Current Issue / DU Alumni

Book profiles ‘Six Savvy Colorado Women’

Marilyn Griggs Riley (MA mass communications ’82) long thought Colorado had some important women in its history. Problem was, no one had ever written a full biography about any of them.

Riley, who taught literature, composition and forensics in Denver for 20 years, wanted to examine the history of these women she considered fascinating.

So she decided to write High Altitude Attitudes: Six Savvy Colorado Women (Johnson Books, 2006), which tells the history of Louise Sneed Hill, Justina Ford, May Bonfils Stanton, Helen Bonfils, Mary Coyle Chace and Caroline Bancroft.

Hill created the Blue Book — a book that determined Denver’s social elite. Ford was the first black female licensed physician in Colorado. The Bonfils sisters were popular socialites who engaged in many high-profile court battles against each other and made lasting philanthropic contributions to Denver and Colorado. Chace, a DU alumna, won a Pulitzer Prize for her three-act comedy Harvey. Bancroft was the self-proclaimed “grande dame of Colorado history,” writing more than a dozen booklets of Colorado’s history that are still in print today.

Colorado historian Thomas Noel (BA ’67, MA ’68) wrote the foreword for Riley’s book.

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