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J. Edgar Chenoweth papers

Identifier: COU:337

Scope and Contents

As Congressman J. Edgar Chenoweth responded to the concerns and problems of his constituents, his papers contain voluminous amounts of correspondence. He served twenty-two years in congress and his papers contain a disproportionately large amount of material from the years 1960-64. Obviously it had been office policy to weed out files during his long tenure. The J. Edgar Chenoweth Papers contain a great deal of material concerning the Republican Party nationally and in Colorado. To attempt to separate and organize the political materials in this collection is not feasible because, in effect, the majority of the materials here are of a political and economic nature. For this reason, research in the J. Edgar Chenoweth Papers will be only completed in a thorough sense, if all sections of the guide to the collection are consulted. The J. Edgar Chenoweth Papers have been organized in the following manner:

I. PERSONAL FILES contains biographies, cassette tapes, transcripts of interviews, memorabilia, information relating to Rotary International District #547, and scrapbooks. II. BILL INTRODUCED AND VOTING RECORD 1941-49, 1951-56 contains bills Mr. Chenoweth introduced and his voting record from 1941-1949 and 1951-1965. III. POLITICAL FILES 1934-1985 contains Mr. Chenoweth’s political files, relate to his campaigns, elections, the Republican Party and general political files. They are arranged by election years. IV. Mr. Chenoweth’s correspondence files are primarily his correspondence as a Representative. It pertains mostly to the years 1960—1964 but continue with Chenoweth’s correspondence after he left office and through 1985. The types of Congressional correspondence include: general constituent, birthdays, condolences, congratulations, golden wedding anniversary, invitations, positions sought by constituents, and appointments to post office positions. V. The General Files section contains subject files and correspondence files. The major subjects/correspondence include: Agriculture, which contain information related to the beet sugar industry, the cattle and livestock industry, Mexican National farm labor—Braceros, POW farm labor, and San Luis Valley Potato Industry; armed services, which deal primarily with the Air Force Academy; atomic energy; civil rights; education—the Supreme Court school prayer decision; foreign affairs; mining—the Golden Cycle Corp.; space exploration; transportation—the Colorado and Wyoming Railway Co.; Trinidad; veterans affairs; water projects—Fryingpan-Arkansas Project and Purgatoire River; and wilderness legislation.

VI. This section contains military case files. The correspondence covers a variety of issues including: benefits, discharges, promotion and transfers. VII. This section contains Mr. Chenoweth’s papers on the Board of Forest Appeals beginning in 1970. The Board decided appeals from decision concerning contracts, agreements, grazing fees, logging/timber sales, and ski industry and summer homes. VIII. Legal Files 1960-1984 IX. Photographs X. Oversize


  • 1931 - 1985

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical Note

J. Edgar Chenoweth (1897-1986) was born in Trinidad, Colorado and resided there. His parents were pioneer settlers in Las Animas County. Chenoweth attended the University of Colorado and, by studying law in his spare time, was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1926. Beginning in 1926 he practiced law in Trinidad. In 1929 he became Assistant District Attorney for the Third Judicial District. He continued in this position until 1933, when, in order to fill a vacancy, he was appointed County Judge of Las Animas County. Chenoweth was elected County Judge in 1934 and was re-elected in 1936. In 1937 Chenoweth became the Chairman of the Colorado Republican State Central Committee and served in this capacity until his nomination for Congress in 1940. Following his successful election campaign in 1940, he served as Colorado’s Third Congressional District Representative with re-election victories in 1942, 1944 and 1946. In the election of 1948, however, Representative Chenoweth lost to Democrat John H. Marsalis. In 1950 the Third District Republican Party again nominated Chenoweth to run for Congress. In this, the second election campaign against Marsalis, Chenoweth emerged victorious regaining his seat in Congress. He continued to represent Colorado’s Third District until the election of 1964, when, opposed by Democrat Frank Evans, he suffered defeat. Judge Chenoweth made one final attempt to regain his Congressional seat in the 1966 election, but lost in the Third District Republican primary to Dave Enoch. During his twenty-two years in Congress, Representative Chenoweth served on the House Committee on Claims, the Committee on Science and Astronautics, the Committee on Public Lands, the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, the Education Committee and the Rules Committee. He also served on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee; the Subcommittees on Irrigation and Reclamation, Mines and Mining and Natural Parks. In 1947-48 Judge Chenoweth carried the House Subcommittee to Investigate Expenditures of the State Department. As a congressman, J. Edgar Chenoweth strongly supported all reclamation and flood control projects in the West. He introduced the initial Fryingpan-Arkansas Project legislation in 1952 to divert water from the Colorado River Basin into the Arkansas River Basin. For a number of years Chenoweth was the only Colorado Congressman supporting the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project and his diligence in connection with this water project earned him the appellation “Mr. Fryingpan.” Ten years after his introduction of this legislation and with support of Colorado’s other Congressional representatives, the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project became law in 1962. Chenoweth’s interest in reclamation and flood control found him supporting many projects in Colorado and the West. In the Third District his legislation brought flood control to the troublesome Purgatoire River, which had flooded Trinidad four times in this century, with the Trinidad Dam and Reservoir. He was also involved with flood control on the Arkansas River at Pueblo. Chenoweth also supported legislation for the benefit of the farmer and stockman. Legislation he introduced intended to raise tariffs on imported beef and aid the American livestock industry. As a member of the subcommittee on Mines and Mining he supported all legislation intended to strengthen the mining industry. He introduced legislation to revitalize gold mining by raising the price paid for domestic gold. He also introduced legislation to stabilize prices in the lead and zinc industry. Judge Chenoweth supported a strong national defense and was active in bringing military installations to the Third District. In 1955 the Air Force Academy opened at Colorado Springs and Chenoweth had been very active in bringing that facility to Colorado. For a number of years he served on the appointed Air Force Academy Board of Visitors. Chenoweth gave many Lincoln Day speeches and after leaving political office in 1965, he remained active in the National and State Republican Party as well as appearing on the speaking circuit giving a speech entitled “Washington’s Image in America.” He continued his law practice in Trinidad. Mr. Chenoweth was a 33rd Mason. In 1968-69 he was the District Governor for Rotary International District #547. In 1970 the Agriculture Department appointed him to the Board of Forest Appeals. Always active in local affairs, Chenoweth served on the boards of several organizations, including the Colorado Boys Ranch in La Junta, the Trinidad-Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce, the First Baptist Church in Trinidad, the Colorado and Wyoming Railway Company and the Selective Service System. J. Edgar Chenoweth and his Ruth had five children.


135 linear feet (58 Boxes )

Language of Materials



J. Edgar Chenoweth (1897-1986) served as assistant District Attorney (1929-1933) and county judge (1933-1941) of Las Animas County, Colorado. Except for 1949-1950, he was the Republican Congressman for Colorado’s Third District from 1940 until 1965. The collection contains his political correspondence, subject files, scrapbooks, and photographs.


This collection is arranged into the following series:


Physical Location

Located at offsite storage (PASCAL). Allow at least 5 days for delivery. Contact for questions and requests.

Processed by: Harvey N. Gardiner, November 27, 1991 Reformatted by: Lindsay M. Stone, December 2003 Edited by: Jeffrey Wermer, July 2014
November 27, 1991
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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