Skip to main content

Cutler Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: M018

Ira E. Cutler was a professor at the University of Denver who contributed to the fields of genetics, eugenics, ornithology, botany and geology. Cutler was also a botanist who was instrumental in propagating the "University of Denver rose." He composed the University of Denver "alma mater", Hail to Denver U, and organized the university Glee Club.

His daughter Marjorie, who attended the University in the 1920s, served as the registrar in 1937 in which capacity she served the University until 1970. She died September 1, 1990. Cutler and his wife Amelia raised five children: Alice, Marian, Owen, Marjorie, and Laura. Marjorie, Marian, and Laura graduated from the University of Denver in 1920, 1926, and 1928, respectively. The collection contains correspondence, curriculum materials, photographs, newspapers, newspaper clippings, calling cards, dance cards, sheet music, scrapbooks, class book, certificates, course notebooks, financial statements, ribbon, seeds, books and pamphlets.

Dates

  • 1890-1989

Creator

Extent

2 Linear Feet (2 record boxes)

Scope and Contents

The collection includes Ira E. Cutler's papers, correspondence, notes, course notebooks, curriculum materials, newspapers, newspaper clippings, sheet music, class book, financial statements, certificates, books, pamplets, and research interests. Also included are dance cards, calling cards, a ribbon, seeds and other ephemera from his wife and children, as well as scrapbooks, family photographs, group photographs of various organizations, and early campus photographs. A few items from the years between Cutler's death and his daughter Marjorie's retirement are also included in the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Ira E. Cutler was born in Putnam, Connecticut on October 8, 1863. In 1893, he graduated from Albion College in Michigan with a Bachelor of Sciences degree. In 1907, he received his Master of Arts degree from the University of Denver and in 1919 Albion College granted him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Ira Cutler married Amelia Perkins of Michigan on August 1, 1894. From 1924 to 1928, he served as national president of the Phi Sigma Society, an honorary biology fraternity.

In 1898, Cutler joined the faculty of the University of Denver as Professor of Biology and Zoology. In his later years he was noted for his work in the field of ornithology, gathering an assortment of bird species that forms the nucleus of the University’s ornithological collection. He did not limit himself to this field, however. From one of the largest pharmaceutical and botanical gardens in the West, located just north of Warren Avenue on University Boulevard, he supplied multiple botanical retailers and developed new varieties of columbines (including a now lost spurless variety), iris, cacti, and other plants. Producers of digitalis obtained monkshood from this garden. He was both a pioneer and an authority on raising grapes in Colorado. Additionally, he developed hybrids of Indian corn in an experimental plot at the corner of South Josephine and Evans Avenue while working as a government expert from 1916-1920. While visiting the Western Slope, Chancellor Henry Buchtel was given an unusual rose bush. The flowers’ coloring—red centers with yellow petals—coincided with the University’s colors. The Chancellor gave the bush to Cutler who made cuttings of it to plant on the University of Denver campus. After much research, Cutler discovered that the bush, known locally as the ''Denver University Rose'', is more commonly known as the Austrian Copper. Besides studying plants, Cutler investigated the genetics of creepers, a type of fowl, and also studied milk goats. He corresponded with several organizations dedicated to genetics and eugenics. Cutler conducted extensive geological research in the Florissant District of Colorado and taught courses in geology at the University.

In addition to academic interests, Cutler also enjoyed artistic and community oriented pursuits. He formed a boys club that was to become the first Boy Scout troop west of the Mississippi. During World War I, Cutler turned from professor to commander, becoming staff captain to train the students of the University of Denver’s R.O.T.C. He organized the University of Denver Glee Club in 1900 and directed it for many years, helping the members to successfully tour several surrounding states. He directed the choir at University Park Methodist Episcopal Church, which is located across University Boulevard from the University Park campus. He supervised the publication of the first edition of a book entitled, the Denver University College Songs, which contained several of his own compositions. He wrote the University of Denver alma mater, ''Hail to Denver U.'' Chancellor David Shaw Duncan claimed that Cutler’s paintings ''revealed an artist of merit.'' Cutler utilized this artistic ability in arranging floral decorations for University functions.

In 1934, Professor Cutler was granted retirement as Professor Emeritus. He died May 25, 1936. The Cutler influence at the University of Denver did not end, however. His daughter Marjorie, who attended the University in the 1920s, became the registrar in 1937 in which capacity she served the University until 1970. She died September 1, 1990.

Cutler and his wife Amelia raised five children: Alice, Marian, Owen, Marjorie, and Laura. Marjorie, Marian, and Laura graduated from the University of Denver in 1920, 1926, and 1928, respectively.

Arrangement

This collection is unarranged.;

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428