E. Deane Hunton and Steamboat

E. Deane Hunton was born in Virginia in 1885. When he was three years old his family moved out around Wheatland, Wyoming.

E. Deane Hunton attended the University of Wyoming where he obtained a degree in mining engineering. During his time here, Hunton lettered in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. He also was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi, a national commerce fraternity. Along with these accomplishments, E. Deane Hunton received an MBA degree from Harvard University. Hunton worked for the war trade board during the last two years of World War I in Washington D.C. In 1922-1923, he traveled overseas to Europe for a yearlong sabbatical.

  • newspaper article
  • photo of men's basketball team

Amongst these many achievements, one stands out as having the longest legacy; Hunton was the creator of the University of Wyoming’s infamous Steamboat logo. In 1909, Hunton found a picture of the cowboy, Guy Holt, riding the bucking horse, Steamboat. Hunton quickly sketched it out and sent it in to the baseball team to use on their uniforms. When he became the faculty manager for the University of Wyoming athletics, he implemented the design onto all the athletic uniforms. The University of Wyoming now oversees the trademark for this logo for both the school and the state.

  • man riding a bucking bronc in the middle of a field
  • Cowboy Homecoming nametag

Additionally, the 1937 Wyoming license plates used the Steamboat logo and University of Wyoming colors by suggestion of E. Deane Hunton. These licenses plates commemorated the University of Wyoming’s 50th anniversary.

newpaper article
Newspaper clipping of the article run in The Branding Iron about Hunton’s achievement of getting the University colors and Steamboat onto the 1937 license plates. E. Deane Hunton Collection, Accession Number 400069, Box 6, Book 12, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The visual materials in this collection cover everything in E. Deane Hunton’s personal and professional life from all around the world. It is at the American Heritage Center under the collection title, E. Deane Hunton Collection, or the collection number, 400069. Contact the American Heritage Center if you would like to learn more about this fascinating man!

Blog contribution by: Anne-Marie Stratton , Carlson Endowment Student Intern


Posted in Local history, Sports and Recreation, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legacy of Zdeněk Salzmann for the Arapaho (Hinónoʼeiteen)[1]

November is Native American Heritage month. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) refers to it as a “month to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native People.” [2] That celebration started in 1990, when George H. W. Bush “approved a joint resolution designating November [as] Native American Heritage Month.”[3]

Zdeněk Salzmann, an anthropological linguist, traveled to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, to research the Arapaho language and culture.  His project, which was part of his PhD thesis, started in 1949, but continued in the 1950s, 1960s and later in the 1980s, when this time he was acting as principal investigator for the “Arapaho Cultural Heritage Reinforcement project” with the University of Massachusetts.

His work involved interviews with the elders that were fluent in Arapaho, inquiring about their customs, but also researching the vocabulary, verbs, songs, tales and folklore, also creating an English-Arapaho dictionary out of index cards.  In 1963, he published his thesis, “A Sketch of Arapaho Grammar”.

Arapaho translated songs
Translated songs, Box 15, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Collection #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wymoing.
translation of body parts from Arapaho to English
Body parts, Box 15, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Collection #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

For the Wind River Indian Reservation tribe, the preservation of their culture is becoming increasingly important. Only a few dozen amongst the elders speak it fluently. The use of the language was put aside in schools when the missionaries settled on the reservation in the late 1800s until the late 1930’s. Only English was allowed to be spoken in the classroom of the St. Stephens Indian Boarding School.[4]

In 2010, UNESCO listed the language as severely endangered, but efforts to bring back the daily use of the Arapaho Language, started in 2000, when the Tribe got a chance to partner with a linguistics professor from the University of Colorado Boulder.  Andrew Cowell used the research material created by Salzmann, and over the years, it led to the creation of a dictionary, edited three times, and was produced using the index cards that Zdeněk Salzmann created. Andrew Cowell’s project also includes an outreach website which can serve as an educational tool, about the Arapaho language and culture.

Source: http://www.unesco.org/languages-atlas/en/atlasmap/language-id-1455.html
Arapaho language dictionary cards
Letter “A”, dictionary cards, Box 18, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Coll. #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Arapaho Language Project[5] is ongoing, and the Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation, benefits from tools such as websites, phone apps and video tutorials used by the students in the classrooms.[6] 

To learn more about the Arapaho language and culture, see the Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers at the American Heritage Center. Part of the collection is also available digitally.

[1] https://verbs.colorado.edu/arapaho/public/view_search
[2] http://www.ncai.org/initiatives/native-american-heritage-month
[3] https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/about/
[4] Meyers, Micalea. “Revitalizing the Arapaho Language.UWyo: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming, vol. 21, no. 1, 2019, pp. 24-28.
[5] https://www.colorado.edu/p13d6ec61edd/
[6] Simpson, Kevin. “To Save Their Dying Language, the Arapaho turn to High-tech Apps, Old-school Flash Cards and a New Generation.” Denver Post, 23 April 2017, Accessed 23 October 2019.

Blog contribution by: Alexandra Cardin, Archival Processor at the AHC


Posted in American Indian history, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Finding Aids: November 2019

We’ve had a productive fall (read: winter) processing even more collections over the past few months. Here’s another round of finding aids we’ve published so you can see what we’ve been up to.

As a reminder, Finding Aids act as a table of contents for our collections. These aids help you find information about specific collections we have, and the information contained in the collections. We create these aids so it’s easier for researchers to figure out if collection is relevant to their work.

The strengths of our collections include Wyoming and the American West, politics and public policy, ranching and energy, entertainment and popular culture, industry, transportation, and military history. The documents and archives we hold serve as raw data for scholarship and heritage work, and support thriving communities of place, identity, and interest in Wyoming and beyond.

hallway of archival materials and shelving

Finding Aid Updates (from collections processed 7/11/19 – 10/10/19)

Petroleum developer J.H. Rowe. Rowe was a Montana businessman who developed oil fields in the early 1900s.

Oil investor Charles F. Moon. Moon invested in Victor Ziegler’s Bonanza Oil Company which drilled successfully in Wyoming in the 1950s.

City engineer W.E. Zipfel. Zipfel worked in Laramie’s Chief Engineer’s office platting railroad and telephone lines.

Oil executive William L. Connelly. Connelly headed a Sinclair oil subsidiary in Wyoming at the time of the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Photojournalist Phil Brodatz. Brodatz won top honors for his photographs at the 1964 World’s Fair, and his images appeared on UNICEF Christmas cards.

NASA scientist and psychologist Richard F. Haines. Haines documented and studied UFO sightings.

Actor and writer Joseph Julian. Julian worked with Norman Corwin and Orson Welles before being blacklisted in the 1950s.

Laramie business Knight Oil Company. The Knight family operated a garage, car dealership, and oil company.

Continental Oil Company materials. Included are reports from Rocky Mountain oilfields in the 1920s.

Laramie pharmacist Charles Settele. Settele’s pharmacy operated for 17 years and was known throughout Wyoming.

The AHC has digitized and made accessible online 4340 negatives from the Ludwig & Svenson Studio photographs collection #00167.

Ludwig & Svenson Studio was a family owned photography studio in Laramie, Wyoming during the twentieth century. Originally named Svenson Photography, the studio was established by Henning Svenson in 1905. In 1943, Svenson Photography was purchased by Walter B. Ludwig, who renamed it Ludwig & Svenson Studio. The business was later renamed Ludwig Photography. The company mainly served a local clientele and was also known for its photographs of Laramie and its scenic photographs of Wyoming.

The collection contains negatives, interpositives, and prints of Laramie, Wyoming residents, Laramie public school students, and University of Wyoming groups, students, and other affiliates; photographs of Laramie architecture including the University of Wyoming, businesses, and houses; and Wyoming scenes including Sand Creek and King Brothers Ranch, images of organizations and groups within Laramie, and events in Laramie and at the University of Wyoming.

These and other AHC collections can be discovered in the University of Wyoming Libraries catalog. We are open for walk-in research on Mondays 10 am – 7 pm and Tuesdays through Fridays 8 am – 5 pm. For distance research assistance please contact our reference department at ahcref@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3756.


Posted in Digital collections, energy resources, Finding Aids, Hollywood history, Laramie, Local history, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, Natural resources, newly cataloged collections, newly processed collections, resources, Teapot Dome scandal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting the Women Back into Women’s Suffrage

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the passage of Wyoming’s woman suffrage law.  Wyoming’s women were voting and holding public office decades before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  Indeed, the successful implementation of woman suffrage in Wyoming and other western states was critical to the nationwide success of the women’s movement for voting rights.  By empowering its women, Wyoming was essentially conducting a social experiment – one that was closely watched by both supporters and opponents of suffrage.  And, the experiment proved successful – western women voted and held public office, proving that woman suffrage could work.

red pennant with "Wyoming" and a chicken
Pennant that was used in a presentation given by Mary Bellamy in Washington D.C. in 1917, when she was supporting the war effort and the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment. AHC Mary Bellamy Collection 000045 Box 1

Note with pennant says: “Red pennant which Mrs. Mary Bellamy used to illustrate a talk at the Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., 1917. Donated by Mary C. Bellamy.”

And yet, while the story of the passage of Wyoming’s suffrage bill has been told many times, there is still much about this suffrage history that we do not know.  In particular, we do not fully understand the ways in which the right to vote and hold office impacted the lives of ordinary Wyoming women, or their impact on the history of the state.  If we want to have an accurate understanding of how women got the vote and what they did with it, we need to tell those women’s stories. 

But this is not always easy to do.  One of the challenges of writing the history of women in the nineteenth century is finding sources.  When a historian sits down to write a political history of the nineteenth or early twentieth century, men dominate the historical record.  Men show up in many places in the sources – in administrative government documents, in proceedings of legislatures and in newspaper reports.  But because this is an era in which it was generally not “respectable” for women to operate in the public sphere, there is rarely a public record of women’s activities.  Women were largely excluded from power and from public life, and so women’s voices are usually left out of these types of sources.   And even women who were involved with politics or activism often considered it unwomanly to publicize their activities. 

Accordingly, histories of woman suffrage in Wyoming often focus on the men who were involved in passing and implementing the bill. And certainly these men are important – without their actions, women’s suffrage could never have come to Wyoming.  But at the same time, their story is not the full story. 

Finding out what the women were doing and thinking requires a fair amount of detective work.  Fortunately, the American Heritage Center has many archival materials related to Wyoming women that can help us to understand the nuances and complexities of the period.  The lack of public records created by or about women in this era means that scholars must often rely on private documents such as letters, diaries, family histories and family photographs in order to understand the lives and motivations of women.  Fortunately, the AHC has several rich collections that shed light on important political women.  Supported by a research grant from the AHC, I was able to spend some of the summer of 2019 digging through some of the rich and interesting materials held in these collections.    

letter written in cursive
1871 Letter from Amalia Post to her sister, describing her jury service. Morton Post Papers, 01362

One of the most important collections is the letters of Amalia Post.  Post was a vocal advocate for women’s rights.  In 1870, the first year in which women had the vote, Post was one of two women who served on the Laramie County Republican Central Committee.  That committee nominated two women for office in the September 1870 election.  Neither woman won her race, but both secured more than 40% of the vote.  Post also served on one of the first juries to include women, and when the territorial legislature attempted to repeal suffrage in 1871, Post lobbied the governor to save it.  Post also met national leaders of the suffrage movement and was named a Lifetime Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.   Without the advocacy of women like Post, woman suffrage in Wyoming might have fizzled out or been repealed.  But she took action to see that it was secure and was enacted in practice as well as in law. 

typed letter
Letter discussing the election of the all-female city government of Jackson Hole in 1920. From the Grace Raymond Hebard Papers 400008 Box 26, Folder 3.

The AHC also holds the files of Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard.   Hebard was deeply influential in the development of the University of Wyoming and served the institution for more than forty-five years in a variety of roles.  She was also a member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. She recognized that Wyoming had played a unique and important role in the women’s rights movement, and she attempted to preserve and document that history.  Hebard’s own writings on the topic have been debunked by more recent scholars, but nevertheless, her files still serve as valuable sources.   Hebard had connections in every part of the state, and she gathered information on women’s political history from a vast network of correspondents.  She and her students clipped newspapers, preserved documents, and gathered primary accounts related to women who served in elected office.  Dr. Hebard also corresponded with national suffrage leaders, and these letters provide insight into the role Wyoming played in the national movement.

sheet music with flag and handwriting on it
Sheet music was composed for Emma Smith DeVoe, one of the most important suffrage activists in the American West. The DeVoes were friends of Mary Bellamy, and this song was performed at many suffrage campaigns. AHC Mary Bellamy Collection 000045 Box 1

And finally, the AHC also preserves records of women who were active in early Wyoming politics.  Wyoming’s suffrage law granted not only the right to vote but also to hold office.  One woman who pioneered in this area was Mary Bellamy, whose papers are held at AHC.  Bellamy was elected Superintendent of Schools in Albany County in 1902.  In 1910 she became the first woman elected to the Wyoming State Legislature, serving in the 1911 session.  Bellamy was Wyoming’s representative in Washington D.C. during the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment.  The AHC houses collections related to all of these activities.

This is just a small sampling of the many rich women’s sources available from the AHC.  There is still much to be learned about the women who voted and served in office in the early days of the Equality State.

Blog contribution by Jennifer Helton, Assistant Professor of History at Ohlone College. Helton was a 2019 AHC Travel Grant recipient and will be presenting as part of the Women’s Suffrage Symposium at the University of Wyoming Nov. 7 – 8.

For more information on Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming, check out the Wyoming State Libraries Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming Libguide.


Posted in grants, Laramie, Local history, Suffrage -- United States, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Women -- suffrage, women's history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Archives Rewind Vol. 8 (Halloween Edition)

It’s the last week of October, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t pay homage to Halloween with this edition of Archives Rewind — our occasional highlights of past “Archives on the Air” programs.

Let’s rewind for Vol. 8 (Halloween Edition)…

Episode 160: Monster Suit Appendicitis

While filming Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, actor Kenpachrio Satsuma got appendicitis and had to have surgery while still in the monster suit.

man in monster suit for Godzilla movie
Publicity photo from Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster of actor Kenpachiro Satsuma as Hedorah, the smog monster, 1971. Box 106, Forrest J. Ackerman papers.

Episode 138: Detectives & Dracula

Eric Taylor was a screenwriter in the 1930s and 40s. He wrote 1945’s Dick Tracy movie and six Universal monster movies — including Son of Dracula.

Detective Story Magazine cover with two people on cover and text
Cover of “Detective” magazine, a pulp fiction publication, May 1930. Box 1, Eric Taylor papers.

Episode 116: The Haunter In The Dark

Famed sci-author H.P. Lovecraft mentored Robert Bloch. In 1935, Bloch wrote a story with a character based on Lovecraft.

black and white magazine cover with drawing of four foxes
Khatru 5 science fiction magazine cover, undated. Box 59, Robert Bloch papers.

Episode 99: How to Become A Werewolf

In 1953, Forrest Ackerman co-created the magazine “Famous monsters of Filmland.” Fans often wrote letters, asking questions about sci-fi movies. One fan wrote the magazine about werewolves…

pencil drawing of a werewolf
A fan drawing of the Wolfman that was sent to Forrest Ackerman, undated. Box 50, Forrest Ackerman papers.

The purpose of the Archives Rewind series is to highlight episodes from our “Archives on the Air” segment that airs on Wyoming Public Media.

“Archives on the Air” can be heard on Wyoming Public Radio Monday through Friday at 11:50 am, and 6:50 pm or online on Wyoming Public Media’s website.


Posted in Archives on the Air, Authors and literature, Horror, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giant Gila Monster

Last Halloween, we brought you a blog post on The Killer Shrews, a low-budget horror movie shot in Dallas, Texas, and released in 1959.  What is the film’s connection to the American Heritage Center?  We hold the papers of Forrest J. Ackerman, the editor of the fanzine “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” and that collection includes a poster for The Killer Shrews.

decorative movie poster image with text
The Giant Gila Monster movie poster

This year’s Halloween blog post focuses on The Giant Gila Monster (1959), which was also shot in Dallas, Texas, and a poster of which is also included in the Ackerman papers.  Like The Killer Shrews, The Giant Gila Monster, which Wikipedia describes as a “hot rod/monster/science fiction film,” takes as its antagonist an aberration of nature—the title creature.  As such, it is akin to other 1950s science-fiction movies such as Them! (1954 – giant ants), Tarantula! (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), The Giant Claw (1957), and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959).  Both The Killer Shrews and The Giant Gila Monster were financed and produced by Gordon McLendon, a Texas radio pioneer and owner of a chain of drive-in theatres who also provided the voiceover narration for the latter.  That movie was co-written and directed by Ray Kellogg, who also directed The Killer Shrews and another movie produced and financed by McLendon, My Dog, Buddy (1960).  (Kellogg is also credited with co-directing, with John Wayne, the notorious The Green Berets (1968).)

The Giant Gila Monster movie trailer

All three McLendon-financed movies were produced by actor Ken Curtis, who also appeared in The Killer Shrews and My Dog Buddy.  Curtis is probably best known for his role as Festus in almost 300 episodes of the TV series Gunsmoke (1955-1975).  He also appeared in numerous films directed by John Ford, perhaps most famously as Charlie McCorry in The Searchers (1956). 

A clip from The Searchers film, in which McCorry, who is wearing a dark vest, and Martin Pawley, played by Jeffrey Hunter, fight for the affections of Laurie Jorgensen, played by Vera Miles.

As for The Giant Gila Monster, you can see it online in several versions, including the original black-and-white version, a colorized version, and a comedic (or, more specifically, an intentionally comedic) Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version

The American Heritage has numerous collections devoted to various aspects of popular culture, including movies, comic books, and television.

Blog contribution by Roger Simon, AHC Simpson Institute Archivist


Posted in Horror, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once A Cowboy, Always A Cowboy: The History of Homecoming at the University of Wyoming

Today, homecoming celebrations are often associated with fall and football, but it may not always have been true.  The tradition of homecoming is generally a celebration of welcoming former students and members of high schools, colleges, or churches within the United States to celebrate an organization’s existence.[1]  This definition does not explicitly involve football, so the question remains about the origins of homecoming celebrations within the United States and at the University of Wyoming.

two people on a parade float that reads "Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy"
Homecoming Parade, 2015. UW Photo.

The history of homecoming celebrations is ambiguous.  It is often recognized as taking place in September or October and revolving around a central event such as football, basketball, or soccer game so that alumni and former students can join in rooting for their alma mater with current students and the community.  Historically, most homecoming celebrations include a homecoming court, parade, tailgate or picnic, pep rally, alumni band, and homecoming dance.

large group of dressed up people standing in gymnasium
University of Wyoming Homecoming Dance, Laramie, Wyoming, 1927 (Negative Number 14851.1), Box 11, Ludwig & Svenson Studio Photographs, Accession Number 167, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Many schools have claimed to have held the first homecoming celebrations.  The list includes Baylor University in 1909, Southwestern University in 1909, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1910, and the University of Missouri in 1911.  The main events for these homecoming celebrations were the parade and football game, where the opponent is usually the home team’s rival.

paper with text
ASUW Homecoming Committee, Box 30, Folder ASUW Correspondence Telegrams, 1919-1920, Samuel H. Knight papers, Collection #400044, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming Alumni Association, established on March 26, 1895, established an annual gathering for former students and alumni of the University of Wyoming centered around commencement.[2]  The gathering usually took place in the summer months, primarily in June, and activities took place over five days.  The reunions usually included music recitals, baccalaureate ceremonies, the Cadet Ball, an alumni banquet, an alumni play, commencement, an official meeting of the alumni association, and many small-group gatherings. [3] 

letter with text
ASUW Alumni Invitation Letter, Box 30, Folder ASUW Correspondence Telegrams, 1919-1920. Samuel H. Knight papers, Collection #400044, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The first annual banquet and business meeting of the Alumni of the University of Wyoming occurred on June 20, 1895 at the Ladies Study Hall.  Annual dues for the members were set at 25 cents per person; in addition to the annual dues, members in attendance of the annual gathering were required to pay an extra dollar per person.  To put this in perspective, one dollar in 1895 is approximately equal to $29.89 in 2018.  Mrs. Reiger furnished refreshments for sixteen at $11, and members provided ice and cake.[4] At the annual business meeting, elections were held.

Despite previous years of alumni gatherings, October of 1922 is attributed as the official documented date of the University of Wyoming’s first homecoming. Dr. Samuel H. Knight, an alumnus of the University of Wyoming and professor of Geology, served as the president of the Alumni Association from 1921-1924 and served on the athletic committee.  Knight was keen on the national movement of coinciding football with homecoming celebrations and was instrumental in collaborating with the Alumni Association to move the alumni celebrations to coincide with the first football game of the 1922 season. Part of this effort included having an official setting for alumni, former and current students, faculty, staff, and the community to enjoy the games while creating a revenue stream to continue the athletic programs.  Although Wyoming football origins date as early as 1893, the football games were played in Prexy’s Pasture. 

black and white photo of group of men -- a football team.
Black and white photograph of the University of Wyoming football team, 1895 (Negative number 21209 and 25483), Box 11 A, Folder 9, Holliday Family Papers, Collection #347, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

In 1922, Knight fundraised, used his own monies and sweat equity and community connections to establish Corbett field as the new football field.   Knight also worked diligently with alumni and students to finish building the bleachers on the old Corbett field in time for the game.  It was a true community effort.

letter with text to citizens of Laramie
Thank You Letter to the Citizens of Laramie, Box 8, Folder Office-Homecoming 1929, University of Wyoming. College of Engineering and Applied Science records, Collection #550000, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Over the years alumni reunions have been replaced with homecoming and as a result of and in conjunction with societal changes, the traditions of homecoming have changed.  In 1921, the University granted its first honorary degree, an LL.D. degree, to Carrie Chapman Catt, a leading advocate for women’s suffrage.[5]  That year, Catt not only received the honorary degree but also gave the commencement speech.  Despite the first honorary degree being awarded 11 years earlier, it wasn’t until 1932 that honorary degrees became an accepted procedure. 

Beginning in 1922, the homecoming celebrations evolved and included class reunions, open houses, the homecoming dance, homecoming parades, and the football game.[6] Homecoming served as a way for the alumni, current students, and the community to come together to celebrate.  Most memorable is parade floats, which usually the fraternities, sororities, and campus organizations funded themselves.  Each year a theme would be announced and the parade floats would relate to the theme. Due to the costs of creating floats, there was discussion of canceling the parades certain years, but significant pushback from students and the community makes it one of the most beloved activities to this day. 

paper with text
Homecoming Schedule of events from 1931. AHC UW Photo Files, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Fast forward to today. Homecoming traditions of old exist and new traditions have come to be. One of the oldest traditions for UW’s Homecoming is the annual Homecoming Sing. The program is hosted by Iron Skull – UW’s junior honorary organization. The group coordinates many student organizations, fraternities, and sororities participating in an annual sing and dance competition. Groups take the music to songs and change the lyrics to match the homecoming theme.

In recent years, student group competitions have become popular to get students excited for Homecoming. The competitions often incorporate Homecoming Sing, UW Athletics annual car push competition, and other various competition-style programs throughout the week. In addition to alumni and community-focused programs, other student-focused activities occur throughout the week such as the ASUW annual barbeque.

a student on knees in a pile of shaving cream searching for words
A Homecoming Week Spirit Relay was held on Prexy’s Pasture on Oct. 13, 2015. Student teams participated in a variety of tasks to race against the clock. The Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) won the relay. Aaron Anderson, of LDSSA, searches for phrases in the shaving cream tarp. The winning phrase was the Homecoming theme, “Once a Cowboy, Always A Cowboy.” UW Photo.

One newer tradition that started in the fall of 2013 is The Big Event. Since it’s creation The Big Event has acted as the annual homecoming week kick-off event. The purpose of the program is to promote campus and community unity as UW students come together for a day to do service-oriented activities in the surrounding community. Hundreds of students gather early in the morning to receive their volunteer assignments and then go out into Laramie to provide support to community residents through the afternoon. The program serves as a way for students to say “Thank You” to their community.

person with shovel doing yard work
The Big Event, UW’s annual Homecoming Kickoff event was held on Oct. 10, 2015. Hundreds of students visited dozens of locations and homes across Laramie for a day of community service. Some painted homes, helped out with yard work or cleaned up trash. UW Photo.

The culmination of the student competitions ends with student groups, departments, and community groups taking part in the annual parade. The parade happens the same day as the football game – and is another great way for community members, students, and alumni to come together and celebrate.

And though some things have changed throughout the years — the purpose of Homecoming has always remained the same for the University of Wyoming. It will always serve as a way to build and reinforce our Poke Pride for students, alums, and the community.

Homecoming 2019 kicks off on Saturday, October 12 with The Big Event and this year’s theme is “Breaking Through.” For a complete listing of events and activities taking place, please visit the UW Homecoming website. Additionally, the AHC will have University of Wyoming items on display the October 1 – October 19. Our hours of operation are available on the AHC website.

The American Heritage Center serves as the official repository for the University of Wyoming (UW) Archives. The UW Archives not only collects the official records of the university but also accepts donations of materials documenting experiences of alumni, former students, staff, administration, faculty, and affiliated entities of the University.  Please contact Sara Davis, university archivist, by email, sarad@uwyo.edu, or 307-766-6832 for more information.

Have fun memories of Homecoming as a student, alum or community member? Leave us a comment below!

[1] Wikipedia. Homecoming. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homecoming

[2] Minute Book, 1891-1899 Box 2, Folder 2, University of Wyoming. Alumni Relations Records, Collection Number 512002, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

[3] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 100.

[4] Minute Book, 1891-1899 Box 2, Folder 2, University of Wyoming. Alumni Relations Records, Collection Number 512002, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

[5] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 232.

[6] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 101.

Research and blog written by Sara Davis, University Archivist with contributions from Jennifer Kirk, the AHC’s Marketing & Communications Specialist


Posted in Athletics, community collections, Current events, Student Life, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Fandom to Fanfiction to Nonfiction: Researching the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary

In 2008, when I rediscovered Alias Smith and Jones (ASJ), a 1970s TV show I watched as a kid, I had no idea that several years later I’d be writing a book about the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary.  Revisiting ASJ on DVD led me to online message boards about it and then to reading fan-fiction based on the show.  Eventually I began writing my own ASJ fan-fiction. 

black and white image. Two men in cowboy outfits and hats
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry and Pete Duel as Hannibal Hayes in Alias Smith and Jones; Press Release photo, December 15, 1970. Public domain image. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alias_Smith_and_Jones_1970.jpg

That’s when I got into researching the Old West.  I became more and more interested in the actual history of the West and less interested in writing fictional stories about it. 

In 2011, I visited the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary in Laramie with friends from one of the ASJ message boards.  It was a fascinating place and I wanted to know more about it. 

Although a book listing all the convicts who’d been incarcerated there was available, I didn’t see anything that was a general history of the penitentiary.  So I decided that I would write a book about it myself.

black and white image of two older buildings -- one is a prison
Image of the Wyoming Territorial Prison from September 1903. Buffum negative number 971 Source: University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, B. C. Buffum Papers, Accession Number 400055, Box 32, Item 28

My first research trip was to the Denver Public Library’s Western History Collection in 2012, followed by a trip to the Wyoming State Archives in 2013.  In 2017, I went to the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary State Historic Site to discuss my project with Ms. Deborah Cease, the site superintendent, and use the library at the site to continue my research.

We decided that the book would be a pictorial history, using images to tell the story of the penitentiary.  Ms. Cease told me the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming had lots of information about the prison.  I knew I’d have to return to Laramie and visit the AHC at some point.

I also knew I’d have to go to the National Archives in Washington because that was where most of the information about the penitentiary during Territorial times was located.  In the fall of 2018, I spent a week doing research there.  But I didn’t get through everything and have to return to NARA when I get the chance.

I knew the AHC offered travel grants to researchers who wanted to use their collections.  I decided that this year I was far enough along with my project to apply for one.  I received an email in June notifying me I’d been awarded a travel grant and made plans to visit in July.

woman posing sitting with hat, computer and book on desk.
Susan Schwartz presents her research findings during her visit to the AHC in July.

What a productive trip it was!  I searched through 22 collections during my week at the AHC.  It was exciting to find material I’d never seen before.  

I was elated to discover, for example, photographs of a doctor who worked at the penitentiary, UW professors who gave lectures to inmates, and an ex-convict and his wife.  I also found images of Fort Sanders, which confined convicts before the penitentiary was built, and photos and maps of Laramie, some of which pictured the prison.

In addition, I found correspondence about renovating the prison in 1889, 1890 census data for Wyoming, and an 1891 contract between James Marsh and the State of Wyoming for operating the prison.  Some of the collections I consulted included copies of articles from 19th century Laramie newspapers, which offered a different perspective of the penitentiary from the official documents that I found.

I’d like to thank all the people at the American Heritage Center who so kindly helped me with my research.  The wealth of material I located in the week I spent there will greatly enrich my book about the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary.

Blog contribution by Susan L. Schwartz, a 2019 travel grant recipient.

Follow her on social media and her blog:
Picturing the West Instagram –
Picturing the West Blog –


Posted in grants, Laramie, Local history, motion picture history, Research grants, television history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Continuing the Conversation: “Breaking the Boom and Bust Cycle: Viewpoints from Southwest Wyoming”

The AHC’s Simpson Institute for Western Politics and Leadership is continuing the conversation on Wyoming’s economic future, this time from Southwest Wyoming. A recording of the inaugural event held in April at Laramie County Community College (Cheyenne campus) can be found on the Simpson Institute website.

On October 9, 2019, the Simpson Institute is collaborating with Western Wyoming Community College to host a discussion, “Breaking the Boom and Bust Cycle: Viewpoints from Southwest Wyoming.” This free public event will be at 6:30 PM in the Western Theater on the WWCC campus.

group of people sitting at head table with microphones looking at person at podium speaking
From left to right: Rep.Sara Burlingame, Samuel Western looking at Pete Simpson at the podium. Behind the podium is Rep. Cathy Connolly, Rep. Sue Wilson, and former Rep. Michael Madden at the Breaking the Boom and Bust Cycle: Viewpoints from Southeast Wyoming program last spring in Cheyenne.

Moderating the discussion is former Wyoming Governor and U.S. Ambassador Mike Sullivan. Panelists are former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, Sen. Dan Dockstader (R-District 16, Lincoln, Teton, Sublette counties), Sen. Tara Nethercott (R-District 04, Cheyenne) and Wyoming author Samuel Western.

The discussion will focus on Wyoming’s vision for the future from a socioeconomic standpoint. What is working? What requires change? What is success? The discussion will occur in the spirit of UW Professor Anne Alexander’s statement at the 2017 Southeast Wyoming Economic Report Luncheon, “It’s not going to get better unless we make it better…There’s no cavalry on the way. We’re the cavalry…” There will be a period at the end of the program for audience comments and questions.

Having this discussion in this part of Wyoming is particularly opportune as minerals-rich Southwest Wyoming grapples with a downturn in the energy market. But that doesn’t mean  good things aren’t happening. Groups such as the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition are working with those interested in starting, growing or sustaining their businesses in this part of the state. The event moderator and panelists have been in trenches working on issues related to Wyoming’s economy and will share their thoughts, plans, and experiences.

Wyoming PBS will livestream the event and will most likely broadcast a 60-minute edition of the program at a later date.

Co-sponsors of the event are the Wyoming Humanities Council, WWC Foundation, John W. Hay III, and Bernadine Craft.

For more information about the event, call Leslie Waggener at (307) 766-2557 or email lwaggen2@uwyo.edu.

Posted in Alan K. Simpson Institute for Western Politics and Leadership, announcements, Economic Geology, Economic History, energy resources, events, Natural resources, resources, Western history, western politics and leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

New Finding Aids: September 2019

Another productive month for our archivists at the American Heritage Center. Here’s another round of finding aids we’ve published so you can see what collections we’ve recently processed.

As a reminder, Finding Aids act as a table of contents for our collections. These aids help you find information about specific collections we have, and the information contained in the collections. We create these aids so it’s easier for researchers to figure out if collection is relevant to their work.

The strengths of our collections include Wyoming and the American West, politics and public policy, ranching and energy, entertainment and popular culture, industry, transportation, and military history. The documents and archives we hold serve as raw data for scholarship and heritage work, and support thriving communities of place, identity, and interest in Wyoming and beyond.

person standing on stool in archive area pulling a box down
Clarissa Nord, of Arvada, CO is getting her master’s degree in public administration. She hopes to attend law school, work for the government, a public organization or in a nonprofit position that would serve the community. Clarissa loves working at the American Heritage Center as an archives aid, and is photographed in the collections area of the AHC.

Finding Aid Updates (from collections processed 7/11/19 – 8/12/19)

GP Bar Ranch films. The Gannett Peak Bar Ranch was a dude ranch in northwest Wyoming.

Andy Lewis scripts. Lewis wrote the screenplay for the movie “Klute.”

Wyoming Legislature House and Senate bills. Contains proposed and passed bills, resolutions, and memorials.

Harry S. Bossart oil field maps. Bossart was a Midwest Refining Company employee in the Salt Creek Field.

University of Wyoming African American and Diaspora Studies Program. Included are student projects from “The Black West” seminar class in 2016.

Ohio Oil Company materials. The company’s operations in Utah and Wyoming are documented in photographs.

Petroleum geologist Jean Paul Gerlough. Gerlough helped to develop the Kevin Sunburst oil field in Montana.

Geologist Carroll H. Wegemann. Wegemann examined oil lands on the Crow Indian Reservation.

The following 11 collections have been added to DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) as part of UW’s participation with the Plains to Peak Collective to harvest digital collections from various institutions across the Rockies.

Al Christie Papers #05334
Alcott Farrell Elwell Scrapbook #01908
Alfred Jacob Miller Paintings #04912 and #12530
American National Cattle Women Records #05552
Arthur E. Demaray Papers #04031
Beck Family Papers #10386
Betsy Talbot Blackwell Papers #09073
Bill Mahan Papers #10045
Bill Manbo Papers #09982
Black 14 (Laramie, Wyo.) Films #10963
Blackwell Smith Papers #01065

These and other AHC collections can be discovered in the University of Wyoming Libraries catalog. We are open for walk-in research on Mondays 10 am – 7 pm and Tuesdays through Fridays 8 am – 5 pm. For distance research assistance please contact our reference department at ahcref@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3756.


Posted in African American history, Digital collections, energy resources, Finding Aids, Laramie, Local history, motion picture history, newly processed collections, Politics, Ranch history, resources, Student Life, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, western politics and leadership, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment