Curious Gifts

Seth Thomas Library Clock

Seth Thomas Library Clock
Western History and Genealogy employees are no strangers to unusual donations. Once, when the Department received a collection from a member of the Denver City Council, they opened an archival box that contained an electric exit sign and an analog telephone. Those items, they returned to the donor. Sometimes, the archivists decide to keep objects gifted to the Library. These include a doorknob from the Arapahoe County Courthouse that stood between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets on Court Place. Conservationist John Muir’s eyeglasses have a special place in the Department’s vault along with the crown that Sallie Gomberger wore when she was Queen of the Court of the Silver Serpent for the 1895 Colorado Festival of Mountains and Plains. These items are located not too far from Eugene Field’s music box and a marble tablet baring a decree in Arabic from fourteenth century Syria.
Recently, Western History and Genealogy received a Seth Thomas clock complete with pendulum housed in a wooded case. The case contains a brass tag bearing the words “City and County of Denver” along with an inventory number. The donor, Kay Pride, gave the clock to the Department with a narrative about how it came into her late husband’s possession. Bill Pride worked at the Denver Public Library sometime during the years 1955 to 1956. He helped move the collections from the 1910 Carnegie Library (currently under renovation) to the new building designed by Burnham Hoyt on the other side of Civic Center. Among the items that the Library chose not to move was a clock made by Seth Thomas. Library management gave Bill permission to take the discarded clock home.
For the next sixty years this clock lived with Bill Pride. Each day, Bill tightened the spring of his cherished clock. Bill worked as an editor for the Denver Post for thirty-eight years. After his death in 2010, Kay began donating books to the Western History collection. On June 22, 2016, Kay returned the clock to the Denver Public Library. We are pleased to have it back home with us. Now, the catalogers will describe it and assign a call number. Then, we will place it in the public area for everyone to see. 

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