Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wyoming Historical Resources Online

by Susan

As the joke goes, I have on my desktop a device, my computer, that can access the vast sum of all human knowledge. I use it to pick fights with strangers and look at cats.

And I use it to do research for writing. It amazes me how much historical material held by libraries and archives is going online. Where once I might have had to travel to a research library and handle frail documents with white gloves, I can now pull up the same items with a few clicks.

Wyoming has a slew of these resources through the Wyoming State Library Digital Collections. Here's a sampling of what you'll find:

Wyoming Newspapers
 No more scrolling through yards and yards of microfilm, for those of you who remember doing that. At least not for Wyoming newspapers published before 1923. The State Library digitized every Wyoming newspaper they could get their hands on, all the way back to a hand-written 1849 Chugg Water Journal.

The text is fully searchable, so go ahead and look for that notorious relative of yours who went on trial for fraud in 1918. You can also browse by year, place or newspaper title.

Why do they stop at 1922? Copyright issues. There are a handful of papers in there from later years, but the bulk of them are older. If you have a need for newspapers from 1923 forward, your best bet is the Wyoming State Archives or University of Wyoming Libraries.

Wyoming Places

Would you believe that some of the most frequently asked reference questions in the past at the Wyoming State Library were about the state's place names? Wyoming Places answers those questions. This resource brings it all together -- names, photos, histories. Find ghost towns and post offices galore.

Use the search box at the top of the search by names page for quickest access, or browse the map.

Wyoming Inventors
A lot of great things were invented here! The Wyoming Inventors database indexes U.S. Patents from 1867 to the present where one or more of the inventors came from Wyoming. Every record links to the original patent files on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

Wyoming Trademarks 
This database currently covers state trademarks issued between 1906-current located at the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office. New applications and renewals are added monthly. This database will ultimately include the inactive applications and mark images for Wyoming trademarks located at the Wyoming State Archives, back to the first state trademark in 1881.

Wyoming Legislation
Ah, politics and sausage. Most of us don't want to watch the making of either, but a lot can be learned about the history of the state through the legislative records. Wyoming Legislation contains the digitized bills and journals back to Territorial Days.

Wyoming State Publications
Do government documents sound about as exciting as watching snails race? Stay with me here. You might be surprised at what insights you can gain about different eras and places from state government documents, such as those on mining and mineral resources.

This database is still very much a work in progress, and materials are being added as it progresses. Still definitely worth a look-through.

And the best thing these all come with:
Librarians. If you have questions about finding the information you need in these resources, your local librarian can help, or you can contact the Wyoming State Library at 307-777-6333 or

1 comment:

  1. Really cool resources!! Thanks! I especially liked your comparison of politics and sausage... too true. This is like a smorgasbord of writing prompts and ideas!!


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