Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



Materials donated by Pioneer Men and Women of Colorado (1950); Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Draper (1959); and Sarah Mundhenk (1979).


The collection is open for research.


These 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.


[Identification of item], Society of Colorado Pioneers Records, WH1685, Western History Collection, Denver Public Library.


Number of OVBoxes: 2, 1 folio




Roger L. Dudley

March 2008


Ellen Zazzarino


The Society of Colorado Pioneers was formed on January 16, 1872, after previous failed attempts in 1859 and 1866. Anselm H. Barker was elected chairman at the first organizational meeting. Six days later, a constitution and by-laws were adopted and Hiram P. Bennett was elected president.

Membership in the organization was limited to men who had arrived in what was then Kansas Territory prior to December 31, 1859. The Society of Colorado Pioneers began to meet regularly only just before Colorado statehood in 1876. At the March 10, 1876 meeting the Society amended its constitution to allow men who arrived during 1860 to become members. On July 14, 1884, the Society of Colorado Pioneers was incorporated under Colorado law. Articles of incorporation and a code of by-laws to replace their 1872 constitution were adopted June 27, 1887. Founding members signed the constitution and by-laws and paid $2.50 in dues. Women pioneers who arrived prior to January 1, 1861 were eligible as honorary members and were exempt from dues.

In 1894, the Society moved into its headquarters and club rooms in the Charles Block (room 309) on the southeast corner of 15th and Curtis Streets. Rooms were provided free of charge. After moving to room 612 in 1928, the Society remained in the Charles Block until it was razed in June 1939. They were housed temporarily in the Quincy Building until their new headquarters were ready in the Johnson Building on the northwest corner of 17th and Glenarm.

One of the constitutional obligations of the Society, was to assist pioneers who had fallen on hard times, whether burdened by medical bills or had died without funds or friends. The responsibility for aid rested with the women of the Society, so in September 1889 the pioneer's wives organized as a women's auxiliary. On March 29, 1894 the women's auxiliary was incorporated.

In January 1906, the Society voted to allow sons of pioneers to be eligible as members, with some restrictions. They were "not eligible to any office in this Society, as long as there is a sufficient member in the present society to fill the respective places." The restriction exempted some minor offices, including 2nd vice president, two of the five directors, and one assistant secretary position. The limitations fostered enough resentment that another organization formed in June 1906 calling itself the "Sons of Colorado." (Later in 1921 the Society of Colorado Pioneers then allowed the sons of pioneers to hold office without restriction.) Eligibility for membership required that the white men were at least 21 and were residents of Colorado Territory prior to August 1876, when statehood was attained. The membership requirements were relaxed when ranks thinned in 1930. At that time the white male descendants of those in Colorado prior to statehood were allowed to join.

On August 3, 1906 the articles of incorporation for the Society of Colorado Pioneers were renewed and made perpetual. But as the members aged, membership fluctuated, and an independent streak prevented them from merging with any other organization.

The Pioneer Ladies Aid Society reincorporated in 1934 as the Pioneer Women of Colorado. On March 27, 1943, the last meeting of the Society of Colorado Pioneers was held. A month earlier the membership had decided to affiliate with the Pioneer Women of Colorado. At the final meeting, by unanimous consent, all monies and property of the Society of Colorado Pioneers were turned over to the new organization, The Pioneer Men and Women of Colorado.


The bulk of this collection consists of the ledgers containing the minutes of the meetings of the Society of Colorado Pioneers. Within the ledgers numerous clippings have been pasted, mostly relating to the death of a member of the Society. Other items are pasted into these ledgers, as well, relating to the history of Colorado.

The fifth volume in this collection contains minutes of the first and last meetings of the Society, and a letter of transmittal from the Pioneer Men and Women of Colorado in 1950 to the Denver Public Library. This volume also contains the signatures of most of the early members, their date and place of birth, date of arrival in Colorado, place of residence, and the dues they paid.


Genealogical Index to the Records of the Society of Colorado Pioneers C929.3788 P442ge.

SERIES 1 LEDGERS BOX 1-2, 1885-1943 :

This series comprises ledgers contain meeting minutes, clippings and other items related to the society and its members.


This series comprises the alphabetically arranged original pioneer register with place and date of birth, date of arrival in Colorado and death date.



  • Society of Colorado Pioneers -- Archives.
  • Pioneers -- Colorado -- Societies, etc.
  • Registers (lists).
  • Minute books.
  • Clippings (information artifacts).
  • Bylaws (administrative records).