Western History & Genealogy Blog

Clarence Holmes and the Cosmopolitan Club

Early Civil Rights march in Denver
Cosmopolitan Club meeting with George Morrison, orchestra leader

In 2009 the library processed the Clarence and Fairfax Holmes Papers (WH1270), which documents the lives of a politically and socially active couple in Denver’s African-American community.

Thanks to a Colorado’s Diverse Heritage grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), DPL archivists were able to process five archival collections of African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans last year.

Dr. Clarence Holmes (1892-1978) graduated from Howard University in 1917 and Howard University College of Dentistry in 1920 before returning to his hometown of Denver to open a private practice in dentistry in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver.

Holmes helped found one of Denver’s first organizations dedicated to promoting interracial and interfaith understanding - the Cosmopolitan Club of Denver. The co-ed club’s motto was “humanity above nation, race or creed,” and it attracted an activist membership from Denver’s African-American, Jewish, Japanese and Anglo communities. The Club organized in 1931 when racial, ethnic and religious discrimination was institutionalized in Denver and throughout the U.S.

Cosmopolitan Club

I'd love to know more about the Cosmopolitan Club. What were their activities? When did they cease to exist, or are they still around?

The Cosmopolitan Club was

The Cosmopolitan Club was dedicated to inter-faith and inter-racial understanding. In my view the Club took an interest in learning about global cultures that was notable for its time. Events included an annual Japanese dinner with a discussion of Japanese culture; Rabbis and Christian religious leaders discussing faith; an annual Heroes of Peace event memorialized deceased members of the community by recognizing groups such as firefighters, mothers and soldiers. You might like to take a look at the collection's finding aid: http://eadsrv.denverlibrary.org/sdx/pl/toc.xsp?id=WH1270&qid=sdx_q5&fmt=... for more details about the Club.

I suspect the club may not have outlived Clarence Holmes, but the collection shows Club items that span 1931-1970s. The Club minutes book is a wonderful source of information about the clubs' activities and discussions.