History Colorado staff and other writers chronicle the latest preservation success stories, share new perspectives on the past, and peer behind the scenes into the care and documentation of our collections. Read on to learn about how rare collections of historic artifacts and photographs are stored, cared for, and put on view. Find out what Colorado communities are doing to preserve their past for future generations. And, read in-depth histories of Colorado people and events of the past that still matter to us today.
Having officially finished the Winter Prather collection (expect to see a finding aid online soon!), I have time to share one of the more obscure parts of Prather’s biography. First, just to recap: Winter Prather was a prominent commercial and fine art photographer working mostly in the Denver, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Thanks to the 2015 NHPRC Access to Historical Records grant that History Colorado received last May, I have been able to spend the last two months processing and cataloging Prather’s manuscripts and photographs.
In 1988 Bernice Lang donated her doll collection to History Colorado. Currently, staff and volunteers are working on the collection, originally started by Bernice’s mother, Minnie Belle Jackson, who came to Colorado by wagon as a child in 1867.
Soon to be on exhibit, this beautiful coffee service set has a unique history—not only because of who owned it, but also who made it. From the estate of Townsend Sherman McAllister, the set was donated to History Colorado in 1970. The donor’s father, Henry McAllister Jr. was raised in Colorado Springs and in 1896 married his college sweetheart Phebe Ketcham of Jericho, Long Island. In 1898, son Townsend Sherman was born in Colorado Springs, followed by Henry III in 1904. In 1906, the family moved to Denver where Henry Jr. established his general law practice. Phebe was active in St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, as well as in the Colonial Dames and Monday Literary Club. A prominent family in Denver, the McAllisters often entertained in their home at 1880 Gaylord Street. Guests not only enjoyed good food and company, they sat on antique furniture from Phebe’s family who settled Jericho, Long Island, during Colonial times and enjoyed beautiful art.
In this digital age, the way we read newspapers may have changed, but the characteristics and qualities of newspapers have remained largely the same. A newspaper is a first-hand creation with information relevant to the life and culture of the community it serves. A newspaper is, metaphorically, the eyes, voice and spirit of a community. History Colorado preserves those voices and stories on the best newspaper preservation format available: microfilm.
I’m from Georgia, born and raised a southerner through and through, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, when it comes to historic places, people from the east think they have all the good stuff. But three decades ago I moved to Colorado and was astounded to find some of the richest, most vibrant historic places I've seen. I still remember my drive up I-70 seeing quaint mountain towns like Georgetown for the first time and being blown away. This place is something special.