Lois Borland (1877-1967) came to the Colorado State Normal School, Colorado in 1914 as the school’s first English professor. She retired Western State College of Colorado after a long career that included addition to literature, she developed an interest in local history and person in the area to appreciate the value of saving and preserving She also was involved in dramatic productions at the college.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHLois Bertha Borland, born on October 25, 1877 at Twin Mounds, Kansas, was one of “Colorado’s most illustrious and renowned women educators.” She attended public schools in Topeka, Kansas and received her B.A. at the University of Kansas in 1906.
Borland taught high school English from 1906 to 1908 in Norton, Kansas and was an instructor at the Preparatory School and Institute of Technology in Tonkawa, Oklahoma from 1908 to 1914.
After attending Harvard for a year she earned her M. A. from the University of Chicago in 1913. She held a teaching fellowship in journalism at the University of Wisconsin in 1920-21 and was a Shakespearean scholar in England during the winter of 1922-23. Borland completed her Ph. D. at the University of Chicago in 1929 and held a research fellowship at Yale in 1934-35.
Borland joined Western State College, then Colorado State Normal School, in Gunnison, Colorado as its sole English instructor in 1914 and was the chair of the Languages and Literature Department at Western State College from 1914 to 1920, and again from 1924 to her retirement in 1942.
Borland’s long tenure at Western State left a distinct tradition on the campus. She was instrumental in starting the student newspaper, Top O’ the World and improving the college yearbook, The Curecanti. She founded the Press Club and coached the debate team. She started a creative writing course and founded the Writer’s Workshop and the One Act Play Contest. By the time she retired, Borland had directed or produced over three hundred plays on the campus.
Borland’s home in Gunnison, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Gothic Streets, was a Mecca for students, faculty members, and local residents. “Her desk was always piled high with books, papers, journals, and other materials which she was using in her never-ending search for information and knowledge.”
Following her retirement from Western State in 1942, Borland worked as a journalist for the Gunnison News-Champion for eight years. In this capacity she wrote numerous historic sketches of the Gunnison country. During that time she also wrote several articles that were published in the Colorado Magazine.
Borland had a long-term interest in history. She was the faculty advisor for “Sketches of Early Gunnison,” prepared by the Colorado State Normal School at Gunnison Class of 1916. She was also a thesis advisor for numerous Master Degree thesis including Alice Starbuck Spenser’s theses, Newspapers in Gunnison County, 1879-1900, written in 1930. In the early 1950s she started writing a biography of Captain John Gunnison, which has since been lost. Borland’s notes on Captain Gunnison are found in folder 29. Borland also corresponded with many of the early Gunnison settlers.
In 1967 Western State College founded the Lois Borland Plaque for outstanding service to the college. The award was based on quality scholarship, enthusiasm, high moral character, and notable contribution to the reputation of the school.
Borland died in Denver on November 9, 1967 and was buried in the family plot in Carbondale, Kansas.
The majority of the information used in the biographical sketch is from Lois Borland’s obituary published in the Gunnison News-Champion on November 13, 1967.
|1877||Born in Twin Mounds, Kansas|
|1906||Received her B. A. from the University of Kansas|
|1906-07||Taught English in the Norton, Kansas High School|
|1907-1913||Instructor at the University Preparatory School and Institute of Technology in Tonkawa, Oklahoma|
|1913||Received her M.A. from the University of Chicago|
|1914||Became the sole English instructor at the Colorado State Normal School at Gunnison|
|Oct.1917-Aug 1918||Y.W.C.A. Entertainer in France|
|1920-21||Held a teaching fellow at the University of Wisconsin|
|1922-23||Was a Shakespearian scholar in England|
|1929||Completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago|
|1934-35||Held a Research fellowship at Yale|
|1942||Retired from Western State College|
|1943-1951||Journalist for the Gunnison News-Champion|
|1967||Died in Denver|
This series includes Lois Borland’s files relating to the history of Gunnison County and Western Colorado. Types of material in the series include newspaper and magazine clippings, notes and manuscripts on various historic subjects, issues of the early Colorado Sate Normal School (Western State College) News Letter, newspapers, bulletins, and early Posters and handbills, and some photographs. Borland’s correspondence relating to her work in the history of the area is also included.
Unique or unusual material in the files include:
- Photo-static copy of the Hillerton newspaper, The Occident, July 5, 1879.
- Letters from Genevieve O’Neill, Captain John Gunnison niece, to Lois Borland.
- A copy of a biography of John Gunnison as a youth, “Notes on Biography of Captain John W. Gunnison, formerly 1st Lieut. Of the U. S. A.” by Andrew G. Booth.
- The military records (Civil War) of Alfred Packard.
- Early 1880s Gunnison posters and handbills.
Reprints from the Gunnison News-Champion.
Amount Of Material
Approximately 4 linear feet (three standard records storage cartons)
Scope and Content
The Gunnison History Series consists of approximately 90 files. There is no documentation on the origin of the collection. It is assumed that these materials represent a combination of notes acquired and generated by Lois Borland while researching the history of the area and historical materials added after Borland donated the materials to the library.
In 1965, the James K. Novak Historical Research Fund was established in memory of James Novak (B.A. 1965). Novak, a student assistant in physical education, was flying home from a football scouting trip when his plane crashed on October 18, 1965. Novak was working on a Master of Arts degree in History at Western at the time of his death. Along with the fund, a research collection was also established. A brochure described the collection as including “original research material having to do with the history of the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies. These materials will be made available to members of the faculty, graduate students, members of the History Honors Program, and other persons wishing to do research into the history of Western Colorado.”
After 1965, either the Novak Collection and Borland’s historical materials were merged, or the Borland materials served as the basis for the Novak Collection.
The Lois Borland Accession File contains further information about the Novak Collection.
The Novak Collection resided in a filing cabinet on the library’s reference area. Access was not limited or supervised, and some materials have gone missing.
The materials in each file are arranged in one or more of the following categories:
- Bulletins of Colorado State Normal School:
- Clippings: Includes articles clipped from newspapers and photocopies of newspaper articles. An occasional complete newspaper or magazine is included. The author, date, paper name, or page number is listed if known. An effort has been made to list clippings in alphabetic order within the file.
- Clippings - Reprints of Gunnison News-Champion Articles: During the 1930s and 1940s the Gunnison News-Champion reprinted several hundred newspaper articles relating to Gunnison’s history. These articles were originally filed in notebooks, named Remembrance of Pioneer Days in Gunnison County. Borland collected many of these articles and arranged them in her files.
- Colorado Sate Normal School News Letters: (see box 3 file 15)
- Manuscripts and Notes:
- Newspapers: Assorted single issues of local newspapers
- Posters and handbills: Original posters and handbills printed in Gunnison in the early 1880s.
- Top O’ the World - (see box 3 files 16 and 17)
Individuals Mentioned in this Finding Aid:
Adams, C. E., (Charlie)
J. R. Blackstock, J. R. (Joseph) ( - 1945)
Block, Augusta Hauck,
Buck, Elsha A. ( )
Cornwell, H. C.,
Crawford, George Addison
Deering, M. A.,
Gunnison, J. W. (John Williams), 1812-1853
Hartman, Alonzo ( - 1940)
Judd, Garwood H.,
Lake, Henry F. ( - 1919)
Lake, Henry F. Jr. ( - 1948)
Mickelson, Dr. Peter
McCanne, D. J.,
Mullin, Louden ( - 1935)
Nuckolls, Dr. George
Phillips, J. E.
Root, George A.,
Shores, C. W., ( )
David Wood, David ( - 1944)
Places Mentioned in this Document:
File 21 - CRESTED BUTTE (6 of 6)*Editor’s Note: The original inventory list for sixth folder of the Crested Butte files.
|(Crested Butte - Feller). The Gunnison Review. July 10, 1880.|
|(Crested Butte). The Gunnison Review. August 21, 1880.|
|(Crested Butte). The Gunnison Review. October 17, 1881.|
|“Coking at Crested Butte.” The Denver Tribune. June 10, 1882. (two copies)|
|“Crested Butte.” The Gunnison Review. July 7, 1882.|
|Bill Strabala. (Crested Butte). The Denver Post. November 27, 1977.|
Box 3 – Newspapers
|With the exception of one issue, this box contains original issues of the following newspapers. Their condition is poor.|
|Occident (Hillerton, CO), July 5, 1879 [photostatic copy]|
|Grand Junction News (Grand Junction, CO), March 17, 1894|
|Montrose Daily Press (Montrose, CO), January 30, 1928|
|The Republic (St. Louis, MO), August 9, 1894|
|The Denver Post magazine section (Denver, CO), June 18, 1916|
|The Rocky Mountain Herald (Denver, CO), July 28, 1894|
|Y Drych – Columbia (Chicago, IL) [Welsh], July 19, 1894|
|The Weekly Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH), August 10, 1894|
|The Gunnison News (Gunnison, CO), July 25, 1896|
|St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, MO), October 4, 1917|
|The Pitkin Miner (Pitkin, CO), January 19, 1894|
|Rocky Mountain Sun (Aspen, CO), July 28, 1894|
|The Aspen Daily Times (Aspen, CO), July 31, 1894, August 7, 1894|
|The Patriot (Denver, CO), August 11, 1894|
|The Denver Times-Sun (Denver, CO), July 13, 1894, August 2, 1894|
|The Denver Republican (Denver, CO), January 22, 1894|
|Granite Pay Streak (Granite, CO), August 11, 1894|
|The Daily Mining Record (Denver, CO), August 11, 1894|
|The Press (New York, NY), June 29, 1894, August 6, 1894, August 8, 1894|
|The Denver Republican (Denver, CO), August 10, 1894|
|The Daily Crusher (Cripple Creek, CO), February 2, 1894|
|The Daily Mining Record (Denver, CO), July 27, 1894, July 28, 1894|
|The Daily Populist (unknown), February 10, 1894|
|Aspen Daily Leader (Aspen, CO), January 24, 1894|
|The Great Southwest (Durango, CO), January 18, 1894|
|Pueblo Daily Journal (Pueblo, CO), February 18, 1894|
|The Colorado Evening Sun (Denver, CO), February 9, 1894|
|Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), August 7, 1894|
|Gold Run Silvertip (Sylvanite Post Office, Bear Creek Camp, San Juan County), August 4, 1894|