Newspapers and Magazines
of times past come to life in the publications of the era.
The Library's holdings of newspapers, magazines, and other
periodicals is a superb place to sample the day-to-day life
of the world as it was. The collection represents publications
from the western United States, particularly those from the
Rocky Mountain region.
Denver's two major newspapers, the Rocky
Mountain News and The Denver Post, extend to the
beginnings of each paper, 1859 for The News, and
1895 for The Post. Other newspapers that
reported on and boosted the development of the Mile High City
were: The Denver Times, Denver Republican, Cervi's Journal,
Labor Advocate, Great Divide, Rocky Mountain Herald, and
The WCTU Messenger (Women's Christian Temperance Union).
The holdings exist in microfilm, and in many instances, in
hard copy as well.
Colorado towns outside Denver are well represented
in the collection. Some examples of colorful, self-descriptive
titles are: Idaho Springs Siftings, The Southern Ute Drum
(Ignacio), Blackhawk Daily Mining Journal, The Gunnison
Empire, Durango Idea, Gilpin County Observer, Estes Park Trail,
The Primrose and Cattlemen's Gazette (Fort Lupton),
Walsenburg Yucca, and the CF&I Blast (Pueblo
- Colorado Fuel & Iron). The titles indicate the broad
Colorado geography covered by the library's holdings, as well
as some of the major interests that underpin Colorado's history
- mining, ranching, and American Indians.
A western newspaper microfilm collection purchased
in the 1960's added to the department's periodical offerings.
Researchers can look up an 1849 Alta California citation
right on the spot. Deseret News (Utah), Black Hills
Times (Deadwood, SD), the Globe Livestock Journal
(Dodge City, KS) are other titles readily available on microfilm.
Territorial Enterprise (Virginia City, NV), for the 1860s
period when cub reporter Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was honing
his creative skills, is part of this collection also.
It's not unusual to see a customer at one of
our wide tables, poring over yellowed newsprint, savoring
the atmosphere and events of 1890s Aspen, or Durango, for
Besides the two major Denver newspapers, the
Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, the
Library has hundreds of local newspapers and magazine titles,
reflecting the Rocky Mountain region's diverse communities
and religious organizations, past and present. These tell
stories and provide rich details not found elsewhere.
Magazines and "slick" publications from numerous
interest groups find their home at the Western History / Genealogy
Business and institutional periodicals can yield
delightful surprises. These Denver Mining Company reports
are full of statistics and chemistry, but the covers provide
a visual treat. [Click images for larger versions]
of the unique treasures of the department is the extensive
"General Index" card file that contains more than
seven million entries on four million cards. Developed over
the last century, it provides access to previously un-indexed
materials, such as newspapers, local histories, biographical
works, journals and other periodicals.
The General Index is an every-name index of
the Rocky Mountain News from 1865-85 (a WPA project)
and a partial index to other Denver newspapers up to the early
1990s. It is one the most important research tools available
to the public. One historian said of the General Index:
"All hail to the generations of librarians
and Denver taxpayers who have supported, built, and maintained
such a superb research tool."
A card from the General Index
Other popular gold mines of information are
special obituary indexes and 150 shelves of Denver newspaper
clippings filed by subject and spanning more than a hundred
FRONT PAGE NEWS!
READ ALL ABOUT IT!
The headlines in these oversized scans of The Rocky
Mountain News make interesting reading.
[Click for larger versions - 300 to 400
kb - images open in new windows]
January 1, 1901
April 16, 1912
May 22, 1927
From Malcolm G. Wyer's Western History
Collection, its Beginning and Growth:
. . .We have secured a number of newspaper
files from different parts of the region. A file of the
Santa Fe New Mexican was transferred to us from the
Colorado State Historical Society; a set of the Rocky
Mountain Herald was a gift from Mrs. Thomas Hornsby
Ferril, and valuable papers from the Gunnison district were
given by David Herrick. . . .
. . .We also succeeded in securing the original
publisher's file of The Solid Muldoon, edited by
the colorful Dave Day and published at Ouray and Durango.
We learned that the file was in the possession of a member
of the family living on a ranch near Durango. Many efforts
had been made to purchase the set or secure its gift to
one of the Colorado libraries, but the family would never
consider parting with it. However, in a visit with Mr. George
Vest Day the danger of leaving so important a newspaper
collection in a ranch home subject to loss by fire was emphasized.
This, and emphasis on the importance of preserving the collection
for use in a well established library, finally induced the
family to part with the set. . . .
Wyer quotes the Great Divide:
"The Solid Muldoon is one of the most strongly
individualized papers of Colorado. The first issue of the
Solid Muldoon appeared September 5, 1879. All the
mining camps of the region had newspapers, even then, but
they were mostly mean, witless sheets, subsisting mainly
on legal advertising of the United States Land Office. News
was impossible, and opinions, they had none to express.
The Muldoon, therefore, burst like a fountain of
sweet out of this Sahara, and there was an immediate rush
for it. The scene on the afternoon of its issue was a unique
and memorable one in Ouray. Copies were snatched 'hot from
the press' and read aloud amid roars of laughter by men
assembled in front of the rows of saloons that lined the
main street of the camp....Its range of editorial observation
covered the public men and affairs of the whole state, and
its terse, incisive, nipping wit had the great merit for
a newspaper of being quotable, and of course it got widely
quoted. . . .
The name itself was a hit. Its ridiculous
incongruity with anything relating to journalism challenged
curiosity. The world has probably forgotten that sometime
before a party of impecunious showmen had 'worked a fake'
on the public in imitation of the famous 'Cardif Giant'
scheme, by 'finding' a petrified giant of enormous proportions
in the Arkansas valley, which came to be designated the
Solid Muldoon. This was the origin of the name."