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Eben G. Fine Collection

Identifier: COU:603

Scope and Contents

The Eben G. Fine Papers consist of an assortment of printed materials (i.e. lectures, articles, and poetry), reels of motion picture film, and hand-painted lantern slides of Boulder, its environs, and scenic locales throughout the Rocky Mountain region, and of various Native American tribe locations and cultural traditions.


  • 1905 - 1957

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access. Research access to original moving image films in this collection is restricted, due to preservation concerns. Contact with a list of desired items and a statement of intended use, which will be evaluated by the Moving Image Archivist based on preservation condition of the desired items and staff availability; please note that access may not be guaranteed for all items. All analog sound recordings, video formats, and badly deteriorated film held by the Archives must be digitized for research access, due to preservation concerns. If these materials have not previously been digitized, the researcher is responsible for the cost of digitization. Researchers may request access to previously-digitized audiovisual materials that are not online on the CU Digital Library by contacting

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries may not own the copyright to all materials in 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.

Biographical Note

Eben G. Fine was born on a farm near Hamilton, Missouri, in 1865, one of twelve children. His father died shortly after his birth, followed by his mother in 1879, when he was fourteen. For the next three years Fine boarded with various families while continuing his education in Hamilton. One of his close friends during this period was J.C. Penney, founder of the successful department stores of that name.

In 1882 Fine quit school and apprenticed himself in the drug business. He briefly attended Holden College, a local girl’s school, as a special student to improve his knowledge of chemistry and mathematics. In 1885, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to work for Fonda’s Pharmacy at the salary of $50.00 per month. In 1889 he married the sister of his employer, Mrs. Mary Coulson. Mrs. Coulson had one son Hal S. Coulson by a previous marriage, who later became a prominent Boulder photographer. In 1906 Fine quit the job at Fonda’s Pharmacy to serve as a second secretary for the Boulder Commercial Association. The following year he purchased the Temple Drug Co. and went into business for himself.

After arriving in Boulder, Fine quickly became an avid mountain climber and photographer, traveling extensively in Colorado and neighboring states, recording his experiences on photographic glass plates. He was the first to discover the glacial nature of the Arapaho snowfield while on a solitary hike in July, 1900. In 1905 he took a trip through Mexico, and it was on his return from that trip that he made his first venture into public speaking. His wife planned a slide show for a few friends, but the party grew so rapidly that Fine had to rent a hall to show his slides to over 200 people. A short time after this the Burlington Railroad approached Fine on the possibility of making a lecture tour for them: he agreed on the condition that he would not be required to do any promotional work for the railroad. Fine continued to travel around the country for many years giving these lectures.

For ten years, from 1927 to 1936, Fine was secretary of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. He was an active member of the Rocky Mountain Climbers Club, the Colorado Mountain Club, the New Mexico Archeological Society and the Boulder chapter of the Colorado Archeological Society. He was active for over twenty-five years on the City Planning and Parks Commission, and was instrumental in obtaining over five-thousand acres of mountain land for the city’s park system. For forty-five years Eben G. Fine was a director of the Chautauqua Association. In 1946 he was honored by the University of Colorado with their Recognition Medal for his services to the community.

Eben G. Fine died in April of 1957, at the age of ninety-one.


7.5 linear feet (5 archival boxes, 1 oversized box, 1 oversized reel)

Language of Materials



Eben G. Fine (1865-1957) moved to Boulder in 1885, where he first worked for Fonda’s Pharmacy then later ran Temple Drug Co., his own business. An avid mountain climber and photographer, he discovered the Arapahoe Glacier in 1900 and for many years traveled around the country giving illustrated lectures on the scenic Rocky Mountain region. Fine also served as the director of the Chautauqua Association for forty-five years. The collection contains his autobiography, a scrapbook, articles, lectures and many color slides and films of the Rocky Mountain region.


This collection is arranged into the following series: Series 1: Articles & Lectures, 1905-1951 Series 2: Miscellany, dates?? Series 3: Motion Picture Films Series 4: Hand-Painted Lantern Slides Series 5: Glass-Plate Negatives Series 6: Oversized Materials

Physical Location

P 31 2-5

Processed by: Ellen Arguimbau, 1975, and Kalyani Fernando, 2018; Edited by: Anne Getts, 2004; Revised by: Poojashree Tandukar, December 2012; Revised by: Kalyani Fernando, July 2018, Uploaded to Archives Space by Kalyani Fernando, July 2018.
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