Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Constitution

Of all the Colorado state publications, our state constitution reigns supreme.  After 140 years of amendments, conventions, and change, it is interesting to look back at the original state constitution as drafted in 1876.  Recently the Colorado State Archives digitized the original — handwritten — 1876 constitution, and it available in its entirety for viewing online, along with a brief history.  To see how the Colorado constitution has changed over the years, search our library’s web catalog.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Adoption Resources

November has been declared National Adoption Month, to bring awareness to the thousands of children awaiting adoption, as well as to recognize and celebrate those families that have brought adopted children into their home. 

If you are considering becoming an adoptive parent, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin the process.  There are legal requirements to understand, and decisions to be made about types of adoption (international, private, or through the foster care system).  Luckily, the Colorado Department of Human Services has put together a helpful website to launch potential adoptive parents on their journey.  The Colorado Foster Care and Adoption website includes such helpful pages as How to Start the Adoption Process in Colorado; the Colorado Heart Gallery, which profiles Colorado children awaiting adoption; information on counseling, training, and adoption events; information on becoming a foster parent; profiles of Colorado adoptive families; kinship care; local and national resources and links; and much more.

Our library also has numerous publications that can help prospective parents navigate the adoption process, or for researchers looking for information and statistics about adoption in Colorado:

If you are an adult who was adopted, and are in need of your birth certificate, adoption certificate, or other legal information, or are interested in connecting with your birth parents or siblings, visit the Colorado Vital Records Office’s Adoption website.

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

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Governor Lamm's Executive Orders

Colorado governors’ executive orders are divided into three categories:  1) A Orders, which appoint individuals to boards and commissions, judges, and other political appointments; 2) B Orders, which establish new boards, commissions, councils, and task forces; and 3) D Orders, which contain state government policies and organization changes as well as disaster declarations and mobilization of the Colorado National Guard. 

Our library has digitized the B Orders and D Orders from the Lamm administration (1975-1987) and they are now available online.  (Digitization of the A Orders is currently in process).  View Governor Lamm’s Executive Orders to learn about major flooding in the mountains and on the Western Slope; energy conservation; a 1981 tornado in metro Denver; access to public records; state employee benefits; mapping the state; and much more.

Colorado State Publications Blog

October 10 is Electronic Records Day!

This coming Saturday, October 10, is Electronic Records Day, where we recognize the importance of preserving our digital heritage and making our history more accessible online.  Aside from recognizing the benefits of preservation and access, Electronic Records Day also promotes the preservation of the electronic records themselves, which can deteriorate or become unreadable over time as computer programs change and develop.  Just because a document has been placed online doesn’t mean it is permanent — be sure to keep your records accessible by updating them as computer programs advance.  Don’t lose your personal or community history by neglecting to preserve your electronic documents!

You can search through thousands of Colorado state government documents at our library’s digital repository.  Other helpful repositories containing digital documents, particularly those from state colleges and universities, include the Digital Collections of Colorado repository, a consortium of Colorado public universities hosted by Colorado State University; the University of Colorado’s CU Scholar; and the University of Northern Colorado’s Digital UNC.  There are many others, so search your local library or university library’s website for digital documents.  Be sure to also check the Internet Archive for electronic documents
from libraries across the United States.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Vote for Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts

Now through November 30, you can vote for Colorado’s Most Significant Artifacts.  This is the second annual campaign by Colorado Collections Connection (formerly Colorado Connecting to Collections, and of which the Colorado State Library is a part) that seeks to bring awareness to the unique treasures held in Colorado’s libraries, museums, and archives.  The artifacts are nominated by their owning institutions; this year, artifacts and documents come from a wide range of institutions including Colorado State Archives, Denver Public Library, Steelworks Center of the West, Pueblo City-County Library, History Colorado, and small museums around the state including Montrose, Gold Hill, Littleton, Estes Park, and others.  The nominated items include those telling the story of Amache relocation camp; the 1955 United Airlines crash over Longmont; the Cheyenne tribe; Colorado’s participation in the Civil War; mining history; and more.  Anyone can participate — vote for your favorite item today!

For information on last year’s (2013/14) inaugural contest, read the final report available from our library, or check out the winners here.  For more about Colorado Collections Connection, visit their website.

                                           Colorado State Archives’ collection of mugshots of Colorado 
                                                  inmates dating back to 1871 is among the artifacts competing 
                                                                 in Colorado’s Most Significant Artifacts.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Military History

The nation’s military history was the theme of the Denver Veteran’s Day Parade this year.  Colorado has an interesting and extensive military history, dating back to territorial days when Colorado volunteers played a role in the western theater of the Civil War.  You can learn about Colorado’s military history through a number of insightful publications available from our library, including:


  • This Soldier Life:  The Diaries of Romine H. Ostrander, 1863-1865, in Colorado Territory, Colorado Historical Society, 2006.
  • The Tall Chief:  The Unfinished Autobiography of Edward W. Wynkoop, 1856-1866.  Colorado Historical Society, 1994.


  • A Time for Peace:  Fort Lewis, 1878-1891.  University Press of Colorado, 2006.
  • The Military Establishment at Camp George West.  Colorado Historical Society, 1992.
  • Fort Garland Museum:  A Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2005.
  • Old Fort Garland.  Colorado Historical Society, 1954.


  • Military Engagements Between United States Troops and Plains Indians. University of Northern Colorado, 1980.
  • Hollow Victory:  The White River Expedition of 1879 and the Battle of Milk Creek. University Press of Colorado, 1997.
  • The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869.  University Press of Colorado, 1992.
  • Cheyenne Dog Soldiers:  A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat.  University Press of Colorado, 1997.


  • Just Outside of Manila:  Letters from Members of the First Colorado Regiment in the Spanish-American War. Colorado Historical Society, 1992.
  • Distant Bugles, Distant Drums:  The Union Response to the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico. University Press of Colorado, 2006.
  • Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War:  The New Mexico Campaign of 1862.  Colorado Historical Society, 1963.



  • Military Records of the State and Territory of Colorado. Colorado State Archives.
  • Colorado Volunteers, 1861-1865.  Colorado State Archives.
  • Annual Report of the Department of Military Affairs


  • A War-Modified Course of Study for the Public Schools of Colorado. Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1918.

This Veterans’ Day, these publications and others available from our library can help us to remember those Coloradans who fought and died for our country.

The Colorado Veterans’ Monument in Lincoln Park across from the State Capitol is one of many military monuments on or near the Capitol grounds.  Others include Civil War monument and cannons; a Pearl Harbor Memorial; the USS Colorado Memorial; Volunteers of the Spanish American War Flagpole; Medal of Honor recipient Joseph R. Martinez statue; Amache Internment Camp and Governor Ralph Carr memorials; and the Sand Creek Interpretive Plaque.  Photo courtesy Colorado Legislative Council.
Colorado State Publications Blog

Replacing Important Papers

Did you lose any of your important personal papers in the recent flooding?  If so, you may be scrambling to remember everything that needs to be replaced, as well as figuring out where to go to get replacements.  The Colorado Division of Emergency Management has addressed this problem by posting a list on their blog with websites and contact information for obtaining birth, death, and marriage certificates; mortgage, property, and insurance papers; adoption, immigration, and military records; financial information; passports; drivers licenses and vehicle records; and more.  Even if you were not affected by the recent flooding, this is helpful information to keep on hand in case any of your important documents are ever lost or destroyed.

Please note, the list links to a federal government website for obtaining birth, death, and marriage certificates.  However, if the birth, death, marriage, or divorce occurred in Colorado, you can obtain these records from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment’s Vital Records Section.   

Colorado State Publications Blog

American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month, celebrating the rich array of historical treasures found in American archives.  In Colorado, most museums and many libraries have archives both large and small that store the record of American, Colorado, and local history.  The Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board “serves as a central advisory body within Colorado for historical records planning and coordination.”  To find out what they are doing to make sure Colorado’s history is available for the future, view their report Ensuring the Documentary Heritage of the Centennial State here.

Colorado State Publications Blog

D-Day Radio Broadcasts

Did you know that you can listen to online recordings of radio broadcasts from D-Day, courtesy of the Colorado State Archives?  Recorded by NBC on June 6, 1944, the historic recordings were given to Colorado Governor Stephen L.R. McNichols in 1957.  They found a home at the Colorado State Archives and are now available online.  These recordings give fascinating insight into history as it unfolded.  Pictured below is a copy of the cover of the recording given to Governor McNichols. 

Colorado State Publications Blog

Birth, Death, and Marriage Records

At our library we receive many questions about how to obtain copies of birth and death certificates and marriage and divorce records. These certificates and records are kept by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment’s Vital Records Section. On their website you can find out about the different procedures involved for obtaining certificates. You can order copies of certificates by phone at 1-866-300-8540 or visit them in person 8:30-4:30, Monday through Friday, at 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South in Denver.

If you’re tracing your family history, the Vital Records Section has put together a helpful Genealogy page. Some historic records will need to be obtained from either the Colorado State Archives or county vital records offices; the Section can help you determine where to locate your family’s historic records and certificates.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Military Records

There are several places within Colorado state government to find military records. Historic military records are housed at the Colorado State Archives. These include the records of military personnel from Colorado who served as Colorado Volunteers or Colorado National Guard members. At the archives you can find rosters, muster rolls, service records, administrative files, special and general orders, record books, and much more. You can also search their online indexes for Colorado Volunteers registration (1861-65), Colorado Civil War casualties, Colorado Volunteers in the Spanish American War, Colorado Veterans’ grave registration index, Colorado Vietnam War casulaties, and more. (For historical background on the Colorado Volunteers, see this article from the Archives.)

More recent Colorado National Guard records can be obtained through the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs. See their website for instructions on obtaining records.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Historical Maps

The Colorado State Archives features a website of historical maps of Colorado and the U.S. Here you can view an 1895 map of Colorado, historic maps of Colorado cities and towns, and much more. Also on this site you can find a 1795 map of the “Interior Parts of North America,” an 1855 map of the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico, and maps of discovery, state admissions, and territorial acquisitions. There are also several maps of transportation routes, including stage routes, railroad maps, and stops on the Overland Trail. This is a fascinating website for learning about what Colorado and the West looked like over a century ago.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Historic Colorado Postcards

Did you know that the Colorado State Archives has a collection of historic postcards? Postcards are a fun way to learn about the past. They highlight places and events that were important to previous generations. Plus, illustrated postcards show pictures in color before the widespread use of color photography. The Archives has a collection of over 800 historic postcards, about half of which are digitized and searchable on their website. For more about the Colorado State Archives, visit their homepage at

Here is a view of early-twentieth century downtown Denver from the Archives’ collection:

Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Open Records

Our library is established to ensure that all state publications are available to residents of Colorado, CRS 24-90-201. Another piece of state government information, records, is also available to the public through the Colorado Open Records Act, CRS 24-72-201. Under this act public records are open for inspection by any person at reasonable times. This law applies to all levels and types of governments within Colorado. Records should be available immediately; however state agencies have up to 10 days to make your request available depending on the size of the request. You do not have to identify yourself or explain why you want the records. You may, however, be charged photocopying fees. An excellent explanation of the law is in the 12 -page Formal Opinion of Ken Salazar No. 01-0. If you want to examine either statute referenced above, go to the Colorado General Assembly Homepage and click on CO Revised Statutes.

Colorado State Publications Blog

History of the State Penitentiary

I just finished reading Dick Kreck’s newest book, Anton Woode: The Boy Murderer, which tells the true story of an 11-year-old boy convicted of murder in 1892 and sentenced as an adult to the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. While we don’t have the book in our library, we have many materials here on the history of the famous prison. These include the Biennial Reports of the Warden of the Colorado State Penitentiary, which were referenced frequently throughout the book. Also in our collection is a 1955 souvenir booklet, This is the Prison. We also have quite a bit of recent statistical information.

The Colorado State Archives has a history of the prison, many digitized records and photos, and even an index of the names and prison numbers of every inmate from 1871 to 1973 on their Penitentiary Records webpage.