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Local History Collections

The Carnegie Branch Library for Local History archive contains 5 types of holdings: documents, photographs, oral histories, vertical files and books & periodicals. The collection is accessible via the Boulder Public Library catalog. Materials are word searchable, and in-depth cataloging records describe the contents of each envelope or folder. Many donations to the collection have enabled us update our collection to post WWII.

Very few public libraries have collections of local history materials as comprehensive or as exciting as those in the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History. In 1986, the Boulder Historical Society, known today as the Boulder History Museum, placed its entire archive of historic photographs and documents in our archive. These materials were collected by Alva A. Paddock, and later on by his son Laurence, over the many years that the family owned and published the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper. A. A. Paddock founded the Boulder Historical Society and Museum in 1944.


A document collection of 750,000 items, many created before the name Colorado was given to this area, includes diaries, letters, maps, newspaper clippings, papers of pioneer families and businesses, and records of churches, clubs, and mining districts.

More on the document collection


Over 200,000 photographs show what life was like in the towns, farms, and mining camps of early Boulder County through the 1970s. Many photographs from the collection are viewable online. Digitized images will automatically appear if the photograph has been scanned. Software enables thumbnail jpegs to display with each cataloging record, and those in turn, can be enlarged for a closer view. [Click here to learn how to search for digitized collections. ]

More on the photographs collection

Oral History Interviews

Almost 1,500 oral history interviews of long time Boulder county residents reflect what life was and is like living in our ever-changing community. Interviews range from farming to politics and from mining to technology. Most of these interviews are accessible on the internet through the library catalog or the Maria Rogers Oral History Program.

Books and Periodicals

About 3,000 books cover the various aspects of Boulder county history including city/county directories, high school and university yearbooks, and Boulder phone books.

More on books and periodicals

Vertical Files

The vertical files collection covers general clippings and ephemera on Boulder county, topics, people and places. These files contain newspaper clippings, pamphlets, brochures, and ephemera. The contents of these files are not on-line, although they are in our card catalog. The files are arranged by subject:


Databases A-Z
Great Reads
En Español

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