History is a story always unfolding. Learn the latest discoveries about Anne Evans', the Evans Family's, and others' contributions to Colorado's Cultural Development.

Barbara Sternberg's Book about Anne Evans

Welcome to Anne Evans News 
by Barbara Edwards Sternberg

March is Women's History Month! Anne Evans is but one of too many unheralded women who made extraordinary contributions to our world. There are many resources available to explore and celebrate the lives and gifts of women in history; here are a few: Colorado Women: a History at History Colorado Center, Celebrate Women's History in Denver

Anne Evans News - Thanks to all of you for your supportive and positive comments about our inaugural issue of Anne Evans News. We will continue to provide historical and contemporary notes relating to Anne Evans' life and work, which expands into the rich tapestry of Colorado's cultural development.

Anne Evans Blog – Since the inaugural issue of Anne Evans News I have launched the Anne Evans Blog. This is an opportunity to share on a weekly basis bite-sized pieces of new information about Anne Evans' involvement in Denver and Colorado's cultural history, and new developments that relate to her contributions. In the first couple of blog posts I covered: the discovery of a rare Anne Evans painting, which was fortunately acquired by the Kirkland Museum; two new developments about the Civic Center to which Anne Evans made significant contributions – first was the designation of the Civic Center as a National Historic District, second was the restoration of the 1910 Carnegie Library Building and its preparation for new civic uses. The next blog post starts a discussion about a very important document that surfaced since the publication of the book. I call it "Anne Evans' five-page spiritual autobiography", which is in an article Anne titled: Why I Joined the Theosophical Society. Click here to see my blog posts.
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1932 Central City Opera House Playbill

A Small Piece of History Brings to Life a Huge Gift: Anne Evans' Tireless Efforts Restore the Central City Opera House

I received recently a precious gift from Barbara Rumsey, a great-great-granddaughter of Governor John Evans. A playbill, dated Saturday Evening, July 23, 1932, from the opening performance of the first year of the Central City Opera House Association's Play Festival in the restored Opera House. The play was Camille starring Lillian Gish, the darling of silent movies. The play was a stunning success.

  • The playbill is a simple, economical 4-page document full of nostalgic information about that magical evening.

  • "The play is presented in the manner of 1878," the year Camille was originally presented in a flourishing Central City. The audience was requested to dress in 1870's costumes and they responded enthusiastically.

  • The Central City Opera House Association at that time was sponsored by the University of Denver.

  • In the cast, playing the famous French sculptor Saint Gaudens, was prominent Denver sculptor Arnold Ronnebeck.

  • Also in the cast was actress Edna James, the wife of Denver notable Delos Chappell, a Broadway producer and invaluable ally in the original production.

  • Robert Edmond Jones, a well-known Broadway Director, was in charge of the production, including the design of the scenery and costumes. He also chose the opening date to coincide with a full moon over Central City.

  • The restoration of the Theater was "under the direction of Allen True," one of the many artists whose career was helped by Anne Evans. True was the Denver artist and muralist honored in 2009-10, through the efforts of Jim and Maggie Barrett, with coordinated exhibits at the Denver Art Museum, History Colorado, the Denver Public Library and the Colorado State Capital.

  • The Staff Photographer was Laura Gilpin.

Characteristically absent from the playbill credits is any mention of the crucial roles played by the two "movers and shakers" in the whole Central City project - Anne Evans and Ida Kruse MacFarlane, without whom there would be no Central City Opera House or Summer Festival!

Cornelia Gray Lunt


I finally saw the movie "Lincoln". Daniel Day Lewis' moving portrayal of Abraham Lincoln brings to mind a little story in my biography of Anne Evans. Anne was the daughter of Colorado's second Territorial Governor John Evans who was appointed by Lincoln. The story is told by Cornelia Gray (Nina) Lunt (in photo above), the older cousin with whom 16-year-old Anne spent what I called a "civilizing year" in Evanston, Illinois. Nina was a visitor in the household of Bishop Matthew Simpson (the charismatic Methodist minister whose brilliant sermons had converted Anne's father to the Methodist faith). It was a significant moment in American history: Lincoln was temporizing about issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Simpson was preparing to make a well-publicized address to his followers, condemning Lincoln's delay, but felt he must make one last private appeal to the President before doing so. The President was perceptibly aging, and sat silently through Simpson's remarks, "hands loosely clasped and head bent low, a burdened man." He did not at first make any response to Simpson's appeal, but called out to him as he was leaving, "Bishop, the Master whom you serve was very patient and long suffering with the sinner - even until seventy times seven he forgave. Could you not be patient with me a little longer?" 

(Explanatory notes: This story concerns Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863, the forerunner of the Thirteenth Amendment, which is the subject of the movie. The story is on pp. 121-2 in my book Anne Evans - A Pioneer in Colorado's Cultural History: THE THINGS THAT LAST WHEN GOLD IS GONE, and comes from Cornelia Lunt's 1925, privately printed, Sketches of Childhood and Girlhood Chicago, 1847-1864.)
Anne Evans - A Pioneer in Colorado's Cultural History: THE THINGS THAT LAST WHEN GOLD IS GONE
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