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Italian Newspapers from Rock Springs

posted Apr 19, 2016, 10:40 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Apr 19, 2016, 10:40 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

Wyoming Newspapers is excited to announce the first historic foreign language newspapers in the database. They are the Italian language newspapers, IL Grido Del Popolo (The Cry of the People) and Vita Nuova (New Life), and include issues from 1907-1909. Rock Springs is known as the "Home of 56 Nationalities" because of the influx of immigrants from all over the world who came to work in the coal mines that supplied the fuel to power the steam engines of the Union Pacific Railroad. We would like to thank the University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center Archives for allowing us to digitize these rare Wyoming newspapers.

Commemorating 125 Years of Statehood

posted Jun 30, 2015, 12:13 PM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Jun 30, 2015, 12:13 PM by Cary Dunlap ]

Happy Birthday, Wyoming! On July 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill that admitted Wyoming as the 44th state to the United States. 2015 marks the 125th Anniversary of this event. 

The formal celebration of Wyoming’s statehood occurred July 23, 1890, and events were recounted thereafter in two Wyoming newspapers of the time, the Cheyenne Daily Sun and the Wyoming Commonwealth. The Cheyenne Daily Sun had a headline of “A GREAT DAY.” 

The Wyoming State Library offers a free online exhibit to commemorate the celebration of our official statehood. Visitors can explore festivities from 1890 through archived editions of the aforementioned newspapers. You’ll find notable documents, recreated audio of the ceremony, and links to the historic Wyoming newspapers that recounted the event. Join us as we celebrate “A Great Day.” 

“The Wyoming State Library is excited to present this online exhibit. With all of its pomp and circumstance, all the speeches and presentations, July 23, 1890 was a celebration of the culminating efforts, struggles, and compromises that lead to statehood,” said Thomas Ivie, Librarian. Visit the exhibit by clicking on the Statehood Exhibit tab or go to

Elephant Fills Car Radiators

posted Apr 27, 2015, 1:21 PM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Apr 27, 2015, 1:21 PM by Cary Dunlap ]

The end of the caption for this illustration reads, “Why haul pails of water when an elephant will do the work for you?” Apparently, a circus trainer trained one of the elephants, Old Buck, to fill automobile radiators with water. Seems labor intensive. There is a lot of automobile advice in the old Wyoming newspapers. For instance, right below this elephant story, in the Sept. 9, 1920 Burns Herald pg. 7, appears stories about engine lubrication, removing bushings, and removing carbon with a wire brush. 

Wyoming Exceeds WWI Draft Requirements

posted Apr 10, 2015, 10:10 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Apr 10, 2015, 10:10 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

The World War I draft requirement for Wyoming was relatively small because, per capita, Wyomingites volunteered to serve at a much greater rate than most other states. Wyoming was only required to draft 810 men. Almost 23,000 men registered for the draft. 

Blackhand Letters

posted Feb 11, 2015, 11:35 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Feb 11, 2015, 11:35 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

Blackhand letters did happen in Wyoming in the early 1900’s. Typical Black Hand tactics involved sending a letter to a victim threatening bodily harm, kidnapping, arson, or murder. The letter demanded a specified amount of money to be delivered to a specific place. Most often, the letter would be signed with a hand, "held up in the universal gesture of warning", imprinted or drawn in thick black ink. The term "Black Hand" was readily adopted by the American press and generalized to the idea of an organized criminal conspiracy. The Black Hand practice in the United States disappeared in the mid-1920s after a wave of negative public opinion led organized crime figures to seek more subtle methods of extortion. 

Doc Middleton

posted Jan 14, 2015, 8:35 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Jan 14, 2015, 8:35 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

Having stolen horses since he was 14 years old, Doc Middleton was known as the “King of Horse Thieves.” He even spent some time in prison in Cheyenne for it. He had a saloon in Gordon, Nebraska, Ardmore, SD (also served as Marshall there), but went to Orin Junction, WY, near Douglas, to open what would be his last one. According to Bill Barlow’s Budget, Doc was arrested in October of 1913 for selling alcohol without a license. He was sentenced to serve time in jail where he died in December.

Father Scollen and His Lost Manuscript

posted Dec 18, 2014, 8:31 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Dec 18, 2014, 8:32 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

Father Constantine Scollen was a missionary to North American tribes. He was a linguist who, in addition to his bi-lingual childhood tongues of Erse (Irish) and English, was fluent in Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German and the First Nation languages/dialects of Cree, Blackfoot, Peigan (North and South) Stoney, Ojibwe, Sarcee and Arapaho. In Wyoming in 1892, he created an Arapaho alphabet and orology. It was possibly the first example of a written form of the language. His original notebook is in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Father Scollen also wrote a 250 page, unpublished autobiography, “Thirty Years Experience Among the Indians of the Northwest.” Lost for 110 years, the individual chapters were recently discovered in The Buffalo Bulletin between March 1893 and April 1894 using the Wyoming State Library’s database, Wyoming Newspapers. 

Women’s Right to Vote

posted Dec 10, 2014, 11:59 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Dec 10, 2014, 11:59 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

On December 10, 1869, Governor Campbell signed the Female Suffrage bill. This bill gave women the right to vote and to hold office.

Here are a few Wyoming women to note: Eliza A. Swain of Laramie holds the distinction of being the first female to vote in Wyoming. Esther Morris was considered the mother of Wyoming’s suffrage and holds the distinction of being the first female to hold public office in Wyoming after she was appointed Justice of the Peace. Later, in 1925, Nellie Taylor Ross became the first, and to date the only, female governor of Wyoming as well as the first female governor of any state. 

November 1889 Weather

posted Dec 3, 2014, 12:38 PM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Dec 3, 2014, 12:38 PM by Cary Dunlap ]

The December 3, 1889 Cheyenne Daily Leader reported the Cheyenne weather for the month of November. The mean temperature was 30.2 with the highest of 71 and lowest of 1 degree. The prevailing wind direction was northwest 47% of the time. There was precipitation on only 3 days but it was above average for the month at 56 of an inch.

Compare to 2014: Cheyenne had a mean of 33.07, an average high of 39.8, an average low of 17.6, a high of 66 and a low of -14. Precipitation was 1.11 inch (well above average) that occurred on 10 days and the snow depth was 9.96 inches. (info from )

Mystery Solved!

posted Nov 19, 2014, 10:07 AM by Thomas Ivie   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 10:07 AM by Cary Dunlap ]

A recent article in the Laramie Boomerang (Nov. 8) tells of a long time mystery solved by Kate Browning using Wyoming Newspapers. The Greenhill cemetery has had a grave marker from May 10, 1894 with the inscription “Bob, Charlie left you here.” No one knew who Bob or Charlie were, so Kate Browning (a volunteer at the cemetery) went to the Wyoming Newspapers database of historic newspapers in search of answers. What mystery can you solve using Wyoming Newspapers? 

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