Western History / Genealogy > Photographs

For Research Questions, Ask Us.


The Western History/Genealogy Department's 600,000 photographs, documenting the history of Colorado and the American West, are available for study at The Denver Public Library. The collection chronicles the people, events and places that shaped the settlement and growth of the Western frontier. The works of many outstanding photographers are represented. Over 100,000 of these photographs are available online at http://digital.denverlibrary.org, featuring images of North American Indians, pioneer life, mining, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Denver, Colorado towns, railroads and more.

X-21539, X29479, X-26023, Z-5017, P-2122

X-19653 X-19594 X-20055

The In-House Collection (Materials not yet digitized and cataloged)
The majority of our photograph collection is not yet available for viewing online. In order to locate photograph albums and larger collections, visit the Denver Public Library's catalog.

X-28080, X28587, X-28375

To browse all currently cataloged collections, select "Call Number Browse" and type in "C photo collection" or "C photo album."

To locate individual prints, stereocards, and postcards in our collection, browse through the following folder headings:

Biographical photographs

Railroad photographs

General subject photographs

Western states photographs

Please contact our staff for more information about photo collections, albums and loose prints.


Ordering Prints
Most images in the collection are available for reproduction and educational and commercial use. All requests for reproduction will be filled in our in-house lab and will be created from high-resolution digital files. For more information, please visit our Photo Sales page.

Screenshot Photo Website

The Online Collection
Currently, the digitized collection contains more than 100,000 images of North American Indians, pioneer life, railroads, mining, 10th Mountain Division ski troops, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Denver, Colorado towns, Caņon City Penitentiary, California, Utah, and candid shots of everyday people.


X-20055,  X-19594,  X-19563


Specialized collections such as the Louis C. McClure city and landscape views, William H. Jackson's photochromes, Burnis McCloud's collection of Denver's African-American community and the Otto C. Perry and Robert W. Richardson railroad photographs are accessible.

To find images in the online collection, a researcher can:

X-7781, X-7864, X-17714

Search for Images by:
Photographer's name: Morledge
Geographic location: Georgetown
Subject or keyword(s): saloons
Personal name: Chipeta
Dates (use decades): 1880

Search Tips

Capitalization does not affect searching
Combine search elements to narrow search: women Colorado 1870
Use "not" to limit search: Denver not railroads
Use "or" to broaden search: log cabins or barns
Use an asterisk (*) with part a of a word to find plurals and variant spellings: deco* to find deco, decor, decoration, decorative, or decoratively.

For more information, ask at the Western History/ Genealogy Department reference desk (Level Five) or call 720-865-1821.

A direct link to the online photograph search tool is on the bar at the top of the page. The pre-search page provides important information for first time users.

OP-1935,  GB-7357 GB-7357 OP-1935

In addition to the searchable database of photographs, the Photography Collection has an extensive Website with educational galleries, photographer biographies, a store for purchasing photographic prints, and help pages. Here are some selected links:


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