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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Alice Polk Hill the first poet laureate of Colorado

Alice was the first poet laureate of Colorado, having been selected for this ceremonial post by the governor in 1919.

She was the first person in the nation to hold this position, and her duties included writing poems for public occasions.  She was also the first woman to be a member of the State Historical Society.  In addition to being a poet, she was a writer, reporter, historian, real estate investor, and music teacher.

Born in 1845, in Kentucky, Alice belonged to the Daughters of the Confederacy.  A founder of the Woman’s Press Club and the Women’s Club of Denver, she was the only woman member of the commission who wrote the charter for the City and County of Denver in 1904.  Among her books were Tales of the Pioneers of Colorado (1884) and its revised version Colorado Pioneers in Picture and Story (1915).  When she died, her body lay in state in the State Capitol.

One of her poems was dedicated to the pioneers of Colorado.  She wrote that they were:

“… proud of the State whose corner-stone they laid,
Proud of her mines of silver and gold;
Proud of her flocks spread over the plains;
Proud of her sons, patriotic and bold;
Proud of her fields of golden grain:
Proud of her mountains and sunny skies;
Proud of her Statehood, by birthright a peer;
Midst the stars of the Union she shines, the prize;
The crowning glory of the hundredth year.”

This last line is a reference to the entry of Colorado
into the Union in the nation’s hundredth year (1876).

Alice died in 1921 and was buried at Riverside in Block 19.

By Joan and Garry O’Hara