Benjamin Draper Manuscript
Benjamin Draper (1907-1980) was a professor of Broadcast Communications at San Fransisco State College, during which he returned to DU for a PhD in theatre. Draper also spent time as assistant to Ida Kruse McFarlane and Anne Evans at the Central City Festival in th 1930s. The Benjamin Draper Manuscript is titled "A Preliminary Tabulation of Colorado Theatre Structures 1859 - 1900 and An Outline of a Four-Part Comprehensive Study The Colorado Theatre 1859-1900, prepared by Benjamin Draper as a Graduate Study Project, University of California, Berkeley under Professor Garff B. Wilson, Department of Dramatic Arts, 1964.
- Draper, Benjamin (Person)
Biographical / Historical
Benjamin Poff Draper was born on July 10, 1907, in Hot Springs County, Arkansas. After his mother, Lillian Poff Draper, died in 1914, Benjamin Draper and his father, William Eliot Draper, moved to Denver, Colorado. Benjamin Draper attended Hyde Park School and the Manual Training High School in Denver. He graduated from the University of Denver in 1928 with a B.A. in speech and drama. In 1936, he received his Master's in English literature from the same institution. Benjamin Draper earned a Ph.D. in economics from Chicago University and a Ph.D. in theater from the University of Denver in 1969.
According to information in the Western History Department at Denver Public Library, Draper and his sister performed with the Child Players as extras in Robert B. Mantel's production of Julius Caesar at the Broadway Theatre in Denver. From 1929-1936, Draper held the position of stage manager at the University Civic Theatre, which later became the Bonfils Theatre. He was also an assistant to Ida Kruse McFarlane and Anne Evans at the Central City Festival in the 1930s.
Draper’s connection to the mountain towns of Colorado continued and in 1946, he ran for State Representative for Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Summit and Pitkin Counties. In 1947, he met and married Barbara McCracken. In 1948, he received an appointment as Director of the Colorado Resources Development Council and he was President of Georgetown Enterprises, Inc., an organization formed for the purpose of restoration of the mining town.
Draper left Colorado for California in 1949, where he worked in the broadcast industries and where he won an Emmy for his series, “Science in Action.” In 1958, Benjamin Draper won the Westinghouse History Award for his television show about Sir Francis Drake. His interest in Drake led him to become a member of the Drake Navigators Guild and in 1959, he won the Browning Society Award for his dramatic monologue on Sir Francis Drake. Benjamin Draper spent 20 years compiling a bibliography on Drake's voyage. In conjunction with Assemblyman William Bagley, Senator Peter Behr and the California Governor's office, he was progenitor of the bill that created the Sir Francis Drake Commission.
He was a professor of broadcast communications at San Francisco State College. During his tenure there, he returned to Denver to complete a Ph.D. in theatre at the University of Denver. During that time he was active in helping to develop a collection of theatre historical materials.
Benjamin Poff Draper died on July 10, 1980.
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