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 1960s 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 also part of this collection.
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 example.
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.
One 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 of 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."
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 years.
More current editions of the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and other Colorado newspapers and obituaries are available online in the Library and outside the Library to card holders.
The Black Hills Daily Times; The Deseret News; The Globe Live Stock Journal.
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Updated: June 25, 2013