Finding Historic Colorado Photographs

There are many places to go if you are looking for historic photographs of Colorado.  A number of libraries and archives have digitized their photographs, so a general internet search will often yield many results.  History Colorado has created a database which includes many of their digitized photographs, along with other artifacts.  Also, the Denver Public Library's Western History and Genealogy Collection has a huge photo collection online.  Other agencies have photographs that have not been digitized.  The Colorado State Archives has many photos but you will need to contact them to retrieve them.

If you aren't searching for anything specific and just want to look at historic photos, our library has a couple of excellent books you can check out.  Colorado:  A History in Photographs (University Press of Colorado, 2005) presents an illustrated history of the state, while other books, such as Trials and Triumphs:  A Colorado Portrait of the Great Depression, with FSA Photographs (University Press of Colorado, 1993) present photos on specific subjects and time periods.  Search our library's online catalog for more titles.


Colorado's Biodiversity

The concept of biodiversity refers to conservation of plant and animal species in their natural environments to ensure a wide variety of species in an ecosystem. Having a rich biodiversity means plants and animals can serve each other as nature intended.  Biodiversity studies explore habitat loss, threatened and endangered species, and conservation of ecosystems.  Two state agencies, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado State University's Colorado Natural Heritage Program have conducted and published numerous studies on Colorado's biodiversity and the need for conservation.  Selected studies include:

Colorado Department of Natural Resources:

Colorado Natural Heritage Program:
Other agencies:
This is just a sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  Be sure to search our library's online catalog for more publications.  The Natural Heritage Program in particular has produced numerous reports not listed here, including studies of specific plant and animal species and geographic areas.


Banned Books Week

Libraries across the U.S. are commemorating Banned Books Week September 25-October 1.  Activities during this week are designed to promote the concept of intellectual freedom, or "freedom to read."  Each year, many library materials are challenged in school and public libraries.  Books are challenged for a variety of reasons, including explicit content, violence, language, and other reasons.  The Library Research Service (LRS), part of the Colorado State Library, has done several statistical studies on intellectual freedom and book bans/challenges, including statistics on the most frequent reasons for the challenges.

In 2004 LRS published Intellectual Freedom Issues in Colorado:  Concerns, Challenges, Resources, and Opinions, an in-depth study of the issue.  More recently, their "Fast Facts" series has included such entries as Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2015, a new report released this summer.  Another Fast Facts report looked at the 29 book challenges in Colorado public libraries in 2013.  For more statistical reports on Colorado library topics, visit the LRS website or search the State Publications Library's online catalog.


Sights and Sounds of Autumn

It's officially fall, which can be a great time to head outdoors.  It's still warm enough to hike, and in the high country the fall colors are on brilliant display.  Wildlife are also making their preparations for winter.

Sights and Sounds of Autumn is a publication from the Colorado Division of Wildlife that explores characteristics of animal behavior in this season, from bugling elk to migrating birds, spawning trout to mating mooseColorado Parks & Wildlife has a list of places to go to see migrating birds.  Other wildlife species are storing food and preparing their bodies to stay warm over the long winter.  Another Division of Wildlife publication, Bears, takes a look at how these large mammals increase their search for food and can be a potential hazard to humans. 

Heading up to the mountains to see the fall colors has always been popular in Colorado.  Many of the places nearest the metro area get quite crowded, so if you're looking for somewhere new to go, state agencies have issued several guides that can help.  Rush to the Gold is a publication that highlights fall color viewing in the State Parks.  Discover Colorado:  Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways and the Colorado Department of Transportation's byways website provide ideas for driving tours of the fall colors.  The Colorado Tourism Office also has a list of suggested sites on their website, as does Colorado Parks and Wildlife You can also search our library's online catalog for maps and trails guides.  Colorado's aspen forests are not only adapting to the season change, but are adapting to climate change as well.  What's Happening to Colorado's Aspen Forests?, a publication from the Colorado State Forest Service, explores this issue.


Time Machine Tuesday: Hayden Survey

For something a little different today, instead of profiling a historic document that has been digitized, I'm instead going to introduce you to a brand new digital publication -- but one that sends the reader on a journey from the past to the present.

http://haydenslandscapes.com/Hayden's Landscapes Revisited:  The Drawings of the Great Colorado Survey, by Thomas P. Huber, is an open-access publication from the University Press of Colorado.  There is no hard copy of this "book" -- it is an online publication that uses digital imagery to capture the drawings of the Hayden Survey and compare them to the same Colorado landscapes today.  "This publication is neither meant to be a comprehensive history of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden nor his survey," writes the author.  "[It] is about place and how we look at it and how we are affected by it. I use the Hayden Survey as a departure point in describing Colorado past and Colorado present."  Huber is a professor of geography at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Hayden, a scientist and geologist as well as a military surgeon during the Civil War, had made extensive surveys of the landscapes of the West, including Yellowstone.  The Yellowstone expeditions were made famous in the paintings of Thomas Moran, who accompanied Hayden on his surveys. After Yellowstone became a National Park, Hayden switched his attention to Colorado, conducting extensive surveys from 1873 to 1877.

The Hayden expeditions resulted in numerous reports and documents, but among the most interesting materials are the drawings and illustrations, including many by Moran, that were made of Colorado's landscapes.  In Huber's publication, he reproduces these illustrations alongside present-day photographs of the same location.  For both old and new, the digital images can be enhanced to provide stunning visual detail on the selected landscapes.  The publication also includes an extensive bibliography for further reading on Hayden's and other explorations of the West.



Recollections of Early Colorado

In the 1920s and 1930s, many early Colorado pioneers were still alive, and a number of them were able to tell their stories in the Colorado Historical Society's Colorado Magazine.  The magazine also published many Colorado settlers' letters and diaries.  These firsthand accounts include those of both men and women as well as those of various nationalities and ethnic groups.  Their reminiscences provide fascinating primary sources on life in Colorado Territory and the early days of Statehood.  Some examples include:
  • Ashley, Susan Riley, "Reminiscences of Colorado in the Early 'Sixties," November 1936 
  • Burt, William P., "Back Stage with a Medicine Show Fifty Years Ago," July 1942
  • Case, Frank M., "Experiences on the Platte River Route in the Sixties," August 1928
  • Clarke, A.K., "The Utes Visit My Ranch on the Plains," August 1928 
  • Estes, Milton. "Memoirs of Estes Park," July 1939
  • Hall, Mrs. M.B., "Experiences in Leadville and Independence, 1881-82," March 1933
  • Hanington, C.H., "Boyhood Recollections of Central City," July 1939
  • Hodder, Mrs. Halie Riley, "Crossing the Plains in War Times," July 1933
  • Keyes, Elizabeth, "Across the Plains in a Prairie Schooner," March 1933
  • Manzanares, J.M., "Colorado Recollections of a Centenarian," May 1933
  • Morrison, Sidney B., "Letters from Colorado, 1860-63," May 1939
  • Pratt, Harry E., "Diary of a Pikes Peak Gold Seeker in 1860," November 1937
  • Sanford, Albert B., "Recollections of a Trip to the San Luis Valley in 1877," September 1933
  • Sibley, F.C., "An Experience at Grand Junction in the Early 'Seventies," November 1936
  • Simonin, Louis, "Colorado in 1867 as Seen by a Frenchman," March 1937
  • Steele, Robert W., "Jefferson Territory (Colorado) and its Resources, 1859," March 1937 (Steele was the first governor of the short-lived and illegal Jefferson Territory)
  • Stobie, Charles Stewart, "Crossing the Plains to Colorado in 1865," November 1933 (Stobie was also a well-known Colorado artist, and the same issue includes information on his art)
  • Wallace, R.B., "My Experiences in the First Colorado Regiment," November 1924 (the First Colorado were the troops who carried out the Sand Creek Massacre).
  • Woodward, R.O., "With the Troops in Colorado," May 1926
Colorado Magazine was published from 1923 to 1980.  It then became Colorado Heritage, which still exists today.  Issues of both publications are available for checkout from the State Publications Library.

Charles Stewart Stobie and one of his paintings.  Both, courtesy History Colorado.


September is Baby Safety Month

Each year since 1983, September has been recognized as "Baby Safety Month" to promote safe use of baby products and educate consumers about safety concerns for infants and toddlers.  Are you a parent or caregiver with questions about keeping your baby safe from injury?  Or are you a researcher looking for data on infant and child safety?  State agencies have produced numerous publications that can help.

Abandoned Infant ReportColorado Department of Human Services.  Annual.

Airway Obstruction Injuries (AOI) Among Colorado Children Ages 0 to 14Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2005.

Booster Seat Use Among Colorado ChildrenColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2006.

Brain Injury in Children and YouthColorado Department of Education, 2013.  Includes information on infant traumatic brain injury.

Car Seat SafetyColorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Website.

Child Fatality Prevention System Data and InformationColorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Website.

Child Fatality Review in ColoradoColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2008.

Child Restraint in AutomobilesColorado State University Extension, 2010.

Colorado Child Fatality Prevention SystemColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2006.

Colorado Child Welfare Plan, Keeping Kids Safe and Families HealthyColorado Department of Human Services, 2012.

Drowning Deaths and Near-Drowning Incidents Among Colorado Children Ages 0-14Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2003.

Early Childhood Caries:  Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Nursing Bottle MouthColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2006.

Fall Injuries Among Colorado Children Ages 0 to 14Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2003.

Guidelines for the Identification of Poisonous Plants in Child Care CentersColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2005.

Infant Mortality in Colorado:  Trends, Disparities, and Current ResearchColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2008.

Introduction of Solid Foods to InfantsColorado State University Cooperative Extension, 1990.

Motor Vehicle Occupant Injuries for Colorado Children Ages 0 to 14Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2003.

Safe Sleep for Your BabyColorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Website.

Selecting Safe ToysColorado State University Cooperative Extension, 1974.  Old, but still has many relevant tips.

Serving Children Safe FoodsColorado State University Extension, 2012.

Your Petting Zoo & Fair:  Tips On Making it Safe for the PublicColorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2010.

For more resources, search our library's online catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Educational Directory

If you're researching teachers, faculty, or other school personnel in Colorado, or are doing your genealogy and have an educator in your family history, you need to check out the Colorado Educational Directory.  Issues for the 1914-15, 1917-18, 1919-20, and 1922-23 school years have been digitized by our library.  They list the names of every teacher and administrator in every Colorado school district, as well as the names of faculty in the state institutions of higher education.  This is an interesting look at early twentieth century education in Colorado, and can be useful for gleaning information on school/district size, male-female teacher ratios, courses of study that were emphasized, and more.

Sample page from the 1922-23 directory.

You can check out later issues, from the 1950s through the 1980s, in hard copy form.  By this time, Colorado's population had grown enough that it was no longer feasible to list every teacher or faculty member, but they do list the administrators.  Issues after 1990 became known as the Colorado Education and Library Directory and also include listings of library personnel as well as all staff of the Department of Education.  Listings of faculty members for state universities can be found by searching the terms "personnel roster" and "staffing pattern" in our library's online catalog.


Check Out Colorado State Parks

This summer the Colorado State Library and Colorado Parks & Wildlife have teamed up to offer Check Out Colorado State ParksUnder this program, Colorado libraries offer -- for checkout just like a book -- backpacks containing a parks pass vehicle hangtag, a set of binoculars, various guidebooks, and other cool stuff.  It's a great way to visit our 42 state parks for free, and learn about Colorado libraries, too. You can also check out the guidebooks individually from the State Publications Library.  With the arrival of fall colors, now is a great time to go Check Out Colorado!


Suicide in Colorado

Colorado's suicide rate is climbing. Since 2009 the suicide death rate has increased each year. To put things in perspective, according to the Office of Suicide Prevention Annual Report 2014-15,  the number of suicide deaths in 2014 exceeded the number of deaths from homicide (172), motor vehicle crash (486), breast cancer (553), influenza and pneumonia (668), and diabetes (826).

So what can we do?
The first step is to learn about the risk factors and warning signs and then find help for someone who may be suicidal.

Some warning signs:

  • If a person talks about being a burden to others, or feeling trapped.
  • Behavior changes: increased use of alcohol or drugs; acting recklessly; isolating themselves from family and friends; researching ways to kill themselves
  • Mood indicators: depression, loss of interest, rage, anxiety.

For more in-depth information, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

If you or someone you know shows signs of being suicidal, seek help. There are two hotlines for immediate assistance:
1-800-273-TALK, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and
1-844-493-TALK, the Colorado Crisis and Support Line

More information and materials on suicide prevention, can be found on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's suicide prevention site.

If you want to crunch the numbers yourself, visit the Colorado Trauma Registry (part of the Colorado Health Information Dataset). You can pick a "Quick Report" showing suicide by year, county and gender, or in the Customized Report section you can build more detailed reports to compare data by county, regions, age, and gender.

For additional reading, take a look at these titles from our collection:


Time Machine Tuesday: Worker's Compensation

What were worker's compensation laws like a century ago?  You can find out in the 1915 publication Workmen's Compensation Laws Passed by the Twentieth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, available digitally from our library.  That year the legislature created the Industrial Commission of Colorado.  Their biennial reports, also available digitally from our library, offer a fascinating look at the state of worker's compensation a century ago and are a extremely important historical resource because they detail every claim, whether awarded or denied.  For example,

The 1915 laws came on the heels of several years of labor unrest, and were issued during the height of the Progressive Era.  This was also during a time when mining and industrial jobs made up a huge proportion of Colorado's workforce. 

Also interesting -- notice that back then the concept was termed "workmen's compensation," not "worker's compensation" as we say today.  Yet this did not mean that female workers were excluded from compensation; just that most employees were assumed to be male.  Women's claims were rare but did occasionally appear in the industrial commission reports:

A quick search of our library catalog shows that the "workmen" term was used as late as 1989, well after women had joined the workforce.  Search our catalog for many more resources on worker's compensation and insurance from a century ago through the present day.


National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  This annual observance strives to bring attention to the growing numbers of overweight children, due to an increase in unhealthy foods and a decrease in exercise.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has produced a number of resources on child health and obesity:
Additionally, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) includes an Office of School Nutrition, which has published numerous resources for families, teachers, and school administrators.  See the Resources page on their website for information.

For more publications, search our library's online catalog.

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