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Elwood M. Brooks Papers

Identifier: COU:243

Scope and Contents

The Elwood Brooks collection is divided into nine sections that include personal papers, various correspondence, financial documents, documentation pertaining to the University of Colorado, photographs, and various closed files.

Part of the collection (boxes 10-62) was restricted from the public until five years after the death of Brooks’ son, Max Gierhart, who passed in 2001. As of 2006, however, the entire collection is open for use.


  • 1937 - 1963

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

Elwood M. Brooks was born in Clayton, Kansas on November 3, 1888. He was the ninth of ten children and attended rural schooling in Norton County. He took an academic and college course at Fort Hays Normal School, attending the institution until 1915 during intervals of teaching. He first worked as a teacher in 1908, teaching for one year in Norton County district before spending four years as a teacher for the Clayton public school system. In the fall of 1913, Brooks became the superintendent for Oberlin public schools. He was elected county superintendent of public instruction in 1916, taking office in May of 1917; he was reelected for a two year term in the fall of 1918.

Brooks came to Colorado in the 1940s from Kansas as a banker, later becoming the President of the Central Bank and Trust Company of Denver. It was well known that Brooks based his business on people rather than the bottom line. He was recognized as someone who gave out loans to lower and middle income families especially during the post-war boom. These decisions increasingly raised his profits. He is also acknowledged for bringing the “drive-through” bank concept to Colorado; this increased the profitability for the Central Bank and Trust Company of Denver while Brooks was president. Brooks was described as involved and busy, regularly donating to the National Society of Crippled Children, the Rose Hospital, and the University of Denver throughout his lifetime. He also developed the Brooks Tower in downtown Denver which opened in 1968.

In 1915, Brooks married Laura Gierhart, also a teacher. They had one child, Max Gierhart, who was born May 29, 1916. Brooks died on February 5, 1965 in Denver, Colorado. He is buried in Fairmount Cemetery. In 1997, he was honored with a place in the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.


93 linear feet (62 Boxes and 1 Oversize series)

Language of Materials



Originally a schoolteacher, Elwood M. Brooks (1888-1965) became involved in banking in Oberlin, Kansas, in 1920 and served as Kansas State Banking Commissioner from 1937-1941. He came to Denver in 1943 to become president of the Central Bank and Trust Co. He served in this capacity until 1957 when he became chairman of the Board. From 1952-1963, he was a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The collection contains material on Brooks' personal life, his banking career, and his involvement with the University.


This collection is arranged into the following series: Series 1: Personal Papers, 1959-1965 Series 2: Correspondence, 1926-1942 Series 3: American Bankers Association Correspondence, n.d. Series 4: University of Colorado, 1955-1957 Series 5: Financial, 1920-1960 Series 6: Photographs, Awards, Certificates, Programs, Etc., n.d. Series 7: Clippings and Miscellaneous, 1920-1965 Series 8: Oversized, n.d. Series 9: Files, 1943-1965

Physical Location

Located at offsite storage (PASCAL). Allow at least 5 days for delivery. Contact for questions and requests.

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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