New Mining Collection Now Available Online!

The  American Heritage Center (AHC) at the University of Wyoming has digitized and made accessible online 17 letterpress books, scrapbooks, and albums from the James C. Drayton and William A. Drayton papers (Collection #8177).

James C. Drayton was an attorney who had mining interests in Canada and in Colorado. He and his son, William A. Drayton, from Philadelphia, eventually lived in British Columbia after James C. Drayton’s divorce, all the while pursuing their mineral and mining business as well as James C. Drayton’s law business. William A. Drayton, the son of James C. Drayton served in the Royal Serbian Artillery during World War I and later as a member of the Bulgarian Atrocities Commission and of the Serbian Delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. He also worked with his father on the mining and mineral business in British Columbia.

The collection contains James Drayton’s letterpress copybooks (copies of outgoing letters) from 1881 to 1899. Volumes mainly concern his law practice, mining interests, investments, and other business matters. Some letters relate to James Drayton’s divorce and other personal business. The collection also includes scattered correspondence and miscellaneous materials of James and William Drayton from 1921 to 1940, including a report by William Drayton on the treatment and living conditions of the Kutenai Indians. There are also maps and blueprints of mines and mining properties in British Columbia, Quebec, and Colorado. Lastly, the collection contains newspaper clippings of the mining business, a scrapbook of mementos of James Drayton’s travel experiences, a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings of James Drayton’s divorce, and two picture and photo albums.

Links to digitized items and additional information about the James C. Drayton and William A. Drayton papers can be found in the on-line finding aid at:

We hope you enjoy this new resource for research about mining history!

–Jamie Greene, Digital Programs Department


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Happy 125th Birthday to the State of Wyoming!

How will you celebrate? Tomorrow, Friday, July 10th, there will be a number of fun and family-oriented activities taking place in Cheyenne to commemorate the fact that Wyoming has been a state since 1890.  Wow!

Wyoming State Seal, 1927, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Ludwig Svenson Collection, Negative Number 14535.

Wyoming State Seal, 1927, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Ludwig Svenson Collection, Negative Number 14535.

You’ll find the schedule and more information about tomorrow’s celebration here.  There will be special tours of the Wyoming State Museum and the Governor’s mansion, a scavenger hunt, live music,  even an ice cream social!  At 9:30, the party will go out with a big bang–with fireworks!

If you’d like to learn more about Wyoming’s path to statehood, take a look at this wonderful essay, written by Phil Roberts.

Photograph of Grace Raymond Hebard holding the Wyoming Buffalo Flag, July 10, 1930, University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Photofile: Hebard, Grace Raymond, Folder 6.

Photograph of Grace Raymond Hebard holding the Wyoming Buffalo Flag, July 10, 1930, University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Photofile: Hebard, Grace Raymond, Folder 6.

Enjoy the fun!  We at the AHC wish Wyoming a very happy birthday, indeed!

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LGBT Archive of the American West launched in Laramie at the University of Wyoming

The American Heritage Center (AHC) at the University of Wyoming (UW), which houses several significant collections related to slain UW student Matthew Shepard, is currently developing “Out West in the Rockies,” a first-of-its kind regional lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history and culture archive of the American West.  The scope of of this collecting area welcomes collections from eight Rocky Mountain states: Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

Retiring AHC Director Mark Greene helped inaugurate and Associate Director Rick Ewig will oversee this effort.  Gregory Hinton, creator of Out West, an acclaimed national LGBT western museum program series, introduced the concept to the AHC and serves as project consultant.  Hinton announced Out West in the Rockies at the recent LGBQT Alliance luncheon of the 2015 American Alliance of Museums Annual meeting and Museum Expo in Atlanta.

Growing interest in the rural LGBT experience underscores the need for a visible, dedicated, centrally located LGBT Western American archive.

“The LBGT communities are under-documented in many established national archives and historical repositories, but particularly in collections dedicated to the history and culture of the American West,” says Greene, who is a Distinguished Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.  “An archive of this kind is long past due.  The AHC is proud to be committed to this effort.”

The AHC ranks among the largest and busiest non-governmental repositories in the United States.  In 2010, the AHC was recognized as one of the nation’s premier archives when it received the Society of American Archivists’ Distinguished Service Award.  The AHC currently houses 75,000 cubic feet of materials, with 15,000 cubic feet remaining to welcome new collections.  Thus, with ample storage space, an experience, dedicated, and nationally recognized staff stands ready to accommodate substantial LGBT holdings.

Rural Montana-born Gregory Hinton recently drove from Los Angeles through the Rockies in blizzard conditions to hand deliver his personal and professional papers to the AHC.  “Too many LGBT men and women evacuate our rural western backgrounds seeking community, companionship, and safety in the bit city,” Hinton says.  “Happily, not everybody leaves.  And more and more of us return.  Thanks to the AHC, our stories are welcome in Wyoming.”

A distinguished advisory board of respected western scholars, artists, and activists is being assembled, including W. James Burn, director, University of Arizona Museum of Art; Wyoming State Representative and UW faculty member Cathy Connolly; Rebecca Scofield, Ph.D. candidate, American Studies, Harvard University; and civil rights attorney Roberta Zenker, author of TransMontana.

“Out West dispels the myth that LGBT history (and communities) are bi-coastal,” says Burns, recent chair of the LGBTQ Alliance of the American Alliance of Museums.  “Rural western LGBT populations are thriving and make significant contributions to the communities in which they live.”

A call will soon be put out for significant regional collections of organizational records and personal papers consisting of a wide variety of materials, from emails and correspondence to speeches and manuscripts.

“Everything from scrapbooks and photo albums to press clippings and marketing/promotional material; from digital and analog photos to diaries and blog entries; from professional contracts and grants to minutes and annual reports,” says Rick Ewig, also recent president of the Wyoming State Historical Society and editor of Annals of Wyoming.

Seeking to immerse themselves in the vast landscape of the rural American West, scholars and historians from all over the world visit the AHC every year.  The AHC is UW’s repository of manuscript collections, rare books, and university archives.  With a population of 30,000, Laramie is located in the center of the American West.  Located approximately two hours from Denver, it is easily accessible by ground and air.

–Rick Ewig, AHC Associate Director

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Digitized Trail Diary Now Available!

Are you interested in learning more about westward expansion during the 1850s? If so, you’ll be interested to learn that University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC) has digitized and made accessible online the diary and 2 transcripts of the diary from the Charlotte E. Allis diary collection.

A page from the diary--you can see why the transcriptions come in handy!

A page from the diary–you can see why the transcriptions come in handy!

Charlotte “Lottie” Elizabeth Jackson was born July 28, 1828 in Chesterfield Township, New York. Her husband, William Warren Allis, was born October 28, 1823 in Conway, Massachusetts. She and W.W. Allis were married September 11, 1849 in Beloit, Wisconsin. In 1853, W.W. Allis traveled overland to mine gold in California. In 1854, Charlotte followed him, leaving Beloit in April and arriving at Monte Cristo California in July. She maintained a diary during her journey that relates her trek by wagon and foot traveling with newlyweds George and Hannah Haskell and possibly with George’s sister-in-law Marie Haskell, as well as others who are not recorded in Allis’ diary.

The collection contains the diary of Charlotte Allis and two transcripts of the diary. The first transcript was by Esther Gay, wife of the diary’s donor Jim Gay. The second transcript was by Tamara Linse, freelance writer and American Heritage Center volunteer who researched and transcribed the diary from 2001 through 2003. The bulk of the collection is the research files created by Tamara Linse.

Links to digitized items and additional information about the Charlotte E. Allis diary can be found in the on-line finding aid at:

–Jamie J. Greene, Archives Specialist, Digital Programs Department

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Victor Gruen Collection used in latest 99% Invisible podcast episode

99piRoman Mars, creator and producer of the popular podcast on design and architecture, 99% Invisible, released an episode this past Tuesday titled “The Gruen Effect.”  The podcast, focused on the shopping mall designs of Viennese architect Victor Gruen, features audio and video clips digitized from the AHC’s Victor Gruen Collection.

The collection, which was made available on the AHC’s digital collections site in early 2015, includes candid photographs of Gruen and his associates, blueprints, audio of Gruen’s speeches, and films of Gruen’s Southdale Shopping Center, as well as press conferences and newsreels.

Photograph of Victor Gruen lighting his pipe. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Victor Gruen Papers, Collection #5809, Box 56.

Photograph of Victor Gruen lighting his pipe. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Victor Gruen Papers, Collection #5809, Box 56.

Mars, based in Oakland, California, recently completed a very successful campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to continue production of 99% Invisible, as well as provide a source of funding for other independent podcast productions.  Previous episodes of 99% Invisible are hosted at; you can learn more about the AHC’s Victor Gruen collection here.

–Tyler Cline, Digital Programs Department Head

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Join us! “Out of the Box: How AHC Collections Enhance UW Humanities” to be held Friday, May 1st!

As you may know, the Center’s accomplished director of the past 13 years, Mark Greene, is retiring later this spring for health reasons. During Mark’s 13 year tenure as Director, the American Heritage Center, Wyoming’s primary repository of historical archives and photographs, has gained a great stature in the national archival community, and has achieved operational excellence. The AHC was recently recognized by the primary professional archival association in the U.S., the SAA (Society of American Archivists), with its Distinguished Service Award, its most prestigious institutional recognition.


On Friday, May 1st a symposium, entitled “Out of the Box: How AHC Collections Enhance UW Humanities” will be held on campus to honor Mark and highlight his accomplishments at the UW American Heritage Center. The symposium will begin in the AHC’s Wyoming Stock Growers Room at 12:30 p.m., with several presentations made by professional archivists from across the country who are Mark’s friends and colleagues. Pete Simpson will give the introductory presentation at this conference. Session presenters will describe their use of the AHC’s collections, their interaction with Mark and other staff members at the AHC, and the contributions our AHC has made to UW and the archival community throughout the country. I hope you will be able to attend part or all of the presentations being made at this symposium; they will be very revealing as to the day to day professional work done by our staff in support of the center’s mission to make its vast collections available and useful to researchers and scholars in Wyoming and across the country.

We hope you will join us!

–Dave Foreman, Chair of the AHC’s Board of Advisors

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“Our Place in the West…and Beyond” celebration and conference commemorates Wyoming’s 125th Year of Statehood

Ever heard the word “Quasaquicentennial?” We’d like to introduce this term to you, and celebrate it with you!

The Wyoming State Historical Society, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office , and the American Heritage Center are sponsoring a unique celebration and conference in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of Wyoming’s statehood.  The commemoration will explore the history, prehistory, and culture of Wyoming and look to its future through research, art, music and food.


Here are highlights of the celebration:

  • Presentations by Western historian and author Dr. Michael Amundson, past Wyoming Poet Laureate David Romvedt, and former Heart Mountain Japanese Relocation Center internee Sam Mihara.
  • Milk Can Dinner and dance featuring keynote speaker Union Pacific Railroad historian Maury Klein with music by Cheyenne-based Country Club Band.
  • Tour of Ames Monument, designed in 1880 by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson and dedicated to the Ames brothers, Union Pacific Railroad financiers.
  • Exhibitions and presentations by Wyoming professional artists Do Palma, Suzanne Morlock, Susan Moldenhauer and more.
  • Presentations and book signings by prominent Wyoming authors Margaret Coel, Linda Jacobs, and Candy Moulton.
  • Sale of print by renowned Wyoming artist Linda Lillegraven. “Old Railroad Embankment Near Bosler” depicts a trace of abandoned rail line with natural vegetation softening the outlines.
  • Preserve Wyoming Awards Banquet and silent auction with awards presented by Bobbi Barrasso to signify outstanding contributions to the preservation of Wyoming’s historic structures.

The conference will be June 11 through 13 in Laramie at the Marion H. Rochelle Gateway Center and other Laramie venues. The public is welcome to attend. Registration and event details can be found at  Also, check out our Facebook page under Our Place in the West and Beyond for the latest updates.

Besides the Wyoming State Historical Society, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and the American Heritage Center, there are many other sponsors from across the state, including the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department, Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Wyoming Humanities Council, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Wyoming Office of Tourism, and UW Libraries.

Join us for this remarkable celebration of Wyoming’s past and future!

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