Historical PreservationWritten by Dick Perue
“Preserving local history one picture at a time,” has been my life-long goal. Recently a friend brought me a rare book entitled “Collections of the Wyoming Historical Society,” by Robert C. Morris. The illustrated book was the first volume published in 1897 by the newly founded “Wyoming Historical Society” of Cheyenne.
“Sun-Leader Publishing House” of Cheyenne was listed on the fly page as the printer and publisher.
The book lists the 1897 officers of the Wyoming Historical Society,” as William A. Richards, Cheyenne, president; Robert C. Morris, Cheyenne, secretary; John Slaughter, Cheyenne, librarian; and Joseph M. Carey, Charles W. Burdick, James I. Patten, Frank M. Foote, James H. Hayford, Bryant B. Brooks, along with Richards, Morris and Slaughter as members of the board of trustees.
The first entry in the book is:
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
The Wyoming Historical Society, Cheyenne, Wyo., March 15, 1897.
Hon. William A. Richards, Governor of Wyoming:
Dear Sir: – I have the honor to submit herewith the first volume of Wyoming Historical Collections, containing contributions from various sources on the Early Settlement of Wyoming, Its Social and Commercial Progress, Mines, Agriculture, Stock Growing, Personal Reminiscences, Memorials of Pioneers, Public Men, Pre-historic Remains, Indians and other subjects of historic value. Among the most valuable donations made to the Society have been the bound files of Cheyenne daily newspapers, covering a period of 30 years; also, numerous books, pamphlets, portraits, photographs, engravings, minerals and other treasures illustrative of the past history of Wyoming. A list of these donations, with the transactions of the Society, will be found hereto appended.
The historical information contained in the first volume of the Society will be found necessarily limited but indicates the general scope of the work contemplated by the Society under the law. A judicious selection and editing of original articles upon the early events of Wyoming was deemed of more historical value than any connected narrative written at this time. We trust, however, that with the co-operation of local societies, composed of settlers and others interested in the subject, material will be forthcoming that will furnish an adequate basis at some future time for a complete history of Wyoming. If the Wyoming Historical Society contributes its full measure to this important task, its object will have been accomplished.
Yours very respectfully,
Robert C. Morris,
Under the heading of “Wyoming Historical Society. Introduction,” the tattered book continues:
The Wyoming Historical Society, established by an act of the Legislature of 1895 for the purpose of securing historical collections relating to the state, is now located in the library at the State House and is a safe depository for valuable books, files of newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, charts, portraits, mineral specimens and articles of value illustrative of the history and progress of our state. Heretofore, Wyoming has been a free-foraging ground for collectors of fossils and pre-historic treasurers for other states and countries. Neither the state nor any of our institutions possesses a collection of these treasures worthy of the name.
What our Society especially desires are books and pamphlets on American History, Biography and Genealogy, particularly of the West; works on Indian Tribes, and American Archaeology and Ethnology; Reports of Societies and Institutions of every kind; Statistical and Scientific Publications of States or Societies; Books or Pamphlets relating to the Great Rebellion and the Wars with the Indians; privately printed works, newspapers, maps and charts, engravings, photographs, autographs, coins, antiquities, and encyclopedias, dictionaries and biographical works.
Entire sets of works are specially solicited . . . but, than that’s material for our next Postcard.