Western History & Genealogy Blog

Western History Collection

The Dandiest Don

Cover of James W. Johnson's The Dandy Dons.

Earlier this week, Bill Russell, celebrated basketball player, coach, commentator and activist, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award presented by the United States. While many might associate Russell with Boston, and his long tenure with the Celtics, his collegiate career and activism began in the West with the University of San Francisco Dons.

Stories about Russell's life and his collegiate career appeared in many newspapers, including

New Books in Western History (2.15.11)

Cover of Douglas Brinkley's The Quiet World

Recent weeks have seen reviews of new works on the preservation of Alaska's wilderness, on the larger circumpolar world of the Arctic, and excerpts from a new book on the urban centers of the Great Basin and a memoir of Western wolf management.

Following on his voluminous work on Theodore Roosevelt, David Brinkley offers the second in his series of conservation histories: The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960<

David Taylor's The Line

David Taylor's The Line (44-page accordion booklet accompanying his Working

Sometimes a book isn't just notable for its cover -- it's also a compelling object in itself. So it is with a 44-page accordion booklet entitled The Line accompanying David Taylor's larger photoessay entitled Working the Line.

Taylor's collection of photographs from the U.S.-Mexico border includes the accordion-page supplement, pictured above on one of our low-rise shelves in the Western History/Genealogy Department.

Civil Rights in the American West

Last week Denver Public Library’s David Johnson offered an eloquent reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, which inspired me to write about the sometimes neglected role of the West in the history of American civil liberties, and, on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, to offer some suggestions from the many recent books on civil rights in the American West.

The struggle for civil liberties was neither confined to the South, nor exclusively to the period of t

Songs to Convert Rocky Flats

Songs to Convert Rocky Flats
Songs to Convert Rocky Flats
Songs to Convert Rocky Flats

This quirky little songbook was published in 1979 by the Rocky Flats Action Group and contains gems such as “It’s the Nukes that Must Go and Not Me,” “It Could Be a Wonderful World,” “Nuclear Power Blues,” and, my personal favorite, “There’s a Bomb Plant on the Hillside” (sung to the tune of “Little Boxes”).

The songs were intended to be sung at rallies, meetings, marches, and demonstrations in order to "make us feel stronger, part of the bigger movement of people eve

Brand-New Central Computer Center


Have you visited the busy new computer center on the fourth floor of the Central Branch of the Denver Public Library? Computers in libraries did not happen by chance.

Presentation: Chatfield Story

Chatfield Story cover

The Authors of Chatfield Story will be at the Denver Public Library to discuss their book about Civil War Private, Edward L. Chatfield, of the 113 Illinois Regiment and his extended family for whom the road, park and dam are named. 

Central Library,  Conference Center, Level B2

Tuesday, September 28, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

Bancroft Finalists at Premier Reads Book Group

Cover of Margot Mifflin's 2009 book, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman
Cover of Marsha Weisiger's 2009 book, Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country
Cover of Jane S. Smith's 2009 book, Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the

On Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 6-7PM at the Ross-Cherry Creek Branch, join us for notable books in recent Western history, including the three finalists for the Caroline Bancroft Prize.

Laurie Spurling and Wendel Cox will be your host and guides to new and provocative books on the American West. Three featured titles for the evening are Jane S.

Construction Resumes

Wokers prepare the expanded Mullen room where researchers will review manuscrip materials and items from the closed stacks.

After six months of silence and still-life there is once again construction activity on the 5th level of the Central Denver Public Library.

Originally construction was to be completed around the first of the year - the year 2010. But due to circumstances beyond our control that didn't happen.

Bike to Work Day a Big Hit at DPL

Abby Hoverstock heads for the Western History reference desk after biking to work.

About twice as many DPL emplyees as usual took advantage of the Bike to Work Day hospitality spots along their route to the Central library across from Civic Center Park on Wednesday June 23rd.

Making the trip to the Central branch on bicycle is always a good idea, and the food and other festivities along the way provided an added incentive for about 40 DPL employees.