Western History & Genealogy Blog

Western History Collection

Creative Types: Need Project Inspiration?

Thomas Moran, August 1915. By Henry Havelock Pierce. X-22164
How Long is Always, 1969. Watercolor by Jo Polseno. C75-7 ART
Dessert toast recipes from Toast and Its Various Uses: There's a Difference in Bread, 1924

You may love your neighborhood DPL branch, but it might be time to branch out!  

Did you know that DPL’s Central Library has a Western History/Genealogy Department on Level 5?

23 Years in the Making: Edward Curtis's The North American Indian

A Chief of the Desert - Navaho, circa 1907. By Edward S. Curtis. X-34027
Pima Baskets, circa 1907. By Edward S. Curtis. X-34043
A Heavy Load - Sioux, circa 1907. By Edward S. Curtis. X-34103

From 1907 to 1930, Edward Sheriff Curtis devoted his life to a project documenting the cultures of 80 North American Indian tribes living from the Great Plains to as far north as Alaska.

Wild Woman of the West: Author Helen Rich

Portrait of Helen Rich, ca. 1950. Helen Rich Papers, WH348
Rich and Turnbull cabin, Breckenridge, 1954. Helen Rich Papers, WH348
Belle Turnbull (left) and Helen Rich (right), 1942. Helen Rich Papers, WH348
Helen Rich at The Spring Begins book signing, 1958. Helen Rich Papers, WH348

The Helen Rich Papers (WH348) detail the fascinating life of a woman who started out as a childhood f

Found in the Archives: 19th-Century Recipe Notebook

Harriet Scott Camp's recipe notebook, believed to date from 1850s through the 1880s. WH1453
Recipe for cholera remedy that calls for one tincture of opium. WH1453
Recipe for crullers that uses "1 coffee cup of sour milk or cream." WH1453

Cookies, Cakes, Sickness, and Sorrow

Several months ago, I wrote about Mira C.


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I've used the online Assessor Books to locate my house - now what?

Cabinets holding microfilm of deed book volumes
Drawers with labels indicating the range of book microfilms in that drawer.
Film boxes with volume numbers on them
Cabinet with microfiche indexes for locating page number
One of the microfiche cards with indexes for locating page numbers
Microfilm viewer/printer

I've used the online Assessor Books to locate my house - now what? Head to the clerk and recorder office on the 1st floor of the Wellington Webb building.

Once you have obtained the book number from the Assessor books online from the digital collections part of the DPL's Western History/Genealogy Collection you want to see the actual deed for the det

Denver’s Albany Hotel (1885-1976)

Exterior of the Albany Hotel by William Henry Jackson, undated. WHJ-10343.
Albany Hotel menu cover showing the exterior of the hotel after Burnham Hoyt's renovations, 1946. WH1590
New Year's Day menu at the Albany Hotel, 1891. WH1590

A Denver Hotel Built On A Croquet Field, Demolished For An Office Building

In 1882, architect E. P.

The Hermanos Penitentes of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico

Procession of Hermanos Penitentes, Z-6120
Hermanos Penitentes, AUR-2196
Whips of the Hermanos Penitentes, 6118

Newspapers once called the Penitente community “a ‘secret’ and ‘strange mountain cult’ enacted by ‘swart hot-eyed Mexicans and half-breeds’ that needed to be exposed” (

In the Archives: Documentation of a 1929 Groundbreaking—Soil and All

Denver City and County Building
Envelope containing soil from the groundbreaking event
Mayor Benjamin Stapleton dumps a shovelful of dirt during the groundbreaking cer

Think archives only collect papers, photos, and films? Think again!

One collection found in DPL’s Western History and Genealogy Department has the dirt on Denver’s past.