Who is she? Legislative Council seeks help identifying mystery woman in portrait at Colorado Capitol
Author: Marianne Goodland - March 21, 2018 - Updated: March 23, 2018
DENVER — Okay, all you Colorado history buffs and longtime politicos: I’ve got a mystery for you to solve.
A recent water leak at the state archives forced the hasty relocation of a group of portraits of some of Colorado’s earliest governors — and one mystery woman, possibly from the 1930s.
According to Damion Pechota of Legislative Council, who is coordinating a restoration project, there are about 20 portraits of former governors in sad shape. They include the likenesses of Gov. Frederick Pitkin, Colorado’s second governor and for whom Pitkin County is named. There’s also a portrait of the state’s third territorial governor, Alexander Cummings, that shows large tears in the canvas. Other portrait frames need repair and/or regilding.
The Capitol Building Advisory Committee has authorized restoration of the damaged portraits, which represent more than a third of all Colorado governors, both territorial (eight) and those who governed after Colorado became the Centennial State in 1876 (42, including the current resident of the Capitol’s chief first-floor office, Gov. John Hickenlooper).
But then there’s this portrait of the mystery woman (above). It doesn’t need fixing, but it does need identification. Doug Platt of the Department of Personnel and Administration said information previously listed on the back of the portrait has been torn off and is now lost to time. There is a handwritten date on the back of the canvas — 5-13-33 — and the name of the Turner Art Gallery, formerly on 17th Street in Denver, which may have commissioned the portrait.
Platt said she could be related to the administrations of Gov. William Adams, who served from 1927 to 1933, or to Gov. Edwin Johnson (1933-1937), for whom the eastbound lane of the Johnson-Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 is named.
If you’ve got any thoughts about who the mystery woman might be, and more importantly, can help with first-hand proof, contact project coordinator Damion Pechota at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also interested in hearing from anyone who can help with clues related to her dress and hairstyle and what time frame those items fit into.
And drop me a line at email@example.com. I’d like to know who it is too!