Wyoming and the West Collections


American Heritage Center

Wyoming is one of our core collecting areas and a major strength of our holdings. While many of our premier collections document prominent Western individuals and organizations, we are particularly concerned with the "Western image," as represented by writers, artists, historians, and others.
Guide to Wyoming and the West collections (PDF)
Some of our prominent Wyoming and the West holdings are detailed below. Additional holdings can be located by searching our online inventories (select University of Wyoming as the institution), or by viewing Frequent Searches for Wyoming History Collections in the UW Catalog.


Noteworthy Collections


Charles J. Belden Photographs

The collection consists of nearly 3,000 original negatives. Most of the images were taking in the 1920s and 1930s on the legendary Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse, Wyoming. By filming cowboys and cattle against the dramatic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, he created some of the classic images of the American West. His photographs depict everyday life on the ranch, a trip to Europe in 1909, Yellowstone National Park, raising antelope, dude ranching, and trips to the Southwest and Latin America.


Francis E. Warren Papers

Warren was a prominent Wyoming businessman and politician. He served as U.S. Senator of Wyoming for 37 years, and was the first Governor of Wyoming. He twice served as territorial Governor before Wyoming was given statehood. His business interests include the Warren Mercantile Company, the Warren Live Stock Company, and Wyoming Irrigation Company.


Grace Raymond Hebard Papers

Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard was a University of Wyoming professor, historian, and librarian. The collection contains materials relating to Grace Raymond Hebard’s career as University of Wyoming professor, librarian, and western historian with subject files containing correspondence, manuscripts, transcripts and printed materials concerning places and events Hebard researched and participated in such as the women’s suffrage movement, Wyoming history, and the University of Wyoming.


Milward L. Simpson Papers

Milward L. Simpson was Governor of Wyoming from 1955-1959 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962. He retired in 1967. During his lifetime, Simpson served on many boards including Husky Oil, the Boy Scouts of America, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Gottsche Foundation, the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.


Nellie Tayloe Ross Papers

Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) was the first woman governor in the United States. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, she married William Bradford Ross in 1902 and they lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. William B. Ross, a Democrat, was elected Governor of Wyoming in 1922. Three weeks before election day in 1924, William B. Ross died and Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected in his stead. Nellie Ross lost in her bid for reelection in 1926. She was appointed Director of the U.S. Mint in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served in that capacity until her retirement in 1953.


Owen Wister Papers

This collection includes journals, manuscripts, photographs, articles, publications, and correspondence. These materials document the life and literary career of Owen Wister. The journals, manuscripts, and photographs in this collection deal primarily with his interest in the American West and the literary works that he developed from these travels.


Richard Leigh Papers

Richard ("Beaver Dick") Leigh was a trapper and scout in the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming from the 1850s to the 1890s. Leigh guided several expeditions of territorial survey parties in the 1870s. In 1876 Leigh survived the loss of his entire first family due to smallpox. The collection contains diaries and correspondence.


Wyoming Stock Growers Association Records

The Stock Association of Laramie County was organized in Cheyenne in 1872 to combat cattle rustlers operating in the area. By 1879, it had been renamed the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and was involved in a broad range of activities, including managing roundups, conducting brand inspections, and dealing with health and sanitary concerns, freight rates, and fencing and other public domain issues. The Association was instrumental in the development of Wyoming livestock and rangeland laws beginning in the 1880s and was closely involved in the Johnson County War of 1892.

Contact Us

University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307)-766-1121

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