Established by John Cotton Dana in 1889, the Denver Public Library filled a great need for this fast growing western city which its citizens had previously relied on traveling trunks of books. In 1910, the library procured a major benefactor, American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and with his patronage the library began a vast growth period which has made it the largest library between Chicago and Los Angeles. Today, the Denver Public Library houses a vast collection of more than 2 million items and it proudly boasts that 79 percent of the city’s residents are card-carrying members who borrow close to 10 million items annually. The Denver Public Library holds a particularly stunning collection of photography, maps, fine art and prints from the American West including works by such masters as Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. The Western History collection specializes in all aspects of 19th and 20th century development of the land west of the Mississippi. Highlights include: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, the Civil War and reconstruction, the Indian Wars and Native American life industry and transportation, Gilded Age architecture and leisure, the Great Depression and the civil rights struggle. Of particular note is the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, the only library of its kind between Detroit and the West Coast. The Blair-Caldwell collection focuses on the history, art and culture of African-Americans in the Rocky Mountain West.

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