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Papers of Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

Identifier: WGJH

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., consists of documents dated 1916 to 2021, with the bulk falling from 1990 to 2013. Justice Hobbs brought his whole self to everything he did; thus, this collection reflects that approach to life. Though the collection is organized by his employment history and material format, professional, service, and personal documentation are often intermeshed, as in Hobbs' life. The collection's subject focus is Justice Hobbs' legal work on issues such as water supply, water quality, air quality, endangered species, wilderness, land use, and transportation. His professional publications, presentations, and service activities primarily reflect these and related themes. Present but not extensive is documentation of his service on the Colorado Supreme Court. The collection also documents Hobbs' personal life and family members. His school years, Boy Scout activities, creative writings, and home life are concentrated in several of the later series. Family members best documented include wife Bobbie Hobbs, brother Will Hobbs, and maternal grandparents Edmund and Anna Rhodes. Subjects beyond water and environmental law informed by this collection include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, air quality, water and legal education, Boy Scouts, and paleohydrology at Mesa Verde. Predominant material types include correspondence, reports, publications, clippings, meeting minutes, photographs, videos, audiotapes, computer media, and artifacts. Researchers should review Series 8: Media for documents in various formats which may complement, overlap, or duplicate paper documentation in other series.


  • Creation: 1916-2021
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990-2013


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


An expert on Colorado water law, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., practiced environmental, land use, transportation, and water law for more than two decades before his appointment to the bench. Justice Hobbs conveyed his expertise not only on the state's highest court, but also through his extensive publications, presentations, and professional and community service.

Gregory James Hobbs, Jr., was born in Florida in 1944, the first of his Irish Catholic parents' five children. With an Air Force father, the family moved frequently, including to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Panama, Virginia, Alaska, California, and Texas. Family, church, and school engaged and influenced young Greg as did his involvement in the Boy Scouts. He first joined while in Alaska and fully embraced the scouting life, the outdoors, and its lessons, becoming an Eagle Scout in 1959. In 1960, he attended the National Jamboree in Colorado Springs and soon spent his summers working at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He met Barbara Hay there in 1966, and the following year "Bobbie" and Greg married.

Hobbs earned his B.A. in history at the University of Notre Dame in 1966, with his sophomore year spent at St. Joseph's Seminary. After Notre Dame, he attended Columbia University to study Latin American history before deciding to join the Peace Corps. Following their 1967 wedding, the newlyweds went to Colombia for service. The couple returned in 1968 and had their first child, son Daniel. Daughter Emily followed in 1971.

Hobbs spent these early years of family life in law school at the University of California, Berkeley, completing his degree in 1971. He then clerked for Judge William E. Doyle of the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for a year before briefly returning to California. In 1973, the Hobbs family returned to Denver for good. Hobbs worked for the newly formed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for nearly two years and then the Natural Resources Section of the Colorado Attorney General's Office for almost four. At both organizations, he worked on environmental law, aimed at cleaning up polluted water and air, including Denver's "brown cloud." He concluded his time at the Attorney General's Office as special prosecutor and acting director of the Medicaid Fraud Unit.

Hobbs entered private practice as a partner at the law firm Davis, Graham and Stubbs in 1979. Soon he became principal counsel to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD), a major water supplier for the region. In 1992, Hobbs and two other partners left Davis, Graham and Stubbs to establish their own firm of Hobbs, Trout and Raley, primarily to serve NCWCD.

In 1996, Hobbs' ambition of higher service was fulfilled with an appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. There, he brought his water law expertise to important state-level cases. Including water decisions, he authored more than 250 majority opinions for the court in civil and criminal cases. In 2008, Hobbs chaired the Water Court Committee, assessing the state's water court process and making recommendations to achieve efficiencies. He retired from the court in 2015.

Throughout his career, Hobbs was active in the community and his profession. He served on numerous committees related to the environment, water, air quality, and transportation, along with extensive Boy Scout service. He also served as vice president for the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and a co-convener of the Water Judges' Educational Project, Dividing the Waters. He taught numerous water law workshops and college courses, and after retirement from the bench was Distinguished Jurist in Residence and Co-Director, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, as well as a Senior Water Judge for the Colorado courts, assigned to the mediation of water cases.

Hobbs also published widely and presented frequently, with expertise, eloquence, and humor. He authored numerous articles, essays, poems, and books, among the latter being: In Praise of Fair Colorado: The Practice of Poetry, History and Judging (2004); Colorado Mother of Rivers, Water Poems(2005); The Public's Water Resource: Articles on Water Law, History, and Culture (2007); Living the Four Corners: Colorado, Centennial State at the Headwaters (2010); and Into the Grand (2012). These and other writings and interviews found in this collection are the best biographical sources on Justice Hobbs, who passed away in November 2021.


58.5 linear feet (96 document boxes, 1 record carton, 5 flat boxes, 5 photo boxes, 4 media boxes)

Language of Materials



A leading expert on Colorado water law, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. (1944-2021), practiced environmental, land use, transportation, and water law for more than two decades before his appointment to the bench in 1996. The collection documents Justice Hobbs' legal work during private practice and on the court, along with his professional publications, presentations, and service activities. The collection also documents Hobbs' personal life and family. Subjects covered beyond environmental and water law include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, air quality, water and legal education, Boy Scouts, and paleohydrology at Mesa Verde. Predominant material types are correspondence, reports, publications, clippings, meeting minutes, photographs, videos, audiotapes, computer media, and artifacts.


Some portions of the collection arrived with a defined order, but most of the collection has had order imposed on it. Initial series follow Hobbs' career, and later ones are organized by material type.

The collection consists of 9 series in 111 boxes:

Series 1: Davis, Graham and Stubbs, 1937-1992 and undated

Subseries 1.1: Reading files, 1978-1992

Subseries 1.2: General files, 1961-1992 and undated

Subseries 1.3: NCWCD files, 1937-1992 and undated

Series 2: Hobbs, Trout and Raley, 1992-1996

Series 3: Colorado Supreme Court, 1969-1988, 1996-2015 and undated

Series 4: Professional activities, 1965-2020 and undated

Series 5: Writings, 1964-2018 and undated

Subseries 5.1: Prose, 1964-2018 and undated

Subseries 5.2: Poetry, 1966-2015 and undated

Series 6: Reference materials and subject files, 1916-2020 and undated

Series 7: Personal papers, 1947-2021 and undated

Subseries 7.1: GJH papers, 1958-2015 and undated

Subseries 7.2: Family papers, 1967-2013 and undated

Subseries 7.3: Letters, 1947-2021 and undated

Series 8: Media, 1945-2018 and undated

Subseries 8.1: Photographs, 1945-2011 and undated

Subseries 8.2: Videotapes, 1984-2007 and undated

Subseries 8.3: Audiotapes, 1992-2006 and undated

Subseries 8.4: Computer media, 1990-2015 and undated

Subseries 8.5: Email, 2010-2018

Series 9: Artifacts, 1958-2014 and undated

Custodial History

In 2010, Justice Hobbs donated a portion of his papers, including significant documentation of his work on air quality, to the Denver Public Library (collection number WH2142). By request of Justice Hobbs, that collection was transferred to the Water Resources Archive in October 2013.


The Papers of Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., was donated by Justice Hobbs in ten different batches between 2010 and 2017. Additional materials for inclusion have been mailed or emailed over the years. His wife, Bobbie Hobbs, donated several boxes of materials in 2022, with a small addition in 2023.

Related Collections

Justice Hobbs donated his western map, history, and water book collection to the Colorado Supreme Court Library. In the Water Resources Archive, collections related directly to topics documented here include the Colorado Water Congress Collection and the Papers of W. D. Farr. The Papers of Delph E. Carpenter and Family is related by the subject of Colorado water law. The Local Water Resources History Collection contains some Hobbs audiovisual materials, and the Cache la Poudre Oral History Project Collection contains an oral history with him. The Archives and Special Collections Department also holds the Papers of Will Hobbs, brother of Justice Hobbs and young adult novelist.

Separated Collections

Justice Hobbs' December 2013 donation included nineteen autographed editions of his brother Will Hobbs' young adult novels along with his own book of poetry I've Seen the Mountains Falling, which includes two mentions of his brother. These books were separated to be part of the Will Hobbs Book Collection, available through Archives and Special Collections.


Processing of materials received through 2013 was completed in December 2013. Some materials were cleaned for mold. All materials were rehoused into acid-free folders and boxes. Items were removed from binders and most framed items were removed from frames. Photographs and negatives were sleeved and media were rehoused in archival containers. Most media was backed up on a secure server. Binder clips, paper clips, and rusty staples were removed and replaced with plastic clips as necessary. Several items were unfolded or unrolled for flat storage. Duplicates beyond two copies and most mailing envelopes were not retained. Also not retained were some government publications, photocopies of published materials, sports memorabilia, and some family materials, including children's drawings. Deteriorating clippings in the scrapbook were photocopied and returned to the donor. NCWCD confidential documents were reviewed by their staff; some were removed and some were cleared for access. Boilerplate fax cover pages with "confidential" statements on them were removed when possible. Social Security numbers of living people were redacted. An additional review by NCWCD was done in 2018 resulting in removal of a few additional documents. Processing of accessions from 2014 to 2017 was completed in October 2018 and are found chiefly in boxes 106 and 107. Processing included archival housing as well as backing up media and emails on a secure server. Processing of the 2022 accession was completed in March 2023 and is found in boxes 108 through 111. Many documents that duplicated items already held were destroyed; a few personal materials were returned. Processing of the 2023 accession was completed in June 2023 by adding one folder in box 110 and destroying the rest.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed, except as noted. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy. Authored articles, books, and studies are generally listed in bibliographic form.


Guide to the Papers of Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.
Edited Full Draft
Prepared and revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2023
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA