Biography of Hon. Fred Dick, A. M., of Denver, Colorado

Hon. Fred Dick, A. M., formerly state superintendent of schools of Colorado, now principal of the Denver Normal and Preparatory School, was born in the town of Aurora, Erie County, N. Y., May 17, 1852. He is the descendant of ancestors who came from Holland and settled in Pennsylvania in an early day. His father, J. B., who was a native of New York and a farmer by occupation, was, under President Lincoln, appointed assessor of internal revenue in western New York, his territory embracing fourteen counties. He held the position until Andrew Johnson became president, when he resigned. Under the administration of General Grant he was reappointed to the same position in the internal revenue department, and filled it with credit until his death in 1871.

The mother of Mr. Dick was Ann Eliza Pratt, daughter of Luke N. Pratt, a native of Connecticut, and member of an old family in that state, her father removing to Erie County, N. Y., and becoming a pioneer farmer. She died in that county, leaving two sons and two daughters, two of whom, our subject and Mrs. A. M. Hawley, of Canon City, reside in Colorado. The former, who was next to the eldest in the family, was educated in Aurora Academy, and taught for two years in district schools prior to entering Hamilton College in 1871. Immediately upon his graduation in 1875, with the degree of A. B., he was appointed principal of Hamburg Academy, and two years later accepted a more favorable position as principal of the Gowanda (N.Y.) schools. In 1880 he was admitted to the bar and for three years practiced law in Buffalo, N. Y.

Removing to Colorado in the fall of 1883, Mr. Dick accepted the superintendency of the Trinidad schools, where he remained for five years, and during two years of this time he served both as county and city superintendent. He was the first Republican who was elected county superintendent in Las Animas County. At the state election in 1888 he was elected by the Republican party to the office of state superintendent of schools, which position he filled with credit for one term. During his term of office he laid the corner stone of the State Normal School at Greeley.

The Denver Normal and Preparatory School, of which Mr. Dick is principal, was founded by himself, and was the first school of the kind established in the state. It is a most creditable educational institution, and has received the highest endorsements from educators. Until the 1st of May, 1898, the school was located in the Kittredge building, but at that time it was moved to the Normal building, Nos. 1543-45 Glenarm street. It has seven complete departments, viz.: Normal, for the training of public school teachers; Kindergarten, with life diplomas, valid throughout the state of Colorado; College preparatory, fitting pupils for Yale and Harvard, or any other leading educational institution; Grade department, where instruction is given in any of the eight grades of the grammar schools; Modern language department; Commercial department, and department of oratory, physical culture and dramatic art. The faculty consists of Mr. Dick, R. M. Streeter, Margaret Grabill, Fordyce P. Cleaves, Mrs. R. M. Streeter, Nelson Rhoades, Jr., Henry Reade, W. J. Whiteman, and Mina McCord Lewis. A special summer term of five weeks is held each year. The Denver Commercial Institute has been incorporated with the Normal school, and furnishes instruction in stenography, bookkeeping, typewriting, Spanish, commercial law and arithmetic, and general correspondence.

In addition to his work in connection with the school, Mr. Dick is treasurer of the Rocky Mountain School Aid & Supply Company. He was the founder of the Rocky Mountain Educator, a monthly journal devoted to the interests of teachers, students, school directors and educational institutions of the Rocky Mountain region. Of this he is now the editor and manager. The journal is high in its standard and interesting and comprehensive, and is now nearing its fourth volume as a successful paper for educators. Politically Mr. Dick is a Republican, and has attended every state convention, with one exception, since his residence in Colorado. He and his wife are members of the Unity Church. At one time he was president of the State Teachers’ Association of Colorado, and is a member of the Colorado School Masters’ Club, the National Educational Association (of which he has been state manager) and the Educational Alliance. Fraternally he is identified with the Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen being a charter member of the latter lodge in Trinidad.

In Erie County, N. Y., June 29, 1876, Mr. Dick married Miss Florence E. Sprague, who was born in that county, a daughter of Norman B, Sprague. She is a very intellectual woman, was a charter member of the Woman’s Club of Denver, and is now president of the educational department of that organization. Their only child, Florence E., died in Trinidad when nine years of age.

Source: Portrait and biographical record of Denver and vicinity, Colorado : containing portraits and biographies of many well known citizens of the past and present : together with biographies and portraits of all the presidents of the United States.. Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1898.

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