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The Colorado State Archives donated the papers in 2003. Funding for processing provided by an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant. In 2010, the Jefferson County Library donated a reel-to-reel tape.
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[Identification of item], Will F. Nicholson Papers, WH1797, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
Number of Boxes: 7 (6.25 lf)
Audio-Visual: 1 AVEnvelope
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE :
William Faust ("Will") Nicholson was born September 12, 1900 in Aurora, Illinois. He received a B.S. in economics from Dartmouth College in 1922. In 1924, he moved to Colorado Springs where he met his wife, Gladys Burns. In 1936, Nicholson sold stocks and bonds for Boettcher and Company in Denver. He also sold real estate and owned part of the Denver Bears baseball team, suspended during the war years, which he helped return to Denver in 1947 before selling out of the team two years later.
Nicholson served in the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War, retiring as Brigadier General.
In 1948, Nicholson was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate. In 1950 and again in 1954, he was elected to the Colorado State Senate though his term was interrupted by his recall to the Air Force during the Korean War. He was elected Mayor of Denver in 1955 after a run-off election against Bert Keating, Denver District Attorney. Nicholson served one term as mayor, ending in 1959.
As Mayor, Nicholson helped to settle the Blue River dispute, allowing Denver to use Colorado western slope water. During a drought in 1955 and 1956, he corresponded with the public, reinforcing and explaining the Board of Water Commissioners' restrictions upon irrigation and lawn watering.
As a personal friend of President Eisenhower, Nicholson helped Governor Johnson obtain federal funding for the I-70 construction of the Eisenhower tunnel through the Rocky Mountains. In Denver, Nicholson obtained bond-financing for capital improvements. He kept a careful eye on the expenditures and operations of Denver's Welfare Program convinced United Airlines to operate a hub in Denver. Also, he brought the U.S. Open Golf Tournament to the Cherry Hills Country Club.
Nicholson appointed the members of the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights (originally established by Mayor Quigg Newton in 1948). Sending buses throughout Denver for the commissioners to witness segregated housing, Nicholson encouraged fairness in the market. His administration helped pass a new housing code in Denver that eventually led to urban renewal. The Commission listened to complaints of racial discrimination in the job market and bias in the public schools. However, Nicholson felt that the school board was independently elected and, thus, in control of its own affairs.
In 1966, Nicholson returned to the State Senate but retired in 1970 after a stroke. He and his wife, Gladys Burns, had three children; Bill, Betty and Gladys. Nicholson died January 1975.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE :
The collection includes professional papers from Nicholson's mayoral term ranging from 1955 to 1963. Reports from departments, meeting minutes and correspondence comprise the bulk of the papers.
SERIES 1 MAYORAL PAPERS 1955-1959 BOX 1-7 :
Arranged alphabetically by the name of the department, the mayoral papers consist of reports and correspondence of various departments and divisions. Correspondence from the public written to the mayor when problems were perceived with particular agencies is included along with Nicholson's commission correspondence. Particular cases of the police department, the welfare agency and the Human Rights Commission document issues important to the public at this time. Also apparent are the first efforts to end racial discrimination in Denver, especially in housing. This series also includes papers and correspondence concerning organizations for which Nicholson appointed the members and which he oversaw as a part of his mayoral duties.
SERIES 2 ORGANIZATIONS 1955-1958 BOX 7 :
This series contains the papers of celebratory and nonprofit organizations to which Nicholson belonged.
SERIES 3 AUDIO-VISUAL 1963 AVENVELOPE 1 :
A reel-to-reel tape of Gene Amole's interview of Nicholson during the 1963 Denver mayoral campaign comprises this series. During the interview, Nicholson praises candidate William Grant and endorses his campaign.
SUBJECT ACCESS :
: SUBJECT ACCESS - :