CARL M. WILLIAMS PAPERS
Scope and Contents
Carl M. Williams was one of the earliest cable television entrepreneurs. He began with a small system in Wyoming, which soon expanded to Denver, Colorado, and later to California and Florida. This collection reflects virtually none of his business activities. Rather, it details his political activities, first as a successful candidate for the Colorado State Senate, and then as a behind-the-scenes worker on various campaigns, but mostly as a donor to candidates for all levels of government. His involvement at the highest levels of the Republican party put Williams into direct contact with presidents, their staffs, and many members of Congress. Their handwritten signatures and some notes and letters to him are sprinkled throughout this collection. He was frequently invited to attend small gatherings with notable politicians. The bulk of Williams' collection revolves around funding. He provided thousands of dollars to candidates for all types of offices and raised thousands more from his friends in support of candidates he liked. He also supported the Republican party both nationally and locally.
One series represents the efforts of Williams and others to erect a bronze likeness of Colorado native and Apollo XIII astronaut Jack Swigert for Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building. The fund raising and planning efforts of the Jack Swigert Memorial Commission are particularly interesting.
Papers relating to Williams' campaign for state senator and his one term in office comprise the bulk of this series. Issues Williams advocated while in office and after he left office are also present, especially the area of drug use and abuse. This series is arranged chronologically.
The bulk of this series comprises correspondence between Williams and those he supported in their quest for elective office. He served on the finance committees of several candidates, which resulted in more detailed information about their campaigns. Papers are arranged alphabetically.
This series comprises papers related primarily to the operation of the Colorado Republican party, although there are a few papers from California and Wyoming at the end of the series. Williams served as State Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party from 1972-1974. He was a leading contributor of funds, which placed him in several elite groups, the Colorado Elephant Club and Lincoln Club among them, and this series, arranged chronologically, reflects those activities.
The bulk of this series features presidential and vice presidential candidates soliciting funds from Williams. Those candidates whom Williams actively supported, such as Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 1999, contain a good deal of financial information because he was typically on the finance committee of the candidates' campaign teams. Personal letters of thanks from candidates were common, which often asked him for additional contributions. Williams usually wrote the amount of his donation on the letter as an instruction to his staff. This series is arranged chronologically.
This series includes items documenting Williams' activities with the Republican National Committee and several other smaller groups that required a certain level of financial commitment in order to become a member. The Republican Political Action Committee, GOPAC, is included, as are Team 100 and the Republican Eagles. This series is arranged chronologically.
The bulk of this series comprises correspondence between Williams and those he contributed financial and other support to in their quest for various elective offices. If other than Colorado the state is noted in brackets. Some requests from organizations are also included in this series, which is arranged chronologically.
Arranged chronologically, the bulk of this small series comprises correspondence between Williams, the Wyoming party leadership, and those to whome he contributed financial and other support in their quest for elective office in Wyoming.
This series comprises the planning, fund-raising and execution of the memorial statue that was placed in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building on May 22, 1997. Committee documents comprise a significant part of this series, as do the acknowledgments for donations by individuals and foundations. All are arranged chronologically .
This series contains posters, maps and other documents primarily related to campaigning and fund-raising.
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
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.
Carl Michael Williams was born November 9, 1928 in Douglas, Wyoming, the fourth son of John Walter and Eleanor Powers Williams. His father was a second generation cattle rancher in Wyoming and his mother, Eleanor, was born in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, John Torrence Williams, moved West in 1878 and never returned to Wisconsin. Williams married the former Lizzie Ragsdale, and together the couple had three children, and acquired the land that eventually became a 33,000-acre ranch.
Williams attended school in Douglas and served as president of his junior class. After being named an all-conference football player, he graduated from high school in 1946. He attended the University of Wyoming from 1946-1948, and completed his bachelors degree in economics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1950. After graduation he joined the U.S. Air Force, training at Goodfellow Air Force Base (San Angelo, Texas), and Williams Air Force Base (Chandler, Arizona), to become a fighter pilot. He served until 1952, and subsequently attained the rank of Captain in the Air National Guard while serving from 1953-1958. In 1956, he received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D.) from the University of Wyoming.
Williams practiced law in Wyoming and was the attorney for the Wyoming House of Representatives during the 1957 session. Williams moved to Denver in 1957 where he co-founded with Bill Daniels, Televents, Inc., a Colorado cable television company. Williams served first as General Counsel and, ultimately, became sole shareholder and president. He expanded the business to California, Wyoming, and Florida and served on the Board of Directors of the National Cable Television Association and the Colorado Cable Television Association. In October of 1986, Western Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) acquired Televents Group Inc. for $145 million.
Carl M. Williams married Ginny Lee Downer on December 29, 1957, and they had two children, Eleanor Lee Payne and Michael Carl. They divorced in 1996. In 1997, Williams married Lisa Peterson Wait. She had two children, Jacqueline and Bryan, from a previous marriage.
Williams' father had been active in Wyoming politics. Carl followed his lead, working first as an area coordinator for the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign in 1964, then as an area lieutenant for Colorado district 17 in 1965-1966. This was followed by his election as the Republican precinct committeeman for 1966-1968. In 1968, Williams ran as a Republican and was elected State Senator from Colorado's 9th District. During his four-year term in office, he sponsored legislation on environment, health, welfare and law enforcement. He also served as Chairman of the State Senate Affairs Committee. He did not run for reelection in 1972, choosing instead to work behind the scenes on behalf of candidates, and to support them with donations. He was elected Colorado Republican State Chairman in 1974, and to the Republican National Committee in 1975. In 1976, he founded the Colorado Elephant Club, a Republican finance support group. He was a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention.
Williams has served on numerous councils and committees including: the GOP State Committee, Governing Council of Denver's Community Colleges, Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Mountain States Legal Foundation, National Cable Television Center, and the Foundation for Drug Education.
Williams displayed a keen interest in flying during childhood when his father was a pilot. He wanted to fly during the Korean War so much so that he had surgery to correct a health problem that would have prevented his acceptance into the military. His experience as a fighter pilot along with his service in the Colorado National Guard fueled his passion for flying, which resulted in his ownership of more than a dozen aircraft over the years. He held ratings for commercial, multi-engine, single engine, instruments, and seaplane. Williams was a member of the Colorado Pilots Association, Colorado Aviation Historical Society, Colorado Antique Airplane Association, International Aerobatic Club, and even competed in aerobatic contests. Williams was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in 1997. His lifelong passion for flight led him to help create the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, which awarded him their inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Williams was co-chair of the Jack Swigert Memorial Committee, which placed a statue of the Colorado native, astronaut (Apollo XIII), and elected congressman in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The committee raised the funds necessary for the sculpture, and on May 22, 1997 the bronze statue was unveiled.
Williams later served as president of Carl M. Williams and Associates. He was active in politics, philanthropy and education. His philanthropic efforts at the University of Wyoming and the University of Denver were designed to advance the discussion of ethics. He was a member of the University of Denver Board of Trustees and benefactor of DU's Carl M. Williams Institute of Ethics and Values, established in 1998.
Carl M. Williams died in Denver, Colorado on November 27, 2015.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift, Carl Williams, 2008.
Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.
PROCESSED AND ENCODED BY:
Roger L. Dudley
- Administrative records. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Colorado -- Politics and government -- History. Subject Source: Naf
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Legislators -- Colorado -- Biography. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Political campaigns. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Politics. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Republican National Committee (U.S.).
- Republican Party (Colo.). Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Senates. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Williams, Carl M., 1928- -- Archives.
- Language of description
- Script of description