Hughes Rare Book Room

Born in 1875, Gerald Hughes was educated in the Denver school system and graduated from Yale University in 1897. He received his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1899. Mr. Hughes was an inveterate reader and during his lifetime he collected a comprehensive law library as well as a personal library housed at his home on Alameda Avenue. After his death in 1956, his widow Mabel Hughes gave his entire collection to the University of Denver College of Law. As one of the early graduates of Denver Law, Mr. Gerald Hughes set an extraordinary example of a practicing legal scholar.  That legacy lives on today through his private book collection and office furnishings housed in the Hughes Rare Book Room at the Westminster Law library.

The oldest book in the Gerald Hughes Memorial Rare book collection is from 1774, “Letters written by the late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his son, Philip Stanhope, Esq.., published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, from the originals now in her possession.” The most recent books are from when the collection was donated to Westminster Law Library in the late 1950s. The collection is not just Gerald Hughes; many of the tomes have name plates or signatures from Andrew and Berrien Hughes, both of Gerald’s brothers.  The oldest books carry their father’s writing, Charles J. Hughes.  

The Gerald Hughes Memorial Rare book collection reflects the active and curious minds of the Hughes family. This collection of over 1,450 titles in approximately 2,800 volumes covers a wide range of subjects. The large history portion shows a family with anglophile origins, which is countered by numerous books on Egyptian and Middle Eastern history. The Hughes family had the classics, Dickens, Conrad, Balzac, Plato, Homer, and Cicero to name a few. You can see Mable Hughes’ influence in the books on art, poetry, fairy tales, and home care. Religious books found their spot too; the life of Jesus, learning about the Hindus, Jesuits, and stories of Mormon movement across the United States. The Hughes Collection includes very few law books, mostly biographies of judges. 

The Hughes Room is primarily a space for quiet reflection, reading, and study.