Department History

EARLY HISTORY (1874 - 1940)


Photo: Palmer Hall Dedication, February 23, 1904.

In the first eighty years of Colorado College, there were fewer departments. History and Political Science were not separated near the end this period, so persons who might belong Political Science now be considered under History. Looking through early catalogs, we see that history courses were less varied than recent decades. Non courses on Latin-America or Africa were offered, though those areas were touched on other general offerings. Nor were there any courses on Women… Early professors taught more across departmental lines, as did Woodrow Wilson, who made his first western trip to deliver a series of lectures at Colorado College and in Denver in the summer of 1892. His courses and indeed his books, can be viewed as hybrids between history and government . . . Our early colleagues tended to return to the East in the summers, having strong roots there, and their financial limitations are well illustrated by the method by which the expenses of the journey eastward were met, in one case, by her undertaking to be the escort for a casket on the train, as required by law. (Frank Tucker, Early History of the Colorado College History Department1).

1874 | Thomas Nelson Haskell founded Colorado College

1881 | George N. MardenMarden

George N. Marden, an important figure in the early years of Colorado College, held a joint appointment in History, Political Science, and Metaphysics Shortly after arriving, he postponed his teaching duties to travel to the East Coast in order to raise money for the College. His efforts helped sustain the college during the college's financially tumultuous period at the end of the 19th century.2


1904 | Students are required to choose a major. The College also establishes a faculty advisor system.

1904 | Palmer Hall is constructed and dedicated on February 23, 1904.

1908 | Ernest A. M. BrehautBrehaut

Ernest A. M. Brehaut (1908-11), an early intellectual historian and author of History of the Franks, joins the department. He left Colorado College after three years and pursued scholarship independently while managing a large farm at Creamridge, NJ.3


1912 | Hester Donaldson JenkinsJenkins

First woman joins the faculty of the Department of History

Hester Donaldson Jenkins (1912-14) Was the first woman in the Department of History. Jenkins was a Professor of History at the American College for Girls in Constantinople from 1900-1909, she earned her PhD at Columbia University before coming to Colorado College in 1912..4


1913 | Tuition/Room & Board for the academic year is $290

1913-14 | History Courses

The following history courses were offered in the 1913-14 academic year, listed in the Fortieth Annual Catalogue of Colorado College.5

General European History
British Colonial History
Europe since 1815
Mediaeval History from the 4th to the 16th Century, A. D.
Modern European History
Greek History
The French Revolution and Napoleon Era
Roman History
Constitutional History of England
American History
The French Revolution and Napoleon Era
English History

1914 | Albert R. EllingwoodEllingwood

Better known as a pioneer of American mountaineering, Albert R. Ellingwood, arrives at CC to teach history and political science (1914-1919).6


1914 | John Carl ParishParish

John Carl Parish (1914-1917), American historian and founder of the Pacific Historical Review, joins the department. He left the college in 1917 to enlist in the United States Army, in which he served with the Intelligence Section in the First Army, American Expeditionary Forces in France.7


1916 | Charles MierowMierow

Charles Mierow taught at CC from 1916-34. Trained as a classicist and historian, he expanded the offerings in ancient history. He later served as dean and acting president (1923-1925) and as president of the college (1925-1934). After retiring, he returned to CC in 1956 to teach part-time in Classics. 8


1917 | Samuel Flagg BemisBemis

A prominent scholar of diplomatic history, Samuel Flagg Bemis joins the department in 1917 and taught at CC until 1921. President of the AHA in 1961, he was awarded two Pulitzer prizes.9


1920 | Archer Butler Hulbert Hulbert

Hulbert, the first faculty member to offer courses on the American West, taught at CC from 1920 to 1933.

"Archer Butler Hulbert began a long tradition of our historians delving into the history of the American West and its frontier. He traced and clarified the trails which led by many routes through the West, driving over the routes in the 1920s and I930s when such driving was extremely difficult." (Frank Tucker, Early History of the Colorado College History Department10)


1925 | The Stewart Commission of Western History

The Stewart Commission of Western History was established at the college to encourage the study of Western History under the direction of Professor Archer B. Hulbert.11

1930 | Dr. Crane Brinton visits Colorado College

In April 1930, distinguished French historian, Crane Brinton (Harvard University) comes to CC to teach "The Intellectual History of Europe, 1750-1850."

"Professor Crane Brinton, Assistant Professor of History at Harvard University, is expected to arrive at Colorado College during the vacation week… While at Colorado College he will offer a course on "The Intellectual History of Europe, 1750-1850." (The Tiger Newspaper, April 193012)

1930 | Carroll Brown MaloneMalone

Carroll B. Malone was the first faculty member to teach courses on Asian history. Author of a prominent book on the history of the Peking summer palaces under the Ch'ing Dynasty, he served as chair of the department from 1930 until his retirement in 1956.13


1937 | George L. AndersonAnderson

Historian of the American west, George L. Anderson taught at CC from 1937 until 1945; he then went on to teach at the University of Kansas.14



WWII & MID-CENTURY (1940 - 1970)

CCWWIIDuring World War II, Colorado College was designated as a Navy and Marine Corps V-12 training site. Young men bound for war received military training at the same time they took college-level courses. As a result, many young men who otherwise would not have been able to go to Colorado College were able to matriculate there while doing their military service.

The time that Colorado College "went to war" between 1943 and 1946 was extremely memorable for students at Colorado College during that period. In retrospect, it may be one of the most dramatic periods in Colorado College history, one unlikely to soon be repeated. It was a time … of terrible conflict throughout the world, a time of emotional upheaval worldwide, and certainly a time of change for Colorado College and other universities and colleges throughout the United States…. The changes made by Colorado College … became the foundation for the development of one of the great liberal arts colleges in the United States. Those who went through this period of change are proud to have been a part of Colorado College's historic legacy. ("Colorado College And World War II" In A Colorado College Reader: Selected Writings on The History of Colorado College, 161-62.15)

1945 | Harvey L. Carter Carter

Harvey L. Carter, a prominent figure in the department during the post-war period, joins the department in the summer of summer of 1945, following Anderson as chair of the department from 1955 until 1960. Salaries were extremely low when Carter arrived (the highest salary was $3600), so Carter organized the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter at Colorado College. He worked with President Gill to draft salary ranks and faculty tenure policies.

"So we had the usual post-war problems. Salaries were very low. The highest teaching--I don't know what the deans and administrators got, but the highest teaching salary was $3600, which seems pretty low, I'm sure, to anybody nowadays. And CC had a pretty good faculty. We had four or five professors, at least, who were eminent enough to be listed in Who's Who, and they were drawing $3600 a year, which isn't very much." - Harvey L. Carter, Oral History16

1946 | Lloyd E. "Lew" WornerWorner

Joining the department in 1946 at the rank of Instructor. Lew Worner was appointed assistant professor in 1947, associate professor in 1950, and full professor in 1955. He served as Dean of the Faculty from 1955 until 1963, he served as the President of the College from 1963 until his retirement in 198117


1955 | Western Civilization requirement

From the 1955-56 academic year, the College required all students to take Western Civilization. This all college requirement led to the hiring of two new faculty members, Paul P. Bernard, who specialized in Medieval European history, and Bentley Gilbert, who taught the history of England and Modern Europe; each faculty member in the department was required to teach two sections.16

1955 | Paul P. Bernard

Paul Bernard (1955-?), a Medievalist and interested in Eastern Europe and Germany, joins the department.17

1955 | Bentley Gilbert

Bentley Gilbert (1955 - ?) Historian of England and Modern Europe, joins the department.17

1955 | Earland L. Carlson

Earland L. Carlson (1955 - 1967), American historian, arrived with Gilbert, Bernard, and Worner. In 1967, he left to administer Westminster College in Pennsylvania. 18

1955 | Bill HochmanHochman

Bill Hochman (1955-1998) begins his career of over forty years with the department. Legions of students recall his vigorous defense of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his hero, and his classes, specifically the legendary Freedom and Authority class, helped form the backbone of CC's liberal arts education as the college grew and developed over the latter half of the last century.19


1960 | Lewis G. Geiger Geiger

Lewis G. Geiger, American historian and author of several books on the American West, joins the department and serves as department chair from 1960 - 1972. In 1972 he went on to Iowa State University. Leaving for Iowa State University in 1972, he remained an active scholar for his entire career, publishing numerous books including most prominently Higher Education in a Maturing Democracy (1963).20


1963 | Frank Tucker Tucker

Frank Tucker (1963 - 1989), a specialist in the history of east Asia, begins his long career at Colorado College. He notably offered the first course on women's history at CC. He was also an active member of the Colorado Springs community, serving on countless executive boards, including the Historical Society of the Pikes Peak Region.21


1963 | Tom K. BartonBarton

Tom K. Barton (1963 - 1997), legendary professor and American historian, joins the department. He taught the standard courses in his specialty, including early American Colonies, the American Revolution, and the Jacksonian era. He pioneered courses in African-American history, urban history, and rural history; he established an Afro-American history course and introduced studies of American cities and of American country life. In December of 2004, The Tom K. Barton Seminar Room was dedicated. This room memorializes Tom K. Barton, a legendary history professor, who held forth in the department from 1963 until his death in 1997.22

1964 | George A. DrakeDrake

George Drake (1964-1973), an early modern European and British historian, joins the department. He served as Professor (1964-1969) and later Dean of the college (1969-1973). After serving as Dean of the College, he left to become president of Grinnell College.

"While the couple was in Colorado one summer, George learned more about Colorado College. "I wrote to the president and introduced myself and wondered if I could stop by and meet him," George says. "I did and met some historians, and actually I got a job that way at Colorado College."" (Grinnell College)23

1965 | March for Selma


Students organized a march (over 500 students and faculty) to the Colorado Springs City Hall on March 13 to "protest the treatment of Negroes in Selma, Alabama."

"As the geographical interests of the department expanded, the thematic interests of the faculty changed. The activism of the 1960s had created an interest in popular movements and to this was quickly added a concern to study the stories of minorities (mainly African Americans and Native Americans). Social history included emphasis on women, workers, children and, in general, the family. The history of education studied how those institutions had shaped and reflected social and cultural values. The study of history itself found its place in a culminating course for majors."24

1966 | First Vietnam War Protest was organized by the Free Student Action Committee at the Earle Flagpole.

1968 | Robert "Bob" McJimseyMcJimsey

Bob McJimsey (1968- 2004) comes to the department from Ohio Wesleyan to teach courses on British History, Early Modern Europe, and Western Civilization. A specialist in early modern Britain, he always brought rich erudition and exacting scholarly standards into the Colorado College classroom. Bob's courses, whether on or off campus, was cherished by generations of students as an inviting, challenging entree into the historian's craft. In 2010, Colorado College planted a Mountain Ash tree (planted) in his memory of Bob McJimsey.25


1969 | Dennis ShowalterShowalter-tl

Dennis Showalter joins the Department of History in 1969. By the time of his retirement, he had published an impressive body of scholarship, including many prize-winning monographs, edited volumes, and well over one-hundred articles.





"The advent of the Block Plan ... spawned a creative energy affecting both teaching and subject matter. It would be interesting to speculate whether that dynamism has begun to run its course. The standard format of one block course offerings (with the occasional two block alternative) shows a willingness to "settle" into a routine. Holding classes for three hours during the mornings may also betoken the replacement of pedagogical opportunism with doctrine. Historians are aware of the movement of institutions from the creativity of a foundation to the organization of ends and means into routine activities. The Block Plan freed the faculty from the tyranny of the 50-minute class period. It is my hope that the original burst of energy which students, faculty and administration engaged will continue to find new outlets for the excitement of learning together.

By 1975 order had begun to replace improvisation. In our Palmer Hall precinct rooms 217 and 219 changed from storage rooms to course rooms. We did less teaching either in dormitory lounges or, often, at home. Furniture purchased at auctions gave way to the tables and chairs of today. Teaching styles veered toward discussion. The familiar pattern of setting questions, dividing into small groups, and reassembling for presentations began to emerge. Department members recognized that the Block Plan mandated a freshly conceived partnership between themselves and the students. The students responded quickly to the new environment. By the end of the second year student majors worried about the now-unfamiliar final written exam the department required, and embraced the oral exam they once had regarded with suspicion and dread." (Robert McJimsey, The era the Block Plan 24).

1970 | Block plan establishedBlockPlan

"They called it the New College Plan or the Master Plan, a comprehensive effort to shape education inside and outside the classroom. Faculty and students exchanged the standard semester system for nine three and a half week blocks, limited class size to 25 students, and turned classrooms into course rooms. Instead of teachers and students dispersing after class, the New College Plan set aside time, beginning in mid afternoon, for Leisure Program activities. What seems natural to us represented a radical change then. What we know works, they believed could fail. There were some isolated examples of similar intensive teaching formats at the graduate level, but no institution used the system for everyone, all the time. In September 1970, CC launched the experiment, uncertain about its outcome." (Susan Ashley)

1970 | Susan Ashley

Susan Ashley joins the department in 1970. She quickly established a reputation as a master-teacher, and her line was converted to the tenure track the following year. A specialist of modern European history, she served two terms as departmental chair twice. In addition, she was the first woman in the history of Colorado College to serve as Dean of the College and Dean of the Faculty.

1973 | Peter Blasenheim

Brazilianist Peter Blasenheim comes to teach Latin American history in 1973. He also offered courses in African history. In 2001, Blasenheim established a student exchange program between CC and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) in Brazil, a program that now includes most of the colleges in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the University of Brasília as well as CC and UFJF.

1978 | Doug Monroy

In 1978, Doug Monroy arrived at Colorado College to teach the history of the Southwest. His books have won several prizes, including Thrown among Strangers: The Making of Mexican Culture in Frontier California, Rebirth, Mexican Los Angeles from the Great Migration to the Great Depression, and most recently, The Borders Within: Encounters between Mexico and the US. He also served as the Director of Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies from 1993-1999.

1980 | Carol Neel

Carol Neel (1980 - Present) joins the department and establishes the study of classical and medieval Europe, with an emphasis on the role women. Neel also pioneered the History of Science, later strengthened with the arrival of Jane Murphy. In addition, Neel served as department chair twice, from 1997 to 2000 and from 2011 to 2014, and has been responsible for establishing and advancing the Social Issues in Historical Context initiative.

1988 | Tim Cheek

Tim Cheek (1988-?) arrives and teaches courses on East Asia and to bring his energy and support to the eventual expansion of Asian Studies in the areas of language and Political Science.24

1991 | Anne F. Hyde

Anne Hyde (1991-2016) joins the department and teaches courses on the American West and American Environmentalism. She was awarded the Bancroft Prize for the best book in American history for her book, Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860.24

1996 | Bryan Rommel-Ruiz

Bryan Rommel-Ruiz (1996-Present) joins the department as a Minority-Scholar-In-Residence and Visiting Instructor in American History. Rommel-Ruiz renewed the study of early American history, and added an interest in history through film studies. He is the author of American History Goes to the Movies(2010).



2004 | Bryant "Tip" Ragan

A visiting instructor in the Department of History in 1987-88, Tip returned to Colorado College in a permanent capacity in 2004. A scholar of the history of homosexuality in early modern France, he offers courses in early modern European history and the history of sexuality. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Society for French Historical Studies.

2004 | John Williams

John Williams (2004-Present) joins the department and becomes the department expert on East Asian history. Williams also served as chair of the Asian Studies Program at Colorado College from 2011-2017.

2007 | Jane Murphy

Jane Murphy (2007-Present) joined the department and added numerous courses Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present and topics in the history of European and Islamic science. Murphy has also been integral in advancing the digital liberal arts initiative and the use of digital tools in the History Department.

2010 | In September, 2010 a Mountain Ash tree was planted in memory of Bob McJimsey

2013 | Purvi Mehta

Purvi Mehta (2013-Present) joins the department, and adds courses on modern South Asian history, gender and sexuality in South Asia, and social justice activism.

2014 | Social Issues and Historical Contexts InitiativeSIHC-tl

Started in 2014, the Social Issues in Historical Context initiative is a $200,000, three year grant from an anonymous donor to investigate various transnational and trans-historical issues common to human experience across time and space. Specifically, the Initiative looks toward the historical roots of incarceration as means of discipline, punishment, and social control, and how the histories of these elements of human life have shaped our present experiences. The Initiative officially began with a dinner and discussion on November 14, 2014 with a lunch discussion and speech from Susan Burch, Director for the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College.


2015 | Jamal Ratchford

In 2015, Jamal Ratchford was appointed assistant professor of History and Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. An expert in 20th-century African American history, Dr. J's courses on the history of sports are particularly popular.

2016 | Phi Alpha ThetaPAT

In the fall of 2015, the History Department petitioned the national office of the History honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, to grant Colorado College membership in this longstanding society. On April 29, 2016, The first induction ceremony for the Colorado College Alpha-Pi-Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta in Palmer Hall.


2016 | Amy Kohout

Amy Kohout (2016-Present) joins the department and teaches courses on American and cultural history, and adds numerous courses on environmental history.


2018 | First Digital History CourseDHC

In the spring of 2018 (block 6), the department offered the first digital liberal arts (dla) course, HY:200 Digital History Collaborative, taught by Tip Ragan and Jennifer Golightly (ITS). The course explored digital methods of studying history, such as GIS Mapping, textual analysis, and database design.







2018 | Paul Adler

Paul Adler (2018 - Present) joined the History Department at Colorado College. Paul teaches courses on U.S. history, histories of international political economy, the Cold War, and social movement activism.

2019 | Danielle Sanchez

Danielle Sanchez - first African historian in the department focusing on 20th Century Africa offering a variety of courses including popular culture in Africa; health and healing and Africa since 1800.

2019 | Jake P. Smith

Jake Smith began as a visiting instructor in 2017 and was chosen among a wide range of candidates as a tenure track professor in 2019. His specialty is 20th Century Europe including courses covering modern Russia and the Soviet Union; the ruins of modernity; and Berlin, capital of the 20th Century.

2020 | John Marquez

John Marquez (2020 - present) joined the History Department at Colorado College. His research focuses on the African diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular emphasis on Brazil and the Atlantic world in the eighteenth century.


1. Tucker, Frank. "Early History of the Colorado College History Department" URL.

2. - "Professor Marden's Life Work Finished." In A Colorado College Reader: Selected Writings on The History of Colorado College, edited by Robert D. Loevy, 67-74. Colorado Springs, CO: 2012.

3. Cramer, Owen. "Brehaut, Ernest." 2018. Database of Classical Scholars at Rutgers University.

4. Loevy, Robert D. & Hannah Varnell. A History of Gender at Colorado College." In A Colorado College Reader: Selected Writings on The History of Colorado College, edited by Robert D. Loevy, 236-273. Colorado Springs, CO: 2012.

5. - " Fortieth Annual Catalogue of Colorado College." Colorado College, 1913.

6. Wikipedia, s.v. "Albert R. Ellingwood," last modified Mar 7, 2016,

7. Clark, Dan E. "John Carl Parish: Founder of the Pacific Historical Review." Pacific Historical Review 8, no. 1 (1939): 1-3. doi:10.2307/3633607.

8. Wikipedia, s.v. "Charles Christopher Mierow," last modified Mar 3, 2018,

9. Bostert, Russell H., and John A. DeNovo. "Samuel Flagg Bemis." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 85 (1973): 117-29.

10. Frank Tucker, Early History of the Colorado College History Department

11. - "Hulbert to Stay." The Tiger 32, no. 1: 311. March, 1930. Accessed August 12, 2018.

12. - "Harvard Exhange." The Tiger 32, no. 5: 324-25. April, 1930. Accessed August 12, 2018.

13. WorldCat. "Carroll B. Malone collection." Accessed August 29, 2018 .

14. George L. Anderson Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1227, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

15. Zorack, John L. "Colorado College And World War II" In A Colorado College Reader: Selected Writings on The History of Colorado College, 161-62.

16. Carter, Harvey L., transcript of an oral history conducted November 16, 1976, in Oral History Collections at Colorado College, 1976-1996., Oral History Project, Special Collections at Colorado College.

17. Worner, Lloyd Edson, Jr., transcript of an oral history conducted January 28, 1985, in Oral History Collections at Colorado College, 1976-1996., Oral History Project, Special Collections at Colorado College.

18. Elizabeth, Jane. "Obituary: Earland L. Carlson / First lay president of Westminster College." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 27, 2002. Accessed August 30, 2018.

19. Hockman, William R., transcript of an oral history conducted April 7, 14, 21, 1992, in Oral History Collections at Colorado College, 1976-1996., Oral History Project, Special Collections at Colorado College.

20. Caraher, William. "Louis Geiger and the University of the Northern Plains" March 10, 2008. Accessed August 30, 2018.

21. Colorado College. "Professor Emeritus Frank Tucker Passes Away." February 2, 2017. Accessed August 29, 2018.

22. Ashley, Susan. "Farewell Tom K. 1934-97" Colorado College Bulletin (Fall 1997). Accessed August 30, 2018.

23. Regenold, Michele. "Portrait of a Teacher: George Drake '56." The Grinnell Magazine. Accessed August 30, 2018.

24. McJimsey, Robert. "The era of the Block Plan." URL.

25. Neel, Carol. "Remembering Bob McJimsey." (2011)

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