1978 Republican opponent, speeches by Kopel about various legislative issues and radio broadcasts by Kopel.
This series contains newspaper articles written by Kopel and political campaign posters. The 1950 to 1951 articles were published in the Silver and Gold (the University of Colorado newspaper for which Kopel was news editor), The World-Independent and the Huerfano County News (local Walsenburg, Colorado newspapers). After retiring from the House of Representatives in 1992, Kopel wrote frequent articles about legislative issues for The Colorado Statesman. These articles comprise a portion of the series. The library retains copies of The Colorado Statesman, which contain other Kopel columns.
The bulk of the photographs portray Democratic activists, governors, mayors, members of the Colorado House of Representatives along with a few family photographs in print format, usually in color. A number of these photographs appear in Kopel campaign brochures. Also included are photographs of Kopel in his role as a journalist.
The series contains research files belonging to Jerry Kopel, donated by the Kopel family in 2015. Contents include mostly newspaper clippings and articles covering gambling and the Colorado Lottery, files (organized alphabetically) on various issues related to Colorado political and legal concerns, and clippings about Colorado and national elections from 1992-2010.
The collection is open for research.
Literary and copyrights - as appropriate - have been 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.
Gerald H. "Jerry" Kopel was born in 1928 in Baltimore, MD, to Benjamin and Lillian Koplowitz. His father, born in New York, was a pianist in a hotel orchestra. His mother was born in Maryland, and all of Jerry's grandparents were from Russia. He changed his last name to Kopel in 1957. He completed service for the U.S. Army Engineers in Panama in 1947. He then attended the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1948, where he majored in journalism and was managing editor of the school paper, Silver and Gold. Kopel also met his future wife, Dolores, at the University of Colorado. They married in 1952. Graduating in 1951, he was employed as a journalist at the Walsenburg World-Independent, Colorado Springs Free Press and The Rocky Mountain News, where he became active in the AFL-CIO, American Newspaper Guild. Kopel attended the University of Denver Law school from 1955-1958. He graduated in 1958 Cum Laude, first in his class. He started a law practice with his wife. Dolores Kopel had attended University of Denver Law School directly after of college, also graduating Cum Laude, and becoming an attorney in 1954. Jerry Kopel also served as special assistant attorney general for Colorado from 1958-1961, drafting bills for the legislature. With the birth of their first son David, the family moved to Park Hill in 1960, where Jerry Kopel joined and later was chairman of the Park Hill Action Committee.
From 1958 to 1985, Kopel directed a review course preparing law students for their bar examinations. This was a five to six week course held twice a year.
Active in local Denver politics as a Democrat, Kopel ran for the Colorado House of Representatives thirteen times and won eleven elections (1965-67, 1971-1977, 1979-1993). Between 1967-1998, he sent a quarterly newsletter, called Jerry Kopel's Report, to up to 2,000 constituents, even after retirement. He served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 1975-1976, the Statutory Revision Committee from 1981-1985, Legal Services Committee in 1976, Commissioner on Uniform State Laws from 1975-1976, and assistant minority leader between 1983-1988.
In 1992, Kopel announced his retirement from the legislature after twenty-two years in office. Constituents and fellow legislatures knew him best as an expert on the state constitution, amending bills, chief sponsor of credit issues, health issues including generic drug substitution, Fair Housing, and Sunset legislation. He is also known for his musical repertoire on the piano. Kopel wrote a weekly political column beginning in 1993 for The Colorado Statesman and staring in 2000 he wrote for the Haxtun-Fleming Herald, Rocky Ford Gazette, The Clear Creek Courant, and The Pueblo Chieftain. He was appointed to the Denver Election Commission in 1995.
Award Kopel received include: Civil Rights Award, Anti-Defamation League, 1991; Distinguished Legislative Award, ACLU, 1992; National Legislative Award, Council on Licensing Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR), 1992; and seven annual awards from the Colorado Press Association for his statesman columns.
Kopel died January 21, 2012.
1 audiovisual boxes
1 OVBox, 1 OVFolio, 1 OVFF
2 photo boxes
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Gerald Kopel donated his papers from 1993 to 2012. The Kopel family donated additional material in 2015. The collection remains open for additional material. Funds for processing the collection were donated by Kopel.
Number of Boxes: 45
Oversize: 1 OVBox, 1 OVFolio, 1 OVFF
PROCESSED AND ENCODED BY:
Roger L. Dudley
- Clippings (information artifacts). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Legislators -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Newsletters. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Professional papers. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Sunset reviews of government programs -- Colorado. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- GERALD KOPEL PAPERS
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