Knutson Bowers Collection - CSPM

Knutson Bowers Collection

Extent: Approx. 23 cubic feet.

Finding Aid Prepared By: Julie Simmons, April 2004

Provenance: The Pioneers Museum acquired the materials in this collection in 1992 through a donation by Fran Knutson.

Arrangement: Original order was maintained throughout the entirety of the collection. Materials were resleeved for reasons of preservation.

Copyright: The materials in the collection may be assumed to be copyrighted by the creator of those materials. The museum advises patrons that it is their responsibility to procure from the owner of copyright permission to reproduce, publish, or exhibit these materials. The owner of the copyright is presumed to be the creator, his or her heirs, legates, or assignees. Patrons must obtain written permission from the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum to reproduce, publish, or exhibit these materials. In all cases, the patron agrees to hold the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum harmless and indemnify the museum for any and all claims arising from the use of the reproductions.

Restrictions: The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum reserves the right to examine proofs and captions for accuracy and sensitivity prior to publication with the right to revise, if necessary. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum reserves the right to refuse reproduction of its holdings and to impose such conditions as it may deem advisable in its sole and absolute discretion in the best interests of the museum. Oversized and/or fragile items will be reproduced solely at the discretion of the Archivist. Under no circumstances will more than 25% of any one collection be reproduced.

Credit: Reproduction, publication, or exhibition of this work must include the following credit in proximity to the image or in a special section of credits:

The Knutson Bowers Collection
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Biographical Note: Loyde Knutson 1907-1995

Loyde Knutson was born in Sioux City, Iowa on August 15, 1914 where he and his twin brother, Oliver, grew up. Loyde discovered his love of photography while at college in Arizona. After college, Loyde moved to Chicago to work as an insurance agent. Then in 1930 he moved to Colorado Springs to become a life insurance agent. In 1931 he met Fran Bowers, Bill Bower’s sister, and they married in 1934. In 1938 he left life insurance and began a full time career in photography. Loyde was the main photographer for the Cheyenne Mountain School District and Colorado College. Loyde also assisted in arranging the photographs for the Will Rogers Shrine and was the only photographer allowed at Spencer Penrose’s funeral. Loyde also briefly taught at Colorado College. In 1970 Loyde won the Professional Photographers of America award for “Portrait of a Man.” He passed away on September 16, 1995.

Biographical Note: Bill Bowers 1903-2003

Bill Bowers was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on March 4, 1903. He grew up in San Diego, California and went to college in Arizona, ironically at the same school as Loyde Knutson. After college he briefly traveled through Asia with his college band, the Arizona Collegians. He then went to work as a stockbroker until the market crash of 1929. The day before the market crashed, he married his college sweetheart, Louise Henderson. Bill then began a career as an insurance agent until he was called into active duty in 1942. Bill returned from Germany in 1946 and was told that he had severe lung problems and would only live another 5 years. As a result of this news, Bill decided to begin a career in something that he enjoyed, photography. This career lasted for 57 years. He photographed equipment for Hewlett Packard for twenty years, filmed the Pikes Peak Hill Climb for Firestone for twenty years, and was the primary photographer for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for almost forty years. In 2003 the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum celebrated his 100 birthday with an exhibit “100 Years of Photography.” He passed away in October of 2003.

Biographical Note: Knutson Bowers Photography

Loyde Knutson and Bill Bowers began their company in 1946 following Bill’s return to Colorado Springs. The company worked for numerous individuals and institutions, among them Colorado College, Civic Theater, and the Imperial Players of Cripple Creek. The company closed after twenty years. Bill then began working as the primary photographer for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Loyde began his own photography studio.

Series Description:

I. Imperial Players

A. Photographs

B. Documentation

II. Civic Theater

A. Programs

B. Photographs

III. Commercial Photographs

A. Knutson/Bowers Photography

B. Loyde Knutson

IV. Loyde Knutson Personal

A. Personal Interest

B. Slides and Negatives

Scope Note: The Knutson Bowers collection primarily contains professional photographs. The collection is divided into four series: Imperial Players, Civic Theater, professional photographs, and Loyde Knutson’s personal information. Information relating to Bill Bowers can be found in the Bill Bowers collection, accession number S2003.94.


I. Imperial Players

Scope note: This series contains professional photographs and other documentation of this acting troop. The Imperial Players preformed in the Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado throughout the middle and later part of the 20th century.

A. Photographs

Box 1

Photographs 1959- 1964

Box 2

Photographs 1965 ? 1970

B. Documentation

Box 3

(I)B: :1 Bills of Sale

(I)B: :2 Correspondence

(I)B: :3 Programs

II. Civic Theater

Scope Note: This series contains professional photographs and information pertaining to those who worked with the Colorado Springs Civic Theater. Knutson/Bowers Photography photographed the performances and actors of the Civic Theater throughout the firm’s existence and Loyde Knutson continued to photograph them until the Civic Theater closed.

A. Programs

(II)A: :4 1979 – 1981

(I)A: :5 1982

(II)A: :6 1983 ? 1984

B. Photographs

(II)B:1:7 Productions ? 1 of 2

(II)B:1:8 Productions ? 2 of 2

(II)B:1:9 Productions ? Star Spangled Girl

Box 4

Photographs 1952 ? 1968

Box 5

Photographs 1969 ? 1984

III. Commercial Photography

Scope Note: This series contains photographs of a commercial nature from both Loyde Knutson and Knutson / Bowers Photography. The majority of the boxes in this series have two numbers, the original numbering system established by the Knutson/Bowers studio and a number that correlates with the collection.

A. Knutson / Bowers Photography

Box 6 ? Box 25

Photographs Knutson / Bowers Photography

Box 27

(III)A:2 : 10 People – Timmons Family

(III)A:2 :11 People – Professional

(III)A:3:12 Landscapes ? Colorado Springs

(III)A:3:13 Landscapes ? Various Locations

(III)A: :14 General

B. Loyde Knutson

(III)B: :15 People

(III)B: :16 General

IV. Loyde Knutson Personal

Scope Note: This series contains information of a personal nature to Loyde Knutson. This series comprises of photographs, literature, and slides of vacations. This section also includes an autobiography of Loyde and his twin brother Oliver.

A. Personal Interests

(IV)A: :17 Literature

(IV)A: :18 Autobiography

(IV)A: : 19 Ephemera

(IV)A: :20 Photographs

B. Slides and Negatives

Box 27

(IV)B: :21 Western United States

(IV)B: :22 Italy

(IV)B: :23 Europe

(IV)B: :24 Paintings and Sculptures

(IV)B: :25 General

Box 28