The Collection

Search the Collection

History Colorado's collection contains a rich array of archives, artifacts, and photographic material, all documenting the people, places, and events of Colorado.  From this page you can access and search the Online Collection and learn more about the types of items that are in the Collection.  To find out more about a specific item or request a image reproduction, please contact the Stephen H. Hart Research Center.  

 

Artifacts

History Colorado's collection includes a wide array of artifacts reflecting more than 12,000 years of human presence in Colorado and the region. Collections include such diverse objects as furniture, gold coins, mining equipment, paintings, horse-drawn buggies, firearms, prints, toys, textiles, clothing, and the 10th Mountain Division, New Deal, and Mesa Verde collections. History Colorado holds thousands of items in trust for the people of Colorado as a means of documenting and interpreting the state's history. Curators and Collections Staff assume responsibility for the review and selection of materials, research, care, and interpretation of the nearly 200,000 artifacts in the History Colorado Collection. Search the History Colorado Online Collection for artifacts.

Artifacts are available for research at the Stephen H. Hart Research Center.  Please email cosearch@state.co.us for more information about setting up an appointment to view artifacts.  Access may be limited for fragile or otherwise sensitive material as well as extremely large or difficult to retrieve items. A fee may be assessed for requests involving direct staff time in excess of two hours at $50 per hour (non-members) or $40 per hour (members).

Learn more about the Artifacts Collection at History Colorado.
 

Books & Manuscripts

Books
The Book collection contains approximately 30,000 titles, many held only by History Colorado. The collection includes works of fiction and non-fiction by Colorado authors and Colorado publishers, as well as titles covering a wide array of Colorado history topics, including agriculture and ranching, mining, biography, railroads and transportation, American Indians, and Colorado cities and towns. Search the History Colorado Online Collection for books.

Manuscripts
The Manuscripts collection, composed of more than 2,600 individual collections, includes records produced by individuals, businesses, and organizations in Colorado that document significant aspects of life throughout the state and the western region from 1830 to the present. Collection guides or finding aids are available for many of our manuscript collections and can be found in our Online Collection. A growing number of collection guides are available online. Copies of collection guides may be requested by contacting cosearch@state.co.us.
 

City Directories, Census Information & Maps

City Directories
Historic city directories, usually published annually, provide an alphabetical listing of the adult residents in a city or area, and may include the individual's address, occupation, spouse's name, place of employment, and other facts. Click here to see a list of available volumes.

Business directories, published annually from 1875-1956, provide listings for businesses, individuals in business, and public office holders. View a list of business directories available for use at the Stephen H. Hart Research Center.

Telephone directories contain alphabetical listings of individuals and businesses that have telephones. Search our Online Collection to find available volumes.

History Colorado also has association directories, mining directories, club membership directories, college student annuals, Who's Who publications, and others. Search our online catalog to find titles and call numbers.

Census Information 
History Colorado has some federal and state census data and information available for researchers to view. Census indexes are dated from 1860 to 1940. Learn more about our census holdings and general information on the census here.

Maps
The Map collection contains more than 2,500 items ranging in date from about 1830 to present day. The collection includes neighborhood, city, and state maps; topographical maps; pictorial maps; railway and railroad routes; stage routes; mines and mining claims; and American Indian tribe location maps. The geographic representation of the map collection covers Colorado and the West. Sanborn Insurance Atlases, available in microfilm format, include detailed views of streets and buildings for many Colorado towns from the 1880s. In larger cities, the maps were updated periodically to show the growth of the city over time. View a collection of digitized maps in the Online Collection.

Newspapers & Periodicals

Newspapers
History Colorado holds  over 22,000 reels of microfilm (and counting). It is the most extensive collection of Colorado newspapers in the world with more than 1700 microfilmed titles from across the state.  We continue to collect and film newspapers from each of Colorado’s 64 counties—81 titles in all. Titles in the History Colorado Newspaper Collection can be found in the History Colorado Online Collection.  Most of the titles, including the earliest runs of the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, as well as current issues from titles from across the state have been microfilmed and are available for viewing at the Stephen H. Hart Research Center. To learn more about which newspapers are in the collection and to find out what dates are in our inventory, please email cosearch@state.co.us

Microfilm readers, printers, and scanners are available in the research center for public use. Duplicate positive microfilm reels may also be purchased.

Learn more about the Newspaper Collection at History Colorado.

Periodicals
History Colorado holds over 1500 journals and magazines published in Colorado and nationally. Journal and magazine titles are included in the History Colorado Online Collection.  The Colorado Magazine was published by the Colorado Historical Society (now known as History Colorado) from 1923 to 1980 and contains hundreds of articles about significant Colorado and Western people and events. The Colorado Magazine was continued by Colorado Heritage. In 2020, the journal resumed publishing as Colorado Magazine.

Learn more about Colorado Magazine and browse past issues dating back to the 1920s.
 

Oral Histories

Our Oral History collection includes both audio recordings and transcripts dating as early as the 1930s. A major part of our collection is the CWA Pioneer Interviews, which were the result of a project led by the Civil Works Administration in Colorado in 1933-34. Search for oral history recordings and transcripts in the History Colorado Online Collection.  You can find audio recordings on our SoundCloud account, or contact the Stephen H. Hart Research Center for more information.

Learn more about the Oral History Collection.
 

Photographs & Moving Images

Photographs
History Colorado's photography collection contains approximately 1 million images documenting the history of Colorado and the American West from the 1840s to the present day. Key collections include the largest archive of the work of landscape photographer William Henry Jackson and the Aultman Studio collection (based inTrinidad, Colorado), containing 110 years of work from Colorado's longest-running photo studio.

You can search for photos in History Colorado's Online Collection or use the Index to the Subject File Collection. Photographs in the index are arranged by subject such as: cities and towns; natural features; people; Native American tribes; transportation; and other topics. 

High-quality reproductions are available for personal or commercial use. Please contact us at photos@state.co.us for more information or download the Reproduction Request Form.

Moving Pictures
History Colorado holds moving image films from and about Colorado dating from about 1915 to the present. These include:

  • Cinematic releases
  • Home movies
  • Newsreels
  • Films by the Sonochrome Pictures production company and other Colorado producers
  • Promotional, industrial, and educational films on 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, Super 8, video and digital formats

Please contact us at photos@state.co.us for more information about accessing the Moving Image Collection for research, reproduction, and licensing.

Learn More about the Photographs and Moving Images Collection.