You are here

Using the Historical Collections

Plan Your Research

Much of the African American, Genealogy and Western History collections are open for research and most contain no restrictions. In most cases, these materials are available on the day of your arrival.

However, it is recommended to schedule an appointment. During the initial interview, expect to complete an application and present a form of photo identification. Researchers are not required to have a letter of introduction.

With advance notice of your arrival, the Archivist can set materials aside for your use; otherwise, retrieval time for boxes may require a brief amount of time.

Tips on handling the collections.

Mullen Manuscript Room at the Central Library

To access materials noted in the catalog as “closed stacks,” go to our reference desk located near the entrance of WHG. A staff person will have the material brought for you to view in the Mullen Manuscript Room. If you have requested to view manuscript material—that is, unpublished papers, diaries, photos, audio tapes and other items—you will be asked to complete a researcher form and show a photo ID.

Before entering the Mullen Manuscript room, you must secure your personal belongings in a free locker. Cameras and laptop computers and even a power supply are welcomed in the Mullen Manuscript Room, but their cases are not. And as on the rest of the floor drinks and food are prohibited for the protection of historical materials.

Next, you will be introduced to your Mullen manuscript room proctor who will welcome you, offer you a place to sit, provide you with note paper and a pencil, and answer any procedural questions you may have. Many manuscript collections have online finding aids—guides that provide detailed descriptions of a collection's contents—accessible through DPL’s catalog. These guides can help you locate the specific box and even the folder pertinent to your research.

The Mullen Manuscript Room is open during regular Central Library hours.
Call 720-865-1821 to schedule an appointment.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Reading Room

The Blair-Caldwell Archives consist of more than 150 collections of personal and professional papers, artifacts, photos, and scrapbooks (all original) of great African Americans who helped shape the West. The Reading Room also houses an extensive collection of secondary sources of books, journals, magazines, newspapers in microform and serials, on the history, literature, art, music, religion and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Items in the Archives and the Reading Room are not available for checkout.

Reading Room Hours:

  • Monday and Wednesday 12-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Hours
Email askblaircaldwell@denverlibrary.org or call 720-865-2401 to schedule an appointment.

Planning Your Research:

We strongly urge all researchers to contact Blair-Caldwell to discuss their research needs prior to scheduling an appointment and visiting, so that we can ensure space, staffing and collection availability. Contact Blair-Caldwell at askblaircaldwell@denverlibrary.org or 720-865-2401 to inquire about our services, make a request or schedule an appointment. Please be as specific as possible about your research topic and/or the collection you expect to use. When you contact us, please state your request concisely – include names, dates, places, and specific documents or collections. Learn about the Archives collections online before contacting the Archives to schedule an appointment.

Registration:

Upon entering the Reading Room, you will be asked to present a valid photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, student or employee identification, or passport) and complete the Application for Photograph/Manuscript Use form that will ask for your name and address, and the title of the collection desired. This document ensures that researchers are familiar with the Department's policies on copyright, restrictions, and photocopying. 

Solicitud de permiso para uso de fotografías/manuscritos.

Conducting Research:

  • Folders and notebooks may not be taken into the Reading Room. Pencils and paper for note-taking are provided.
  • Consult with the reference archivist if you find fragile, torn or damaged documents in a manuscript collection.
  • Photocopying fees for manuscripts and fragile materials is $.25 per page. Copies will be made by library staff. Photocopying of secondary sources is self-serve using the copier on the First Floor at $.10 per page.
  • Personal scanners are not allowed. The Library staff can provide information on how to obtain scans. Laptops and cameras are allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Researchers using personal cameras or smart phone cameras must obtain permission from library staff before taking any photographs.
  • Inform the Second Floor Library staff if you need to leave the Reading Room for any reason.

Concluding Your Day in the Reading Room:

  • Pay the Library staff for your photocopies, receipts will be provided. Library staff accepts cash, checks and credit cards.
  • Turn in the manuscript collection and/or container form/Finding Aid and check out with the Library staff at the Reading Room desk.