White Winter Trilogy: To Walk Humbly

The White Winter Trilogy includes the books: To Do Justice, To Love Kindness, and To Walk Humbly. Scroll down to read a note from me about creating these books and the sources I used!

This photograph comes from the cover of “The Imperial Kloncilium,” which is a “Descriptive March for the Piano, Played with great success by the Sterling, Colo. Band of the KNIGHTS OF THE KU-KLUX-KLAN.” The piece was composed by J.A. Dungan as “the Official March of the Klan and the Women of the Klan of Colorado.”

The Official Klan Band of Colorado, personal collection of author

The Third Book in the White Winter Trilogy is set in 1923. The Great War has ended, but for three young Irish-Americans, the fight at home has just begun with a daunting foe: the Ku Klux Klan.

As America returns to peace and prosperity, the Ku Klux Klan arrives in Colorado. As its membership grows, the Klan rises to political power through intimidation of its enemies and violence. For Kathleen O’Doherty, the Klan threatens what she values most: family and faith. Still grieving for those she lost during the war, she must make a choice that she never thought possible. Her cousin, Sean Sullivan, comes home from France a war hero—a distinction he would rather forget. Yet his newly-found status as enemy of the Klan upends his determination to live peacefully and purposefully. Meanwhile, his sister, Maggie struggles to maintain the secret life that she chose before the war. Wife, mother, caregiver, writer—she finds herself longing for escape and a new romance. Love comes to all of them in unexpected ways, only to be imperiled by secrets and scandal. Set amid the glamor of the Roaring Twenties and chronicling an unforgettable era in Colorado’s history, To Walk Humbly brings the characters of the White Winter Trilogy to their destiny.

Buy White Winter: To Walk Humbly

From the Author:

The story of the Ku Klux Klan’s rise and fall in Colorado during the 1920s is both fascinating and complex. The era of the Roaring Twenties, known for its loosening morality, expanding opportunities for women, and rebellion against the government that had taken America and the world in war, was accompanied by a backlash against Jazz Age hedonism, immigration policies, and “otherness.”

In Colorado, it led to odd alliances, such as the one between the National Woman’s Party, which stood for woman’s suffrage; access to birth control a la Margaret Sanger; and women’s rights in the workplace and political strata, with self-made women such as Alma Bridwell White, who endorsed all of these positions–but who also started the strict, evangelical Pillar of Fire church and openly promoted the Ku Klux Klan. It made heroes of minor figures, such as Father Matthew Smith, the formidable editor of the Denver Catholic Register, whose newspaper attracted national attention during his tenure, and it bedeviled prestigious men such as Denver District Attorney Philip Van Cise, who had already achieved “rock star” status in the state of Colorado. Denver Mayor Ben Stapleton was cast eternally into the fire of controversy because of his flip-flopping from one side of the argument to the other; even today, the housing development named after him struggles with the legacy he left behind. Recently, a petition was circulated to change the name.

My novel is long enough, but there’s much in this historical vista that I was unable to explore. The town of Canon City, which is near Pueblo, gave itself over almost completely to the Klan (Google “Klansmen on Ferris wheel” for the most puzzling photo taken at the time), while the peaceful, largely segregated neighborhoods of Five Points/Whittier (African-American) and the West Side (East European Jews) were subjected to violence and intimidation. Despite its avowed hatred of bootlegging, the Klan took the revenues for moonshine in south Denver, while allowing the Roma family to control “Little Italy” on the north side.

What the Klan truly meant in Colorado is truly intriguing. For most members, it was a men’s social club, akin to the Elks or Rotary, where networking took place and friendships struck up. The concept of “klannishness,” in which members only did business with each other, appealed to more than one struggling tradesman or shop keeper. For those who believed in the rhetoric of hatred against others, it was a means of getting even with the foreigners who had infiltrated and somehow diminished American values. For the upper echelon of members, the Klan was both a catalyst and vehicle to political power and wealth. In the end, it disintegrated under the weight of its own corruption; in 1936, long after the Klan and Grand Dragon John Galen Locke had fallen from power, former Klan members raided Dr. Locke’s mausoleum at Fairmount Cemetery looking for $26,000 that had vanished from Klan coffers.

Drawing parallels between the events of 1924 in Colorado and present day is inevitable. We have seen the resurgence of the “America First” mentality, in which those who do not look, believe, act, or love in a certain way are vilified, subjected to violence, and threatened with expulsion. Some of the rhetoric–and certainly the loss of civility in politics–that abounds in our news cycle sounds as if it could be lifted from a newspaper of the 1920s. We are still engaged in discussion of who and what is American; what should and should not be taught in our public schools; definitions of freedom of speech and religion; and separation of church and state that echo those of one hundred years ago.

My hope is that you, my reader, will enjoy my novels for the story and characters, but that you’ll also pick up a history book and read more about this phenomenal time in our state’s history.

Happy reading,


Get ready for the list of sources I used for this novel, because it’s a doozy!

Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection

The Ku Klux Klan

  • Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado by Robert Alan Goldberg
  • “Colorado Under the Klan” by James H. Davis, published in Colorado Magazine, Spring 1965
  • “A Farmer and the Ku Klux Klan in Northwest Iowa” by Dorothy Schwieder, published by the State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Inside the Klavern: The Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s,  edited by David A. Horowitz
  • Lecture of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado, State Senator Dennis Gallagher
  • The Invisible Empire in the West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, edited by Shawn Lay
  • “When the Invisible Empire Stormed the Front Range: Reign of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Boulder County” by Aaron J. Fox
  • The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930 by Kenneth T. Jackson
  • “Wecome to Kolorado, Klan Kountry” by Ed Quillen, Denver Post 
  • “The Practice of Klannishness”
  • The Modern Ku Klux Klan by Henry P. Fry, 1922
  • The White Book, KLORAN, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • The Durango Klansman, Volume 1, #3
  • “My Fight with the Ku Klux Klan” by Ben Lindsey, The Survey, June 1, 1925
  • Spy Reports, Philip Van Cise, Denver Public Library Western History Collections
  • Denver by John Dunning

The Women of the Ku Klux Klan

  • “Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s” by Kathleen M. Blee
  • “The KKK Started a Branch for Women in the 1920s, a Half a Million Joined” by Laura Smith
  • “Progressive Values in the Women’s Ku Klux Klan” by Jackie Hill
  • “Knights in White Satin: Women of the Ku Klux Klan” by Kelli R. Kerbawy
  • “Ku Klux Klan” by Jerry Kopel
  • “The Literary Study and Philanthropic Work of Six Women’s Clubs in Denver: 1881-1945” by Gail Marjorie Beaton
  • “Women of the Ku Klux Klan” in Colorado Encyclopedia

Alma Bridwell White

  •  The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy by Alma Bridwell White
  • “In the Name of God: Am American Story of Feminism, Racism, and Religious Intolerance: The Story of Alma Bridwell White” by Kristin E. Kandt
  • Pillar of Fire Praises, edited by Alma White, Arthur K. White, Lillian O. Bridwell
  • Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty by Alma Bridwell White
  • Feminist Pillar of Fire: The Life of Alma White by Susie Cunningham Stanley
  • “Bishop Alma White: Pillar of Fire and Pedestal of Folly,” oldlandmark.com

Denver’s Ethnic Residents and Neighborhoods

Denver’s West Side
  • “‘For a Child’s Sake’: The Denver Sheltering Home for Jewish Children in the Progressive Era” by Jeanne Abrams
  • Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 by Melissa Klapper
  • “The Jews of Colorado, Denver,” JEWISHColorado.org
  • “Greetings from the Sanatorium” by Greg Glasgow, University of Denver Magazine, Winter 2010
  • The Jewish Woman, published by The Council of Jewish Women, 1921
  • “Dr. Charles David Spivak: A Jewish Immigrant and the America Tuberculosis” by Jeanne Abrams
  • “Unsere Leit: Anna Hillowitz and the Development of the East European Jewish Professional in America” by Jeanne Abrams
  • Delivering Aid: Implementing Progressive Era Welfare in the American West by Thomas A. Krainz
  • “The Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society: A Tale of Chessed One Hundred Years Ago” by Devorah Klein
  • “West Colfax Neighborhood History,” Denver Public Library
  • “The Politics of Antisemitism in Denver, Colorado, 1898-1984” by Michael Adam Lee
  • Jew Vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry by Samuel G. Freedman
  • Love, Marriage, and Family in Jewish Law and Tradition by Michael Kaufman
Catholics in Denver
  • 1920-1929 Denver Catholic Register, Archdiocese of Denver Digital Repository
  • “He Fought the Klan and Won: The Priest Behind the National Catholic Register” by Kevin Jones, Catholic News
  • “Bishop Tihen, the KKK and the Great Depression” by Peter Paul, October 5, 2004
Italians in Denver
  • Colorado and the Italians in Colorado by Giovanni Perilli
  • Smalldone: The Untold Story of an American Crime Family by Dick Kreck
  • “Paying Tribute to Early Italians,” Denver Post
African Americans in Denver
  • “Seeking a New Life: Blacks in Post-Civil War Colorado” by Jesse T. Moore, Jr.

Teapot Dome and Moffat Oil Fields

  • The Origins of Teapot Dome: Progressive, Parties and Petroleum, 1909-1921 by James Leonard Bates
  • “Geology and Mineral Fuels of Parts of Routt and Moffat Counties,” USGS
  • Fluorspar Deposits of Colorado by Harry A. Aurand
  • “Testimony of Harry Sinclair,” The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, March 29, 1924

Politics and Politicians

  • Fighting the Underworld by Philip Van Cise
  • “Phil Van Cise: Scourge of Denver’s Underworld” by Alan Prendergast, Westword
  • “Philip S. Van Cise Project,” Blonger Brothers.com
  • Personal Interview with Cindy Van Cise
  • “Benjamin F. Stapleton,” Wikipedia
  • “Under the Capitol Dome, January 14, 1925-April 22, 1925” by Alva A. Swain, Steamboat Pilot
  • Year Book of the State of Colorado, 1925
  • Index of Senate and House Bills and Resolutions and Memorials, 25th General Assembly of Colorado

Artists in Denver

  • “The Denver Artists Guild: Its Founding Members; An Illustrated History” by Stan Cuba
  • “Remembering Chappell House” by Suzanne Shapiro, University of Denver Magazine
  • “Artists Club of Denver,” Colorado Encyclopedia
  • “Anne Evans–A Pioneer in Colorado’s Cultural History” by Barbara E. Sternberg

And the Kitchen Sink . . .

  • High Altitude Women: Six Savvy Colorado Women by Marilyn Griggs Riley
  • Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age by D.J. Taylor
  • The New Book of Etiquette: Volumes I and II, 1924 by Lillian Eichler
  • The Flapper Wife by Beatrice Burton
  • “Sister Elizabeth Salmon,” YouTube
  • “When They Come Home–The Soldier’s Heart,” Frontline, PBS
  • The Challenge of the Dead by Stephen Graham
  • “Rest in Peace? Bringing Home U.S. War Dead,” historynet.com
  • Convent Cruelties, or My Life in a Convent: a Providential Delivery from Rome’s Convent Slave Pen: A Sensational Experience by Helen Jackson
  • “Eugenics and Racial Hygiene: The Connections Between the United States and Germany” by Nicholas Baker
  • Denver Historic Mansions: Citadels to the Empire Builders by Edith Eudora Kohl
  • Telecommunications Virtual Museum
  • Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, edited by Alan F. Guttmacher
  • “Graystone Manor: History and Mountain Elegance in Evergreen,” Enclave
  • “A Look Back at Denver’s Great, Rowdy White Way,” DCPA News Center
  • “The Making of a Feminine Professional Identity: Social Workers in the 1920s” by David J. Walkowitz