Accessing the Ledgers
The links below will open a PDF of each book in a new window. These files can be viewed online or downloaded. History Colorado’s detailed catalogue records for these books are available here (book one) and here (book two). Researcher’s note: the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scan of these documents is limited by typographical errors and other factors. When searching for a specific term within these files, it is recommended to search only a few letters of the term. For example, search "Alex" for "Alexander" or "Cra" for "Cramer." This approach is less likely to miss entries from imperfectly typed pages.
Additional Resources from History Colorado
This article first appeared in the Spring 1965 edition of the Colorado Magazine. It highlights the extent to which members of the Ku Klux Klan permeated the government offices, both elected and appointed, of Colorado during the 1920s.
This collection of primary, contemporary resources details the history of Lincoln Hills, a mountain resort for African Americans. It includes excerpts of larger documents and full text of shorter sources, as well as detailed annotations by civil rights attorney Dani Newsum.
Stories of Hate and Resistance: An Annotated Bibliography of Newspaper Articles Documenting the Klan in Colorado →
The Ku Klux Klan came to Colorado in 1921, and took advantage of existing prejudices in its rapid rise to prominence. Across the state, newspapers documented the KKK’s rapid rise, its seizure of state and local political offices, and its equally rapid decline. This collection features excerpts from Colorado newspapers of the early 1920s, along with annotations detailing the historic context and audience of these articles.
Colorado Experience: KKK
Documentary from Rocky Mountain PBS
Tell Us Your Story
If you or your family have a story about an experience with the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado, please consider sharing with History Colorado so that we can add your voice to the history of our state that people will look back on in the future. In addition to completing this reflection, you may submit additional photographs, videos, or comments at the end. We also welcome you to continue the conversation with us by emailing us at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I find out from examining the ledgers?
The ledgers can help people draw conclusions about commonalities and differences between people who joined the KKK, the neighborhoods in which they lived, the places they worked, and other trends. They support genealogical, historical, and sociological research as well as other forms of inquiry.
The ledgers make some important and difficult history more accessible. They connect specific locations, individuals, and institutions, including History Colorado, to an organization that can otherwise seem mysterious, abstract, and impersonal. The recorded business information associated with work locations such as the State Capitol, City Fire Department, and State Hospital—as well as the sheer number of entries in the ledger, which cover Denver’s entirety—also illustrate the widespread presence of the KKK in the everyday lives of Denverites during the 1920s.
- What should we learn from these ledgers?
History Colorado serves not as an authority on what to take away from their existence, but as a gateway to individual and collective research, reflection, and interpretation about their implications and meanings. While we take responsibility for sharing and framing the ledgers in constructive and appropriate ways, we know that engagement around these materials is a process that our community gives to each other and to History Colorado—not the other way around.
- Can I see the ledgers in person?
The physical ledgers, which were donated to History Colorado anonymously in 1946 through a staff member of the Rocky Mountain News, are currently on view in Colorado Stories at the History Colorado Center.
The ledgers are part of a KKK-focused manuscript collection of loose printed material and ephemera dating from 1918 to 1997. These additional materials include sheet music, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and other booklets used for KKK advertising in Colorado and nationwide. They can be viewed by appointment in the Stephen H. Hart Research Center at the History Colorado Center.
- Is this the first time this information has been available?
No. Researchers have been able to access these ledgers in person since at least 1990. What’s different now is that the information is more accessible and accessible in new ways.
- Why are you sharing these materials?
Like the communities that surround it and hold it accountable, History Colorado is part of an important process to confront systems of inequality and seek more justice for all people in Colorado. We believe these materials can support this process. We share them to facilitate discussion, reflection, and research that helps people in Colorado to more readily determine and achieve the future they desire for their communities and their state.
- I have feedback about this work. How can I share that with you?
History Colorado’s Curatorial Services and Collections Access team can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen H. Hart Research Center →
Email email@example.com or call on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 10-3pm at (303)866-2305.
Sponsors & Credits:
This project was made possible in part by an award from the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives Records Administration.
History Colorado thanks its Community Advisors for this work: Dr. Brenda J. Allen, Professor Emerita, Anschutz Medical Center; Ms. Ellington, community member; Dr. Claire Garcia, Colorado College; Sue Parker Gerson, Mountain States - ADL; Dr. Nicki Gonzales, Regis University, History Colorado State Historian’s Council; Johnny Humphrey, The Center on Colfax; Rabbi Rachel Kobrin, Congregation Rodef Shalom; Reynaldo Mireles, SAGE USA; Derek Okubo, City and County of Denver, Human Rights and Community Partnerships; P. Barclay Jones, Chinook Fund; Tara Raju, Mountain States - ADL; and Sandra Shreve, Calvary Baptist Church.
Image Credit: Ku Klux Klan Membership Ledgers. Photo by Katie Bush courtesy History Colorado, MSS.366