Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Biographies

Genealogists and others looking for biographical information on Coloradans from earlier than 1927 should view volumes 4 and 5 of the State Historical Society's History of Colorado, which has been digitized by our library. These final two volumes of the five-volume set are filled with hundreds of biographies on Coloradans. While many of these biographies do tend to feature the wealthier members of society, there are also many middle-class persons featured. Glancing through, I found biographies of teachers, insurance salesmen, and engineers mixed in with businessmen, politicians, and pioneers. Many women are also included, such as Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bates, the first female intern at Cook County Hospital in Chicago who practiced for more than thirty years in Denver, and Fannie Ellen Arnett, postmistress of the town of Peetz in Logan County.

Besides the History of Colorado, our library has many other resources where you can find biographies of Coloradans. Colorado Magazine contains numerous biographies, including the tales of many early settlers. They also published a series of biographies on Colorado first ladies.  For bios of Colorado governors, head to State Archives.

We also have in our collection numerous biography books from the University Press of Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society, and the state universities. Colorado Profiles from University Press of Colorado provides short bios on many colorful Coloradans. We also have standalone biographies on such individuals as Wayne Aspinall, Arthur Carhart, Herndon Davis, S.R. DeBoer, Thomas Hornsby Ferril, Irene Jerome Hood, William Henry Jackson, Enos Mills, George Norlin, John Otto, Thomas M. Patterson, Helen Ring Robinson, Henry M. Teller, Horace Tabor, Thomas Walsh, Edward Wynkoop, and many others. Also, be sure to check out the biographies of famous Coloradans featured in the Colorado Virtual Library.


Mindsource Brain Injury Network

If you're looking for resources and information on brain injuries, the Colorado Department of Human Services has a new website that may be of help. The MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network, mindsourcecolorado.org, is a site for Coloradans with brain injury and their families and caregivers. "MINDSOURCE manages the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund, provides training and technical assistance regarding brain injury for public and private entities, and manages the federal traumatic brain injury grant." Visit the site for resource links and training information; grant programs; state reports; and a newsletter.

For further Colorado resources on brain injury search our library's online catalog or see our recent blog post.


The Colorado READ Act

The Colorado READ Act (Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act) is a law passed by the State Legislature in 2012 (House Bill 12-1238). "The READ Act creates a system to identify students experiencing challenges with reading, to engage parents in the development of reading improvement plans and to provide quality support for those most at risk," according to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). As an early literacy program, the READ Act is intended to help struggling readers in the primary grades.

As back-to-school time nears, parents may have questions about the program and how it may benefit their child. CDE has set up a helpful Information for Parents webpage. Here parents can find videos and fact sheets about the program, as well as ideas on promoting early literacy at home. 

Educators and others can learn more about the READ Act on the program's website. You can also access the program's annual legislative reports from our library. Finally, see this Issue Brief from the Colorado Legislative Council for legislative information on the READ Act.


Time Machine Tuesday: The History of Colorado's Highways

Today we take for granted the fact that highways can take us pretty much anywhere we want to go.
But in the first half of the 20th century, that wasn't the case. As automobiles grew in popularity, the need arose for a system of highways that could support ever-increasing numbers of vehicles. While the construction of highways and interstates has made our life much easier, they haven't been without problems, whether it's impact to the environment, or the socioeconomic consequences that occurred in neighborhoods split by highways, forever changing local dynamics.

If you're researching the history of Colorado's highway and interstate systems, our library has numerous resources, including historical documents, that tell the story of the transportation system that completely changed our landscapes and ways of life starting in the second half of the 20th century. Search our web catalog for resources. Some highlights from our collection include:

  • 100 Years of State Transportation History. Colorado Department of Transportation, 2010.
  • A "Before and After" Study of Effects of a Limited Access Highway Upon the Business Activity of By-Passed Communities and Upon the Land Value and Land Use. Colorado Department of Highways, 1958.
  • Colorado's Highway Needs and Highway Financing. Colorado Highway Planning Committee, 1950.
  • Colorful Colorado (official state highway maps). 1942-1991 available online; print maps available 1954-present.
  • Commemorating the Opening of the Denver Valley Highway, November 23, 1958. Colorado Department of Highways, 1958.
  • Denver Metropolitan Area Transportation Study. Colorado Division of Highways, 1962.
  • Digest and Review of the Preliminary Report of the Colorado Highway Planning Committee. Colorado Highway Planning Committee, 1950
  • The High Road. Colorado Division of Highways, 1976.
  • The Highways of Colorado: Summary Report of the Colorado State Planning Commission. Works Progress Administration and Colorado State Planning Commission, 1937.
  • Highways to the Sky: A Context and History of Colorado's Highway System. Colorado Historical Society and Colorado Department of Transportation, 2002.
  • Paths of Progress. Colorado Department of Highways, 1954.
  • Route Descriptions and Mileage Statistics of Colorado State Highways. Colorado Division of Highways, published annually 1955-1960.
  • Traffic Volumes on Urban Freeways in Colorado. Colorado Department of Highways, 1971.

Items without web links can be viewed in or checked out from our library or obtained through Prospector. We also have hundreds of documents pertaining to individual highways/interstates and geographic areas, environmental information, planning documents, research reports, and resources on the history of specific features like the Eisenhower Tunnel, Glenwood Canyon, and the Scenic Byways.

Finally, see also the Colorado Department of Transportation's CDOT History webpage.

Colorado's state highway system in 1951.

Top photo: The old San Juan County Road before the construction of the Million Dollar Highway. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


Protecting Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat

 Last week, according to a press release, Governor Hickenlooper sent a letter to the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to advocate for the protection of greater sage-grouse on lands the BLM intends to sell or lease for oil and gas development. Over the past several years, the State of Colorado has been involved in efforts to protect this disappearing bird; in fact, the governor even mentioned it in his 2018 State of the State speech.

Several species of grouse live in Colorado. One species, the Gunnison sage-grouse, is federally designated as a threatened species. The other species, however - including the greater sage-grouse, the subject of the governor's letter - are not recognized as threatened by the federal government. The State of Colorado, however, is concerned for the greater sage-grouse, which is found in northwest Colorado and whose numbers have been diminishing.

Since the federal government's 2003 denial of listing the greater sage-grouse as endangered or threatened, Colorado has issued numerous plans, documents and strategies for conserving the species. The most significant document, finalized in 2008, is the state's Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan, available online from our library. Five years later, the state issued The Colorado Package, a greater sage-grouse conservation strategy plan specific to Colorado (the BLM had been considering the species' conservation in nearby states, as well).

For further information on the state's efforts to conserve the greater sage-grouse, see the following State of Colorado documents and websites:
The governor's July 17 letter also addresses big game migration corridors in the affected area.


Navajo Textiles

One of the newer additions to our library collection is Navajo Textiles: The Crane Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Published in 2017 by University Press of Colorado in conjunction with the museum, the book explores one of the world's largest collections of Navajo textiles. "Bringing together the work of anthropologists and indigenous artists, the book explores the Navajo rug trade in the mid-nineteenth century and changes in the Navajo textile market while highlighting the museum’s important, though still relatively unknown, collection of Navajo textiles," writes the publisher. Two of the book's four co-authors are Navajo weavers. Check out Navajo Textiles directly from our library or through Prospector.


Colorado Community Colleges

The Colorado Community College System has just launched a new website, which includes many helpful resources for potential students as well as for researchers. Those interested in attending one of Colorado's public community colleges can use the site to learn about the different schools and explore the programs offered, while researchers can find out about economic impact, workforce and industry data, and institutional research reports.

For further information on the colleges in Colorado's state-funded community college system, search our library's web catalog. Here you will find numerous resources, from college catalogs to planning reports to financial data and budgets. Some recent community college system publications in our collection include:


CoCoRaHS: The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network

2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS. The network began on June 17, 1998 with just a handful of volunteer meteorological observers and has grown to over 20,000 volunteers across North America. Each time it rains, hails, or snows in their area, volunteers take measurements of the precipitation and the data is posted to the CoCoRaHS website. Current and historical data and maps about weather, climate, and precipitation can be downloaded off the site. Apps, publications, webinars, and educational tools are also available.
CoCoRaHS Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network Anniversary

CoCoRaHS is sponsored by Colorado State University's Colorado Climate Center. View their website for even more meteorological data. The Climate Center has also issued numerous publications which you can find in our library's web catalog.


Workforce Supply and Demand Data

What are the most in-demand occupations in Colorado? The State's Talent Found Dashboard uses current job posting data to measure demand, and presents interactive maps and tables that you can use to find out the state's hottest jobs.

Talent Found Colorado
The data on the website supplements two 2017 state reports, the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report and Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development. The former report analyzes workforce supply and demand in Colorado while the latter report examines Colorado's higher education and training needs in order to meet these demands. Search our library's online catalog for further resources on jobs and the workforce in Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Historical Population Trends

In a recent Time Machine Tuesday I wrote about some of our library's digital documents that tell the story of population changes - and the need for water - over the last twenty years. This week, our digital documents go back quite a bit further, to examine population trends back to Colorado territorial days.

In 1940 the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and the Rural Section of the WPA Division of Research teamed up to explore population growth and change since 1860, especially in regards to agriculture and the ability for ag workers to find jobs in Colorado. They published their findings in Population Trends in Colorado, which you can read online from our library.

This publication shows that concerns over population growth are nothing new in our state. The 1940 publication emphatically states that "there is evidence to indicate that Colorado is approaching its population saturation point under its present economic and social structure." The report suggests that unless more water could be found for irrigation, farming would diminish and "perhaps the additional population must look to industry or mining for sufficient employment to insure an adequate standard of living." Otherwise, "it appears probable that any future increase in the population of the State will add to the relief burden already in existence." As the state was just emerging from the Great Depression, the ability to find jobs for a growing population was a significant concern.

Population Trends in Colorado provides an in-depth look at the ups and downs of Colorado population growth from 1860 through 1930, before the Great Depression. (The author notes that a separate study was being undertaken to analyze the effect of the Depression on Colorado's population after 1930.)  The document takes a look at historical population growth factors and explains why, "while there has been a constant gain in Colorado's population since the first census of 1860," some decades' gains were smaller than others. Maps and charts showing migration rates, population density, and future estimates are shown. The publication also discusses differences between interstate and international migration to Colorado; differences between urban, farm, and village population rates; trends in family size, marital status, etc.; and education and employment growth and trends. This publication is a valuable resource for anyone researching the history of population change in Colorado; however, readers should be warned that it does include several racially insensitive comments and illustrations. 

Our library has numerous additional publications that examine historical population trends in Colorado, including A Century of the Colorado Census (University of Northern Colorado, 1976), and Population Trends in Counties of Colorado, 1900-1957, published by the State Planning Division. We also have many additional resources on population growth and change in more recent decades; for these and more, search our library's online catalog.

Crowds on Denver's 16th Street circa 1940. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


Researching the Hispanic Experience in Colorado

Hispanic Colorado Resource GuideIf you're researching the history of Colorado's Hispanic community, the University of Colorado Denver has put together a helpful resource that can serve as an excellent starting place for your research. The Hispanic Colorado Resource Guide "identifies resources providing perspectives on the diverse experiences of Hispanics in Colorado -- who they are, where they came from, how they lived, and what they contributed." The guide was produced in collaboration with some of the state's top Hispanic, Chicana/o, and Latino/a scholars and professors.

This resource guide identifies various types of publications useful to researchers and genealogists, as well as specific county and regional information and places to go - churches, museums, and historic sites - to find out more. The guide even includes an appendix on Hispanic Colorado legislators and another appendix on researching photograph collections.

Some additional resources, available from our library, that are useful in researching Colorado's Hispanic history and culture include:
  • Colorado Heritage, issue for March/April 2015, in conjunction with History Colorado's "El Movimiento" exhibit.
  • Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Borderlands (University Press of Colorado, 2011).
  • El Pueblo History Museum: A Capsule History and Guide. (Colorado Historical Society, 2006).
  • Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies (University of Colorado at Boulder, published 2003-2009).
  • The Life and Times of Richard Castro (Colorado Historical Society, 2007).
  • The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County: Village Architecture and its Historical Context, 1851-1940. (Colorado Historical Society, 2002).
  • La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (Colorado Historical Society, 1998).
  • The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado (University Press of Colorado, 1997).
  • Confluencia (University of Northern Colorado Department of Hispanic Studies, published 1985-present).
  • The Hispanic Population in Colorado: Survey (Colorado Department of Education, 1978). 
  • The Status of Spanish-Surnamed Citizens in Colorado (Colorado General Assembly, 1967).
  • Americans with Spanish Names: A Review (WPA, 1942).
  • The Spanish-Speaking People of the Southwest (Colorado Department of Education, 1938).

Also see the Hispanic History Resources webpage from History Colorado as well as the Colorado Encyclopedia. Search our library's online catalog for more titles, including resources on Hispanic health, population, workforce, and more.


Wildfire Information

Here's where to go to get the latest on the multiple wildfires burning across the state:
Additionally, here are some helpful publications and websites:

Spring Fire, July 3, 2018. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Fire Protection & Control.


Time Machine Tuesday: Postcards from Southwestern Colorado

Bird's-eye view of Durango, circa 1907-1914.
In today's world of social media and instant communication, the postcard has become a lost art. But the basic idea is the same - the desire to share pictures and updates with friends and family while you're apart. A century ago, postcards were a popular and cheap way to send a quick greeting. The United States first passed a law in 1861 allowing the sending of cards through the mail, and America's first postcard was copyrighted that year.

Postcards really gained popularity after 1907, when US laws began to allow the "split-back" postcard - the familiar postcard style with the address on the right and the message on the left. Prior to that time, messages were not allowed on the same side of the card as the address, meaning most postcards were simply a picture on the front and the address on the back. Postcard styles evolved over time, but their popularity began to decline around the 1990s.

During the heydey of postcards, senders all over the country could choose from a variety of pictures of notable local buildings, parks, scenery, or streetscapes. Some picture postcards used actual photographs, while others featured illustrations done from photos. Postcards have become amazing historical resources for two reasons: one, if they contain messages, we're provided with a glimpse of everyday life in the past, and two, the postcard images are a unique view of scenes of the past - especially the illustrated color images from before the days of color photography. They highlight the places that the city, town, or area believed to be important, the buildings they were proud of, the natural wonders that excited viewers. It's little wonder that postcards are a popular collector's item today.

If you're studying the history of Southwestern Colorado, postcards are a great way to to peek into the region's past. The Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College has digitized a large collection of postcards from places like Durango, Mesa Verde, Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, and other locales, along with a number of postcards from the area's narrow gauge railroads. Postcards also featured significant local events, like the 1916 Durango blizzard.

Beaumont Hotel, Ouray, circa 1907-1914.

In 1925 - during an era when postcards were especially popular due to the growth of automobile tourism - the State Board of Immigration published Colorado: The San Juan District, which is available online from our library. This illustrated booklet makes an excellent companion piece to the postcards because it provides context for the places and people of the southwestern Colorado counties. Geography, climate, industry, history, natural resources, education, transportation, businesses, and tourist attractions are described for each of the seven counties in the region, accompanied by photographs. Search our library's online catalog for more resources on the history of southwest Colorado.

Front and back views of a postcard printed in 1906 and mailed in 1907,
just before "split-back" postcards became legal.


Marijuana Facts for Parents and Caregivers

Last month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new awareness campaign, Responsibility Grows Here, for teaching parents and caregivers about the responsible use of marijuana, including information for pregnant and breastfeeding women, responsible use around children, and how to talk to youth about marijuana. From the CDPHE's press release:

Trusted adults ― parents, family, teachers and others ― can have an enormous influence on whether a young person uses marijuana. Health department surveys show young people with parents who feel marijuana use is wrong are four times less likely to use it. Those young people who have family rules about marijuana use, parents they can talk to and supportive teachers are much less likely to use marijuana.
To take advantage of these strong relationships, the health department’s trusted adult campaign shows these role models how important their voices can be and provides them resources they need to talk to their kids about marijuana. Responsibility Grows Here has tips on how trusted adults can start a conversation about marijuana; listen to the concerns of their children; and share information about the health and legal consequences of underage marijuana use. It also provides tips on discussing how marijuana use can get in the way of finishing school, building a career or pursuing other life goals. 

Parents and caregivers can find additional marijuana information by viewing the following resources:

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