Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis CollegeDigital image access
home page

                     A guide to more than 12,000 digitized special collections items at the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College.  Click here for a sampling of historical photos of Durango and vicinity. 

Genre types of digitized Center of Southwest Studies collection items:

Artifacts Drawings Maps Newspapers Photographs
Postcards Printed materials Sounds Online digital educational guides

Particular collections at the Center of Southwest Studies that have been digitized in whole or in part:

Collection F 021:  The Durango Collection® (textiles, et al.)
Collection F 014:  Other Southwest textiles
Collection M 124: Center of Southwest Studies museum objects accession ledgers by Homer Root

Collection M 001, Series 18.B.18:  Hopi Language Booklet:  Hopi Vocabulary for the Growing Student  by Darlene J. Leslie, 2006
Collection M 198:  Bandelier National Monument rock art drawings
Collection D 002.05:  Esther Greenfield southwest Colorado arborglyphs drawings and photographs (carvings on aspen trees)

Collection C 001Southwest maps
Collection C 003 Cutter maps of the world
Collection C 004: 
Hayden Survey maps of 1877
Collection C 007: 
Southwest U.S. Geological Survey maps (early versions)
Collection M 175: Selected Western slope of Colorado maps by Union Carbide Corporation

Collection M 088:  Southwest newspapers

Collection P 001:  The general Southwest Colorado photograph collection
Collection P 003:  Theodore Hetzel photographs of Native America
Collection P 004:  Fort Lewis (fort, school, and college) images
Collection P 008:  Ansel Hall Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley (Arizona/New Mexico) Expedition of 1933-34 photograph albums
Collections P 015.33 and P 017.010:  Olga Little photographs (female Southwestern Colorado muleteer/ "mule skinner")
Collection P 026:  Rio Grande Southern southwest Colorado railroad photographs
Collection P 028: 
6th Judicial Court (La Plata County, Colo.) judges portrait photographs
Collection P 042:  Walker Art Studio (Montrose) Southwest Colorado historic photonegatives
Collection P 048:  E. Reeseman Fryer photographs
Collection P 049:  A. H. Blackington Southwest photographs
Collection P 051:  Tom O. and H. Lucille Kimball Indian Collection photographs
Collection P 056:  Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado photographs
Collection P 057 Edward Ellison photographs
Collection D 002.01:  Morris San Juan Mountain towns photographs
Collection D 002.02:  Andrew Gulliford La Ventana (Colorado) photographs
Collection D 002.04:  E. A. Wilder Durango, Rico and Eureka (Colorado) photographs
Collection D 002.05:  Lechner / Moss / Greenfield photographs (Rockwood, Colo.)
Collection D 003:  Vallecito Dam construction photos, 1938-1940  (La Plata County, Colo.)
Collection D 002.07:  Werito family Eastern Navajo photographs
(includes views at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School at Ignacio, Colo.)
Collection M 028, Record Group 18: La Plata County (Colo.) judges

Collection M 194:  The Nina Heald Webber collection of postcards of Southwest Colorado  ~ (and printed materials)

Printed materials:
Collection M 001:  Fort Lewis (fort, school, and college) images
Collection M 005:  Mines and mining men of Colorado, historical, descriptive and pictorial; an account of the principal producing mines of gold and silver, the bonanza kings and successful prospectors, the picturesque camps and thriving cities of the Rocky Mountain region, by John G. Canfield (Denver, Colo., 1893) (pages 73-91; Southwest Colorado)
Collection M 019:  Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Nomad car restoration printed materials
Collection M 124:  Center of Southwest Studies museum objects accession ledgers by Homer Root
Collection M 197:  Southwest historic printed materials:
                            Navajo culture historic printed materials:
"A part of the Navajo’s mythology," by Washington Matthews, reprint from The American Antiquarian, April 1883
                            Une Française chez les chauvages  ["A Frenchwoman among the Savages"], by Jeanne Goussard de Mayolle, 1897
Collection M 221:  John Collier articles in Taos newspaper, 1959-1960
Collection M 053-069:   Pháo Binh – A Marine artillery officer’s letters from Vietnam, 1966-67, by Mark Wakeman Howe

Sounds:  The Center of Southwest Studies, in teamwork with the Collaborative Digitization Program, has provided access to more than 73 hours of recorded sounds from the special collections.

Online digital educational guides to Center of Southwest Studies collections:
K-12 educational components Museum/ archives/ library activity guide  ~  Durango geography/ history lesson plan ideas
Four Lewis College campus historical markers walking tour
Digitization tools for Center of Southwest Studies image access projects

Through its partnership with the Collaborative Digitization Program (CDP) and other sources, the Center of Southwest Studies has digitized 12,211 images selected from a number of collections, for viewing on the Web for educational purposes and research.  To search for some of these digital images of the Center of Southwest Studies and elsewhere, go to Heritage West.

The CDP is supported through a National Leadership Grant to the University of Denver Penrose Library from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (a federal grant-making agency in Washington, D.C., which fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning, by supporting museums and libraries) with additional assistance from the Colorado State Library, and the Colorado Regional Library Systems.

The following table provides links to web pages related to digital images in general:

How to access collections

Collections overview;

Tips for doing long-distance reference at the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Copyright statement

E-mail reference request form

Other institutions' digital images of  Southwest Colorado

Collection F 021: The Durango Collection®

This is an historic textile collection of approximately 150 items that were thoughtfully compiled over several decades by the late Jackson Clark and Mark Winter and Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine.  Click here for information on purchasing beautiful full-color notecards, posters and framed prints of items from the Durango Collection®.  The Center of Southwest Studies has provided digital access to these items by using the existing photographs of the inventoried textiles.  The collection is arranged in the following eight categories:

Archaeological/ Miscellaneous, circa the year 800 to 1920 Navajo Classic, 1750-1875
Serape/ Saltillo Serape, 1750-1940 Historic/ Transitional, 1870-1935
Rio Grande, 1800-1920 Navajo Regional, 1900-1935
Pueblo, 1850-1950 Navajo Contemporary, 1960-current

Collection F 014: Southwest textiles (other than the Durango Collection®)

This is a collection of more than 100 textiles woven in the Southwest U.S. by Navajo Indians, Hispanic Americans, and others.  Each item has been inventoried and is cataloged online.  During the Center's inventory process in the 1990s, staff took Polaroid photos of each item, which we have digitized to improve access to these objects (all of which are now stored in rolled curatorial storage), many of which are large and heavy and thus unwieldy to actually view.  Some of these textiles are also described and drawn in a textiles description ledger (not yet digitized) that was produced by Homer Root at the Center of Southwest Studies several decades ago.  Click here to begin viewing images of these textiles.

Collection M 124: Homer Root's accession ledgers describing objects in the Fort Lewis College museum (Center of Southwest Studies)    Click here to read what Mr. Root thought of his work when he finished drawing in the fifth ledger in early 1969.

The Center of Southwest Studies has digitized each page of the five carefully drawn colored Fort Lewis College artifacts accession ledgers (ca. 1958-1968) describing artifacts (including ancient ceramics and classical textiles) that Homer Root curated at the former Fort Lewis College museum.  Each of the five volumes contains approximately 300 pages of handwritten text and color drawings, for an estimated total of 1,500 images.

Mr. Root did, in effect, for the pre-computer age what the Colorado Digitization Project is setting out to achieve for the World Wide Web age: improving access to a great variety of collection items by a combination of text and images that are linked in such a way as to present the collection holdings in context.  The challenges here was the physical problem of how to safely scan a 13.75" high x 10.5" page in a leather-bound volume that we could not unbind and how to face the intellectual access problem of presenting these images in a way that preserves the unity of the whole volume.  It was the same challenge Mr. Root described at the end of Volume 5 -- for him, the difficulty was to produce oil drawings and error-free entries on the pages of these bound volumes.  To preserve access to the ledgers in their entirety, we decided to scan every page that had any entries on it.  Not all of the pages contain drawings; some pages only contain Mr. Root's handwritten text, in blue ink with his occasional red ink notes of the institution's disposition of the item described.

Volume 1

Accession #s 1958:01001 through 1963:01021 

Volume 2

Accession #s 1963:07001 through 1964:17039 

Volume 3

Accession #s 1965:01001 through 1966:01013 

Volume 4*

Accession #s 1966:02001 through 1968:02007 

Volume 5**

Accession #s 1964:04001
through 1969:01003 

*Pages 3-70 of Volume 4 are Homer Root's Official Report of The Ridges Basin Project -- Archaeological Field Work by Fort Lewis College - four months - May -August 1966.

*Pages 101-119 of Volume 5 are Homer Root's Official Report of The East Divide Ridges Basin Project -- Archaeological Field Work by Fort Lewis College - seven weeks - July -August 1969.  Also, much of Volume 5 features artifacts donated by Mr. & Mrs. G. H. ("Piedad") Lobato.

Collection M 088:  Southwest newspapers

The Center of Southwest Studies has the single most comprehensive collection of newspapers for the Four Corners Region (in other words, the abutting portions of the four adjoining states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah).  These materials are in the original hard copy (newspaper) and/or on rolls of microfilm.  See the online inventories for a detailed listing of these newspapers geographically and by title

The Collaborative Digitization Program has provided access to two of the earliest Durango newspapers, the Durango Democrat and the Durango Wage Earner.  To to view them online, go to the Colorado Digitization Program's Colorado's Historic Newspaper Collection of  several hundred thousand pages of Colorado’s earliest published newspapers circa 1859-1923.  On the "Search All" tab, enter a search term and any other parameters to narrow your search.

The Center of Southwest is producing digital images of its own paper holdings as they are requested by researchers who pay for this service.  Click here to view the beginnings of that project: page 2 of the June 23, 1960 Basin Star shortly after the Democratic Party of Colorado held its convention in Durango.

Collection M 194:  The Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado collection: postcards
Historic post cards of the Four Corners region of Southwest Colorado. 
More than 3,200 postcards, most of them displayed online, showing both sides.

Search the postcard titles hyperlinked database.

Book for sale!

How to determine when a postcard was published.

Volume 1
Durango, early (no chromalithic prints)
Volume 2
Durango, later, and  regional railroads
(chromalithic prints)
Volume 3
Mesa Verde, and Aztec Ruins (N.M.)
Volume 4
Silverton/ Million Dollar Highway/ Animas Canyon
Volume 5
Telluride/ Rico/ 
Ouray/ Ophir
Volume 6
Mancos, Cortez, and other Southwest
 Colorado areas

What should I do with my own collection of old Southwest postcards?  Due to the publication of the San Juan Sampler: Selections from the Nina Heald Webber Postcard Collection (Durango, Colo.: Durango Herald Small Press, 2004), the Center is receiving inquiries.  Here's a suggestion:

E-Bay can be a great resource for you, both to see what related types of postcards are selling for, and for you to sell your own on the Web.  Selling your own may be more than you want to take on, especially for a relatively small number of items.  Perhaps you would be interested in donating them to the Center of Southwest Studies (if they fit the Center's Four Corners collection focus and if the Center doesn't already have them in its holdings).  That way, you could be assured that your cards would be appreciated and preserved, and you could claim a tax credit on your tax return for the market value of the donated cards.  Information about donating to the Center is on the web at   After you sign the deed of gift, the Fort Lewis College Foundation will send you a written acknowledgment of the donation.  For further discussion of this possibility, please contact the Archivist.

Note: The Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado Collection also includes a number of early photographs of the area.  One of them is this image of the Durango Wheel Club at Baker's Bridge, near Trimble Hot Springs in the Animas Valley north of Durango, in 1895.

Collection P 001: General photograph collection
[Note: many of these items are not yet available in digital form, but are available in their original photographic format]

This collection is arranged in broad subject categories, noted below.  These categories were established prior to the 1980s by Robert W. Delaney, the first Director of the Center of Southwest Studies.  At that time, the modern concepts of provenance and original order were not widely practiced, and so this collection was established by merging photographic prints from whatever source into one categorized arrangement.  We have selected for digitization those photoprints that pertain most closely to the Durango area.   The Center chose his photos for this project in part due to the preservation problems they face.  Many decades ago, the photoprints were glued to acidic cardstock pages using rubber cement.  The Center is producing a master photographic negative of each image when a researcher first requests a copy photoprint of the image.

I. Durango (Colo.)
I.1   Durango buildings
I.2   Durango businesses
I.3   Durango churches
I.4   Durango flood of 1911
I.5   Durango residences
I.6   Durango people
I.7   Durango, scenes around
I.8   Durango schools
I.9   Durango special events
I.10 Durango street scenes

III     Railroads
III.1   Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
III.2   Other railroads/ miscellaneous
(See also collection P 026: 2 document cases of Rio Grande Southern Railroad photographs.)

IV     Indians
IV.1   Individuals
IV.2   Navajo
IV.3   Southern Ute
IV.4   Ute
IV.5   Groups of people
IV.6   Blackfeet

II. Other Colorado cities
II.1     Alamosa
II.2     Animas City
II.3     Aspen
II.4     Bayfield
II.5     Canon City
II.6     Central City
II.7     Clear Creek Canyon
II.8     Colorado Springs
II.9     Cripple Creek
II.10    Del Norte
II.11    Delta
II.12    Denver
II.13    Dolores
II.14    Electra Lake
II.15    Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
II.16    Georgetown
II.17    Glenwood Springs
II.18    Golden
II.19    Grand Junction
II.20    Hermosa
II.21    Idaho Springs
II.22    Norwood
II.23    Olathe
II.24    Ignacio
II.25    Leadville
II.26    Mancos
II.27    Matterhorn
II.28    Montezuma
II.29    Montrose
II.30    Ophir Loop (near Telluride)
II.31    Ouray
II.32    Pagosa Springs
II.33    Rico
II.34    Business
II.35    Agriculture
II.36    Silverton
II.37    Telluride
II.38    Trimble Hot Springs
II.39    Other: Colorado's Western Slope
II.40    Other: Colorado's Front Range
II.41    Other: central Colorado (including Lake City)

V     Mining
V.1   Mines near Durango, La Plata Mountains/ SW Colo.
V.2   Porter Fuel Company
V.3   Mines near Silverton (Colo.)
V.4   Miscellaneous mining
V.5   Mining towns in other states

VI     Fort Lewis   (see also the Old Fort web page)
VI.1    Military post
VI.2    Agricultural classes
VI.3    Buildings
VI.4    Indian school
VI.5    Sports
VI.6    Student groups and people
VI.7    Events
VI.8    Scenes with people

VII     Fort Lewis College Durango campus
VII.1    Buildings
VII.2    Student groups
VII.3    Events
VII.4    Miscellaneous

VIII     Colorado
VIII.1     Highways
VIII.2     Scenery
VIII.3     Agriculture
VIII.4     Transportation
VIII.5     Western Colorado Power Company
VIII.6     Special events

IX     Four Corners area

IX.1     Scenery in the Four Corners states

IX.2     Special events

Collection P 008: Ansel Hall collection

Click here to begin viewing the photographs. Click here to search the Monument Valley photo album photographs database.

This collection includes ca. 5,000 photoprints, taken between 1920 and 1938.  The Center of Southwest Studies has provided digital access to the pages of  photos in nine albums documenting Ansel Hall's Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expeditions of 1933-34 (approximately 2,000 sepia toned black and white photographs).  These photos present an Anglo pioneer's early view of indigenous Native American life in the Four Corners region.  The photos show the young white men who went on this expedition (funded by the Ford Motor Company), and they also show Native Americans in pre-Western settings.  

Ansel Hall (1894-1962) probably contributed more than any other individual to the formation and early growth of the interpretive work of the National Park Service.  He left the Park Service in 1938 to operate the concessions in Mesa Verde National Park.  The Center chose these photo album pages for digitization because of their national significance and due to the preservation problems they face.  Many decades ago, the Rainbow Bridge photos were glued to acidic pages using rubber cement.  As those photos fall off there was a danger of losing the identifying descriptions that were written on those pages.  The remainder of this collection has been reboxed archivally. 

Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expedition photo albums overview and entry points:

Vol. 1  Photos by Robert B. Branstead, starts with page 7 (we did not scan the preceding pages, which were stuck together as a result of  water damage) through page 98.

Vol. 2  Photos by Robert B. Branstead, continues from Vol. 1 with with page 99 and goes through 168 (we excluded pages 169 and 170, which were water damaged and illegible)

Vol. 3  Photos by Robert B. Branstead; the pages were not numbered originally; we have numbered the pages starting with page 1 and going through the last page [82].

Vol. 4  Leica photos by Clifford Bond, starts with an introduction page, then page numbers 1 through 106.

(We have no Vol. 5)

Vol. 6  Aerial photos by Thorn L. Mayes, starts with page 491 and goes through page 629.  Thorn Mayes "headed the mapping efforts of the expeditions.  His aerial photography was as significant an innovation as Robert Brewster Stanton's photography of the Grand Canyon when surveying his would-be route for a rail line." (per email 1/17/2002 from Alfred E. Holland, Jr., History Department, California State University, Sacramento)

Vol. 7  Photos by Clifford Bond dated 10/23/1934; the pages were not numbered originally; we have numbered the pages, starting with page 1 and going through the last page (82).

Vol. 8  Leica photos by Clifford Bond dated 10/19/1934; the pages were not numbered originally; we have numbered the pages, starting with page [0] and going through the last page (91).

Vol. 9  Photos by [Grace?] Hoover, 1934, pages not numbered; we have numbered the pages, starting with page  #1 and going through the last page

Vol. 12  Aerial photos by Ansel Hall, 1934, pages not numbered; the pages are numbered by the Center of Southwest Studies starting with page #2 and going through the last page.

Collection P 026: Rio Grande Southern Railroad photographs

Click here to begin viewing the RGS photos. Click here to search the database of these photos.

This narrow gauge railroad ran from Durango to Hesperus, Mancos, Dolores, Rico, Telluride, and Ridgway where it joined with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.  We have produced digital access images of 188 photoprints (i.e., the contents of the first of two document cases of photoprints in this collection P 026) -- which is all of the photos in this collection that show scenes along the 163-mile route of the RGS.  These photoprints were donated to the Center of Southwest Studies by Alfred G. Chione, M.D. of  Illinois (accession #1968:02009).  Dr. Chione shot most of the photos himself, circa 1949-1952.

Collection P 042: Walker Art Studio (Montrose, Colo.) Southwest Colorado historic photonegatives

Click here to begin viewing the Southwest Colorado historic photonegatives. Click here to search the database of these photonegatives.

The Center has produced digital access images of 483 glass plate negatives selected from the Walker Art Studio (Montrose, Colo.) collection (produced by that and other photographic studios of that locale) that the Center of Southwest Studies purchased in 1999 and 2000.  A veritable trove of early 20th century views, many of them identified, these endangered photographs offer hitherto seldom seen views of the Four Corners region.

The entire collection (comprised of accessions 1999:10015 and 2000:05005) includes approximately 5,000 glass plate and cellulose nitrate negatives, most of them without matching prints, most of them taken between 1920 and 1938.  The collection was bought en masse by Fort Lewis College (through funding from the Fort Lewis College Foundation) at a discount from Main Street Photo in Montrose, Colorado, through the agency of Fort Lewis College history/ Southwest Studies professor and Colorado historian Duane Smith who went to the studio and was given permission to bring all of the extant photos to the Center.  The Center chose the glass plates for its digitization project in part due to the preservation problems they face as fragile glass plates, and due to the high volume of use they can be expected to receive.  The Center has archivally re-housed the glass plates and has segregated the cellulose nitrate negatives, which are now stored off-site pending reformatting in a more stable medium. 

Collection P 049: Alton H. Blackington Southwest photographs

Click here to begin viewing the images. Click here to search the database of these photos.

This collection consists of glass plates, cellulose nitrate film transparencies, and a few lantern slides.  Most date from the mid- 1930s.  Most of the approximately 430 images in this collection have been digitized for online access.  Some (especially those that show views prior to the 1930s) are photographs of photographs.  This collection is useful for anyone researching the history of these Southwestern topics, professors and students seeking visual materials for classroom instruction, and persons seeking the oft-elusive depictions of everyday scenes of  life during this period.  The size of most is 4x5” (some are slightly smaller).  Subjects include Mesa Verde, Taos, Taos Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Carlsbad Caverns, Penitentes, and Indians and scenes in the Southwest.  The photos seem to have been compiled and labeled by Alton Hall Blackington, who evidently took some or most of the images.  It seems that Mr. Blackington compiled these photos for use in his traveling lecture show entitled "Turquoise Truths," which his pamphlet described as "A 10,000-mile camera trip through canyons and deserts of our glorious Southwest. Hopis and Navajos. Carlsbad Caverns. Taos, Grand Canyon. `Sky City of Acoma'."

Collection P 051:  Tom O. and H. Lucille Kimball Indian Collection photographs

Click here to begin viewing the images. Click here to search the database of these photos.

This collection consists of 39 historic photo images of Native Americans of the Southwest (including 16 photos by the Pennington Studios of Durango, Colorado, and 1 by Matthew Brady) and of  Mesa Verde.  Most of these photos were donated to the Center of Southwest Studies through gifts by Dustin Kimball in April and May of 2003; others were loaned to the Center by him for reproduction, including digitization for online access.

Doing your own research:
  This description of a portion of the collections at the Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies is provided to inform interested parties about the nature and depth of the repository's collections.  It cannot serve as a substitute for a visit to the repository for those with substantial research interests in the collections.

This collection is located at the Center of Southwest Studies on the campus of Fort Lewis College.  Researchers wanting more information about using this material at the Delaney Southwest Research Library at the Center may email the archivist at or click here to use our E-mail Reference Request Form (or phone the archivist at 970/247-7126).  The Center does not have a budget for outgoing long-distance phone calls to answer reference requests, so please email if you wish to receive a response from the Center.  To request reproductions/copies, click here for instructions.

K-12 educational components:

Behind the Scenes: An activity guide for (high school age and above) virtual visitors to the Center of Southwest Studies

The Changing Landscape of Durango, Colo., as seen in aerial postcard views, etc.: An activity guide for middle school students

(Click here for additional K-12 educational tools and helps beyond the Center of Southwest Studies.)

Digitization standards

Other inventories describing collections at the Center of Southwest Studies

Information for doing research at the Center of Southwest Studies

Center of Southwest Studies

Page revised: September 11, 2008