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Ward Darley collection, 1926-1973

Identifier: COU:498

Scope and Contents

Series 1 is mainly comprised of articles, speeches and papers by Darley. Series 2 contains personal and professional correspondences, honorary degrees from various colleges, and activities not related to CU. Series 3 includes articles, photos, and newspaper clippings relating to honors Darley received. Series 4 contains publications Darley wrote, in addition to publications he edited. Series 5 is comprised of correspondence with various medical writers, materials on University of Colorado, and research on new medical schools. Series 6 is dedicated to publications Darley wrote. The Series 7 OVERSIZED MATERIALS are mainly photographs, plaques, and awards.

Papers relating to Darley’s early life, medical activities, writings, etc., in Colorado, and while executive secretary of the AAMC (1957-1966), are held at the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.


  • 1926 - 1973

Biographical Note

Ward Darley, Jr., was born on October 30, 1903, in Denver, Colorado. His father was Ward Darley, Sr. and his mother was Mary Bolles Darley. Darley, Sr. studied Law at the University of Colorado and Denver University, then later was involved in sugar beet manufacture and railroading from 1908 to the early 1920’s. Darley, Jr. received both his A.B. (1926) and M.D. (1929) from the University of Colorado. He then completed an internship at Colorado General Hospital from 1929-1930. He then went into residency training for internal medicine at Colorado General Hospital from 1930-1931. It was during this time as resident that he married his wife Pauline Braiden (1930). They had two children together.

After Darley completed his residency, he was hired as an Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine from 1931-1936. Over the next ten years Darley was promoted to an assistant professor, then later, associate professor. Then from 1946-1956, he worked as a Professor of Medicine. In 1945, Professor Darley was chosen to be the Dean University of Colorado School of Medicine until 1948, when he became the Vice President in charge of Health Sciences at Darley University of Colorado until 1949-1953.

During his tenure as Dean and Vice President, Darley helped transform the School of Medicine and the Medical Center into a research oriented institution. As the seventh president of the University of Colorado, Boulder (1953-1956), Darley brought his vision to the University at large and helped transform CU into a research university. He prepared CU for the huge wave of incoming students that joined during 1958-1968. Darley oversaw the construction of the University Memorial Center, four new dormitories, and the College of Music building, before returning to the study of medicine. Between 1953 and 1954, President Darley attempted to end membership discrimination in the University’s Greek System. The issue split the Board of Regents and caused controversy on campus and in the state. A compromise delayed the settlement of this issue until 1962. After his resignation from the presidency in 1956, Darley was not to return to the University of Colorado until 1967. Upon his retirement from the faculty, he was appointed professor of medicine, emeritus in 1973.

Among his many honors, memberships, and positions, Darley was a fellow of (1937-1971), in addition to, a member on the Board of Governors (1950-1954) at the American College of Physicians. He was part of the Denver Country Medical Society from 1931-1954 and a life member at both the Boulder County Medical Society and the Colorado State Medical Society. He was also involved in the American Association Advancement of Science from 1950-1970.

Darley was a highly respected doctor in the field of medicine and was given many notable awards. In 1964, Darley received the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education by the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 1965, Darley was a Markle Scholar and was given the John M. Russell Award for Advancement of Knowledge in Medicine. In 1968, the University of Colorado named their dormitory, dining, and lounge complex, Darley Towers and Commons. On May 22, 1970, the University of Colorado, Boulder, gave Darley the Gold and Silver Award for the Medical Alumni Association.

Darley was involved in various prominent committees during his career. He was greatly involved in the Association of American Medical Colleges. He was an Executive Council for the AAMC from, 1947-1951; President from, 1951- 1952; Executive Director from, 1957-1964; and consultant to Executive Director from, 1964-1968. Darley was on the Advisory Committee for division of medicine and public health for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 1948-1953. He was also part of the Rockefeller Foundation, for the division of Medicine and Public Health on the Board of Consultants from 1952-1953. Later on, he was on the Board of Trustees for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation from 1955-1957. During this time he was also part of the commission on Utilization of College Training Programs, for the Advancement of Education (1956).

Darley died on June 28, 1979, in Orange, California. His wife, Pauline, later died on November 14, 1991 in Boulder, Colorado.


18 linear feet (40 boxes)

Language of Materials



Ward Darley, Jr. (1903-1979), graduated from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1929, and was Dean of the Medical School (1945-1953), and president of the University of Colorado (1953-1956). The collection contains information on his term as president at CU, as well as on Darley’s life and work. Included are personal and professional correspondence, photographs, reports, speeches, publications, and research files.

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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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