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Plews manuscript collection

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: C-18396

Scope and Contents

The Plews Manuscript Collection comprises four notebooks and a business card believed to have been the property of Matthew Plews, proprietor of Plews Greenhouses in Littleton, Colorado, and his sons. A hardcover notebook with "Matthew Plews Minto Grange" written on the cover contains detailed instructions and notes on gardening and botany. Spelling and grammar in the text, as well as the reference to Minto Grange suggest that the notes were taken while Plews resided in England.

Three notebooks appear to be used for school subjects. The names of Plews' children are written on various pages, and the books are believed to have belonged to the Plews brothers: James, Joseph, and Matthew Jr. One notebook contains hand-drawn maps of the United States and Europe. Another contains profiles of men and women of historic note, and one consists of copied lines from "The Seven Ages of Man" monologue from Shakespeare's As You Like It.


  • Circa 1883-1930

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research, but items in the collection are fragile. Handling of these items is limited and access occurs at the discretion of an ALH archivist. Consult with staff for details. Archives and Local History materials are non-circulating; physical access requires staff retrieval and is available by request during normal library hours.

The collection is used in the presence of Archives and Local History staff. Some items are fragile and may only be duplicated with permission of the staff. Digitized copies of two notebooks (Matthew Plews Minto Grange and Softcover Handdrawn Maps) should be used first.

Biographical / Historical

Matthew Plews, son of James and Elizabeth Plews, was born in Darlington, England in 1871. He grew up among several siblings in Minto Grange in Brompton on Swale, Yorkshire-Northridge, England. Plews immigrated to Douglas County around 1890 and married Catherine Dudeck Plews around 1893. Together they had four children: Helene (later Woodman), James, Joseph, and Matthew Jr.

Plews initially worked as a gardener and groundskeeper at Wolhurst, the summer home and estate of U.S. Senator, Edward Wolcott. In 1907, Plews acquired an adjoined piece of property east of Wolhurst and started his own business as a gardener. Plews Greenhouses went on to offer fruit, ornamental, and shade trees, as well as small fruits and vegetables. Over time the Plews siblings oversaw and managed various aspects of the ranch and greenhouse business. Helene and her husband, Guy Woodman, took over Plews Greenhouses in 1916. James Plews and Marguerite Norton Plews moved into the family home to oversee the ranch after they married in 1923. The youngest sibling, Matthew Plews Jr., married Violet Woodman in 1931. The two moved and primarily resided in Orange County, California. Matthew Plews Sr. died on January 6, 1946 and was buried in Littleton Cemetery. The Plews house still stands in what is now Fly’n B Park in Highlands Ranch.


1 Cubic Feet (1 box.) : 1 flat manuscript case.

4.16 Gigabytes (95 files, 7 folders)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated anonymously to the Archives and Local History Department in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Alyssa Carver and Sarah Stevens.

  • Agriculture Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Gardening Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Littleton (Colo.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Schools Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Students Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Guide to the Plews Manuscript Collection, circa 1883-1930
Under Revision
Sarah Stevens
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Local History, Douglas County Libraries Repository

Douglas County Libraries
100 S Wilcox St
Castle Rock CO 80104 United States