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Lynn Boughton papers

Identifier: COU:161

Scope and Contents

The Lynn Boughton papers, dating from 1954 to 2002,primarily consist of materials gathered over the course of litigation against the Cotter Mill Mine. They consist of court appeals, transcripts, letters, reports, schedule, research data, correspondence and newspaper clippings relating to Boughton’s involvement with the Cotter Uranium Mill and the effects his work as a chemist there had on his health. Though some material originates from government, Boughton or the Cotter Mill Uranium Plant most of the collection was gathered by Boughton to inform litigation.

This collection is organized by likely source of the information in the collection. However, it is not organized by topic. Researchers looking for information on particular topics or subject areas may have to search across series.


  • Creation: 1954 - 2002

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries do not own the copyright to this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may not make notes, reproductions (including photographs), or other record of any private and personally identifiable information (PPII) located in this collection and may not publish, publicize, or disclose that PPII to any other party for any purpose. Exclusions may apply to researchers who have obtained authorization from the University of Colorado Institutional Review Board to produce human subject research records in de-identified form. All researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement indicating their understanding of the use restrictions for PPII found in this collection. Contact

Biographical Note

Lynn Boughton was born on August 22, 1929 in Mesa County Colorado. After receiving his High School diploma, Boughton enrolled at Mesa College in Grand Junction Colorado. He completed his Associate of Science Degree in 1949. Afterwards, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Boughton pursued graduate work at the University of Northern Colorado, Western State Teachers College, and the University of Colorado.

After completing his graduate studies,Boughton moved back to Mesa County where he married Deyon Davidson in 1949. Together the couple had three children, Keith, Jeri, and David. During this time, Boughton accepted a position as a teaching principal for school district 50 in Mesa County.

In 1955, Boughton left his teaching position to pursue a career with National Lead for three years. In 1958 the Atomic Energy Commission canceled National Lead’s contract. He was offered a job as Assistant Chief Chemist with the Cotter Uranium Plant in Canon City Colorado. By 1966, Boughton became Chief Chemist at the Plant.

Lynn and Deyon Boughton were active in the Cotter and Canon City communities. Boughton became involved with little league sports activities and a number of other community benefits. He also involved himself with local school issues and worked with the local Chamber of Commerce.

In the mid 1960s the financial backers of the Cotter plant decided to change Cotter’s business structure. One of the financial backers completely backed out. Cotter wanted to demonstrate they could produce enough profit to be able to sell the company. This set Cotter up for eventual failure. In 1966 the mill went on standby with only eight full time employees, including Mr. Boughton, remaining on staff. During this time, Cotter became careless with its waste, contaminating underground water. The state of Colorado began to oversee the Cotter operations to enact Atomic Energy Commission rules. However, the Colorado Department of Health gave Cotter notice of inspection and Cotter would shut down parts of operation that they knew would not pass inspection.

Other states, including Missouri and Ohio, sent nuclear waste to the Cotter Mill. Although the acceptance of this nuclear waste brought numerous jobs back to the mill, the repercussions of waste mismanagement were devastating.

Many Cotter employees became ill and were faced with ongoing fatigue. Boughton became ill in 1972, leading to his retirement at Cotter in 1979. After leaving Cotter, Boughton began working part time at Lynde Garden Center, the business that he and Deyon started in 1969. In 1984 Boughton experienced a medical emergency and was rushed to the hospital. During surgery that Doctors found and diagnosed Boughton with Lymphoma. It was confirmed that Boughton’s lymphoma was linked to radiation exposure.

With concerns looming for his former co-workers, Boughton decided to speak out about Cotter’s wrong doings. This, unfortunately, resulted in vandalism to the Boughton home and continual threats from a local banker. Boughton, however, continued to speak out and eventually filed suits against his former employer.

Boughton succumbed to radiation-induced cancer on April 19, 2001. He was 71 years old.


33 linear feet (22 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Lynn Boughton papers consist of the court appeals records, loose papers, transcripts, letters, reports, schedules, and data, correspondence, and newspaper clippings of Lynn Boughton pertaining to the Cotter Uranium plant. Boughton was a chemist and chief chemist at the Cotter plant from 1958 to 1979. In 1984, he was diagnosed with radiation induced lymphoma cancer and passed away on April 19, 2001.

Processing Information

This collection is minimally processed. It is physically in the same order in which it was recieved but has been intellectually arranged by document type in this finding aid. For questions about the arrangement please reach out to .

In Progress
Processed by Eric Frankowski. Edited by Christopher S. Leighton, September 20, 2004. Machine Readable Finding Aid in EAD by Katelyn Morken, July 2018. Inventory created by Isabelle Saunders and encoded by Ashlyn Velte, 2023.
February 6, 2004
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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