Campus & Community / News

Yearbooks, photos and more archived on new Digital DU site

The 1907 Kynewisbok featured illustrations by a young Allen Tupper True, soon to be a famous muralist.

There’s a lot of official University history available for perusal at the new Digital DU website: archival photographs, meeting minutes, media guides. But for those who want a more authentic glimpse at what was going on at the University during any given year, the site’s collection of digitized yearbooks is a treasure trove of social history. Staffers at Penrose Library have scanned in nearly every volume — cover to cover — of the Kynewisbok from 1899 to 2002.

“The nice thing about having the entirety of the yearbook available is you can see a really specific snapshot of what the student body liked or thought was funny or was interested in or that was trendy at the time,” says Kate Crowe, curator of special collections and archives at Penrose.

Take the 1907 Kynewisbok, which includes fiction and poetry written by students, as well as illustrations by a young Allen Tupper True, soon to become a famous muralist. Or the 1919 edition, which offers an entire page of photos of an apparently short-lived tradition called Dandelion Day.

Then there are the yearbooks of the 1970s, with their fantastic photos of Denver as it looked in the not-so-distant past, as well as images of campus visitors such as folk singer James Taylor, civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis and consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

But yearbooks make up only a small portion of the materials available on Digital DU. A new attempt to collect “permanently valuable” records in one place, the site contains nearly 7,000 athletic photos and media guides from throughout the University’s history, around 3,000 photographs taken in the last 10 years, minutes from faculty senate and other meetings, and video biographies of recent Founders Day honorees. The repository also includes materials from the University’s special collections and archives, including oral histories of the University Park neighborhood collected by Boy Scout Barry Matchett in 1986 and items from the Carson-Brierly Dance Library, which chronicles the history of dance in the Rocky Mountain region.

Penrose archivists are busy adding even more materials to Digital DU, focusing on early University history in advance of the institution’s sesquicentennial in 2014. Crowe says the plan is to spotlight traditions like Winter Carnival and big events like Woodstock West. Eventually, even snapshots of University websites will be part of the collection.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be the repository of permanently valuable records of the University, whether that’s University archive records — like the records of different academic departments — faculty papers or student work,” Crowe says. “We want it to be the place you can go if you want to know something about the University of Denver.”




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