Dean Babcock





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Dean Babcock
In Estes Park
Dean was the unknown "Leonardo" of Old Estes Park.  The more I learn about him, the more his genius emerges.  I would love to have known this gentleman.


1888 - 1969

"[Dean] is about 23 years old at this writing, and is probably the most promising young man that I have ever me.  He became familiar with this region about eight years ago, and has explored it to the extent, that he is probably the best posted man as to local topography, flora, natural history and in fact, to everything pertaining to these parts, of any one among us.    Altho [sic] devoting himself to painting landscape in oil and water-colors at the present time, the youth nevertheless seems wonderfully well versed and interested in most anything one can mention; and withal, is a clever craftsman, a lover of music and a very creditable performer on the violin.  I owe a debt of gratitude for his introduction to me of the works and lives of H. D. Thoreau, and Sidney Lanier, of whom he is passionately fond, largely inspired by their devotion to American and that New Art, of which I think and ardently pray for, that he himself will become a noble representative for an able exponent he already is, in spite of his tender years.  Mr. Babcock already possesses the attributes of a learned savant.  If his peculiar genius ever specialises [sic] on one particular subject, I do not hesitate to affirm, that he will immortalize it."

    —Charles Hewes, Hewes Kirkwood Lodge

"I don't particularly like to talk about myself—there are much more interesting things in the world such as birds, trees and stars, music and mathematics..."

    —Dean Babcock when asked by Harold Dunning for biographical information

"If it is true that all art is spiritual autobiography, we are not surprised, then, to find reflected in Babcock’s work...a basic sincerity and masterly handling of all he attempts...a personal outlook matured yet charged with the unbounded vigor of youth, a freshness as of mountain winds, a flash and sparkle like that of woodland streams, and the virile poetry of the snowy peaks and timbered wilderness."

    —Theo Merrill Fisher The American Magazine of Art—1921

Dean Babcock was born in Canton Illinois to a well-to-do and cultured family. His father was a banker & commodities trader, and his mother the daughter of a banker and farmer who was skilled in music and writing.

First trained as a Civil Engineer, he learned the skill of wood engraving from a student of Japanese wood block techniques, Helen Hyde who studied with the Japanese masters in Japan.  Many of his block prints reveal this Japanese influence, which integrates quite nicely with the scenery around Estes Park.

He came to Colorado in 1903 at age 15 and stayed a month with family at the Longs Peak Inn. There he climbed Long’s Peak, and began a long association with Enos Mills.

The Long's Peak Inn in 1911 (Photo by L.C. McClure)

In the fall of 1908, he and his mother acquired a homestead, and stone and timber claim on a rocky mountainside overlooking Long’s Peak. Dean built his shop and the fireplace for the main house "The Ledges" there in 1909. He spent the winter of 1910-11 there, and married Adele Ramsey in 1914.

"The Ledges"

Dean was one of the early Ranger Naturalists in Rocky Mountain National Park where he explored, mapped and named many areas.

Long's Peak
Original Block Print
OldEstes Collection

The Screen
Block Print
Mediaeval Mountain
Block Print
Two Bookplates
Across the Valley
Block Print
    American Magazine of Art - Nov 1921  

Babcock Designed Masthead
Memorial Article Rocky Mountain Herald - 1969
Babcock's First Cabin
Enos Mills Cabin Family Website

Dean Babcock Page - Enos Mills Cabin Site

  With deep appreciation and thanks to Sylvia Babcock Tacker who provided most information above.  


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Revised:  3/01/2014