Between a global pandemic, social justice movements, a tense election, and more, 2020 has been a year for the history books. It forced us to rethink our work and home lives, how we interact with each other, and how we use the past to inform our world today. Through it all, WHG staff wrote blogs that touched on the world we currently live in, sometimes addressing 2020 themes directly, and at other times simply bearing it in our writer's voice. Here are our favorite Western History and Genealogy blog posts from 2020. Enjoy!
Working from home gave Archivist Katie a front-row seat to the demolition of a century-old Denver home. The razing of a historic Denver home was nothing new, but Katie's "obituary" was unique. Using WHG resources throughout, she offered a beautiful tribute to this piece of Denver's history that hits a little closer to home.
“Genealogy” is in our department’s name, after all, but our closure to the public and limited access for staff have made family history research a little bit trickier this year. While it was front of mind, we offered several posts on genealogy research from home. Our favorite was Librarian Nicolás's easy-to-follow guide on Spanish naming conventions that reminds us reminds us that every culture varies in naming practices - and how we can use that to our advantage.
As we clung to our sanity amidst social distancing and constant uncertainty, during a time we were instructed to stay close to home, we found ourselves turning to old and new methods to get outdoors. History nerds have a special fondness for old cemeteries, but as Archivist Laura found out, Denver's 130-year-old Fairmount Cemetery also proved an ideal pandemic excursion spot.
This two-parter from Library Assistant Chris provided some much-needed escapism in October. From extraterrestrials to home-grown Satan worshippers, Chris delivered the history of livestock mutilation with wry humor and some much-needed perspective.
As long-festering wounds in our city and country came to a head this summer, we found ourselves contemplating Denver's historic concepts of justice. Librarian Brian came across a mention of Denver's last public execution in our Colorado Chronology and was inspired to write a post about this complex case and the early history of race and punishment in Denver.
For this one, we go back to March and the early days of the Denver Public Library’s pandemic response, but this post has nothing to do with that. Instead, this was an opportunity for us to collaborate with an eyewitness to history. Guest blogger Magdalena Gallegos shared her own experiences working with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers. Little did we know when we posted her blog that we would have the opportunity to write our own eyewitness accounts of the historic year ahead of us.
In this unusual year that had so many of our staff working from home, we were able to host and mentor a couple of library school interns. Our intern Laurier wrote a blog post that is just so good we had to include it in the year’s favorites! Through her work in our Burnis McCloud collection, Laurier discovered a local Denverite who was the first African American selected for NASA’s astronaut training program. Her post inspires us to tap into our bravery and use the collections to grow ourselves and our community. We thank Laurier for this important reminder and this engaging post!
Did your favorite 2020 blog make the list? Let us know in the comments below!