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Colorado Federation of Women's Clubs Collection

Identifier: COU:398

Scope and Contents

The Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs Collection contains: minutes, club materials, correspondence, club histories, A/V material, financial ledgers/papers, membership lists, reports, newsletters, pamphlets, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, convention materials, scrapbooks, photos, and banners. No provenance observed in initial collection assessments.


  • 1895 - 2011


The formation of women’s clubs in Colorado began as an effort to provide charity to some of the poor people of Denver. The wives and daughters of male business leaders were primarily the members of these organizations. More clubs were developed as more women moved into the growing mining town. In addition to philanthropic organizations, women also formed study clubs, as well as many other clubs that spanned a range of interests. After Colorado women became full citizens in 1893, they began to form political and civic groups that pushed for suffrage, which they gained that year. In 1894, over 200 women met to organize the Women’s Club of Denver, the city’s first large, unlimited membership club with a variety of departments to address different interests. Others clubs soon followed suit. Several individual Colorado clubs joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) without first organizing a state federation. On April 5, 1895, five Federated Denver clubs issued a call to all women’s clubs throughout the state to meet in Denver and form the Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs. The following clubs participated in the initial call: The Denver Fortnightly Club, the Monday Club, the Round Table Club, the Clio Club, and the Women’s Club of Denver.

70 delegates, representing 37 clubs, attended the first organizational meeting and 35 signed the charter. Committees on nomination, enrollment, and constitution were formed; reports from local clubs followed; a constitution was adopted which provided that only literary, educational or study clubs, or those in which these features were most prominent would be admitted to the Federation. Each club was to be represented by the President and one delegate, or their alternates, at the annual meeting. An Executive Board of Directors made up of the Executive Board and the presidents of all clubs belonging to the Federation governed the Federation.

In 1900, when a controversy arose in the GFWC regarding the admittance of African American clubs, Colorado supported allowing African American clubs into the General Federation. The controversy might have split the GFWC when the southern clubs threatened to withdraw; however, just before the 1902 biennial in Los Angeles, a compromise was reached. It was decided to leave the admittance of African American clubs to the individual states on a three-fifths vote of the member clubs.

The Federation promoted and endorsed advancement of educational in Colorado. In 1896, The Women’s Club of Denver began a free traveling library in order to take the books to rural areas of the state that had no access to libraries. In 1921, many children left school to become seasonal workers in beet fields, often never continuing their education. The CFWC worked with the state legislature to establish child labor laws and later, mandatory attendance laws for schools.

The women’s clubs were also active in war efforts. Most clubs became Red Cross chapters. They donated supplies to hospitals and to soldiers stationed away from home. Clubs sold war bonds and stamps, donated jewelry and other scarce items, rolled bandages, and made items for the front in a general surge of patriotism. After the war, women supported peace, disarmament, and the League of Nations. The Women’s Club of Denver, along with the Colorado WCTU, joined and was active in the national Women’s Peace Party. As women began to enter the workforce, many clubs provided materials to their members to encourage them and to teach them how to communicate in a professional world. Many clubs remained focused on more domestic efforts, such as how to maintain a household and children’s education.

The position of women in society has drastically changed since the beginning of the CFWC. Women’s clubs throughout history have served to provide a place for women to establish common goals and reinforce common values. Together they have facilitated the advancement of women in society and continue to preserve that legacy .


73.5 linear feet (Primary Inventory : 45 boxes, 32 oversize Addition: 6 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Colorado State Federation of Women's Clubs was formed in Denver in 1895 to coordinate the activities of women's literary and educational clubs. The Federation involved itself with penal reform, child protection, and other reforms as well as its original literary purpose. The collection consists of a history of the Federation, yearbooks (1905-1959), and brochures of many of the affiliated local clubs, mostly dating to 1960. The Denver material dates from 1898. The Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs was organized in 1895 when five Denver Federation Clubs prompted similar groups to organize a State Federation. The CFWC clubs are diverse in subject matter, including politics, discussion, book reviews, art, domestic issues, and education. The collection consists of programs, history, by-laws, correspondence, financial papers, scrapbooks and membership lists of the State Federation, as well as the Women’s Club of Denver and many city Women’s Clubs from throughout Colorado.


This collection is arranged into the following series: Primary Invitory: I. ORGANIZATIONAL RECORDS Minutes Club Materials Correspondence History and Chronology A/V Material II. FINANCIAL III. MEMBERSHIP IV. PUBLICATIONS Club Publications Colorado Clubwoman Non-Club Publications V. AWARDS VI. METAL TYPOGRAPHY BLOCKS VII. YEARBOOKS VIII. SUBJECT FILES IX. CONVENTIONS X. SCRAPBOOKS AND PHOTOS XI. OVERSIZE MATERIAL Ledgers Scrapbooks Additional list: I. CLUB REPORTS II. CLUB MATERIALS ENV III. FINANCIAL FOLDER IV. CLUB MEDIA V. MINUTES VI. PUBLICATIONS BOUND BOOK

Reformatted by Lindsay M. Stone- 2003 (SMss) Survey by Kyra M. Glore - 2008 Guide by Brittany Thornton - 2011
September 28, 2011
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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