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!

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

Digital Colorado

Hey Teachers – Amazing Primary Sources and Source Sets Available Online

Want to capture the attention and imagination of your students, and get them involved in history in an immersive way – explore incorporating primary sources into your curriculum.  Primary sources are the voices of the past. They are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They differ from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.  Documents, letters, posters, film, artifacts, photographs, maps, etc. can all be primary sources that tell the story of people, places, and events of the past.

There are many online sites that share quality primary source materials and ready made primary source sets, the Colorado Department of Education being one of them.  Several years ago, 15 Colorado educators and digital collection professionals from the Denver Metro area got together to create a series of primary source sets aimed at K-6 teachers and students.  The results of this effort total more than 20 primary source sets, covering topics from the History of the American Bison to the Games and Toys of Yesteryear, and can be found on the CDE website at:  The CDE primary source sets are comprised of three parts:   Lesson Overview, Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas, and a Resource Set.  If you have not already seen these wonderful resources, check them out.  They may be just what you need to make a topic pop for your students.

Another great location for exciting primary source sets and their related primary sources is the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  The DPLA is a free, national digital library that provides access to primary and secondary sources from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. The thousands of contributors to DPLA represent cultural institutions large and small, from the National Archives and the Smithsonian, to college and university special collections, to local historical societies, museums, and public libraries.  Libraries and museums in Colorado and Wyoming are contributing to this growing collection through the Plains to Peaks Collective Service Hub,  so our unique primary sources are available through the DPLA for your use as well.

The DPLA has created primary source sets that use primary sources to tell stories of national significance.  DPLA’s Primary Source Sets are specifically designed for use by teachers and students in middle school through college. DPLA has worked with a team of educators to design, create, and peer review more than 100 Primary Source Sets on topics in US History, American Literature, Art, and Science, which draw from the vast and diverse primary sources found in DPLA. Each Set includes an overview with background information, ten to fifteen primary sources, and a teaching guide with discussion questions, activities, and tools for primary source analysis. These “highlight reels” from DPLA are free, classroom-ready resources designed to save teachers and students time while offering instructional ideas intended to spark educator creativity.

DPLA also creates and makes available online exhibitions that offer in-depth explorations of important events and ideas in American history, such as the Race to the MoonJapanese Internment, the New DealAmerica during the Age of Imperialism, and Outsider Candidates in U.S. Presidential Elections. Pairing archival sources with contextual information, these exhibitions narrate the how and why of important historical moments and showcase the wealth of materials available for study.

There are other locations where expertly crafted primary source sets can be found including the Library of Congress and other national entities.  But, there are even more places where you can actually find primary sources to fashion your own teaching resources and tools.  Take your classroom to the next level by incorporating primary source materials into your teaching and help bring history alive.  Here are some great resources to start you on your primary source journey.

Colorado Historic Newspapers

CHNC Welcomes School of Mines Oredigger

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is thrilled to welcome the Colorado School of Mines student newspaper, The Oredigger, to our collection. Nearly a century after its establishment, The Oredigger’s addition to the CHNC represents a big step toward our goal of making Colorado university newspapers an integral part of our online archive. Students and non-student enthusiasts alike will now have free access to digitized versions of The Oredigger, searchable by date, keyword, and selected topics.

The first installment of The Oredigger to our collection includes over 2,200 pages of issues spanning from 1921 through 1936. Founded just the year prior in 1920 as a weekly publication, The Oredigger offers a unique perspective on this tumultuous time in our state and nation’s history. From the restless years of Prohibition to the first stirrings of the Second World War, this newspaper gives readers a window into the unique world that was mountain university life in the heart of Colorado, and more specifically, life at the Colorado’s School of Mines.

Two Mines students congratulate one another on Athletic Board victory
Image from April 9, 1935 edition of The Oredigger

In these issues spanning fifteen short years, readers can discover the origins of The Colorado School of Mines’ coveted silver diplomas, as well as the famous mountainside “M” and subsequent first ever “M climb.” The Oredigger is not just an important piece of Colorado history, but a part of the unique story that only Colorado’s student voices can tell.  We at the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection are honored to be a part of this legacy and promise not to leave you hanging at 1936 for long. The CHNC will continue to work with the School of Mines in the coming months to add more and more years of The Oredigger to our online archive so that readers can trace Mines history through the decades.

“We’re thrilled to work with CHNC to make these issues of the Colorado School of Mines’ Oredigger newspaper accessible to all. As the School’s longest running serial still in publication today, the Oredigger represents Mines history and of the history of Colorado from the viewpoint of our student body. We’ve got some unique stories to share. It will be great to add the Oredigger’s voice to that of Colorado’s other newspapers to put together all of our stories of ‘what it was like’ back then.”

-Lisa G. Dunn, Colorado School of Mines Arthur Lakes Library Research Librarian and Special Collections Manager

So whether you’re doing research, brushing up on your Mines history, or just browsing for pleasure, head over to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection website, check out our great selection of Oredigger issues, and make sure to check back as we continue to add to the archive. We could not be more excited about welcoming The Oredigger to our collection and look forward to growing our relationship with The School of Mines as we work toward improving access to its rich history for everyone. “Give ‘em Hell, Mines!”

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Upping your Engagement – Getting More From the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection

Colorado has an interesting and colorful history. Whether you are interested in our mining past, railroad development and growth, livestock activity, agriculture, historic tourism, or tumultuous politics, we have lived it all and recorded it in our newspapers. From the issues that affect us on a national and international level, to the information about the individuals within our communities over the years, newspapers have been the recorder of our lives and times. The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection – a locally maintained and supported database of over 220 historic newspaper titles from Colorado’s latter half of the 19th century onward – provides researchers, historians, educators, students and genealogists with the primary source material to immerse themselves in Colorado history and make up their own minds about the events that shaped our state.

How well do you know the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection? Did you know that you can correct the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for individual articles within the collection, making it easier for others to find the information that they might be looking for? What about clipping articles of interest and saving them to your personal online account? There is so much that you can do within CHNC, just create an account and begin exploring.

To learn more about how to make the most of the CHNC service, and the cool and interesting features that are at your fingertips, check out the help and forums site.  Learn more tricks about searching historic newspapers, how to share your saved searches with others, and how to correct the OCR to make finding relevant information more successful for those coming to the database after you.

The forums also give you the opportunity to start up conversations with other users of the database that might have unique information to share with you on a given subject.  Or, start up a discussion topic to get a conversation going with other researchers or educators in the state.


You can also use the forums to start up a conversation with CHNC staff – or ask us a question.  We are here to help you make your CHNC experience as rewarding as possible.

Regardless of how you are currently using the CHNC – or where your explorations take you – we want you to make the most of the service to meet your needs.


Enjoy the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection , and experience Colorado as it happened.

Colorado Historic Newspapers CSL News

CHNC Reaches Millionth Page Milestone

Growth of Database Causes Great Excitement.  New Titles Added – More Counties Represented.

DENVER COLORADO.  August 13, 2017 — Although careful planning and hard work have brought them to this place, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) Team rejoiced as they added the one millionth digitized page of historic Colorado newspaper content to their free online database.  The Team – lead by Leigh Jeremias, and enlisting the manpower of digitization specialists spanning three continents, reached this mammoth milestone in the service’s 14th year of existence  – and have never been prouder.

The auspicious millionth page came from the Montrose Daily Press, Volume XII, Number 247, April 21, 1921, which is part of a digitization project supported by Montrose Regional Library District.

In the past two years, the database has grown by over 350,000 pages of digitized newspapers, thanks to the efforts of our partner organizations – the archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private individuals within the state.  They have provided the funding to digitize the microfilm or hard copy newspapers near and dear to their hearts, thus helping to preserve the unique voice of their local communities.  Without their efforts, we could never have achieved this outstanding result.

In November of 2015, the CHNC underwent a face lift and platform change, incorporating more functionality and engagement features into the interface that not only allowed for better searching and discovery, but promoted crowd sourcing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) correction and community sharing.  We believe that this new interface, provided by our partner Veridian, has a lot to do with the surge in new content as well.

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection began as a grant funded project in 2003. With the initial grant funding, roughly 97,000 pages of historic Colorado newspapers were digitized and hosted online in a database specifically designed for the purpose.  It has been a long journey to reach our current status, but it was a labor of love, and we look forward to adding the next million pages to be shared with Colorado residents, teachers, students, researchers, and the world.

To learn more about the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, visit our website at  To learn how you can get involved, contact Leigh Jeremias at

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Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: 1918 1919 Influenza Pandemic in Colorado

Loveland Reporter. 11 Oct. 1918.

This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources and a service of the Colorado State Library.

In 1918 and 1919 influenza and its complications accounted for about a half million deaths nationally.  In Colorado, between September 1918 and June 1919, an estimated 7,783 people died, with nearly 1,500 of those people living in Denver. Influenza likely originated in the United States in early spring of 1918 but it took on the nickname “Spanish influenza” because Spain had suffered an early attack.

Oak Creek Times. 11 Oct. 1918.
Oak Creek Times. 11 Oct. 1918.

Blanche Kennedy, a University of Denver student, was the first influenza-related fatality in Denver.  It is believed she contracted the disease in Chicago. Shortly after her death, Dr. William H. Sharpley, Denver’s Manager of Health, ordered the house in which she died quarantined. He quickly advised the public on the “rules of the flu”, such as washing hands and covering coughs, which mostly related to flu prevention.  As the epidemic grew, Sharpley ordered schools, churches and places of amusement to close but failed to restrict public gatherings and the use of street cars.  The flu spread across Colorado and hit many small towns, with few doctors and medical resources, hard.  Some towns, like Gunnison, avoided the high rate of infection by essentially quarantining the entire town for months.

By early 1919, the epidemic began to wane and many towns began to reopen schools.  Ultimately  the 1918-1919  influenza pandemic accounted for more deaths than suffered by United States troops in battle during World Wars I and II combined.

Related Colorado Historic Newspaper Articles

Front Range Communities- Weekly Courier

Mountain Communities

A Sampling of Death Notices


For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page. For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias,

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Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Halloween


This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources.

For many, Halloween marks the changing of seasons and is the beginning of the holiday season.  It is a time of celebration and of course candy.  The origins of the holiday can be traced back to the Celtic holiday of Samhain. This holiday was celebrated to mark the coming of the Celtic New Year (November 1), the changing of seasons and to ward off the spirits of the dead.   Over time these customs were combined with other cultures who also celebrated the passing of the dead.  The evening before the November 1 Pope Gregory III designated holiday, All Saints’ Day, became known as  All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Halloween had a slow start in the United States due in part to religious beliefs.  It wasn’t until a new wave of immigrants came in the mid-nineteenth century that Halloween was celebrated on a more national level.  Annual fall festivals and Halloween parties became more common. Our modern day tradition of trick-or-treat began as an occasion when people dressed up in costumes and went house to house asking for food or money.  This American tradition continues to grow today.pumkin

Related Colorado Historic Newspaper Articles


Parties and Decorations

History and Pranksters

For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page.  For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias,

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Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Presidential Election of 1872

This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources.

From Colorado Daily Chieftain, July 9, 1872

Presidential Election of 1872

Presidential elections are often filled with interesting candidates and sometimes party conflicts.  The presidential election of 1872 was no different.  This election included numerous presidential nominees, one of which was a woman and another was nominated by two different parties.  Incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant was nominated to run for a second term at the Republican National Convention held in June 1872. Grant’s nomination caused many in the Republican Party,  who had grown weary of his corruption plagued first term, to split from the party and form the Liberal Republican Party.

Horace Greeley

The Liberal Republican Party nominated famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley who was also nominated by the Democratic Party in a combined effort to defeat Grant.  The 1872 ticket also included Equal Rights Party nominee, Victoria Woodhull. It’s unclear how many votes Woodhull received but her bid came nearly 50 years before women were given the right to vote. Ultimately, Woodhull was ineligible to become president, not because the law prohibited a female president but because she would not reach the constitutionally prescribed minimum age of 35 until September 23, 1873.

On November 29, 1872, after the popular vote but before the Electoral College cast its votes, Greeley died. As a result, his electoral votes were split among the other candidates. It is so far the only election in which a Presidential candidate died during the electoral process.  Ulysses S. Grant won re-election over Greeley by a margin of 56{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} to 44{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5}.

1872 Electoral Map

Related Colorado Historic Newspaper articles:

For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page.  For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias,