*Note: This list is not complete, nor is the inclusion of individuals meant to imply endorsement by the State of Colorado or the Colorado State Archives. The biographical information has been provided as a service only.
Literature - Entertainment - Artists - Musicians - Athletics - Politicians - Businesspeople
Thomas Hornsby Ferril - Poet Laureate of Colorado, winner of Robert Frost Poetry Award, and friend of Carl Sandberg.
Dalton Trumbo - Author of Johnny Get Your Gun and Academy Award winning screenwriter for his work in The Brave One. He also wrote the scripts for Spartacus, Exodus, Hawaii, and Papillion. His reputation was marred when he was blacklisted during the 1950’s McCarthy trials with the "Hollywood 10."
Allen Ginsberg - Beat Poet, Author of Howl and Kaddish, Co-founder of the Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder in 1969.
Horace Greeley - Publisher & Editor of the New York Tribune. Organized Utopian Union Colony at Greeley in 1869.
Helen Hunt Jackson - Living in Colorado Springs in 1873 she began writing about the relationship between Coloradans and the Native Indian Tribes. Jackson is often remembered for her brave stance in novels like A Century of Dishonor and Ramona.
Enos Mills - Starting his career as a nationally recognized writer on outdoor subjects, he became an advocate of the National Park System and is considered the father of Rocky Mountain National Park.
James Albert Michener - Worked as a professor at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley where his archives are presently held. His 1,000 plus page novel, Centennial, is about Colorado History.
Eugene Field - Poet and Journalist known for his work in children’s literature, wrote such poems as Little Boy Blue and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
Clive Cussler - Best selling novelist known for his work Raise the Titanic, Night Probe, and Deep Six. His shipwreck themed texts often are an extension of his National Underwater and Marine Agency’s shipwreck expeditions.
Entertainment & Theater
Mary Coyle Case - Playwright who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for her play Harvey, which was later made into a major motion picture starring James Stewart.
Don Cheadle - Award winning actor in such films as Hamburger Hill (1987) and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995). While born in Kansas City, he moved to Denver and graduated from East High School.
Antoinette Perry - Namesake of the Tony Award for excellence in theater, Director and President of Experimental Theatre, Chairperson of American Theater Wing, and actress.
Hattie McDaniel - First African American to win the Academy Award for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
Roseanne Barr - Internationally known comedian who got her start in Denver in 1983 where she was recognized as the "Queen of Denver Comedy." Her show Roseanne in 1988 became the most watched show in America within one year of its inception. She has also won numerous awards including the Emmy, Golden Globe, and People’s Choice.
Alonzo "Lon" Chaney - Famous silent screen actor known for his work in early horror movies, best remembered for his work in the Hunchback of Notre Dane and Phantom of the Opera.
Harold Lloyd - Remembered as one of the world’s greatest silent screen comedians.
Douglas Fairbanks - Famous silent screen star often cast as the swashbuckling hero in such classics as the Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and Three Musketeers.
Ralph Edwards - Master of Ceremonies for the classic television shows This is Your Life, Truth or Consequences, and the People’s Court.
Cleo Parker Robinson - Founder of the internationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Modern Dance Ensemble. Also founder of Project Self-Discovery, and co-founder of the National Dance Company of the Bahamas. She has taught workshops in a myriad of nations, collaborated on projects with many of the world’s greatest artists, and has received several honors including a position on the National Council on the Arts.
William Henry Jackson- Starting as photographer for the U. S. Geological Survey and Union Pacific Railroad, he created one of the largest and most expansive western photographic collections in the world. He opened his own private photo gallery in 1879, and died Colorado’s preeminent photographer.
Robert Adams - Photographer of the western landscape. Uses the images to express the relationship between man and the environment. Has received two John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships, the McArthur Foundation’s "genius" Grant, and has worked on the permanent collections of several museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Eppie Archuleta - Leader of the resurgence of the Hispanic blanket weaving tradition in the San Luis Valley. Her craft arts have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as they declared her a "national treasure". She contributed to a Smithsonian Institute permanent display, and received the National Heritage Fellowship.
Berke Breathed - Creator of the satirical comic strips Bloom County and Outlands.
George Elbert Burr - Celebrated etcher whose western themed work is in the permanent collections of many of the nation’s largest museums.
Antonia Brico- As a symphony director she was the first woman to be admitted into the prestigious Berlin Academy. She founded the Women’s Orchestra of New York and Denver Businessman's Orchestra. She conducted the Brico Symphony from 1947 until shortly before her death in 1989.
Judy Collins - Internationally known folk singer and anti-war advocate during the Vietnam War.
John Denver - Nationally known folk and pop musician. Wrote numerous songs about the western lifestyle. Best known for his song Rocky Mountain High.
Glenn Miller - One of the preeminent "Big Band" swing orchestra conductors. The Glenn Miller Orchestra produced such hits as Moonlight Serenade, In the Mood, and Chattanooga Choo-Choo. At the time of his death, one fifth of all music played on jukeboxes was a Glenn Miller creation.
George Morrison - Starting his jazz career in Boulder and Denver, Morrison moved on to play jazz in Chicago and New York. After signing with Columbia Records he went on a world tour in 1920 where he played for King George and Queen Mary of England. Upon his return he was one of America’s most important band leaders.
Paul Whiteman - Considered the "King of Jazz." After selling two million records with "The Japanese Sandman", Whiteman added to his fame by being one the first nationally broadcast jazz musicians. Whiteman is remembered for his ability to fuse jazz and classical in hits like Rhapsody in Blue and Whispering. After founding the Whiteman Award competition, he was made music director of the NBS’s Blues Network (now referred to as ABC).
AthleticsAce Gruening - Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He and his teammate, Jack McCracken, were chosen for the A. A. U. All American Basketball Team ten out of eleven years.
Jack Demsey - Starting his career as the "Manassa Mauler", he became the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1910 to 1926.
Babe Didriksen Zaharias - Broke four golf records in the 1932 Olympics. In 1947 was the first American to win the British Women’s Golf Championship. Also won the National Women’s Open Golf Tournament.
Alex English - After playing basketball for the Bucks and Pacers, English came to the Denver Nuggets. As a Nugget he became the leading scorer of the National Basketball Association, and played in the NBA All-star games several times.
Wallace Werner - One of the greatest skiers of all time. In 1962 was the first American to win a major European ski event, Austria’s Hahnenhamm. Won the Grand Prix, Holemkollen, Lauberhorn, Criterium, Roch Cup, Harriman Cup, and received the National Ski Hall of Fame Athlete of the Year Award.
Amy Van Dyken - First American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics in 1996. Her swimming career is even more amazing in that her asthma only allows her to use 65% of her lung power.
John Elway - Quarterback for the Denver Broncos from 1984 to 1999. Known for his last-minute, game-winning scoring drives Elway led the Broncos to three Super Bowl losses before back-to-back wins in Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. Elway was also the 1987 NFL MVP, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, and one of only two quarterbacks in National Football League history to throw for over 3,000 yards in 12 seasons.
Jerome C. Biffle - Won gold medal in the long jump in the 1952
Helsinki Olympics with a jump of 24 feet, 10 inches. After the Olympics, he
returned to Denver to become a coach and counselor at East High School for the
next three decades.
Federico Pena – City and County of Denver Mayor from 1983 to 1991. Held Presidential Cabinet Positions in Transportation and Energy during the Clinton Administration. Advocated large civic projects, like Denver International Airport and the Denver Convention Center, to boost local economy.
John Evans - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/govs/evans.html
Robert Speer - City and County of Denver Mayor from 1904 - 1912 and 1916 - 1918. Speer had an ambitious vision of Denver's civic and environmental resources. Through his influence, the Denver Mountain Parks System was developed, Civic Center Park was created, parks were added, trees lined the streets, and the history and arts were funded.
Chief Ouray - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/cap/rotunda.htm#Ouray
Casimo Barela – Known as a highly respected legislator whose career in the State Senate spanned 25 continuous years. Casimo Barela also was a member of Colorado’s Constitutional Convention of 1875. Elected from Las Animas County, Barela was instrumental in ensuring the bi-lingual printing of Colorado laws.
Benjamin Lindsey - Pioneer of the Juvenile Court System, and child welfare advocate. Lindsey served as a Denver Judge from 1900 to 1927 promoting controversial views like juvenile rehabilitation, trial marriage, and sex education. He was almost disbarred during the 1920's by the Ku Klux Klan political machine when he spoke against their organization.
Wayne Aspinall – Colorado Congressional Representative for 24 years, and acted as Chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee for 14 years. Aspinall was a power broker representing Colorado and the West’s use of public lands, water rights, and mineral resources. His most important single piece of legislation was the Colorado River Storage Project Act which provided many of the reservoir and dam projects after World War II.
General William Jackson Palmer – Founder of the Town of Colorado Springs. One of the railroad pioneers. Developed the first narrow gauge railroad system, the Denver and Rio Grande. Also owned the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, which for several decades was the economic center of Pueblo.
Horace Tabor - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/offic/ltgov.html#Tabor
William Bent - Along with his three brothers, William Bent developed the first trade empire in the Colorado Region at Bent's Fort in 1833. As tensions grew between white settlers and Indian natives Bent became a peace negotiator for both sides as his wives were Indian and he befriended the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.
Nathaniel P. Hill - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/cap/rotunda.htm#Hill
Adolph Coors – Based out of Golden, Coors established his now famous brewery in 1873 using the region’s famous mountain spring water. Coors is presently the nation’s third largest brewer, and the family has been active in Colorado politics and philanthropy.
Charles Boettcher - Made his initial fortune during the Leadville silver boom by providing miners with supplies. He took his money and made various fortunes in many Colorado industries such as meatpacking, sugar, and railroads. His name lives on through the philanthropic work of the Boettcher Foundation.
Barney Ford - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/cap/bford.htm
Bob Magness - Founder of Tele-Communications Incorporated (TCI), and by doing so made Denver a telecommunication hub. Also remembered as a generous philanthropist in his numerous donations to the University of Colorado, Boy Scouts of America, and the underprivileged.
David H. Moffat - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/cap/dmoffat.htm
Last modified September 04, 2007