Western History / Genealogy > About the Collections

About the Collections

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The Photography Collection consists of more than 600,000 prints and negatives that document the history of Colorado and the American West. The majority of the collection dates from the 19th century and includes glass negatives, cartes-de-visite, tintypes, photograph albums and stereocards. A portion of the collection has been digitized and cataloged and is available for viewing online.


The Art Collection comprises over 400 framed pieces, including work by such masters as Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt. The Library also owns sculpture and literally thousands of unframed original artworks, etchings, engravings, lithograph illustrations, sketches and posters, dating from the mid-1800s to the present.


Sheet Music

Core Materials offered by the Western History / Genealogy Department include books, newspaper clippings, and the General Index. We have ephemeral items such as tickets, receipts, invitations and posters. We have a collection of trade catalogs, and another of sheet music.


In cooperation with the Colorado Historical Society, the Western History / Genealogy Department is the national repository for the papers of the 10th Mountain Division, famed ski troops of World War II. Visit the 10th Mountain Division Gallery to see a selection of 10th Mountain photographs.


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Eugene Field Collection - Eugene Field was one of America's most loved children's poets. The manuscripts of Eugene Field, who lived in Denver while working for local newspapers, form part of the library's collection.


Marbled Paper

The Douglas Collection of Fine Printing. This collection contains some of the finest examples of craftsmanship in the art of bookmaking. The most important holding is a complete collection of books published by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press during the 1890s.


Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows
are documented in the collection with posters, trade catalogs, autographed books and articles illustrated by Frederic Remington, records and memorabilia, frontier theater programs, territorial imprints and even architectural drawings. See a selection of photographs from this collection on the Wild West Photos page.

The Map and Atlas Collection has a wide selection of Western state maps, topographic survey maps and trail maps. We have original drawings and maps of Dragoon Captain Lemuel Ford, as well as land grant materials; mining maps, insurance atlases, and city plats. The collection is further enhanced by reports and maps of Colorado mines, including New York newspaperman Horace Greeley's famous report of mining prospects in the Colorado Rockies.


The Manuscript Collection is as varied as the people, places and events it chronicles. Located in the library's Western History/Genealogy Department, the collection offers not just historic papers, but such unique items as conservationist John Muir's eyeglasses, cattle paintings belonging to Colorado Governor Dan Thornton and t-shirts and posters from the Coors bicycle races.

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Newspapers and Magazines provide a close look into details of the past. The Western History Genealogy Department has extensive holdings from most western states.


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The Conservation Collection reflects the rise of the conservation and environmental movements in America. National organizations such as The Wilderness Society, Alaska Coalition, American Bison Society and Izaak Walton League of America are among those that have made the Denver Public Library the repository for their records.


The Ross Barrett Historical Aeronautics Collection illustrates the impact of aeronautics on civilization. Of particular interest are the 18th-century engravings of balloon ascensions such as those of Montgolfier, many of which are hand-colored. Monographs on early ascensions are also substantial. See a selection of photos on the Ross-Barrett Aeronautics Gallery.

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The Genealogy Collection is the second largest between the Mississippi River and the West Coast, providing family history researchers with material spanning many generations and a wide spectrum of ethnic and geographic categories.

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Western History / Genealogy Department
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