In Their Own Words

At the State Publications Library you can find a number of very interesting accounts of life in historic Colorado. Although we don’t have any manuscripts, we do have available a number of diaries, journals, letters, and memoirs that have been published by the state. For instance, you can read interesting accounts of life as a frontier soldier in This Solider Life: The Diaries of Romine H. Ostrander, 1863-1865, in Colorado Territory, and in The Tall Chief: The Unfinished Autobiography of Edward Wynkoop, 1856-1866.

One of our most frequently checked out items is Confessions of a Maverick: An Autobiography, by Farrington R. Carpenter, who writes about his life ranching in Routt County. My Dear Friend Chas. is a collection of the correspondence of Boulder resident Charles Wolcott, while Just Outside Manila is a collection of letters from members of the First Colorado Regiment in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. Early travel memoirs include A Tenderfoot in Colorado and Colorado: A Summer Trip. Elwood P. Bonney left a journal of his reminisces of the great photographer W.H. Jackson in William Henry Jackson: An Intimate Portrait, while Elizabeth Young wrote of growing up in early Denver in On Colfax Avenue: A Victorian Childhood. One of the classics of Denver autobiography is The Beast, in which Judge Ben Lindsey exposes the corruption of Denver’s turn-of-the-20th-century political machine.

Cheyenne Dog Soliders: A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat gives us the history of the Cheyenne through their drawings, rather than their words, while Tell Me, Grandmother, passes down the oral traditions of the Arapaho people. Other documents in their own words include Frederick Chapin’s Colorado, presenting some of Chapin’s writings on Colorado mountaineering; A Voice from Colorado’s Past for the Present: Selected Writings of George Norlin; Riding West: An Outfitter’s Life, the story of Jim Greer as told to Charles Miller; and Wayne Aspinall’s A Family Message to My Family. You can also find some personal writings in Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing and in Colorado Heritage and Colorado History magazines.

Each of these documents tells the unique story of a Colorado life and the times they lived in. For more Colorado history visit our library or search our web catalog.