Book Club Resource

Celebrating Black Voices with the Book Club Resource

The Colorado State Library would like to invite everyone to celebrate Black History Month with our newly updated Book Club Resource! Over the past year, we have refocused our energy toward making our book club collection more diverse and inclusive, so that readers from all cultures and backgrounds can find stories for them written by someone like them. This Black History Month, we are proud to highlight some of our favorite black voices as we remember the struggles of the past and work toward a more equitable future.


Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.


The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


March: Book 1
by John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.


The Origins of Others
by Toni Morrison

America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?

Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison’s fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books―BelovedParadise, and A Mercy.

If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.


The Coldest Winter Ever
by Sister Souljah

During one of New York’s worst snow storms, Winter is born to Ricky Santiaga and his wife. At the age of sixteen, Winter is well-accustomed to a life of decadence provided by her notorious father who commands an intricate family web of drug dealers in their Brooklyn ghetto. As familiar as she is with riches, she is also acutely aware of the devastation of urban poverty to which she is determined never to succumb.

Her father’s decision to move his family to Dix Hills, an affluent Long Island suburb, creates unimaginable consequences. Winter is left alone to find her way precariously through the shifting maze of power, sex, money, and drugs, determined to vindicate her father and rise above the laws, social welfare system, poverty, and dangers that surround her.

Author Sister Souljah, a political activist, is a part of this story as a constant voice through all of Winter’s struggles. Winter hears Souljah’s voice intermittently on the radio and lives with her briefly while in pursuit of her own dubious ambitions. Souljah’s pleas to the young black women she works with to realize their dignity, beauty, and inner power fail to find a place to rest in Winter’s driven spirit.

The Coldest Winter Ever is a fast-moving, impeccably brilliant account of choices and consequences within the urban hip-hop culture. Sister Souljah writes eloquently with expressive insights and language of youth. Amidst the crisis and cruelty of inner city poverty and seemingly insurmountable struggles, Sister Souljah’s voice is one of grace and unmistakable clarity in one young woman’s coming-of-age story.


Celebrate black history all year long by checking out these and many other great titles from the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource!

(All book descriptions taken from

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Five Points: The Heart and Soul of Denver

Old Five Points Neighborhood (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

In recent decades, the city of Denver has undergone a drastic transformation both aesthetically and demographically. As young professionals flock back to the city’s center, neighborhoods that have existed as cultural centers for many of Denver’s deep-rooted and diverse communities are undergoing dramatic changes. One of the most significant of these cultural epicenters is Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Designated from its earliest years as a space apart for Denver’s black residents, Five Points not only survived a time of extreme, institutionalized racial oppression in Colorado, but thrived and grew to become one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country, earning it the nickname, “the Harlem of the West.”

Denver NAACP Meeting (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

Five Points initially took shape during Denver’s period of rapid growth in the 1870’s due to the silver boom. The neighborhood took its name from the five vertices created at the intersection of Washington Street, 27th Street, 26th Ave, and Welton Street. The introduction of Denver’s first street railroad connected the Five Points neighborhood to its city center and brought a wide variety of residents from varying economic and racial backgrounds to the area.  However, when more modern and fashionable dwellings began to populate the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, many of its wealthier, white residents moved out of the area. Due to the extreme racial oppression of the time, Denver’s black residents were not afforded the same mobility, and by the 1920’s, ninety percent of Denver black population lived within the Five Points – Whittier neighborhood.

The Rossonian Hotel (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

That decade saw Five Points grow and flourish as a social, cultural, and political center for Denver’s black community. The Glenarm branch of the YMCA was built in 1924 and acted as the unofficial Town Hall of Five Points. Denver’s branch of the NAACP was established and hosted its first national meeting in 1925 to address the racial hostility and inequity perpetuated by the KKK’s firm hold on the Denver politics and society. In 1927, a group of black students successfully sued the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Denver for the unconstitutional separation of social functions for students based on race. Five points had now established itself as a political center for the advancement of equality as more and more of its residents began to own property and establish businesses.

The Lounge at the Rossonian Hotel (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

The 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s gave way to perhaps the greatest cultural boom in Five Points as the Jazz and Blues movement took root in the area. While Denver’s downtown hotspots invited popular musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Miles Davis, and Nat King Cole to perform, they were not permitted to stay in the white-only hotels in those neighborhoods. Thus, Five Points played host to these artists who also performed in the neighborhood’s many jazz and blues clubs. The lounge at the now Historic Rossonian Hotel (originally the Baxter Hotel) was one of Five Points’ most iconic locales and was considered the best jazz club between Kansas City and LA. At the height of the jazz era, Five Points had become a destination where black and white visitors were welcomed together, despite the racial tension and segregation that still plagued the rest of the city.

Historic Five Points Neighborhood (Photo from

As the 1960’s saw the decline of discriminatory housing practices and legal segregation in the city, the residents of Five Points dispersed to other neighborhoods and suburbs. By the 1970’s Five Points fell victim to economic strife, crime, and drugs. However, the community that had once thrived in Five Points refused to disappear, and in the late 1980’s and 1990’s there came a dramatic push to preserve and restore the area’s landmarks. In 1988, Paul W. Stewart opened the Black American West Museum to the public in the former home of Dr. Justina Ford, Denver’s first black woman doctor. In 1995, the Rossonian Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has since undergone massive restoration with the help of former NBA star, Chauncey Billups, who is a partner in the project. In 2002, the Welton Street commercial corridor was listed as a Denver historic cultural district and in 2003, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library opened on Welton Street in order to serve the neighborhood and preserve its rich history.

Juneteenth Celebration Bilboard (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

Five Points has even more recently become one of Denver’s most desirable neighborhoods, with home prices rising far above the median for the city. While this new influx of residents and businesses to the area has assured its survival and revitalization, the drastically inflated cost of living has driven out many of the same residents who fought for its preservation. Though Five Points now hosts its annual Jazz Fest and Juneteenth festival, drawing thousands of visitors to the area to celebrate its cultural heritage, it was Denver’s strong, black community that made the neighborhood a haven, a hotspot, and a home for decades in the face of oppression.


This post is brought to you by the Colorado State Library and Denver Public Libraries

20th Century & Beyond

Elvin R. Caldwell: City Council President, Activist, Community Leader

When: 1919 – 2004

Where: Denver, Colorado

Why Important: First African-American City Council Member West of the Mississippi, Civil Rights advocate, policy-maker, and life-long community leader and organizer.


Elvin R. Caldwell was born in Denver on April 11, 1919 and grew up in the historic Five Points neighborhood, which was a predominantly black neighborhood at that time. Though Caldwell’s family and many of the families in his neighborhood were prosperous, they faced racial discrimination, inequality, and exclusion from white Denver society. Caldwell’s parents, Wilba and Inez, fought against this discrimination, setting an example for Elvin that would inspire him and shape the rest of his life as an advocate for equality. Caldwell graduated from Eastside High School in 1937 and received a track scholarship to the University of Colorado and later, the University of Denver.

In 1941, Caldwell married Frank “Frankie” Harriette Webb, a teacher, and the couple had four children: Elvin Jr., John, Kenneth, and Frances. During World War II, Caldwell served as a chief statistician and assistant superintendent for production at the Remington Arms Company. After the war ended, many of Denver’s black residents lost their jobs to returning white servicemen, while many returning black servicemen faced discrimination back home in the country they had fought for. Caldwell firmly believed that all Americans were equal and deserved full rights, so he took his fight to the Colorado State Government.

In 1950, at age 31, Caldwell was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives where he served until 1955 when he was elected to the Denver City Council, making him the first African American to serve on a city council seat west of the Mississippi. Caldwell served on the Denver City Council for 28 years, with five years spent as president of the council. During this time Caldwell was deeply involved with the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA), which was created to eliminate slum housing with assistance from Federal Grants. He also fought against discriminatory lending practices by banks, which refused to offer home loans in predominantly black neighborhoods. Until the 1970’s, nonwhites were barred from serving as judges or being promoted within the police force and could only serve in the one African American fire Station. Caldwell persistently contested these practices and under his leadership, Colorado implemented its first Fair Employment Practices Act. In 1980, Denver Mayor William H. McNichols Jr. named Caldwell Manager of Safety, making him the first black member of a Denver Mayoral Cabinet.

In addition to his years of political service, Caldwell was actively involved in many community organizations. He served as a board member for the Glenarm Branch of the YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, and PAL of Denver. He also served on the board of directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, The Denver Improvement Association, the Five Points Businessmen’s Association, and the Colorado Municipal League. To honor his service and dedication to equality in Colorado, in 1990, the Denver City Council created the Elvin R. Caldwell Community Service Plaza. In April of 2003, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library opened its doors bearing his name, just 1 year before his death in April 2004. Elvin R. Caldwell was a tireless champion of the Civil Rights Movement, a steadfast advocate for equality and a deeply passionate community leader who dedicated his life to making Colorado and the United States a better place for all people.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library with thanks to the Colorado Encyclopedia

CSL News

CSL Welcomes New State Librarian Nicolle Ingui Davies!

The Colorado State Library (CSL) is thrilled to welcome our new State Librarian, Nicolle Ingui Davies, to our CSL team and back to her Colorado home. Davies holds both a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) and a Master’s in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS), making her perfectly suited to this leadership role. Davies returns to Colorado from her position as Executive Director of the Charleston County Public Library (SC), where she has been since she left her role as Executive Director of the Arapahoe Library District (CO) in 2016.

During her 12 years with the Arapahoe Library District, Davies was named Library Journal’s 2016 Librarian of the Year, in part for her role in securing a $6 million budget increase for the district’s libraries.  The increase in funding allowed Davies and her team to maintain a high level of service, while providing increased access to resources and technology that might otherwise have been out of reach of the typical household. In this way, Davies was able to make the libraries in her district a more essential part of the community and more patron-focused than ever before.

The Colorado State Library staff would like to give a very special thanks to Sharon Morris for all her hard work while she held the position of Interim State Librarian during this transition. Though the process has been longer and more arduous than anticipated, we at the Colorado State Library are excited to take our first steps forward in confidence under our new leadership as we continue to support libraries throughout the state. So please join us in welcoming Nicolle Ingui Davies home to Colorado and to her new team at the Colorado State Library!

Book Club Resource CSL News

CSL Book Club Resource Brief Hiatus Beginning January 31st

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource and Resource Kit Program will be taking a brief hiatus while our friends at the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) complete their AspenCat migration, which is scheduled to begin the first week of February. During this time, we will not be able to add or change any records, or operate any circulation through the system. As a result, the Book Club Resource and Resource Kit Program will not be accepting any hold requests after 10:00 pm on January 31st. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and hope that the process will go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you would like to place a request for your a book club set or resource kit, please do so as soon as possible.  While we do not have an exact date for the completion of the migration, we know that our friends at CLiC will be working tirelessly to get us back up and running. We will, of course, still be accepting any returns that you might have during this time. So if you’ve been considering a title for your book club or planning a program with one of our resource kits, go ahead and snag it today! And as always, if you have any questions, issues, or concerns now or during the hiatus, please contact Madison Basch at

Colorado Historic Newspapers

CHNC Welcomes the Westminster Journal with help of SIPA & New Content Support Program!

Front Page of Westminster Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1)

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is proud to welcome Westminster’s first local news publication, The Westminster Journal, to our online catalog in our continued effort to expand access to Colorado’s rich newspaper history! Thanks to the Westminster Public Library, CHNC users can now browse over 850 issues of the Westminster Journal, ranging from its first publication in 1947 to 1964.

The Journal was founded by A.B. Withers, who was also publishing the Wheat Ridge Journal and the Edgewater Tribune at the time. Withers maintained the Westminster Journal and grew its readership until 1954, during which time he was responsible for the hire of some of Colorado most famous journalists, including Jack Bacon, who won the Colorado Press Association Newspaper Person of the Year in 1994. After Withers sold the paper, it changed hands several more times over the next nearly 20 years until Community Publications assumed its management and changed the name to the Journal-Sentinel.  However, the Westminster Journal saw this sleepy Denver satellite grow into a thriving central Colorado metropolis during a very exciting time in the Centennial State.

Readers can browse the journal to read about the first graduating class of the United States Air Force Academy, learn how the construction of I-25 changed the landscape and culture of the Front Range, or bask in the glow of the Denver Broncos victory over the Boston Patriots in the very first game of the newly re-established 1960 American Football League. Whatever your interest, the CHNC and our new partner, the Westminster Public Library, have you covered with help, in part by the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) micro grant program and the CHNC New Content Support Program.

Both funding sources offer assistance to educational institutions expanding access to online resources.  And great news, the CHNC New Content Support Program for 2019 is officially underway and taking applications now. Learn more about how your Colorado community’s news publication can join the CHNC and reach audiences all over the world at and check out all of our great titles at!

Book Club Resource

The Book Club Guide to Literary Libations

You’ve finally done it. You’ve formed your book club. Congratulations, because just getting more than two people together in a room that they’re not getting paid to be in is a feat all in itself. Whether you finally got all the names you needed on your library’s sign-up sheet, got a firm commitment from everyone in your group chat, or learned enough co-workers’ names to stop by their desks, the hard part is over… almost. Now all you have to do is get multiple people with multiple opinions to settle on a book and a mood for your weekly (monthly, bi-monthly, etc) meetings.  Fortunately The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource has you covered! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite titles and paired them with some grown-up beverages to compliment your literary content and bring out the best (or at least, the most interesting) in your book club meetings! Bottoms (and books) up, readers!


On the Road
by Jack Kerouac

Genre: Beat Fiction

Drink: 2 margaritas more than you should have had (and make sure to follow each one with a line about how much better they are in Mexico)

Mood: Arrange the room in a deliberately haphazard way: books strewn about, full ashtrays, meticulously chosen vinyl in second-hand crates. If you don’t own a record player, buy one. Bonus points if you can come up with a great story as to how you found it at a garage sale, in the basement of a dead relative’s home, or in a dumpster. Now that you have the aesthetic down, the key to really capturing the mood of this book for your fellow book club members is all in the discussion. You want to make sure and dominate the conversation as best you can, even if the topic turns to something with which you have little to no experience. The goal is to take the great human experience of self-discovery that has been happening for thousands of years, slap your label on it, and call it a revolution. Fortunately, (if you’re a man) this is relatively easy!


From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
by Caitlin Doughty

Genre: Non-Fiction

Drink: Vodka, straight-up, served in a human skull

Mood: Now capturing the essence of this book is going to be a little tougher than simply tricking an entire generation into thinking they invented self-expression. You want to place death front and center at every turn, but in a way that makes your fellow book clubbers feel like they want it. For example: If you lost a beloved family pet recently, drag (or dig) the little fellow back out. And don’t just casually place ol’ Ginger in a corner or on the mantel, make him/her the centerpiece of the room. Place some cheese cubes on him or use him as a makeshift cozy for the vodka bottle and pass him around! The point is to get your guests as up close and personal with death as possible through positive reinforcement. They’ll laugh, they’ll cringe, they’ll be wildly uncomfortable, but they’ll leave feeling strangely at ease!


Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism

Drink: Johnnie Walker from the small thermos you brought with your lunch

Mood: This book club meeting must absolutely be a picnic. Choose a nice bench near a museum, lay a blanket out in an empty lot, or lead the group off into the woods and lose the trail! The goal is to include the element of surprise and maybe a little seeming chaos. If it rains, good. If it rains small fish, even better! After you’ve chosen your setting, you may want to reevaluate your guest list. If it seems to be only human book clubbers, you’ve done something wrong. The most important part of this meeting is that your guest list must include every cat in the area. Find them, invite them, feed them, and make sure to include them in the conversation. You may be surprised how much they have to contribute. One of them may even set you on the path to finding the other half of your soul! That is, after all, why you joined a book club, right?


The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics
by John Hickenlooper

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography

Drink: We’re pretty sure it’s a Wynkoop Mile High Pale Ale, but that might change if it’s an election year.

Mood: The key to creating the right atmosphere for this book club meeting is all in the publicity. Hint to your fellow members that it may or may not be happening at such-and-such a time or location. Build some intrigue, get your book clubbers talking. Maybe suggest that if this meeting goes according to plan, you’ll be hosting book clubs all over the country. You want to make sure that your fellow members are mostly excited about the meeting because of what it could mean for them. Timing is everything. Once the meeting finally does take place, have a regular discussion like any other day, serve your beer and crackers, and skip the next two years of meetings until you’re ready to start building some hype for the next time you host!


The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Drink: Wine, but when your neighbor’s back is turned, switch your glasses just to be safe

Mood: In order to properly capture the mood of this book, your meeting must include two key elements. The first thing you need to do is to set the scene for a really classic book club meeting. We’re talking fire in the hearth, cheese plate, several bottles of merlot, and wine glasses with little identifying charms for each member. Wear the novelty t-shirt your book club Secret Santa got you two Christmases ago. You know, the one that says, “My book club only reads wine labels” (man, that shirt is hilarious). The second key element of this meeting is to treat the meeting itself as if it is a part of the discussion of the story. Narrate the conversation you are all having in the third person, including exclamations and interjections of each member who speaks (ie: “But I don’t think that was intentional on the part of the author,” Cheryl said in an attempt to remind us that she took a 6-week writing workshop at Naropa 3 years ago). If the discussion seems to be getting particularly heated or reaching a point of mutual agreement between members, break in to describe the large handful of chips that a member just took or how they tried to sneakily check their phone. If you get these two elements down well enough, no one will even know that you didn’t even read the book, but just watched the movie the night before!


Whatever book and beverage combo suits your book club, the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource has you covered with 5 or more copies of each title. So check our our full catalog and make some pairings of your own!

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: The Lake County War

(Photo from

The Lake County War, as it has become known, was not actually a war at all in the traditional sense.  Instead, it is the term used to describe the time period in what was once Lake County (now Chaffee County) from 1874-1881, during which law and order broke down and vigilante “justice” reigned. For nearly a century, details of the events of this time were based on scattered and varying accounts, questionable witness testimony, and even local legend. In recent decades, however, historians have gathered information from local news sources, court records, and family histories in order to piece together the events of this tumultuous time in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley.

In the early morning hours of June 17, 1874, Lake County homesteader, George Harrington raced from his home to a nearby outbuilding that was engulfed in flames. As Harrington and his wife attempted to extinguish the fire, which had been started deliberately, shots rang out and he was struck in the back and killed on the spot. Friends of Harrington were convinced that he was murdered by a fellow Lake Countian named Elijah Gibbs, with whom Harrington had recently quarreled over rights to an irrigation ditch. When Gibbs was acquitted of the murder in a Denver court, the late Harrington’s friends and supporters took matters into their own hands.

On the night of January 22, 1875, a posse of approximately 15 men surrounded Gibbs’s cabin and demanded he come out to be lynched. When Gibbs refused, the group threatened to set fire to the home with Gibbs’s family inside. As the group prepared to storm the cabin, Gibbs opened fire, hitting two of the men and causing one to accidentally fire on his own group, leaving all three dead. The posse left and Gibbs and his family fled the area. However, Harrington’s supporters were determined to get justice. The posse reformed with greater numbers and called themselves “The Committee of Safety.”

Over the following months, The Committee of Safety rounded up many of Gibbs’s alleged supporters, sympathizers, and fellow cattle rustlers. Many were tortured, while others were lynched. The committee’s tactics for “trying” a defendant included questioning the accused with a noose around their neck and tightening it with each answer the committee disliked. The group is even believed to have been responsible for the shooting death of Judge Elias Dyer, son of the famed circuit-rider Father John Dyer, after he issued warrants of arrest for 28 members of the Committee of Safety. The violence continued to a point that the Governor of Colorado sent a special detective to the area to investigate the conflict and report back.  However, the agent never uncovered anything of substance and the violence continued for the next several years, causing many families to flee the area in fear for their safety.

As time went on, the fervor of the committee members waned and the violence eventually subsided. The last of the Lake County War deaths is believed to have taken place in 1881, but estimates of the total death toll range anywhere from 10 to 100 over the course of the conflict. Among those lives allegedly claimed by the Lake County War were two brothers from the Boone family, distant relatives of the same Boone family that explored the Missouri Territory. Though many details of the Lake County War have been lost to time, a renewed effort by historians has uncovered new information regarding the motives and power dynamics of its key players.  One thing that remains certain though, is that the Lake County War was evidence of a Colorado that was still very much the Wild West.


Historic Newspaper Articles About The Lake County War

Colorado's Beginnings

“Father” John Lewis Dyer: The Snowshoe Itinerant

Portrait: John Lewis Dyer (Photo from Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame)

When: 1812-1901

Where: Central Colorado Mountains

Why important: Beloved circuit-riding Methodist preacher


John Lewis Dyer was born in Franklin County, Ohio in 1812, but spent most of his early years in Illinois. He received little formal education and, after his marriage to Harriet Foster in 1833, Dyer moved his young family to Wisconsin in order to work in the lead mines. Unfortunately, Harriet died when she was only 35, leaving Dyer with their five children. After their infant daughter (also named Harriet) died very shortly after, Dyer decided to become a Methodist minister. He became a circuit rider, meaning that he traveled from town to town as his services were needed for weddings, funerals, and sermons.

Stained Glass Image of John Dyer in Father Dyer United Methodist Church (Photo from

Dyer’s circuit covered a very large area across both Wisconsin and Minnesota and often meant he had to travel in harsh winter weather through very deep snows. Fortunately, Norwegian immigrants in Minnesota taught Dyer how to make skis that allowed him to travel more easily and navigate the wintery terrain. In 1861, after a decade of circuit riding in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Dyer left his younger children with his sister and headed to Colorado to join his son, Elias, who had moved to Denver shortly before. Wishing to see the mountains, Dyer started a preaching circuit through Colorado’s many mountain mining towns. He was able to use his snowshoeing and skiing experience to travel from town to town on foot, a task that had proven too difficult for many younger preachers.

Cover of John Dyer’s Autobiography: The Snowshoe Itinerant (Photo from

However, Dyer faced a different challenge in the Colorado mining towns. The rough-and-tumble residents spent a great deal of their time drinking and gambling in saloons. Dyer saw this as a sign that his preaching was needed more than ever. He set up churches in many towns, including one in Breckenridge that still functions today: Father Dyer United Methodist Church. Dyer understood the hard lives of the miners because he had once worked in the mines. Also, Dyer’s life as a minister was far from easy. In fact, he made so little money on his circuit that he started carrying mail when he traveled over Mosquito Pass in order to make extra money. During these hard travels, Dyer became very well-known and was affectionately called “Father Dyer” even though Methodist ministers were not referred to as “Fathers.”

Stained Glass Portrait from Colorado State Capitol (Photo from Park County Histories)

In 1870, “Father” Dyer married Lucinda Rankin, a widow who lived near Castle Rock. Lucinda joined Dyer and took up residence in Summit County for fifteen years until Dyer could no longer travel on his circuit. At the age of 73, Father Dyer and Lucinda moved to Denver where he wrote and published his autobiography, The Snow-Shoe Itinerant. Father Dyer died in 1901 at the age of 89, but his legacy remains in Colorado. His stained glass portrait hangs in the State Capitol, Father Dyer Peak in the Tenmile Range is named for him, and he was one of the first inductees into the Colorado Ski & Snowboarding Museum Hall of Fame in 1977.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library

Book Club Resource

Jump Start Your New Year with the Book Club Resource!

2019 is just around the corner and the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource wants to help your book club ring in the New Year right! Whether you want to focus on physical health, grow your mind, expand your global horizons, or just read more for fun, we have a title to inspire and prepare you for the coming year. If your library doesn’t already have a book club, now is the perfect time to start one. Learn more about how the program works and enroll your library today! Then, visit our online catalog and choose from hundreds of titles, all with five or more copies.  You could be reading your favorite by New Year’s Day! Don’t know where to start? Check out these great, inspirational titles from celebrated authors who will inspire, uplift, and transform the way you approach 2019!


 Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years
by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office, but was unable to finish. Now, the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency, a country in flux and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcame to make a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.


I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

“I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.


Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
by Dr. Ronald Epstein M.D.

In Attending, his first book, Dr. Epstein builds on his world-renowned, innovative programs in mindful practice and uses gripping and deeply human clinical stories to give patients a language to describe what they value most in health care and to outline a road map for doctors and other health care professionals to refocus their approach to medicine. Drawing on his clinical experiences and current research, and exploring four foundations of mindfulness—Attention, Curiosity, Beginner’s Mind, and Presence—Dr. Epstein introduces a revolutionary concept: by looking inward, health care practitioners can grow their capacity to provide high-quality care and the resilience to be there when their patients need them.The commodification of health care has shifted doctors’ focus away from the healing of patients to the bottom line. Clinician burnout is at an all-time high.  Attending is the antidote. With compassion and intelligence, Epstein offers a crucial, timely book that shows us how we can restore humanity to medicine, guides us toward a better overall quality of care, and reminds us of what matters most.


Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
by Jenny Lawson

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest: “I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family―and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy―and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Leadville’s 1896 Crystal Carnival and Palace

1880’s Leadville, Colorado
(Image from

The City of Leadville was founded in much the same way as many Colorado mining towns in the mid-19th century: with the discovery of gold. The Pikes Peak Gold Rush or Colorado Gold Rush brought prospectors to the area where they founded a town called Oro City. Unfortunately, the gold in this “gold city” quickly ran out and the town all but disappeared. However, the miners discovered a high silver content in the sand of the Arkansas river and traced its source back to the nearby area that is now present-day Leadville. There they discovered heavy silver deposits and by 1877, Horace Tabor and August Meyer founded the town of Leadville and the Colorado Silver Boom began.

Over the next decade, Leadville grew to be a hub for the wealthiest members of Colorado society and was even a frequent haunt of famous personalities such as Oscar Wilde, Margaret “Molly” Brown and John Henry “Doc” Holliday. Horace Tabor became known as the “Leadville Silver King” as Leadville gained the reputation as “the richest city in the world,” though the nickname was more a comment on Leadville’s quick rise to fame than an actual statement of worth. However, the city’s prosperity was not to last. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act caused the Panic of 1893, and the value of silver suddenly plummeted. Many of Leadville’s wealthy mining residents, including Horace Tabor, lost their fortunes practically overnight, and the town fell on very hard times.

Crystal Palace Construction
(Image from Denver Public Library)

In 1895, with many of Leadville’s businesses facing bankruptcy, the town’s leaders proposed a dramatic and risky idea for a major winter carnival to draw tourists and business back to the town and keep Leadville’s remaining residents in town for the winter. The centerpiece of the carnival would be a giant, crystal palace constructed out of solid blocks of ice and large enough to house all the events of the carnival. Because Leadville stood at over 10,000 feet and often had snow year-round, town leaders believed that, placed properly, the Crystal palace could also remain all year and become a permanent community structure and tourist attraction. The carnival organizers hired architect Charles E. Jay, who had designed the ice castle for Saint Paul, Minnesota’s winter carnival.

Through funding and support from the town’s business owners, as well as project manager, Tingley S. Wood, construction of the Crystal Palace began on November 1, 1895. It took a crew of over 250 men working day and night to construct the palace’s timber and metal framework and haul its over 5,000 tons of ice in from Palmer Lake.  The ice was the shaped, shaved, and stacked to give the Crystal Palace the appearance of having been built entirely from ice.  The ice walls were then sprayed down with water to freeze the blocks together and act as a kind of mortar. After only 36 days, the Crystal Palace was complete. Its towers reached over 90 feet high and 40 feet wide and enclosed over 58,000 square feet on over 5 acres of ground. It was a masterpiece.

Skating Rink inside Crystal Palace
(Image from

The Palace included a 20-foot wide promenade, a ballroom, a skating rink, and even a restaurant that displayed its dishes frozen in blocks of ice as part of the structure. Builders had also frozen electric lights into the walls of the palace so that it appeared to sparkle and glow. On January 1,1896, the winter carnival began and the Ice Palace was officially opened to the public as more than 2,000 visitors arrived in town to marvel at the structure. Admission to the Palace was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children and included use of the ballroom and skating rink. Season tickets were also made available, so that town residents and frequent visitors could use the Palace again and again. The Palace appeared to be a tremendous success and local railroads even promoted the attraction with special routes and group rates.

Ice archways inside Crystal Palace
(Image from Denver Public Library)

For the next nearly three months, the Crystal Carnival hosted more than 250,000 visitors and events ranging from skating competitions to stock exchanges. However, March of 1896 brought unseasonably warm temperatures and attendance at the Carnival fell dramatically. By the end of March, the Palace had begun to melt, and there appeared to be no way to save it.  On March 28th, 1896, theCarnival hosted its last official ceremony in the Palace and as the hopes of making it a permanent fixture of the town disappeared. Though it had drawn many visitors and gained a tremendous amount of publicity for the town, investors in the Crystal Carnival and Palace took a significant loss on their investment and had no intention of trying to repeat the event. In October of 1896, the last remaining parts of the Crystal Palace were demolished.  Today, Ice Palace Park stands on the land where the Crystal Palace once was and though there was talk of reviving the Carnival and Palace in the 1980’s, high cost projections prevented any serious investment in the idea. Instead, the Carnival and Palace remain only a memory in the now comfortably thriving mountain town of Leadville, Colorado.

Leadville Crystal Palace
(Image from

Historic Newspaper Articles About Leadville’s Crystal Palace


Colorado's Beginnings

John Charles Frémont: Senator, Governor, Presidential Candidate, and Explorer

Portrait: John Charles Fremont (Photo from


When: 1813-1890

Where: Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Why important: Explorer, Presidential Candidate, Civil War General


John Charles Frémont’s life was a series of ups and downs.  He ran for president, but lost.  He served as a civil war general, but was ridiculed for his approach.  And even before all that, he led an expedition through Colorado’s rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains that ended in disaster with deaths of 10 members of the party.

Frémont began his career as an explorer while he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers.  When he was 28 years old, Frémont married the 16-year-old daughter of powerful Missouri senator, Thomas Hart Benton. Though the Senator was very angry at first, he eventually accepted his daughter’s marriage and offered financial and political support to Frémont for his expeditions to the West. In 1841, Frémont mapped the Des Moines River in Iowa.  Moving further west, Frémont teamed up with Kit Carson on expeditions through the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way to Lake Tahoe.  He also led expeditions to Utah, Oregon, and California, where he even served as military governor.

Portrait: Kit Carson and John C. Frémont Photo from the Museum of the San Fernando Valley

In 1845, Frémont set out on his first expedition through the land that would eventually become Colorado with Kit Carson in search of the source of the Arkansas River. Three years later, Frémont lead another expedition along the Arkansas, but when the party reached Bent’s Fort, trappers there told them that they were too late in the season to make it across the mountains before winter hit.  However, Frémont wanted to prove that his route to California was passable year round, so he ignored the trappers’ advice and pushed on.  The party started off successfully until Frémont made a sudden decision to turn south of the River.  As a result, his guide, Richens “Uncle Dick” Wootton and several other members of the party turned back.  Frémont and the remaining members became snowbound in the mountains and 10 men died. Frémont was criticized for his poor decisions regarding the expedition and as a result, his reputation suffered.

Because of his strong political connections, however, Frémont was able to regain his reputation and within only eight years after the disastrous expedition, he was chosen as the presidential candidate of the newly-founded Republic party. The party’s main platform was anti-slavery and Frémont’s campaign slogan was “Free Men, Free Soil, Frémont.” Unfortunately, Frémont’s own father-in-law, Thomas Hart, endorsed democratic candidate, James Buchanan, losing credibility for Frémont.

Col. John C. Fremont in the Rocky Mountains (Photo from Nevada Public Radio)

Though Frémont lost the presidential election, his political career was far from over. He served as a U.S. Senator from California, Governor of Arizona Territory, and Major General in during the Civil war. He also created controversy when he issued a proclamation freeing all slaves in Missouri.  The proclamation was not recognized by the U.S. government, however, and Frémont was removed from command.

Frémont spent most of the remainder of his life in Arizona and New York, where he became involved in railroad development. Although he never lived in Colorado, he played a key role in its early exploration earning him the nickname, “The Pathfinder” and the honor of having Fremont County, Colorado named for him.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library


Colorado Historic Newspapers

Colorado’s Cultural Newspaper History

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection has once again grown by thousands of pages thanks to some very special new additions! We at the CHNC are proud to welcome more than 10 new foreign language titles to our online catalogue as we constantly strive to grow our knowledge of Colorado’s rich, cultural history.  Whether it’s reading the local news in Italian, catching up on politics in Serbian, or browsing the classifieds in Spanish, CHNC visitors now have an even more direct line to Colorado’s cultural past through the voices of those who lived it with these great, new titles:


Title: La Hermandad
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1889-1907
Issues Available on CHNC: 123

Title: El Progreso
County: Las Animas
Years of Publication: 1888-1944
Issues Available on CHNC: 1



Title: L’Unione
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1897-1947
Issues Available on CHNC: 299

Title: Il Risveglio
County: Denver
Years of Publication: 1905-1956
Issues Available on CHNC: 79

Title: Il CO-Operatore
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1918-1919
Issues Available on CHNC: 6

Title: Marsica Nuova
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1918-1926
Issues Available on CHNC: 113

Title: Corriere di Trinidad
County: Las Animas
Years of Publication: 1903-1944
Issues Available on CHNC: 2



Title: Glas Svobode
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1902-1904
Issues Available on CHNC: 5

Title: Mir
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1901-1902
Issues Available on CHNC: 13



Title: Srpski Odjek
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1902-1903
Issues Available on CHNC: 13

Title: Srbin
County: Pueblo
Years of Publication: 1909-1911
Issues Available on CHNC: 1


So whether you’re searching for your ancestors, researching a cultural project, or just practicing your Italian, stop by and dive into Colorado’s rich and diverse history. And be sure to visit again and again as we’re adding new titles and issues all the time!

Book Club Resource

Book Club Updates: You Spoke and We Listened!

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource would like to thank everyone who participated in our partner library survey and to let you know that we heard you! According to your responses, the number one factor in your decision on a particular title is the number of copies available.  So for the next several months, the Book Club Resource will temporarily halt additions of new titles to our catalog in order to add more copies of our existing titles. You, our partner libraries, are our number one priority and we want to do everything we can to minimize the obstacles between you and the services you need to better serve your patrons. This past month alone, we have already added as many as 7 copies each to 8 different titles in our Book Club catalog. If you’ve ever wanted to check out a title, but we didn’t have enough copies to meet your demand, check back again and often as we’ll be adding more copies all the time!

But that’s not the only improvement coming to the Book Club Resource.  For our brand new partners, you can now enroll your library in our book club program directly from the Colorado Virtual Library’s Book Club page. Now it’s even quicker and easier to get your library enrolled and get your book club going! And to our existing partners as well as the newbies, we want to know what you think! As your library’s book club grows and changes, let us know how your needs have changed as well. No complaints? Let us know what we’re doing well, what your book club meetings look like, or just what your patrons thought of a particular title! We want to know it all so we can make sure your experience is the best possible.  For any questions, comments, or suggestions, email Madison Basch at and read on, Colorado!

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Colorado’s Homegrown History

As Thanksgiving approaches, there’s a chance you may be swapping recipes with friends, recreating an old family dish, or doing some googling for fresh ideas. Luckily for us Coloradans, our Rocky Mountain home has more than a few favorite foods that are as uniquely intertwined with our history as they are with our daily diets. Whether they’re from the sunny orchards of the western slope, the spicy southern Colorado border towns, or the eastern plains, Coloradans have always had a special love for their local fare.  These are some of our favorites that are ripe with flavor and Colorado history!

Palisade Peaches

The region that would one day become the town of Palisade was originally inhabited by the Ute tribe of Native Americans.  Settlers began to arrive in the area in the early 1880’s and named it for the palisade cliff formations to the North. Some of the first peach trees in the area were planted by John Harlow in 1882 and by the early 1900’s, new irrigation systems allowed for more than 25,000 pounds of peaches to be shipped daily from Palisade to destinations all around the region. The rich soil and nearly 200-day growing season of the Western Slope produces apples, cherries, and even impressive wine grapes, but are first and foremost responsible for these peaches, which are now some of the most sought after nation-wide. In fact, because the town owed so much to its peaches, in 1968, the town of Palisade began hosting an annual Peach Festival in August that now draws over 15,000 visitors to the town. In Colorado, Palisade peaches are used in everything from jam to barbeque sauce to Colorado whiskey and we could not be more proud!

Rocky Ford Melons

The town of Rocky Ford was named for a nearby shallow crossing of the Arkansas River by explorer Kit Carson, founded by G.W Swink and Asa Russell in 1871, and moved shortly thereafter following the placement of railroad tracks. By 1881, Swink had gardens so large that they were producing nearly 300 tons of watermelon a year and in 1886, he began to grow the Netted Gem Cantaloupe, the melon for which Rocky Ford is now most well-known. And just like Palisade’s famous peaches, Rocky Ford’s melons have their own festival that centers around Watermelon Day, which was founded by Swink himself in 1878 with about 25 friends and neighbors. Today Watermelon Day is the centerpiece of the Arkansas Valley Fair and boasts over 12,000 attendees and hosts events ranging from seed-spitting contests to watermelon carving competitions. It is also estimated that nearly 50,000 pounds of free watermelons are given away on that day at Rocky Ford’s famous Watermelon Pile. Also, the Rocky Ford cantaloupe don’t just grow bigger and healthier than other region’s melons. They actually contain up 5{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} more natural sugar, making them richer and sweeter than others and proving that Colorado sun and soil really do make all the difference!

Colorado Green Chile (Pueblo Chilies)

Even though we saved it for last, if you ask anyone Coloradan what food we love most, our green chile is #1. Unlike our peaches and melons, the Pueblo Chilies that provide the base for our favorite dish are a fairly recent discovery. While chilies are no strangers to Southern Colorado, the particular variety that has become the commonly known Pueblo Green Chile of today was actually the result of a mutation in the crop of farmer name Harry Mosco.  After his passing in 1988, Mosco left a bag of seeds to his nephew, Dr. Mike Bartolo, the manager and vegetable crop specialist at Colorado State University’s Arkansas Valley Research Center.  Bartolo found that the peppers these seeds produced tended to be a little bigger, a little thicker and faced upward toward the sun while growing, as opposed to hanging down like most chilies.  Today, these Mosco chilies are the most common variety of Pueblo Chile found in Colorado and as you may have guessed, they too have their own festival. The Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival takes place in September and attracts over 140,000 attendees over 3 days. But Coloradans don’t need a festival to celebrate their favorite dish all year long.  From Burgers to biscuits to pasta and even pizza, our Colorado hearts pump green and spicy!


Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Palisade Peaches

Palisade Tribune, Volume 39, Number 7, August 15, 1941

Palisade Tribune, Volume 10, Number 7, July 12, 1912

Palisade Tribune, Volume 4, Number 13, August 25, 1906

Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Rocky Ford Melons

La Junta Tribune, Volume 21, Number 41, August 15, 1900

Middle Park Times, July 12, 1912

Aspen Daily Times, August 25, 1908

Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Colorado Green Chile

La Cucaracha, Volume II, Number 10, November 7, 1977

Louisville Times, Volume 64, Number 5, July 21, 1977

Colorado Historic Newspapers

DU’s Weekly Peanut and The Hesperus Student Newspapers Join the CHNC!

As our list of university newspapers continues to grow, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is pleased to welcome some very special additions to our online catalog. The Weekly Peanut and The Hesperus, the University of Denver’s first and second (respectively) student newspapers are now available at and they are even more unique and interesting than we could have hoped! While they both offer a glimpse into the life of DU students at the close of the 19th Century,each paper has a voice and a style that makes it truly one of a kind.                                

The Weekly Peanut was first created in 1882, just 20 years after the University’s founding, by students George Manly and Clark Winsor.  While the Weekly Peanut perfectly captured the silliness and sarcasm common to college students of any era, the paper was quite unique in one very obvious way: all articles and illustrations were done by hand. Readers can now take in the detailed account of one student’s vacation to Santa Fe in his own elegant script or read the description of a student’s prank on his professor in his rough, but personalized hand. But don’t worry about deciphering any Victorian cursive, we’ve transcribed each issue, so you won’t miss a word! And while you might visit for the stories, you’ll stay for the illustrations. The Weekly Peanut illustrators didn’t pull any punches in their depictions of fellow students, school facilities, and even professors. Even though it only produced four issues (of which we have three), the Weekly Peanut is truly one of the gems of our CHNC catalog.

Though it began only four years after the final issue of the Weekly Peanut, DU’s second student newspaper, The Hesperus, depicts an image of student life that could not be more different. Issues of The Hesperus feature lofty poetry, profiles of important political and cultural figures, and meditations on morality that remind readers that, at that particular point in time, the University of Denver was still very much a Seminary College. Even so, The Hesperus depicts a distinctly progressive college atmosphere in which co-education of the sexes and outspoken political engagement were expected and encouraged. The Hesperus ran for 12 years before competition from the Clarion, DU’s student paper still in print today, shut down its presses, but its mark on the University’s history remains.

The Weekly Peanut and The Hesperus, though vastly different in their style and concept of “news,” together give readers a fuller understanding of what life was like for university students in Denver at the end of the 19th Century.  Whether it is a less than flattering sketch of an unpopular professor or in-depth look at a deeply biblical lecture, both the Weekly Peanut and The Hesperus are invaluable pieces of Colorado History.  Come check out both papers at for yourself and make sure to check back often, as we’re adding new issues and titles all the time!

Book Club Resource

The Book Club is Having una Celebración!

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource is excited to announce the addition of five Spanish language titles to our book club catalog as one of many steps in  our continued effort to best represent and serve the diverse and ever-changing population of our Colorado community!  Our new titles include works from celebrated authors such as Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Fernando Vallejo, and Yuri Herrera.  Cisneros’s La Casa en Mango Street was the recipient of the American Book Award, Vallejo’s El Desbarrancadero won the 2003 Romulo Gallegos International Prize, and Alvarez made waves with En el Tiempo de las Mariposas when the English adaptation was nominated for the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award, but was also banned by a New York school district.

If all that isn’t exciting enough, we have 15 copies of each title, so now you can welcome more people than ever to your book club or reading group! The process for borrowing is just as easy as ever and you can still check out multiple titles at a time.  So if you are already registered with the State Library’s Book Club Resource, head over to our catalog and browse our new Spanish language titles! If your library is new to the CSL Book Club, visit and Click on our “Resource Sharing Tab” to learn more about the book club and how to get started. While you’re there, browse our other great categories, such as Non-Fiction, Social Justice Titles, Young Adult, Urban Fiction (new!), and stories set right here in Colorado!

We are so pleased with our new additions and hope you’ll enjoy checking them and our other great titles out over and over.  And don’t forget to check the catalog often, as we’re adding new titles all the time!

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: The Coffee Myth and the Power of Advertising

In today’s health obsessed culture of fit watches and online trainers, it seems that most Americans should have a pretty solid grasp on what is and is not good for them. However, with the constant inundation of “new studies” and “fitness breakthroughs,” it can be tough to tell what is really new information and what is actually just clever marketing. Any kid who ever reached for their parent’s steaming mug as a child or tossed back an espresso or two for a term paper all-nighter may have heard the familiar scolding, “Kids shouldn’t drink coffee. It will stunt your growth.” Whether that seemed like a fair trade at the time or kept you off coffee for life, you may be shocked to learn that this potential “health risk” was actually the advertising creation of the Post Cereal Company (now Post Consumer Brands, LLC) in the early 20th century.

Before he started stuffing children full of incredibly healthy favorites like Fruity Pebbles and Waffle Crisp, cereal tycoon C.W. Post first developed a “cereal-based, caffeine-free coffee substitute” called Postum. While the product did not contain any caffeine, tasted nothing like coffee, and only vaguely resembled the brownish morning beverage, it was marketed as a healthy alternative for the old, the young, or anyone afflicted by the “dangerous” side effects of coffee. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any concrete, scientific evidence to support the claims that coffee was unhealthy, other than occasional jitters or nervousness it could cause when consumed in excess. Fortunately for Post, their advertising didn’t need evidence; just a strong campaign with a story that was just believable enough to scare up some customers.

Post began running newspaper ads that read like a doctor’s interview, listing symptoms (some real and some imagined) that immediately ceased when the afflicted switched from coffee to healthier Postum. Furthermore, the ads claimed that coffee was often consumed as a replacement for milk as a morning beverage, leaving the drinker without their daily requirement of calcium. This lack of calcium, they claimed, was responsible for everything from dyspepsia to weakness to, you guessed it, stunted growth. Postum’s ads implored readers to switch from coffee themselves and to protect their children from the dangers of malnourishment and impeded development caused by coffee. In doing so, Post managed to pilfer one generation of consumers and secure the next in one fell swoop.

With the story of coffee’s danger to children firmly in place, the Post Cereal Company established itself as a nationwide corporation. When the U.S. joined World War II, Postum enjoyed even more success as coffee was rationed in the States. Not only was Postum now the healthy choice, but it was the moral and economic choice in a time when coffee was needed to energize the troops overseas.  Though Postum enjoyed a long and profitable popularity in the U.S., the coffee renaissance of the 1990’s firmly re-established coffee as both a luxury and a necessity, leaving its substitute unable to compete.  Post Consumer Brands, LLC discontinued Postum in 2007, but the effects of its once genius marketing campaign have not been forgotten. The question of coffee stunting growth is still a popular one on online health, lifestyle, and coffee forums alike, and while there has never been any concrete evidence to support this claim, many parents and young people alike still stick to the “better safe than sorry” philosophy when it comes to coffee.

“Sponsored Articles” About the Dangers of Coffee

Colorado Historic Newspapers Resource Sharing

CHNC Proudly Welcomes The Denver Voice!

This month, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection welcomed the Denver Voice to its online catalog and we could not be more excited! Our users will now have access to nearly 100 issues of the Denver Voice, spanning from its first issue in 1996 right up to its brief hiatus in the spring of 2006 before it became a professional publication the following year. This unique newspaper doesn’t just tell the story of Denver in a time of tremendous change, it tells that story from the perspective of some of its most underrepresented and often unheard citizens: those experiencing homelessness.

While the Voice now reaches a broad and diverse audience, it began as a grassroots newspaper written by homeless people for homeless people. Its early issues include everything from news articles about encounters with local business owners and police to poetry and cartoons inspired by the hardships and joys of its unique community. Each issue also includes a list of places where its readers could find necessary resources like a meal, a bed, or bathroom and shower facilities. Most importantly though, the Voice offered (and still offers) an outlet for expression and a connection to a community for many people who were often marginalized and overlooked in their own city.

Though the Denver Voice of today looks very different from its humble beginnings, its mission statement remains focused on the transformative power of the stories it has told for over 20 years:

“Our mission is to facilitate a dialogue addressing the roots of homelessness by telling stories of people whose lives are impacted by poverty and homelessness and to offer economic, educational, and empowerment opportunities for the impoverished community.”
Denver Voice

We at the CHNC are honored to welcome the first 10 years of the Denver Voice to our collection and look forward to adding more years in the months to come! So come check out this truly amazing newspaper at and see how easy it is to broaden your perspective and change the way you see our uniquely Colorado history!

Colorado Historic Newspapers

The Altrurian, Montrose County’s Cooperative Newspaper, Joins the CHNC!

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection continues to grow as we happily welcome our newest title, The Altrurian, to our online catalog!  This title is especially unique not only because it began publication even before the community it represented even existed, but also because it further adds to the narrative of communal or “Utopian” societies that gained a relatively significant following in the late 19th century in Colorado.  The Panic of 1893, an economic crisis that was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and eventually lead to a series of bank failures, left many Americans questioning the longevity of capitalism.  Many felt that they had not only been abandoned by their government, but that those in power, who capitalism favored, had taken advantage of those who had no power. In response, small groups of determined settlers elected to remove themselves entirely from this system in favor of a more communal lifestyle in which they could support and rely upon one another.

The Altrurian was the weekly newspaper for one such community that was established in the Tabeguache Park of Southwestern Colorado: Piñon. However, Piñon was neither a religious community like others at the time, nor was it an escape for the lazy from hard work and struggle.  It was instead envisioned as an opportunity for a small group of motivated and hardworking individuals to come together and claim a section of land on which they could build a better life for themselves and their families without the banks that had failed them.  According to the Desert Land Act of 1877, an individual could claim up to 640 acres of land for $1.25/acre, providing that individual could bring water to the land for irrigation. Thus the town was the brainchild of The Colorado Cooperative Company, an organization established by several prominent members of Denver society who had become disenchanted with the economic and political climate.

The Altrurian was an important tool for the Colorado Cooperative Company even before the town of Piñon was founded in 1896.  In 1895, the Altrurian began publication and nationwide distribution as a means of recruiting aspiring settlers to join the CC Company and claim their own portion of the land.   Once the town was firmly established in 1896, however, the Altrurian began weekly publication and included information about community events, updates on (and encouragement for) the irrigation project, and the Cooperative’s articles of incorporation and by-laws for newcomers or veterans who needed reminding of the principles on which the town was founded.  Though Piñon (later renamed Nucla after the completion of the irrigation ditch) was built on the principles of every citizen doing an equal share of often very hard labor, the community attracted a large number of artists and musicians. This meant that community functions were not only quite lively and well-attended, but also quite frequent.  After one such town dance that lasted well past dawn, community members explained that, “our visitors undoubtedly think we dance all the time over here, but we don’t— we build ditches, most of the time, although we did have three dances last week” (pg.22, Colorado Heritage Magazine, July-Aug 2016).  The Altrurian gave notice of such upcoming events, chronicled the happenings of past events, and called for volunteers to plan the next.

Though the completion of the irrigation ditch in 1901 and renaming of the town from Piñon to Nucla also ushered in the dissolution of the Colorado Cooperative Company and The Altrurian, the story of this truly unique Colorado community remains.  The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection now contains digitized copies of 130 issues (nearly every issue) of The Altrurian from 1895-1901, giving voice to its townspeople who set out to build something of their own in a world that seemed to belong only to a few.  Search the issues by date to track the progress of the irrigation ditch or by keyword to learn about its women, schools, or events and explore the lives of these exceptional Coloradans who struck out on their own in order to forge something new. And make sure to check back at the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection often, as we are adding new issues and titles to our online catalog all the time!

Book Club Resource

Book Club Welcomes Social Justice Titles!

We at the State Library’s Book Club Resource are pleased to announce some exciting new additions to our Catalog!  Not only are we adding almost twenty new titles to our collection, but we are also adding a new category to our online catalog with titles geared toward social justice and action reading groups as well as book clubs! The titles in this category have been chosen specifically to open a dialogue about the social issues we have faced and continue to face even right here in Colorado.

Whether you’re looking for non-fiction, poetry, personal essays, or even graphic novels, we have a book for you with the power to inform, enlighten, and inspire your reading group. You can find these new titles and many more in our online catalog right here at the Colorado Virtual Library and make sure to check back often as we’re adding new titles every month!  So browse our collection, get your reading group together, and be prepared to read, discuss, and take action!