A Brief History of the ESU Denver Branch

After World War I, it was clear there was a need for mutual trust and understanding among English-speaking people worldwide. In 1918, the English-Speaking Union was founded through the efforts of two friends, Alexander Smith Cochrane of New York and Sir Evelyn Wrench of London. This was followed by the creation of the English-Speaking Union of the United States in 1920.

The ESU Denver Branch joined the growing roster of branches in 1930, with Richard H. Hart serving as its first President. Notable events in the Branch’s early years included a visit by Sir Evelyn and Mrs. Wrench, and appearances by celebrities Gracie Fields and Walter Huston. During World War II, the Branch invited  the London Fire Brigade and the London Eagle Club to visit Denver.

The Denver Branch hosted the ESU World Conference in 1936 and 1980. The 1980 World Conference took place at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, with CBS commentator Charles Collingwood and US astronaut Jack Swigert as featured speakers. In 1982, the Denver Branch co-sponsored the British Faire with the Institute of International Education. The Faire was officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, and over 10,000 people attended the two-day event.

For nearly 100 years, the ESU Denver Branch has promoted English as a shared language to inspire common bonds and to empower students, educators and immigrants with creative and confident civil discourse. Its educational programs focus on teacher enrichment and scholarship, youth speaking and writing programs, and support for immigrants and English learners.