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Identifier: WH1269

Scope and Contents

The Allen Young Collection spans the years 1879-2001. The collection includes newspaper clippings, drafts of newspaper articles, correspondence and scrapbooks including articles written by Allen Young that represents his journalistic contributions to various newspapers and publications in Colorado and New York. The bulk of the material relates to Allen Young’s work as a journalist. Other material documents the research and writing of his book, Opera in Central City, which traces the history of the Central City Opera House from the 1870s to 1993. The research material remains organized in the same blocks of time as created by Allen Young for the chapters in his book.

Allen Young’s personal papers consist of assignments written in high school and college, memorabilia, correspondence and notes from his attendance at Denver auditions for the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera Companies. Photographs in the collection include show scenes and performers from various productions at the Central City Opera House.

At the request of the donor, this collection remains open.


The series contains newspaper clippings and drafts of articles that document Allen Young’s journalistic contributions to The Denver Post, The Lively Arts, Cervi’s Journal, Opera News, Musical America, The Daily Journal, Sentinel and Variety. These clippings and drafts provide a significant representation of Allen Young’s theatrical and musical reviews. His freelance contributions to other publications are included. Correspondence provides information on his associations with these publications, his readers and with musical organizations in the Denver area. The series includes thank you notes from Kirk Douglas and Joan Van Ark.


Materials consist of research resources used by Young for his book, Opera in Central City. Resources include newspaper clippings, programs, news releases, magazine articles, notes, brochures and correspondence.

SERIES 3 PERSONAL 1918-2001 BOX 6-7

Sample writings from his high school and college years, memorabilia, awards, correspondence and a diary dated 1986 provide insight into Young’s life. The series also includes programs and personal notes from Young’s attendance at the Denver auditions for both the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera Companies. At several of these auditions, Young served as judge.


Black and white photographs depict performers and scenes from various shows produced at the Central City Opera House. Some of the productions represented include: The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Traviata and The Barber of Seville. Most of the photographs are copies from another institution.


Twelve scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings of articles written by Young for The Denver Post, Cervi’s Journal, Cherry Creek News, City Edition, Rocky Mountain Business Journal, Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, Rocky Mountain News and Variety. The series also includes newspaper tear sheets containing Point of View columns written by Young.


  • 1879-2007

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

Allen Young was born in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 1918. As a child, Young lived in Honduras and China. He attended Shanghai American School (1929-1936), Webb School of California (1936-1937) and Occidental College (1937-1940) with one summer school session at the University of California in 1939. Young studied English and political science at the University of Chicago (1940 to 1941). His studies at the University of Chicago were interrupted from 1941 to 1945 by a military assignment in the Aleutians and Okinawa with the 802nd Aviation Engineers. He returned to the University of Chicago in 1946. Allen Young also studied at the University of Denver in 1947. On June 24, 1950, he married Barbara Stroup. He attended the University of Colorado at Denver (1964-1966).

Young’s journalistic career began in 1947 with the position of Assistant Librarian at The Denver Post. While in this position, he began writing music, theater and film articles and reviews for The Denver Post in 1948. By 1955, he was The Denver Post music columnist. From 1953 to 1957, Young also hosted a weekly radio program on KFML. He reviewed the latest musical recordings on the program. In 1957, he left The Denver Post and became public relations representative for the Music Associates of Aspen.

Later in 1957, he created The Lively Arts magazine and served as editor/publisher for its 90 issues until October 1959. From November 1959 to September 1963, he wrote the column, The Arts Sometimes Lively for Cervi’s Journal. During the 1960s, he served as the Denver correspondent for Musical America and Opera News. Concurrently, he wrote as a free-lance journalist and columnist for Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Sentinel newspapers, The Daily Journal, Straight Creek Journal and City Edition. In 1963, Young Audiences, Inc. hired him as Executive Director. He remained in that position until 1972.

From June 1973 until November 1980, he worked as Assistant Editor for the Colorado Medical Society’s publication, Rocky Mountain Medical Journal. Starting in 1963, he became a Denver correspondent for Variety for radio and television and in 1980 expanded responsibilities to include Denver music and film. Allen continues to write for this publication as of 2001. From November 1983 to July 1996, Young also wrote freelance music reviews for the Rocky Mountain News.

Over the course of his journalistic career, Young reviewed operas, plays, musicals, concerts, dance performances and art exhibits. He covered Aspen and Colorado Music Festivals, Santa Fe and Central City Opera productions and premiers such as Stagecoach. He interviewed many personalities from Denver’s performing arts communities such as Frank Ricketson, Robert Darling, Nathaniel Merrill and John Moriarity.

Young has been a board member of The Allied Arts, Incorporated 1966 to 2001. During that period, he served as President from 1974 to 1991 and as President Emeritus from 1991 to 2001. In 1996, he authored a history of this organization entitled, The Allied Arts, Inc. 1920-1995. As a member of the Friends of Chamber Music from 1965 to 2001, Allen Young served on the Board of Directors and contributed program notes to their performances. He also joined Friends of Painting and Sculpture for the Denver Art Museum.

In 1993, Young published a book, Opera in Central City. This book provides information on the history of the Central City Opera House Association and chronicles the opera and theater productions at Central City between 1932 and 1993. The publication combines history, legends, and personal recollections and observations about the opera world in Central City.

At present, Allen Young resides with his wife, Barbara, in Denver, Colorado. Currently, he is working on a book that will trace the history of opera in Denver.


9 boxes (9 linear feet)

7 folios

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

On November 4, 1997, Allen Young donated research materials used in the publication of his book, Opera in Central City, to the Denver Public Library. Allen Young donated additional papers that traced his entire journalistic career in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Janet C. Neville, Ph.D., donated the funds for processing theater collections.

Gift, Elizabeth Sweeney, 2019.


Gerry Adler

July 2001


Merrie Jo Schroeder

March 2005


Ellen Zazzarino

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States