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This guide provides print, online, and local resources for historical research.

Frequently Asked Question

What are the differences between websites and library databases?

1.  Generally, websites and library databases both can contain:

  • scholarly information (such as facts, scholarly essays, research results, and research reports), and
  • non-scholarly information (such as popular opinion and guesswork).

NOTE: Researchers should take the time to verify research results by checking several other reliable sources before using it or acting on it. (See more about how to determine what types of sources are credible at PPLD's LibGuide on Finding Good Information here.)

2.  Library databases do not generally use natural language to search, but use specialized wording and symbols. One of the benefits of using library databases is that they give more precise results than websites or web searches, which may include duplicate or irrelevant results.

3.  In addition, library databases contain content that is sometimes only available by paying for it. The library pays for access to that information on behalf of the community it serves.

4.  Online web searches often do use natural language, but the results may not be exactly what a researcher is looking for.

5.  The order of an online result list is also often based on the priorities of the companies who offer the search (usually at no out-of-pocket cost), rather than the priorities of the researcher.  

For a more detailed discussion of researching best practices, see PPLD's LibGuide on Information and Media Literacy here.

Colorado History Featured in PPLD's Collection

University of Northern Colorado

Available as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, an eBook for checkout through Freading, and (as featured here) an eBook for checkout through hoopla

The University of Northern Colorado began in 1889 as the Colorado State Normal School, an institution dedicated to training the state's teachers. Over the next century the institution grew from a relatively small normal school into an acclaimed state university with several nationally recognized graduate and undergraduate programs. During this period of transformation, the Greeley school experienced several name changes. It was renamed the State Teachers College of Colorado in 1911, followed by the Colorado State College of Education in 1935, then simply the Colorado State College in 1957, and finally, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in 1970, in recognition of the institution's broadened mission. UNC's first 100 years saw dramatic changes to the physical and academic environments on campus, including advancements in the fields of education, health, music, theater arts, and human sciences.

Colorado Women

Available as a print book for checkout, for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks, and (as featured here) as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive

Colorado Women is the first full-length chronicle of the lives, roles, and contributions of women in Colorado from prehistory through the modern day. A national leader in women's rights, Colorado was one of the first states to approve suffrage and the first to elect a woman to its legislature. Nevertheless, only a small fraction of the literature on Colorado history is devoted to women and, of those, most focus on well-known individuals.

The experiences of Colorado women differed greatly across economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Marital status, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation colored their worlds and others' perceptions and expectations of them. Each chapter addresses the everyday lives of women in a certain period, placing them in historical context, and is followed by vignettes on women's organizations and notable individuals of the time.

Colorado's Deadliest Floods

Available as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, an eBook for checkout through hoopla, and (as featured here) an eBook for checkout through Freading

Ranked among the top ten states for both disasters and dry climate, Colorado has a long history of extreme weather. On May 19, 1864, residents of the fledgling gold rush town of Denver awoke to a wall of water slamming into the city with enough force to flatten buildings and rip clothing from its victims. The infamous Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976 killed 144 residents, tourists and campers. Per the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Coloradoans experienced twenty-two floods with contemporary monetary losses of $2 million or more since the flood of 1864. And as the population continues to grow, the loss of lives, property, crops and livestock may increase. Local author Darla Sue Dollman, who witnessed and survived many of the contemporary disasters, examines the state's most catastrophic flash floods from 1864 to 2013.

Peak and Prairie: From a Colorado Sketch-Book

Available for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks and (as featured here) as a streaming eBook at Biblioboard

This work seeks to sketch the charm, beauty and culture of Colorado through a series of short stories about life in the western state.

Chronicles of Colorado

Available as a print book for checkout, for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks, an eBook for checkout through Hoopla, and (as featured here) an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive

Over the years, Colorado has attracted its share of literary vagabonds, but none have described the state in such eloquent prose as those who visited the area during its early years. Included in this volume are the impressions of eleven legendary writers, from the hilarious diatribe of a young Rudyard Kipling to the extensive narrative of a mature Walt Whitman. Whether with Horace Greeley in the new-born city of Denver, touring William Palmer's Glen Eyrie with English women's rights advocate Emily Faithfull, or on the trail with Zane Grey outside of Meeker, these essays provide a first-hand look at Colorado as it progressed from a disputed Mexican province to a state on the verge of opening its wilderness for discovery by an eager American public.

La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado

Available as a print book for checkout and for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks

Informative and provocative, La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado collects eleven essays by a cross-section of Colorado scholars and writers. The book opens with an examination of Spanish-Mexican exploration, conquest, and settlement of the Colorado region. Moving from exploration to biographical sketches, the book profiles the enigmatic Teresita Sandoval, cofounder of Pueblo; provides the turn-of-the-century memoir of vaquero Elfido Lopez; and offers a bilingual version of the autobiography of Pablo Cabeza de Baca, who recalls the values of his youth and his days at Denver's Sacred Heart College, the precursor of Regis University.

Several essays address the employment patterns of the early part of this century, when desperate native-born Hispanos and Mexican immigrants competed by the thousands for jobs at mining and agricultural corporations throughout Colorado. Four essays study particular expressions of this conflict, including the infamous Ludlow coal strike of 1913-1914; Colorado's sugar beet industry, where Mexican immigrants faced constant discrimination; the growth of the state's sugar industry, the collapse of which devastated Mexicans (the preferred labor force in the field); and a New Deal-era experiment in which laid-off miners were trained to weave Río Grande-style blankets, in the process revitalizing a dying folk art.

Finally, four essays encompass the recent political and cultural rebirth of Hispanos, including a study of the origins of the Crusade for Justice, Denver's leading Chicano rights organization of the 1960s, which - based on declassified FBI documents - proves that government agencies tried to suppress the Crusade and its popular leader, Corky Gonzales.

The City and the Saloon: Denver, 1858-1916

First and revised editions available for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks

During Denver's wild ride from frontier mining town to twentieth-century metropolis, the city's saloons, like those of many other western frontier towns, played a vital role in the development of the city. Now with a new preface, Tom Noel's classic study, The City and the Saloon, is a liquid history of how Denver's bars both shaped and reflected the Mile High City's birth and adolescence.

Plunder of the Ancients: A True Story of Betrayal, Redemption, and an Undercover Quest to Recover Sacred Native American Artifacts

Available as a print book for checkout and (as featured here) an eBook for checkout through Hoopla

After taking an assignment as a supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agent Lucinda Schroeder felt chafed by the restrictions of her desk job. She'd spent her career making cases against wildlife poachers, smugglers, and people who exploited wildlife for huge sums of money. As a supervisor she wasn't allowed to carry a case load. Her responsibility was to oversee the work of five other agents as they investigated wildlife crimes. But she wanted to be in the middle of the action. Finally, she went undercover again, working to investigate a parrot-smuggling operation--only to narrowly escape disaster after several of her colleagues inadvertently blew her cover. Though she worried that she was losing her gift for undercover work, when she learned of the illegal trade in Native American artifacts and the hunting of eagles for their feathers, she set up another sting operation and called it "Operation Monster Slayer" after the Navajo deity that protected the Navajo from harm only to betrayed once again--this time intentionally. Plunder of the Ancients tells the story of the dangerous life of an undercover agent--and her persistence that led to the recovery of nearly a million dollars' worth of sacred Indian artifacts sold on the black market in Santa Fe in 1996.

Colorado: A Sports History

Available as a print book for checkout and for on-site reference at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy stacks

Shows how sports history can illuminate the business, politics, class, race, gender, mores and values of a society. In pre-industrial Colorado, sports and games in Indian villages and early mining towns were shaped by work, community life, and even religion. As leisure time increased sport evolved into a more popular recreational activity.

Mac McCloud's Five Points: Photographing Black Denver, 1938-1975

Available as a print book for checkout

This stunning collection of images celebrates the remarkable career of Burnis "Mac" McCloud, Denver's premiere Black photographer between 1950 and 1980. His remarkable photographs, focused on Denver's Five Points community, captured the ordinary lives of African Americans during a period that witnessed the end of Jim Crow segregation and the beginning of the Civil Rights era.

Assembled from more than one hundred thousand negatives that McCloud left behind, this collection introduces his creative work to the world beyond the Mile High City. Author William Wyckoff also tells McCloud's life story, revealing the challenges to and vitality of Denver's Black community. At a time when much of what McCloud photographed is being swept away by gentrification and urban change, this collection of images preserves a time and place important not only for Denver but for all of Black America.

Colorado History Databases & Recommended Websites

Resources at PPLD's Regional History & Genealogy department, in the 1905 Carnegie Library (located in the Penrose Library)

Research resources located in El Paso County, Colorado.

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