Denver Public Library Western History/Genealogy Department

Address: DPL/WHG
10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204

Internet Address:

Phone: 720.865.1820 Fax:720.865.1880

Contact Information: Jim Kroll, Manager

The Western History Collection and the Genealogy Collection merged into one department in 1995, moving into the fifth level of the new Michael Graves library building. Both departments' holdings started being collected in the first decades of the twentieth century, 1935 and 1910 respectively. The staff of the combined department numbers approximately forty-five, with many volunteers assisting with special projects.
The celebrated collection of Western Americana officially opened to the public in 1935, though it built upon a pre-existing Colorado authors collection of books and a Colorado history collection of pamphlets. Today the western subject specialty reflects all phases of development of the trans-Mississippi West. The collection continues to grow and presently includes 200,000 cataloged books, pamphlets, atlases, maps, and microfilm titles. In addition, it offers 600,000 photographs, 3,700 manuscript archives, and a remarkable collection of Western fine art and prints to researchers across the world.
The Genealogy Collection is the second largest between the Mississippi River and the West Coast and the largest in the Rocky Mountain area. Family history researchers find material spanning dozens of generations and covering a wide spectrum of ethnic and geographic categories. Sixty-thousand books, 75,000 pieces of microform, and hundreds of magazine and newsletter titles, charts, clippings, atlases and manuscripts constitute the collection. The joint holdings offer extensive historical resources to both western history researchers and genealogy researchers.
Current Holdings: Size and content:
Description: 12.5 linear ft. (13 boxes), 4 audiovisual boxes, 1 photobox
Organized in 6 series: 1. Sister Who, 1988-2005 (box 1-3). 2. Manuscripts, 1990-2005 (box 3-4). 3. Personal, 1981-2005 (box 4-10). 4. Unprocessed Material, 2005-2008 (box 11-14). 5. Audiovisual, 1990-2007 (AVbox 1-4). 6. Photographs, 1991-1995 (Photobox 1).
Summary: Manuscripts and correspondence related to the public access television show titled "Sister Who Presents ... "; newspaper articles by Sister Who; newsletter "Sister Who's Perspective;" printouts of Website; and scrapbook pages with notes and color photographs of his travels. Representing Denver Nevaar's personal life, are manuscripts with handwritten notes, correspondence, photographs, resumes, and journals. The journals reflect his thoughts on identity and Sister Who. Personal material focuses on his relationships with friends and lovers as well as his search for spirituality. Collection remains open for additional material.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH1749
Description: 21 linear ft. (21 boxes), 10 audiovisual boxes, 2 oversize folders, 1 photo box
Organized into 10 series: 1. Board of Directors, Executive Director, 1984-1997 (box 1-9). 2. Fundraising, 1984-2004 (box 9-11). 3. Grants, 1985-2001 (box 11-15). 4. Client and Education Services, 1987-2001 (box 15). 5. Internal Operations, 1985-2004 (box 16-19). 6. Local and National Organizations, 1985-2000 (box 19-20). 7. Reference Materials on AIDS, 1986-1994 (box 20). 8. Julian Rush, 1979-1991 (box 21). 9. Audio-Visual Material, 1987-2005 (AVBox 22-AVBox 31). 10. Oversize, 2003-2005. 11. Photographs, 1987-1997 (PhotoBox1).
Summary: The collection documents the growth of the Colorado AIDS Project (CAP) from early 1980s through 2005. Includes broad range of documents from Board of Directors' minutes, Executive Director files, annual reports, fund raising records, financial papers, educational pamphlets, internal office documents. Also contains correspondence and newspaper articles about Julian Rush, Executive Director, prior to his joining Colorado AIDS Project. Audio and visual material includes public service announcements, television news segments, photograph fund raising events.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH868
  • PAPERS, 1986-1993. Ferrell, Dee
Description: 1 linear ft. (1 box)
Summary: Correspondence, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, fliers, brochures, notices pertain to Gay Games II and Gay Games III and marches on Washington in 1987 and 1993 for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equal Rights.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH1183
Description: 32 linear ft. (32 boxes), 2 oversize folios, 1 photo box.
Organized in 7 series: 1. Manuscripts, 1960s-2003 (Box 1-12). 2. Productions, 1950s-1986 (Box 12-14). 3. Palange v. DCTV, Richard Kennehan and the City and County of Denver, 1991-1996 (Box 14-17). 4. Personal, 1950s-2002 (Box 17-21). 5. Audio-Visual, 1960s-2002 (Box 22-32). 6. Oversize, 1990s (OVFolio 1-2). 7. Photographs, 1973-1994 (PhotoBox 1).
Summary: The collection contains manuscripts of plays, novels, poetry and operas written by Palange. Also included are video and audio tapes; transcripts and legal documents from Palange's lawsuit for censorship against Denver Community Television (DCTV); personal correspondence.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH1230
  • PROGRAMS, 1983-2001 1990-1994
Description: 67 linear ft. (67 boxes)
Summary: Videocassettes and audiocassettes of Colorado Out Spoken and Lambda Report programs.
Call Number: C MSS WH1200
Description: 3 linear ft. (3 boxes), 2 oversize folders.
Organized in 5 series: 1. Organizations - Volunteer, 1987-2001 (box 1-2). 2. Organizations, 1991-2003 (box 2-3). 3. Personal, 1988-2002 (box 3). 4. Oversize, 1993-1997 (OVFF1-2).
Summary: Collection focuses on McFadden's volunteer and philanthropic activities in the Denver gay community; papers comprise correspondence, programs, photographs, memos, pamphlets and newsletters that originated from various gay organizations in Denver, Colo.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH638
  • RECORDS, 1973-2001, by Equality Colorado
Description: 29 linear ft. (29 boxes, 1 photobox), 1 audiovisual envelope, 1 oversize folder.
Organized in 9 series: 1. Administration 1988-2000 -- 2. Financial 1991-2000 -- 3. Legislative 1988-2000 -- 4. Subject files 1992-2000 -- 5. Awards 1996-1998 -- 6. Audiovisual 2000 -- 7. Oversize 1992-1993 -- 8. Restricted 1992-2000 -- 9. Photographs 1997.
Summary: Correspondence, meeting minutes, financial documents, press releases and newspaper clippings comprise the bulk of the collection. The subject files of the collection remain in the original order. Surveys, projects, and research are included, interfiled with the subject files alphabetically. Papers of groups that were precursors of Equality Colorado form a small portion of the collection. Newsletters published by Equality Colorado are included in the collection. Photographs, sample newsletters and articles about and generated by other organizations constitute a portion of the collection.
Finding aid in repository and online at:
Call Number: C MSS WH1787
Collection Growth: The Western History/Genealogy Department seeks donations through the work of the acquisitions specialist and the acquisitions committee. The donation guidelines are posted on our website
Access and Use:
A. 1. Requirements for using our collections necessitate the user registering at the reference desk, viewing the materials in the Mullen Research room, and following regulations regarding the handling of manuscript materials.
2. Requirements for LBGT and non-LBGT materials are the same.
3. Hours:
4. Site is wheelchair accessible.
B. 1. Mullen Research room is approximately 700 sq. feet of research space.
2. Reference librarians are available for assistance.
3. Limited telephone reference is available.
4. We have Internet reference available through our WHG homepage.
5. Research materials may be photographed or photocopied on request, depending upon physical condition and any donor or copyright restrictions. There is a charge for these services. We offer digital reproductions as well as the availability of additional large photocopying services for a fee.
6. We have audio-visual equipment available in separate AV rooms.
7. Exhibit Loan agreements would be arranged through Ellen Zazzarino.
8. Our collections are non-circulating.
C. Most of the collections have finding aids (please see the collections above).
D. Our staff shares news about the collections through tours and at academic and professional conferences and meetings. We welcome opportunities to meet with classes and other groups.