Estes Park Archives Program

Francis Edgar Stanley's widow published a portion of his collected papers in 1919. Photo courtesy Estes Park Archives  

F. O. Stanley had an identical twin, Francis Edgar Stanley, and later in life, both were members of a weekly “Current Events” club in Newton, Massachusetts, where topics were assigned and discussed.

Francis Edgar Stanley's contributions to the club, at least those saved in written form, were collected into a booklet by his widow after F.E. died in a car crash returning home from Maine in 1918.

This booklet was self-published by his widow the following year with the title “Theories Worth Having: And Other Papers.” While copies of the original publication still exist, more recent reprints are much cheaper, and the full text is also available free of charge online, as copyright laws no longer apply, and the work part of the public domain.

Most of Francis Edgar Stanley's innocuous “theories” reflect the thinking of successful industrialists and businessmen at the time, and are little different from what a modern-day banker or oil magnate would provide readers as their “roadmap to wealth.” It is not surprising those written prior to America's entry into World War I would be anti-German. Indeed, it would be more surprising if the Stanleys had been rabidly pro-German following, for example, the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. But the level of fear and distrust directed towards certain European religious denominations, or at particular European immigrants from countries besides Germany, is jarring to modern ears, and reads more like a list of grievances adopted by the revived Ku Klux Klan in states lacking a significant African American population (like Colorado, or Maine) a few years hence.

Obviously, no one is responsible for intolerant opinions expressed by other family members, unless they share and espouse similar beliefs themselves. The Estes Park Archives will examine the speeches, writings, and correspondence of F. O. Stanley this Saturday, August 1, at Ten Letters on 240 Moraine, to determine if the Stanley twins shared identical opinions on important topics of the day, or if F. O. refuted or disavowed or simply ignored his brother's narrow-mindedness.

The COVID-modified format involves 15-minute presentations repeated every quarter hour between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with attendance restricted to related family members wearing masks. Reservations are not required, admission is free, and all are welcome, even if you are new to Estes Park or know nothing about Estes Park history. Call 586-4889 for more information or directions.

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