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Virginia Banks papers

Identifier: COU:87

Scope and Contents

Researchers consulting the Virginia Forbess Banks Collection should also refer to the Forbess section of Colorado Families: A Territorial Heritage (Denver, Colorado: Colorado Genealogical Society, 1981), as well as to her oral history interviews, recorded February 2000 as Part of the Maria Rogers Oral History Project, and preserved on video tape at the Carnegie Branch Library of the Boulder Public Library. Also of interest will be the Edwin P. Banks Collection, as yet incomplete and unprocessed.

Papers in this collection are separated into correspondence and family papers, followed by papers regarding Boulder County, miscellaneous materials, printed matter, and oversize papers.

The first section of this collection is comprised of correspondence. The first set of correspondence is the Davis family letters, including extensive correspondence of Eda Davis Forbess, organized chronologically from 1893 to 1971. Included here are sympathy cards received by Virginia regarding Eda’s death in 1972. A small amount of correspondence from other Davis family members follows Eda’s letters. Following the Davis family correspondence is varied correspondence of the Forbess family, including correspondence from George Madison Forbess, mostly business and personal letters from William Carroll regarding property in Texas. The Texas correspondence is organized chronologically, and dates from 1910 to beyond Madison’s death, until 1988. Also included are sympathy cards received by Eda regarding Madison’s death in 1955. Forbess family correspondence also includes correspondence sent and received by Virginia prior to her 1946 marriage – this correspondence is organized chronologically, and dates from 1920 to August 1946. There is also a small amount of correspondence between Marjorie and Robert. Following the Forbess family correspondence is the Banks family correspondence, which holds letters sent and received by Virginia and her family from 1946 to 1997. Virginia’s letters to and from Walter and Lenore Forbess, Marjorie and Ken Stevenson, Robert and Jean Forbess, George Banks, and other relatives and friends are found here. Following this topical organization is Virginia’s correspondence organized chronologically from 1946-1997. A small amount of George Banks’s correspondence is found after this.

The second section holds Davis family papers arranged topically and including many materials kept by Eda Davis Forbess. Information regarding Eda’s medical insurance, nursing homes she attended, and her obituary may be found here. The third section contains Forbess family papers, also arranged topically. The largest group of materials here are the genealogical materials that Virginia generated and organized regarding Forbess family history in Tennessee (and further back to Europe), as well as material that comprises Virginia’s entry on the Forbess family and Seborn’s descendants in Colorado Families: A Territorial Heritage (Denver, Colorado: Colorado Genealogical Society, 1981). This section also includes Virginia’s correspondence with her Forbess cousins regarding the information to be submitted to the Colorado Genealogical Society. Following these genealogical materials are the business and legal papers of Seborn and Madison Forbess, some of which are arranged topically and some chronologically. Documents that were retrieved from the Seborn and Madison safe are found here. The Forbess family papers also include insurance papers, 1910 materials regarding the “Black Beauty Mine” and Madison’s 1955 obituary and death certificate, as well as obituaries for other Forbess family members. Also held in this section, are papers regarding the will and estate of Lenore Forbess, Walter’s wife. Virginia’s school diplomas are also contained in this section.

The fourth section contains the Banks family papers, arranged topically, and including extensive materials on the Adult Basic Education program of the Colorado State Department of Education, as well as some material on Arapahoe Chemicals, a subsidiary of the Syntex Corporation. Also included in this section are various notebooks and calendars on which Virginia kept notes on daily – events these calendars are mostly from the 1980s. Materials and programs from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Central City Opera, the Denver Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbine Chamber Players may also be found in this section.

The fifth section includes notes and clippings regarding Hygiene, as well as numerous obituaries of Hygiene folks. Virginia has written on many of these clippings, identifying the place and persons and their relation to the Forbess family.

The sixth section of papers contains miscellaneous materials, including postcards (several of which are of Longmont).

The seventh section holds publications and other printed matter, including Eda’s cookbooks from Mt. Vernon, Washington and Hygiene, a hymnal (circa 1880), religious publications kept by Eda, school texts and readers kept by Virginia, and three publications regarding Boulder County: Hygiene – Portrait of a Small Town (1983), Pioneers of the St. Vrain Valley Colorado (circa 1940), and The Pride of the Rockies, Longmont Colorado (1905).

Oversize materials comprise the eighth section. This section contains various Forbess family legal documents, including Seborn’s will and papers regarding his estate. Oversize material from scrapbooks (newspaper clippings and programs from 1925 to the 1970s) can be found here. Also included in this section is a ledger for the Hygiene Cheese Factory, circa 1899.


  • Creation: 1893 - 1997

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

Virignia Forbess Banks was born at the Longmont Hospital, Colorado, on March 7, 1911. She was born to George Madison Forbess, a thresher in Hygiene, Colorado, and Edna Davis Forbess.Virginia's grandfather, Seborn Allen Forbes, on November 10, 1836, in Carroll County Tennessee. he married America Frances Wikes on March 25, 1858 in Huntingdon, Carroll County. Madison, Virginia's father and the eldest son of Seborn and America, with their 7 children, moved to the area that later became known as Hygiene. Seborn began a steam threshing business in the area and took Madison as a partner.Seborn was a member of the United Brethern Church in Hygiene. In 1892, Madison married Ruth Ermina (“Minnie”) Davis in Mount Vernon, Washington. Madison and Minnie settled in Hygiene, and Madison continued working with his father. Their first child, Walter Allen, was born August 16, 1894. A second child, Harold Huntington, was born in October 26, 1896, and a third son, Neil Carroll, was born March 20, 1898. Minnie became sick, possibly with tuberculosis, in 1901, and her condition worsened after the birth and death of an unnamed daughter on March 25, 1902. Minnie’s sister, Eda Davis, who had come to Colorado to study at the Denver College of Music, discontinued her studies when Minnie’s illness became worse. Minnie died on April 2, 1902 in Hygiene. Madison and Eda were married on December 10, 1902, in Greeley. They spent a short honeymoon in Denver, and returned to Hygiene soon after.

Several of Madison’s siblings stayed in the Hygiene area long after they were grown. Marietta (“Mary”), married Samuel Wilson in Hygiene in 1879, and they farmed in Hygiene, Berthoud, and Greeley areas. William Benjamin (“Ben”) married Dora Webster in 1889, and owned and operated a feed store in Boulder for many years. Minta married Benjamin Franklin Early in Hygiene in 1892, and they farmed as well, in the Sunnyside district near Berthoud. William Carroll married in 1890, and spent much of his life in Texas. William began Madison Oil and Gas Co., and he and Madison both had land interests in Texas. Cordelia Frances (“Delia”) married Gyeer Andrew Hall in 1896. Delia and Gyeer owned and operated the Hall Feed Store and lived on Mapleton Avenue in Boulder. Alvin J. Forbess, the last child of Seborn and America, was born in 1880 in Hygiene, attended Boulder Preparatory School, and earned a bachelor degree and a master degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado. He married Correna Coe, of Denver, in 1905. Two daughters were born to Seborn and America in Hygiene – Florence in 1875 and Susie in 1877. Florence and Susie both died of diphtheria in November 1885 in Hygiene.

Madison and Eda’s first child, Ruth Evelyn, was born on October 26, 1906 and died less than a year later, on January 30, 1907, in Hygiene. Their second child, George Meredith, was born and died in January 1908 in Hygiene. Ruth Evelyn and George Meredith both died of dehydration following illness. Madison’s third son with Minnie, Neil died of a rupture appendix when he was ten years old, in 1908. Virginia, a healthy full-term baby, was born on March 7, 1911 in Longmont Hospital. Her sister, Marjorie, was born on February 25, 1913. A third daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born in 1921 in Tempe, Arizona. She died in Hygiene in 1924, most likely of a brain tumor. Virginia’s brother, Robert Eugene, was born on June 12, 1926.

Madison belonged to the Methodist Church in Hygiene, a change from his father’s beliefs within the Brethren Church. Eda played the organ and piano for the Methodist Church for many years. In 1903, Madison and Eda bought a home and land on the St. Vrain River. Madison’s threshing business was profitable and thriving, which allowed for the family to travel a great deal in the 1920s. In between threshing seasons, Virginia attended kindergarten and first grade in Mt. Vernon, Washington and second grade in Gilroy, California. She also attended the third grade in Arizona. The family returned permanently to Hygiene in 1925. Virginia, Marjorie, and Robert attended Hygiene Consolidated #1 and Longmont High School. Madison and Eda sold their Hygiene property and home in 1950, and moved to Denver. Madison died in 1955, and Eda died in 1972.

In 1929, Virginia graduated at the top of the class from Longmont High School. She entered a secretarial program at the University of Wyoming at Laramie in 1935 and graduated in 1937. In 1940, she graduated from the Denver University School of Commerce, and began teaching in the Denver Public Schools that fall. Marjorie earned a bachelor’s degree in History in 1935, a bachelor’s degree in Education in 1936, and a master’s degree in History in 1942 – all from the University of Colorado. She taught and was an administrator within the Denver Public Schools until her retirement in 1976. She and her husband, Kenneth Stevenson, also a CU graduate (Bachelor of Arts in Education, 1933), live in Denver. Robert served in as an ensign in the Navy during World War II, and received bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has worked as an engineer, administrator, and teacher. He and his wife, Jean, also a University of Wisconsin graduate, live in Madison.

Virginia married Edwin P. Banks, of Denver, on September 1, 1946. They settled briefly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where their son, George Edwin was born in 1948. George attended George Washington High School in Denver, and received his masters in music from Northwestern University in 1974. George is a cellist and has played with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the Boulder Philharmonic. He is also a founding member of the Columbine Chamber Players. George and his wife, Carolyn Kuban, a harpist, live in Boulder.

In 1949, the Banks family returned to Denver. Ed worked in administration at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and was the administrative assistant for university president Roland Rautenstraus for many years. Virginia taught at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School in Denver from 1950 and 1965. Virginia then served for three years as the first full-time consultant for the Adult Basic Education program of the Colorado State Department of Education. With ABE she developed programs to aid with nutrition education among southern Colorado communities. From 1969 until her retirement in 1976, Virginia worked in the personnel department of Boulder-based Arapahoe Chemicals, a division of the Syntex Corporation. Since her retirement Virginia has been active in researching and compiling the Forbess family genealogy, as well as gathering Davis family materials. Virginia and Ed live in Boulder.


31.5 linear feet (67 boxes)

Language of Materials



The personal and family papers of Virginia Forbess Banks (1911- 2009). In 1873, Virginia’s grandparents moved to the area that later became known as Hygiene, Colorado. The Forbess family lived in the Hygiene area until 1950. This collection includes a vast amount of Virginia’s correspondence while in Hygiene, Denver, and Boulder (1920- 1997) as well as her mother’s correspondence while in Washington and Colorado (1893- 1971). Other correspondence includes her father’s business letters regarding property in Texas. This collection also contains a large amount of genealogical material relating to the Forbess history in Tennessee and the descendants of Virginia’s grandparents, Seborn and America Forbess, in Colorado and elsewhere. Also among the Forbess family papers are many business and legal documents relating to the family’s threshing business in Hygiene, as well as papers regarding land interests in Texas. The Banks family papers include materials about the Adult Basic Education program of the Colorado State Department of Education as well as Arapahoe Chemicals, a division of the Syntex Corporation. Also found in this collection are invaluable and unique statements written by Virginia regarding particular events, people, and places in Hygiene.


This collection is arranged in the following series: I. Correspondence II. Davis Family Papers III. Forbess Family Papers IV. Banks Family Papers V. Boulder County Papers VI. Miscellaneous Materials VII. Printed Matter VIII. Oversize

Processed by Kira Robertson, March 2000. Edited by Yolanda Maloney, August 2008
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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