Colorado Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Birdie Monk Holsclaw and Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FUGA, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the Colorado Family History Research series.
History of Colorado
Colorado Vital Records
Census Records for Colorado
Background Sources for Colorado
Colorado Maps
Colorado Land Records
Colorado Probate Records
Colorado Court Records
Colorado Tax Records
Colorado Cemetery Records
Colorado Church Records
Colorado Military Records
Colorado Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Colorado Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Colorado County Resources
Map of Colorado


The Colorado Magazine, published by the State Historical Society of Colorado from 1923, and called Heritage after 1979, contains excellent background material for understanding Colorado family history in the context of local history.

The Colorado Genealogical Society has published The Colorado Genealogist since 1939. The subject index for volumes 1'42 was compiled in 1982 by Kay R. Merrill and is very helpful in locating published county records. Every-name indexes to the journal are also available.

Other periodicals include quarterlies from the Boulder Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 3246, Boulder, CO 80307-3246; Weld County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 278, Greeley, CO 80632; Southeastern Colorado Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 4207, Pueblo, CO 81003-4207; and The Foothills Inquirer, published by the Foothills Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 15382, Lakewood, CO 80215.


One of the first serious indications of settlement is the formation of a newspaper, and the first issue of The Rocky Mountain News was printed on 23 April 1859. The most extensive newspaper collections are housed at the Colorado Historical Society, the Denver Public Library, and Norlin Library of University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. There is an unpublished card index to The Rocky Mountain News (1865'85) at the Western History and Genealogy Collection at Denver Public Library. This library also holds an obituary file for The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News beginning in 1939 and includes a few earlier records. These will be searched by library staff for a fee; some years are covered in an online index at Microfilm of the newspaper collection at the Colorado Historical Society is available for purchase. The most recent price was $22 per roll.

Colorado's part of the National Newspaper Program has been completed, with 3,400 newspaper titles cataloged and 1.7 million pages microfilmed. Cataloging information is available on OCLC's FirstSearch.

Two helpful aids to the researcher are Donald E. Oehlerts, comp., Guide to Colorado Newspapers, 1859'1963 (Denver: Bibliographic Center for Research, 1964), and Walter R. Griffin and Jay L. Rasmussen, 'A Comprehensive Guide to the Location of Published and Unpublished Newspaper Indexes in Colorado Repositories,' The Colorado Magazine 72 (Fall 1972): 328'39.


The Western History and Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library has a good variety of diaries, journals, letters, membership lists of organizations, and other unpublished sources. It has diaries of Central City and Black Hawk covering years 1859, 1860, and 1861. Other records include the Spanish land grants, Mexican land grants, and mining manuscripts. A catalog of holdings is available online (see Colorado Archives, Libraries, and Societies).

The Colorado Portrait and Biographical Index, developed by Henrietta Bromwell, is housed at the Colorado Historical Society Library and Western History and Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library. It is a pre-1900, four-volume index to the biographical works of Colorado, with an appendix of two volumes. The developer attempted to include all names mentioned in published works including some magazines and newspapers. A planned index will be available online at the Denver Public Library website.

The Dawson Scrapbooks, with an unpublished index, is an eighty-volume collection of names and biographies housed at the Colorado Historical Society.

The 1876 Colorado Business Directory and Denver city directories (beginning 1873) are located at the Colorado Historical Society. The Denver Public Library also holds many of these early directories.