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Fred G. Folsom papers

Identifier: COU:613

Scope and Contents

The Fred G. Folsom collection has Professor Folsom’s legacy divided into 14 chronological sections: I. Dartmouth 1891-1895, of Folsom’s time at Dartmouth as a student, II. University of Colorado – Coach and Lawyer 1895-1915, of Folsom’s beginnings in Boulder, III. Dartmouth and CU 1903-1906, of Folsom’s careers and successes in athletics at the two schools, IV. Folsom as Coach, Lawyer, and Professor at CU 1906-1917, of Folsom’s career in Boulder as an educator, lawyer and coach, V. World War I, of Folsom’s service in the first World War, VI. Folsom’s Political and Legal Activities at CU 1920-1944, of Folsoms’ administrative and legislative ventures in Boulder as well as Prohibition, VII. World War II, of Folsom’s service in the second World War, VIII. Folsom’s Illness and Death, of Folsom’s last years, IX. Elwell and Folsom Families, of the extended families of Mr. and Mrs. Folsom, X. Posthumous Honors, of the various posthumous recognitions of Folsom, XI. Miscellaneous, of assorted items belonging or pertaining to the Folsom family, XII. Mary Elvira Elwell, of Folsom’s wife, XIII. Fred G. Folsom, of various typescripts, and XIV. Miscellaneous Elwell and Folsom, of books, photographs, and microfilm pertaining to the family.


  • Creation: 1891 - 1944

Biographical / Historical

Professor Folsom was born in Old Town, Maine, on November 9, 1873. His mother was a teacher at the Indian School on Indian Island in the Penobscot River. His father was a wholesaler of pharmaceutical supplies and a sometime state legislator.

Folsom worked his way through Dartmouth College by playing summer baseball on resort hotel teams in the Adirondacks and the White Mountains. Following graduation he was called to Boulder to coach the C.U. football team. The story of the coaching career is chronicled elsewhere. It is pertinent here only because Professor Folsom again made his devotion to a sport provide him with a means to further his education. He went to the C.U. Law School and graduated in the class of 1905.

In 1906, Fred Folsom began his 36 years as a teacher of law at the University of Colorado. Professor Folsom gave up coaching to do full time teaching after the 1915 season. And, after service in the First World War, where he attained the rank of Major and was the Judge Advocate for the 40th Division AEF in France, he resumed full time teaching. After Dean Fleming’s death, Folsom was Acting Dean for a year. Thereafter he held the Charles Inglis Thomson Professorship until his retirement in 1942. He died in 1944.

Professor Folsom’s accomplishment’s included founding the Moot Court, serving as the lawyer for the University, establishing the financing of the original Memorial Building and the Stadium which was to bear his name, and the first of the present system of dormitories. All of these expensive enterprises came through the Great Depression without loss to the investors or the state.

His students will joyfully tell stories of the times their notebooks trembled so they could not read as Professor Folsom made them stand to recite--as they would stand in court. And then they tell of the times they asked to cut the deck of class cards by which the order of calling on the members of the class was determined. As often as not they were granted the “cut”, sometimes dealing themselves out of the expected turn to be quizzed and sometimes cutting to the top of the deck.


5.5 linear feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials



Fred Gorham Folsom (1873-1944) was a formative University of Colorado football coach and Law Professor. His gridiron fame earned him the nickname “P.I.” (Penobscott Indian). He came to C.U. in 1895 as a football coach and law student. He went back to Dartmouth as football coach but returned to C.U. in 1905 as a law professor and football coach leaving his team with a record of 41 wins out of their 57 intercollegiate games. In 1907 he became judge of the moot court where he remained until his retirement in 1942. Folsom died on November 11, 1944.


This collection is arranged into the following series: Series 1:Dartmouth, 1891-1895 Series 2: University of Colorado - Coach and Lawyer, 1895-1915 Series 3: Dartmouth and CU, 1903-1906 Series 4: Folsom as Coach, Lawyer, and Professor at CU, 1906-1917 Series 5: World War II Series 6: Folsom's Illness and Death Series 7: Elwell and Folsom Families Series 8: Posthumous Honors Series 9: Miscellaneous Series 10: Mary Elvira Elwell Series 11: Fred G. Folsom Series 12: Miscellaneous Elwell and Folsom

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States