The collective memory of the Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino communities in Denver and Colorado is important to students and researchers seeking to understand the social, political, and historical fabric of our region. The Western History and Genealogy Department has a rich collection that highlights the lives of activists, politicians, artists, and civic leaders.
The library has over 70 manuscript and photograph collections containing original correspondence, scrapbooks, founding documents, meeting minutes, every type of historical photographic format, and much more. The Library’s Hispanic Acquisitions Committee, founded by community leader Lena Archuleta, played an invaluable role in acquiring these collections. Today, the Library’s Community Acquisitions Committee continues this work.
The department also features a genealogy collection with resources on families from across Mexico, the U.S. Southwest, and beyond. Highlights include church records, parish registers, cemetery resources, Spanish and Mexican censuses of New Mexico, and land grant materials from New Mexico and Colorado.
In addition, the department’s collections include published books (including the working reference library of LARASA, totaling more than 1500 titles), journals, and artwork documenting the historical and contemporary experiences of the Chicano, Latino, and Hispanic people in Denver, Colorado, and the West. The library also boasts Colorado’s only complete collection of the Spanish, Mexican, and Territorial Archives of New Mexico on 263 rolls of microfilm under one roof.
Note that items in the collection may be in English, Spanish, or both. Learn more about donating materials in our Donate Guide.
Research Tools & Collections:
Searches books, serials, maps, manuscript and photo collections, oral histories, and art collections.
Finding Aids provide detailed information on papers and materials in the archival collections. This tool searches the full-text descriptions of these collection guides, often identifying specific items or folders within the larger collection.
Contains a selection of photographs, maps, posters, architectural drawings, indexes, individual documents, and other collection materials from the Western History and Genealogy Department and Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.
Sample Subject Headings:
These are examples of Library of Congress subject headings that have been used in our library catalog to describe materials related to the Chicano/Hispanic/Latino community. You may wish to try customizing them to the persons or places you are researching when you search our catalog.
- Cemeteries -- Colorado – (name of county) County
- Chicano movement
- Church records and registers -- Colorado -- Conejos.
- Hispanic American women.
- Hispanic Americans -- Colorado
- Hispanic Americans -- Colorado -- Genealogy.
- Land grants -- Colorado -- History.
- Latin Americans – United States
- Mexican Americans
- Pueblo County (Colo.) -- Genealogy
- Registers of births, etc. -- Colorado -- Las Animas County.
Search results for various topics:
- Braceros / United Farm Workers
- El Movimiento / Chicano Rights movement
- Hispanic Americans – Genealogy / New Mexico – Genealogy
- Land Grants -- New Mexico / Land Grants -- Colorado
- San Luis Valley
Manuscript and Photograph Collections:
We hold more than 70 collections containing the papers and photos of influential Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino people from around Colorado and the western United States. A sampling of some of these collections includes:
- Politicians, Public Figures, and Government Employees:
- Artists and Musicians
- Community Leaders and Families
- Genealogy collections
- Documentation created or collected by others:
- Rocky Mountain News Records
- Ruth Marie Colville Papers (Spanish folk songs of the upper Río Grande Valley)
- Denver Commission on Community Relations, 1940-2014
- Digital collection:
- Photo galleries:
- Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection: Includes La Cucaracha, El Demócrata del Condado de Costilla, El Diario de la Gente, El Gallo, La Hermandad, El Valle Hispanic News, La Voz Hispana de Colorado, La Voz Nueva, La Voz del Valle, and West Side Recorder.
- New Mexico Historical Newspapers
- Digitized newspapers in Spanish from Mexico and select Latin American countries (National Library of Mexico)
- In DPL’s Collection:
Genealogy & Land Grant Resources
The Western History and Genealogy Department has a bilingual genealogy librarian on staff whose specialty is Hispanic and Southwest genealogy. If you would like assistance with your research in English or Spanish, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DPL Blog Series
- Finding Your Mexican Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide
- Spanish and Mexican Land Grants
- Origins of New Mexico families in the Spanish colonial period
- The Spanish recolonization of New Mexico : an account of the families recruited at Mexico City in 1693
- New Mexico roots LTD : a demographic perspective from genealogical, historical and geographic data found in the Diligencias Matrimoniales or Pre-nuptial investigations (1678-1869) of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe
- Hispanic genealogy
- A beginner's guide to Hispanic genealogy
- Hispanic Life in America (available with a library card)
- DPL’s Genealogy webpage
- DPL’s Getting Started in Genealogy tutorial
- Ancestry Library Edition (available at Central and any DPL branch)
- PARES: Portal de Archivos Españoles
Maps (a sampling of selected maps)
- Passo por tierra al la California : y sus confinantes nuevas naciones y nuevas missiones de la compa. de Iesus en la America Septentrional, 1701
- The Mexican land grants in Colorado, 18–?
- Mapa de la frontera de la República Mexicana : con los Estados Unidos del Norte en el que se expresa la situación que debe darse a las nuevas colonias militarea, 1848.
- Map of the Territory of New Mexico, 1846-7 / made by order of Brig. Gen. S.W. Kearny, 1850
- Atlas geográfico, estadístico e histórico de la República Mexicana, 1858
- Map showing the lines of communications between southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, 1876
- Map of the Trenchara and Costilla Estates forming the Sangre De Cristo Grant [map] : situate in San Luis Valley, Colorado Territory, 1876
- Map of the Beaubien and Miranda or Maxwell Grant in Colorado and New Mexico , 1893
- The Conejos land grant : grantees of 1842-1843, plus an addendum of 1833 grantees, 2015
- National History Day Research Guides
- Colorado Virtual Bios, A-Z
- Colorful Coloradans, biographies from DPL
(includes Lena Archuleta, Casimiro Barela, Tim Flores, Magdalena Gallegos, Lorraine Granado, Luis Rovira, and Francisco ‘Paco’ Sánchez)
~ A big thank you to my colleagues Lupita Ramos for translating this guide and to Nicolás Cabrera for consulting! ~