Harry Heye Tammen

Harry Heye Tammen

Death 19 Jul 1924
Burial Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA
Memorial ID 11132091 · View Source
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Newspaper publisher. In 1895, he and Frederick Bonfils purchased the "Evening Post", renaming it the "Denver Post". They employed many sensationalic journalistic techniques to promote the paper. One of these exposes led to the attempted shooting of both of them by an irate lawyer who was defending Alfred Packer. He donated money to the Children's Hospital in Denver, for the construction of Tammen Hall. At his death, he bequeathed a trust fund for the care of children whose parents could not afford hospital expenses.

H. H. Tammen

Harry Heye Tammen was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 6, 1856, the son of a German immigrant pharmacist. He attended Knapps Academy in Baltimore, then worked in Philadelphia before moving to Denver in 1880. With his partner Charles A. Stuart he worked as a Denver bartender in 1880, and in 1881 they established the firm of H.H. Tammen & Co. (which in 1896 became the H.H. Tammen Curio Co., with partners Carl Litzenberger and Joseph Cox ) in Denver, Colorado. Deeply interested in the study of mineralogy, he published a promotional journal called Western Echoes magazine, "Devoted to Mineralogy, Natural History, Botany, &c. &c." Volume 1 number 1 is copyrighted 1882.

Tammen sold mineral specimens and mineral collections, some of which must have been quite fine. His "native silver in elongated octahedrons and arborescent forms, from the Stonewall Jackson mine, McMillanville, Arizona" (specimens priced up to an expensive $40), for example, would be highly prized today. He offered Pikes Peak amazonite specimens ("we can at all times furnish them") priced up to $20, "the high-priced ones are, of course, comparatively very large and of considerable weight, including twin crystals and large groups of same, and are suitable for State or National museums or other large collections." His selection of fine Colorado telluride minerals included petzite, sylvanite, coloradoite, altaite, calaverite, hessite, and native tellurium.

Tammen also manufactured a very popular line of "Colorado curiosities" and "mineral novelties" consisting of a variety of numbered and identified Colorado mineral and ore specimens cemented onto clocks, caskets, inkstands (one of which won an award at the 1881 Colorado State Fair), centerpieces, crosses, horseshoes and so on for ornamental purposes. He described these items as "perfect in taste, blending of colors, etc., and absolutely trustworthy as regards the cataloging, classification and specifications of the different minerals employed in the construction of each article." He also dealt in stereoscopic and other photos of the West (he was supplied by the famous Western photographer W.H. Jackson), photo albums, books on the West, silver souvenir spoons, a wide variety of humorous and scenic postcards (especially of mining areas), fossil fish, polished agates, botanical specimens, Pueblo Indian pottery, relics and taxidermy items from his stores in Denver.

In 1895 Tammen formed a partnership with F.G. Bonfils (whom he had met at the Chicago World's Fair) and they became co-owners and co-editors of the Denver Post. Their publishing business flourished, and Tammen's business successes made him a wealthy man. In 1917 Buffalo Bill Cody happened to die while in Denver, and Tammen (one of the city's biggest boosters) offered Cody's widow $10,000 if she would allow Cody to be buried in Denver; she accepted, and the ensuing funeral procession drew 50,000 people. He established the H.H. Tammen Trust in 1924, providing essential health care for children of families who cannot afford to pay. Tammen died July 19, 1924. The H.H. Tammen Curio Co. was in business until 1953, and possibly as late as 1962.

History of Colorado, v.5.
American National Biography, (1999)
Biographical Dictionary of American Journalism (1989)
Who Was Who in America. Historical Volume, 1607-1896 (1967)

WILSON, Wendell E. (2011)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive,
at http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=546

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  • Created by: Eric Crow
  • Added: 
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11132091
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harry Heye Tammen (6 Mar 1856–19 Jul 1924), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11132091, citing Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Eric Crow (contributor 46623671) .