Time Machine Tuesday: Child Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month.  This campaign for awareness of healthy eating began with National Nutrition Week in 1973, and expanded to a full month of commemoration in 1980.*  While National Nutrition Month promotes healthy eating for everyone, child nutrition is a special focus of the awareness campaign.

Colorado's promotion of child nutrition began long before the national commemorations were put in place.  In 1931, the Colorado Agricultural College's Extension Service published Health and Nutrition of the School Child, which you can read online from our library.  In comparing the child nutrition practices in this publication with those of today, readers will find that although technology and packaging have evolved (check out the portable oven on page 7!), the basic emphasis on fruits and vegetables, milk, and whole grains, along with fresh air, exercise, and good sleep, has not changed in nearly a century.

For more online publications visit our library's digital repository.

*Source:  http://www.eatright.org/~/media/eatright%20files/nationalnutritionmonth/nnmhistory_032006jada.ashx


Spring is Here!

Hooray, today is the first day of Spring!  Are you interested in learning about the plants and animals that Colorado springtime brings?  Our library has many resources that you can use to learn -- or teach your kids -- about springtime in Colorado.

Hearken!  It's Spring is a publication from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  This title from their "Colorado's Wildlife Company" series is written for all ages, with fun facts and illustrations about Colorado wildlife.  Search our library's web catalog to find more titles from Colorado's Wildlife Company.

Planning a flower garden this spring?  Check out Spring-Planted Bulbs, Corms and Roots to learn about the best bulbs for growing in Colorado.  This is only one of hundreds of resources on Colorado gardening available from our library; search our web catalog for more titles.


St. Patrick's Day Activities for Kids

St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of Irish heritage and culture.  It's also a holiday for all ages and therefore a great day for teaching youngsters about Irish traditions.  In The Ties That Bind, an arts lesson plan kit from the Colorado Council on the Arts, you can find a chapter on St. Patrick's Day lessons for kids, especially tailored to Colorado.  The activities also tie in with Colorado education standards for social studies.  Teachers and activity leaders can use this toolkit to plan lessons about many aspects of Irish culture.  The kids can learn about Irish foods, art and music; Irish immigration to the United States; and more.   

The Ties That Bind is a helpful toolkit for teachers use year-round, as it includes lesson plans for teaching about other Colorado cultural traditions, including American Indians, Latinos, Hmong cultures, and even cowboys, as well as artistic traditions that reach across cultures.

Happy St. Paddy's Day from the State Publications Library!


Time Machine Tuesday: Public Opinion on Water Quality

This week we're only going back a decade, to 2007, but a lot has changed in ten years concerning today's topic.

A decade ago, the State of Colorado's Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) issued a report entitled Public Opinions on Water Quality Issues, which you can read online courtesy of our library.  The report contained the results of a statewide survey on water and environmental issues.  Recall, however, that in the decade since this report was published we have experienced events such as the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Colorado's 2013 floods, the 2015 Animas River spill, and increased interest in fracking, all of which may have caused opinions to change.  For instance, according to the 2007 report, just 71% of Coloradans surveyed reported that "the impact on public health is a very motivating reason to improve water quality."  Further, 93% of Coloradans believed their home drinking water was safe. 

How did opinion change over the decade?  In 2014, the WQCD issued a follow-up report that showed some moderately increased concern, although the percentage of respondents who believed their home drinking water to be safe only decreased from 93% to 90% (remember, the Flint crisis was just beginning in 2014).  However, the 2014 follow-up survey did show that water pollution had replaced air pollution as Coloradans' top environmental concern.* 

Now, three years have passed since the follow-up survey.  Have recent events caused more concern in Coloradans?  Or have state and local governments' recent efforts to improve water quality helped to bring back water users' confidence? We'll have to stay tuned for the next survey.

For many, many more reports and resources on water quality and other environmental issues in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.    

*Survey respondents were asked to rate the following environmental concerns:  water pollution, air pollution, climate change, habitat loss, and threatened/endangered species.  In 2007, air pollution and water pollution were nearly tied, with 35% of respondents rating air pollution as the top concern while 34% chose water pollution.  By 2014, the number of respondents rating water pollution as the top concern jumped to 42%, while air pollution trailed in a distant second at 21%.  The numbers for the other three concerns remained relatively stable.


Colorado Governors: William Gilpin

The first governor of Colorado Territory, William Gilpin, was appointed by Abraham Lincoln and served 1861-62.  Born in Pennsylvania in 1813, Gilpin participated in several western expeditions in the 1840s, served as a Major in the Mexican-American War, and was made a General in charge of protecting white settlers on the Santa Fe Trail.  When the Civil War broke out, Governor Gilpin helped raise troops to defend Colorado Territory from Confederate invasion.  He was removed from office a the following year after bringing the territory into debt.  Gilpin's post-gubernatorial career focused on railroad expansion.  He died in 1894; Gilpin County is named for him.

Publications from Gilpin's governorship are rare, but you can come to our library to view the 1861 House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Colorado.  Secondary sources on Gilpin include several articles in Colorado Magazine, including
  • "The Civil Administration of Governor William Gilpin," by Sheldon S. Zweig, in the July 1954 issue
  • "My Recollections of William Gilpin," by Clarence S. Jackson, which is Jackson's recollections of Gilpin's visits to his boyhood home in the 1880s.  Jackson's father was the famed photographer William Henry Jackson.  This article appears in the July 1949 issue.
  • "William Gilpin:  Sinophile and Eccentric," by Kenneth Porter, which discusses his views on the Chinese and railroads, in the October 1960 issue.  
  • "William Gilpin and the Destruction of the Desert Myth," in the Spring 1969 issue, which explores how Gilpin served as one of the West's great promoters and sought to shatter the myth of the "Great American Desert."
You can also find a biography of Gilpin's wife, Julia, in "Colorado's First Ladies:  Julia Pratte Gilpin," in the October 1961 issue.

For more resources on all of Colorado's governors visit our library's web catalog.

Photo courtesy Colorado State Archives


Colorado's Pioneer Women

Everyone knows about Colorado's famous women like Molly Brown and Baby Doe Tabor, but far less has been written about "ordinary" women in Colorado.  In reality, Colorado's early pioneer women often overcame great obstacles and harsh living conditions while helping shape the Colorado we know today.  This Women's History Month, let's take a look at some of the resources in our library that tell the story of Colorado's extraordinary pioneer women.

One of the most engaging ways to learn about history is through the voices of those who lived it.  Many Colorado women kept diaries or wrote memoirs about their lives in early-day Colorado.  Over the years, many of these reminiscences have been published in Colorado Heritage and its predecessor, Colorado Magazine.  The older issues in particular contain many personal stories, as many pioneers were still alive to share them.  Check out the following issues from our library to read the stories of these remarkable women, in their own words:
  • "'Pioneer Interviews' Reveal Hardship and Humor," in the September-October 2014 issue, talks about the interviews of Colorado pioneers undertaken by the WPA during the Great Depression.  Many women were interviewed and the article provides some great quotes.
  • Wilma Davis Gundy grew up on a Colorado farm during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.  Her reminiscences have appeared in "Snapshots from Old Soddy:  A Farm Girl's Life on the Eastern Colorado Plains in the 1930s and '40s," in the Autumn 2004 issue, and "Plains Grit:  More Memories from an Eastern Colorado Farm," in the Autumn 2008 issue.
  • The Summer 2003 issue explores early Colorado ranching life through a woman's eyes in "'Papa Bought Some Cattle': The Diary of Mary Davis Painter."  For more on the Painter family, see the Colorado Encyclopedia.
  • Photographs supplement the story of one pair of sisters in "'Learn to Labor and Wait':  The 1899 Diary of Anna Kennicott with the Glass Plate Photography of Eugenia Kennicott," in the Summer 1999 issue.  See some of the photos here.
  • Frances Clelland Peabody's memories of the westward journey as a five-year-old can be found in the March 1941 issue of Colorado Magazine in the article "Across the Plains De Luxe in 1865."  Frances grew up to became Colorado's First Lady.
  • The November 1937 issue features "Pioneering Experiences, As Told by Emma Doud Gould to Halie Gould."
    Emma Doud Gould.
  • Susan Riley Ashley contributed "Reminiscences of Early Colorado," in the March 1937 issue, and "Reminiscences of Colorado in the Early 'Sixties," in the November 1936 issue.
  • "Crossing the Plains in War Times," in the July 1933 issue, is the memoir of Mrs. Halie Riley Hodder.
  • The story of a woman's westward journey is also told in Elizabeth Keyes' diary, excerpted in "Across the Plains in a Prairie Schooner" in the March 1933 issue
  • "Life at Camp Weld and Fort Lyon in 1861-62, an Extract from the Diary of Mrs. Byron N. Sanford" appeared in the July 1930 issue.  Her full diary was later published in Mollie:  The Diary of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories, 1857-1866.
Mollie Dorsey Sanford, left, and her sister Nan in about 1857.  Photo courtesy Littleton Museum.

For further reading on Colorado's pioneer women, see the following resources, also available for checkout from our library:
  • Colorado Women:  A History, by Gail M. Beaton, University Press of Colorado, 2012.
  • Long Vistas:  Women and Families on Colorado Homesteads, by Katherine Harris, University Press of Colorado, 1993.
  • On Colfax Avenue:  A Victorian Childhood, by Elizabeth Young, Colorado Historical Society, 2004.  A memoir of growing up in Denver in the 1890s.
  • Pioneer Potluck:  Stories and Recipes of Early Colorado, Colorado Historical Society, 1963.
Search our library's online catalog for more resources.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Railroads

In 1885, there were 2,840.51 miles of railroad track in Colorado.  That year, W.B. Felker, the State Railroad Commissioner, issued his first annual report to the Governor.  This report is a treasure trove of information for anyone researching early Colorado railroads.  It includes statistics on mileage, passengers, freight, bridges, personnel, accidents, and more.  The report also contains detailed financial records including taxes, earnings, operating expenses, debt, and stocks.

Following the general statistics, the report presents detailed statistics from each of the individual railway companies -- the Burlington & Colorado Railroad; the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad; the Pueblo & Arkansas Valley Railroad; the Denver & Rio Grande Railway; the Denver and New Orleans Railroad; the Denver, Utah, and Pacific Railroad; the Denver Circle Railroad; the Colorado Central Railroad; the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad; the Denver & Boulder Valley Railway; the Denver and Middle Park Railroad; the Greeley, Salt Lake & Pacific Railway; the Georgetown, Breckenridge & Leadville Railway; the Golden, Boulder & Caribou Railway; and the Union Pacific Railway.

The next section of the report deals with complaints investigated by the Railroad Commissioner.  This section includes case reports, Commissioner opinions, and reprints of correspondence, giving valuable insight into the operations of the railway companies.  The final section of the report is an appendix containing the state's railroad laws and regulations.

In the next edition available in our library's collection, which covers the years 1891-92, Commissioner W.A. Hamill presented only a brief statistical report, which lacks the detailed company annual reports found in the 1885 edition.  However, the statistics included do provide a great deal of information.

Sometime between 1892 and 1907 the reports ceased publication, because in 1907 the Railroad Commission (now a board rather than an individual) issued its First Annual Report.  Following that issue, the reports were renamed Biennial Report and our library has the reports for 1909-10 and 1911-12.  These reports no longer include statistical information (a note in the introduction explains that statistics are available from other sources) however they still include complaints and case information as well as accident reports and railroad laws and regulations.

In 1913-14 the Railroad Commission report was consolidated with the Public Utilities Commission reports.  The next several decades' railroad information can be found in these reports.

In an age before automobiles and airplanes, railroads were a vital part of life in Colorado.  These reports provide valuable insight into this important part of Colorado's past.

Denver & Rio Grande locomotive #267 near Cimarron, Colorado, August 1885.  Courtesy History Colorado.


March 5-11 is Consumer Protection Week

Many government agencies and nonprofits will be recognizing National Consumer Protection Week March 5-11, 2017.  Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) will be recognizing the week with numerous events during the week, including a Consumer Protection Fair at CU-Boulder on March 9.  For a schedule of events, see DORA's press release.

DORA's website contains numerous resources to help consumers protect themselves from fraud, identity theft, civil rights violations, deceptive practices, and more.  Among DORA's resources is Take 5 to Get Wise, which encourages consumers that "taking five minutes now to review important consumer information and using the tools we provide could help save you time and headaches later."  This lighthearted, user-friendly site provides information on verifying licenses, filing complaints, keeping your money safe, understanding insurance, and other topics.

Outside of DORA, consumer protection is also a mission of the Colorado Attorney General's Office.  On their website you can find Stop Fraud Colorado, their consumer protection website.  Other state agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Revenue provide consumer information in their area of focus.

Our library contains numerous consumer information resources, which you can access by searching our library's web catalog.


Gardening with Native Plants

Spring is coming, and as you begin planning your yard and garden, consider the benefits of using native plants.  Native plant species are a good choice because they are adapted to Colorado's climate and soil, so can be easy to grow here in Colorado.  Native plants are also good for water conservation, as they are adapted to growing in Colorado's arid climate.  Finally, native plants attract local pollinators (bees, birds, butterflies), which are essential to plant reproduction.

Many varieties of penstemon, including the Rocky Mountain penstemon shown here, are native to Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado State University Extension.

Our library offers a number of resources that you may find helpful if you choose to grow native plants, including

Also, for information on pollinators, see


Colorado Mountain College 50th Anniversary

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary this year, Colorado Mountain College has set up a new website to gather stories and memories about the school.  You can use the website to learn about the history of the college, find out about anniversary events, view photos, and watch interviews with the college founders.

If you're a CMC alum and want to reminisce, or to find out about the school's past programs, our library has copies of the college's catalog back to 1982.  Other historical information on the college available from our library includes budgets and financial audits.

Search our library's online catalog for resources on the histories of all of Colorado's state-funded colleges and universities.