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About the Colorado Encyclopedia

Welcome to the Colorado Encyclopedia, a twenty-first-century reference work on the Centennial State.

The Colorado Encyclopedia began in 2009 when Colorado Humanities convened a group of Colorado enthusiasts to talk about developing a reliable compendium of information on life in Colorado. From these conversations a state encyclopedia began to take shape. Through the contributions of many collaborators, it has grown to fruition.

From the start, a few principles have governed the development of the Encyclopedia: its entries and essays had to be authoritative but also accessible to a wide audience, and it had to be an online publication in order to remain up-to-date and reach as many people as possible.

The initial set of Encyclopedia entries are organized into six sections - Origins, Diversity, Community, Ecology, Political Economy, and Place - to provide users with a coherent body of knowledge. Section Editors were responsible for recruiting writers, identifying topics, and writing an essay to introduce the section and its pertinence to Colorado. Initial contributors included undergraduate and graduate students as well as nationally known scholars and local experts, and the topics were chosen by the editors in a collaborative fashion.

To ensure the Encyclopedia is relevant to students and educators in the state's school system, it includes entries and essays leveled for 4th, 8th-, and 10th-grade students and curricular materials such as primary sources and Annotated Resource Sets. Finally, the Encyclopedia includes information for scholars and researchers interested in an in-depth understanding of the state's development.

Colorado Encyclopedia is funded in part by

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this site do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
A History Colorado State Historical Fund grant. The content and opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of History Colorado.
With this support, staff, editors, advisors, and contributors have been working to produce an online, one-stop, reliable resource for all those interested in learning about this extraordinary state.


William Wei, PhD


August 18, 2015

Our Team

Editorial Staff

Editor in Chief
William Wei, PhD,
Professor of History,
University of Colorado-Boulder
Managing Editor
Dawn Paschal, MA, 
Assistant Dean for Digital Library and ePublishing Services,
Colorado State University
Senior Associate Editor
Nick Johnson, MA,
Colorado Humanities
Associate Editor
Scott Spillman, PhD,
Colorado Humanities
Education Editor
Cynthia K. Stout, PhD,
Jefferson County School District (retired)

Governance Board

William Wei

Margaret Coval, Executive Director, Colorado Humanities

Alan Lamborn, PhD, Associate Provost for Educational Attainment, Colorado State University

Darrin Pratt, Director, University Press of Colorado


Editorial Advisory Board

Jared Orsi, PhD, Professor of History, Colorado State University

Thomas G. Andrews, PhD, Professor of History, University of Colorado-Boulder

Rebecca Hunt, PhD, Professor of History, University of Colorado-Denver

Kevin Black, MA, former Assistant State Archaeologist, History Colorado (retired)

Patricia Limerick, PhD, Professor of History, University of Colorado-Boulder


Technology Advisory Board

Dawn Paschal, Assistant Dean for Digital Library and ePublishing Services, Colorado State University

Regan Harper, Director of Networking and resource Sharing, Colorado State Library

Beth Oehlerts, Digital Services Librarian, Colorado State University Libraries

Mark Shelstad, Digital Collections Services Coordinator, Colorado State University Libraries

Greg Vogl, Middleware Developer, Academic Computing and Networking Services

Yongli Zhou, Associate Professor, Colorado State University Libraries



Josephine Jones, MA, Director of Programs & Center for the Book, Colorado Humanities


Media Acquisitions

Emily Bond, Colorado State University


University Press of Colorado

Lauren Anderson, copyeditor

Cheryl Carnahan, copyeditor

Laura Furney, Assistant Director & Managing Editor, University Press of Colorado

Tracy Jones, copyeditor

Sonya Manes, copyeditor


Education Advisory Board

Michelle Delgado, Aurora Public Schools

Chris Elnicki, MA, District Social Studies Coordinator K-12, Cherry Creek Schools

Jason Hanson, MA, Center of the American West, University of Colorado-Boulder

Stephanie Hartman, PhD, Social Studies Content Specialist, Colorado Department of Education

Michelle Pearson, Historic Preservation Education Grants Coordinator, State Historical Fund, History Colorado

JJ Rutherford, MA, Director of Museums Programs, History Colorado

Brooke Tolmachoff, MA, Social Studies Content coordinator, Adams 12 Five Star Schools


Content Specialists and Student Interns

Asunta Barone

Andrew Cabrall

Michael Conniff

Sean Fallon

Thomas Gilbert

Benjamin Goldsmith

Claire Lanier

Zach Lewis

Alex Massimi

Sam Routhier

Dane Vanhoozer

Brittney Washington



Anne Hyde, Community Section Editor (2009-16)

Reem Abu-Baker, Editorial Assistant (2013-14)

Josephine Jones, Managing Editor (2009-16)

Leigh Grinstead, Digital Services Consultant, LYRASIS (Technology Advisory Board, 2013-15)

Daniela Rovida, Library Technician, Colorado State University Libraries


Colorado HumanitiesColorado State UniversityUniversity Press of Colorado


History Colorado State Historical FundNational Endowment for the Humanities


Center of the American WestColorado Tourism OfficeColorado Department of Education Colorado State LibraryMetropolitan State University of DenverRocky Mountain PBS   Colorado State University Public Lands History Center