The Rocky Mountain News at the Denver Public Library

View the Rocky Mountain News Photos in our Digital Collections.

The Rocky Mountain News, a newspaper that was a Denver institution for just short of 150 years, was Colorado's oldest newspaper and possibly the longest-running business in the state. Born during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush, the paper went through many ups and downs, until it finally closed its doors in 2009, just two months shy of its 150th anniversary. For that century and a half, the Rocky Mountain News was to many Coloradans, the "standard," indispensable at breakfast, in the boardroom or at the races, and the news source for generations.

Over the decades, the Denver Public Library has acquired materials from the Rocky, and in 2014 received the paper's entire corpus of digital images to add to our collection. The digital images join our thousands of back issues of actual newspapers bound in volumes, photographic negatives, and comprehensive microfilm of the paper's entire run.

After the paper closed, there was considerable uncertainty about what would be the fate of its vast archives. There was a private equity investor from Texas, Brian Ferguson, who came quite close to acquiring it, but the deal fell through. On June 8, 2009, Scripps-Howard came out with a "jubilant announcement" that it was finalizing an agreement with the Denver Public Library "to ensure responsible stewardship of the storied newspaper's archives and artifacts." The Library "would assume ownership of the Rocky's voluminous archives, including all digital and paper newspaper clipping files," while the Colorado Historical Society [now History Colorado] would receive "such other artifacts as signs, photographs, special editions, artwork and other information that documents the history of the Rocky." Former Special Collections and Archives Department Manager Jim Kroll said that the acquisition included "photos that are in the paper, outtakes, PDFs of the newspaper for the last four years, and streaming video."

As of 2015, Library staff and volunteers have made substantial advances in the organization, cataloging, and storage of the RMN archives, in keeping with our mission of making our collections accessible to our researchers and customers.