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About the Department

History of the Department

The Western History Collection and the Genealogy Collection merged into one department in 1995, moving into the fifth level of the new Michael Graves library building. Both departments' holdings started being collected in the first decades of the twentieth century, 1935 and 1910 respectively. The staff of the combined department numbers approximately forty-five, with many volunteers assisting with special projects.

The celebrated collection of Western Americana officially opened to the public in 1935, though it built upon a pre-existing Colorado authors collection of books and a Colorado history collection of pamphlets. Today the western subject specialty reflects all phases of development of the trans-Mississippi West. The collection continues to grow and presently includes 200,000 cataloged books, pamphlets, atlases, maps, and microfilm titles. In addition, it offers 600,000 photographs, 3,700 manuscript archives, and a remarkable collection of Western fine art and prints to researchers across the world.

The Genealogy Collection is the second largest between the Mississippi River and the West Coast and the largest in the Rocky Mountain area. Family history researchers find material spanning dozens of generations and covering a wide spectrum of ethnic and geographic categories. Sixty-thousand books, 75,000 pieces of microform, and hundreds of magazine and newsletter titles, charts, clippings, atlases and manuscripts constitute the collection. The joint holdings offer extensive historical resources to both western history researchers and genealogy researchers.

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Location and Hours

The Western History and Genealogy Department is located on the fifth level of the Central Library:
10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204-2731
Phone 720-865-1821
Fax 720-865-1880

The Department is open to the public during the following hours:

  • Monday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 1 - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 - 5 p.m

Denver Public Library Online ©
Updated: June 25, 2013