==Remembering Jane Valentine Barker==
Long-time Colorado and National Press Women member Jane Valentine Barker died in Boulder on April 23, 2020. An author, columnist and historian, she was CPW’s Woman of Achievement in 1979. She received the Colorado Author’s League Top Hand Award for Mainstream Fiction for “Mari,” a biographical novel of frontierswoman Mari Sandoz.
Jane published two books, “Historic Homes of Boulder” and “Historic Homes of Boulder County,” and with co-author Sybil Downing (deceased,) thirteen Colorado history books for children. She wrote historical columns for the Daily Camera for 11 years — the Sunday Focus section “Over the Shoulder” columns.
She was a founding member of Women Writing the West, an organization dedicated to the recognition of women’s contribution to the history and culture of the American West. She served on the boards of Bank One and the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation and was active in many civic and social organizations.
Born in Boulder in 1930, Jane was the daughter of John B. Valentine, who, along with his father, owned and operated Valentine Hardware in downtown Boulder for over 50 years, on the corner of Pearl and Broadway. She received a General Education degree and teaching certificate from the University of Colorado and student taught at Boulder High School in speech and drama.
Her “Historic Homes” book can be found through: Available at the Boulder Library. Available in Ft. Morgan, Nederland, and Conejos Libraries through inter-library loan; use your Lyons Library book check out system.
These books can be found online in such stores as Amazon and e-bay.
Sybil Downing died in 2011 at the age of 81. She was president of the Boulder League of Women Voters. and was elected to the Boulder Valley RE-2 School Board in 1967 and served as its president until 1974. Sybil authored many published books that championed women’s rights and reflected her lifelong passion for politics and love of the West. She wrote a monthly review column for the Denver Post Book Review Section and appeared on Cspan and local talk shows. A former chair of the Colorado Center for the Book and co-founder and first President of Women Writing the West, Sybil was dedicated to improving literacy and celebrating books.
HISTORIC HOME BOOKS
“Historic Homes of Boulder County” 1/1/79 by Jane Valentine Barker, hardcover
A Unique and colorful collection of 74 vignettes celebrating 74 historically and architecturally interesting homes of Boulder County Colorado. $24.99 out of print, but used copies are available on Amazon and more.
“76 historic Homes of Boulder, CO” 1/1/76 by Jane Valentine Barker, hardcover, out of stock
Boulder, Colorado and 76 historical homes that reside with it this beautiful city.
COLORADO HERITAGE SERIES (books for children)
Co-authored by Sybil Downing and Jane Valentine Barker, ages 9-11 years
“Beauty in the Rockies” (Book 10) 6/1/80, paperback
“Wagons and Rails (Book 9) 6/1/80, paperback
“Settling Down” (Book 8), paperback
“Building Up” (Book 7) 6/1/79
“Magic Mystery and Monsters” (Book 6) 6/1/79, paperback
“Adventures in the West” (Book 5) 6/1/79 paperback
“Mesa to Mountains” (Book 4) 11/1/? paperback
“Trappers and Traders” (Book 3) 1/1/79 $19.95 paperback
“Happy harvest” (Book 2) $9.95 11/1/? Paperback
“Mountain Treasures” (Book 1) 6/1/78, paperback
“Crown of Life: The Story of Mary Roberts Rinehart (The Forgotten Pioneers Series) 6/18/01, ages 9-12 years. Co-author Sybil Downing and Jane Valentine Barker
Mary Roberts Rinehart is well known for her mystery writing and for being one of the first female war correspondents. What is perhaps less well known is how far her strong determination and desire to help people extended. Crown of Life offers a fictionalization of her life from her decision to go to nursing school despite her parents wishes to her eventual marriage to Dr. Rinehart and her adventure through Glacier National Park. Crown of Life certainly offers an exciting glimpse into the life of Mary Roberts Rinehart.
“Mari,” Women’s West Series 9/1/97 hardcover
“Mari” is the poignant story of the turbulent relationship between famed western author Mari Sandoz and her pioneer-rancher father, Jules Sandoz. Set in the sandhills of northwest Nebraska in the early 1900s She went on to win innumerable awards for her books such as Old Fules, Cheyenne Autumn, and Crazy Horse. Mari Sandoz’s chronicles of her native Nebraska stand tall among Western literary works, and Jane Valentine Barker’s novel vividly describes the author’s determined struggle against formidable odds to achieve her life’s dream. — EKelton
“Martha Maxwell: Pioneer Naturalist” 6/1/82, paperback, co-authored
This two-volume series focuses on the sometimes-neglected role of the women of the West. These books, for elementary readers, are biographies of two women who made their mark in an age when that was both difficult & unusual.
“Florence Sabin: Pioneer Scientist” (Women of the West Series) 1/1/81, paperback, by Jane Valentine
Florence Rena Sabin (November 9, 1871 – October 3, 1953) was an American medical scientist. She was a pioneer for women in science; she was the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. During her years of retirement, she pursued a second career as a public health activist in Colorado, and in 1951 received the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for this work.