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Agnes Wright Spring collection

Identifier: COU:1501

Scope and Contents

This collection contains newspaper and magazine clippings, and pamphlets, programs, and other publications pertaining to Colorado and Wyoming from 1859-1977, as well as some original manuscripts and research notes by Agnes Wright Spring. Most publications date from 1930-1960, though research note files may include transcriptions of earlier publications.

Files are arranged by topic, and subject areas include transportation, recreation, nature, energy and mining, firearms, cowboys, pioneers, American Indians, outlaws, Mormons, western art and artists, livestock, cattle ranching, and snow storms. Colorado topics include restaurant menus, the Gold Rush Centennial (1951), and architecture and businesses of Denver.

Some files in the collection pertain to Western personalities, including prominent women of the west, such as Lola Montez and Elizabeth B. Custer, as well as western artists like Robert Lorenz, Charles Russell, and Frederic Remington. Also included are clippings on the Eisenhower presidency, and famous American outlaws like Butch Cassidy and Doc Holiday.


  • Creation: 1859 - 1960

Biographical / Historical

Agnes Wright Spring was born January 5, 1894 in Delta, Colorado to Gordon L. Wright. Gordon Wright operated the stage line between Delta and Gunnison. In 1901, he moved his family to Laramie, Wyoming where he started another stage line. Agnes and her three sisters grew up on a 640-acre ranch along the Little Laramie River. Agnes married Archer T. Spring February 14, 1921. After her husband’s death in 1967 Agnes lived with her sister, Mrs. Alice Wallace, in Fort Collins until her death in 1988. Agnes Wright was educated in Wyoming public schools and later graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1913 with a degree in History. After graduation she became an assistant librarian and historian at the state capital from 1913 to 1918. She began writing historical stories during this time and received a Fellowship to study journalism at Columbia University in New York City in 1916. When she returned to Wyoming Agnes was appointed State Librarian and State Historian (ex-officio) 1918-1921. In 1921 when Agnes married Archer T. Spring she resigned from her position. As an oil company mining engineer Archer Spring traveled both abroad and within the U.S. frequently taking Agnes with him. Agnes occupied herself during this time as a free lance writer (1922-1938). Archer Spring had been bounced out of Cuba and Mexico by revolutions and was soon ordered to Peru. He refused the job and the Springs returned to Colorado where they bought a cherry orchard, “Cherryhurst”, north of Fort Collins. The orchard was soon lost to drought and the Great Depression and they moved once again moved to Wyoming. In Wyoming Agnes Wright Spring served as the Director of the Wyoming Federal Writers Project from 1938 to 1941. She was the chief writer and editor of the Wyoming guidebook which was considered to be some of her finest work. She also received a Fellowship in History from the University of Wyoming in 1947. Agnes Spring was named State Historian for Wyoming in 1955 and became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wyoming in 1961. At the beginning of World War II the Springs moved to Denver where Agnes became a special research assistant in the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library from 1941 to 1947. In 1947 she moved to Sacramento California to work in a public library for a short period of time before returning to Denver in 1949. On her return Agnes Spring became Assistant to the President of the State Historical Society. She then became the Acting State Historian from 1950 to 1951. She later became the Executive Assistant to the President of the State Historical Society from 1951 to 1954 and was named State Historian of Colorado in 1954. Agnes officially retired in 1963 but continued to be recognized for her writing contributions. She was presented the Western Heritage Wrangler Award by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1973 and inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1983. Agnes was a member of numerous groups and clubs including: Past and Present Friends of the University of Wyoming Library, Pioneer Men and Women of Colorado, American League of Pen Women, Denver Women’s Press Club, Pi Beta Phi, Quill, Western Writer’s of America, Wyoming Pioneer Association, Wyoming Historical Society, Pikes Peak Historical Society, and Westerners New York Posse.


7 linear feet (21 boxes)

Language of Materials



Agnes Wright Spring was a freelance writer and western historian. She authored more than 20 books and 600 articles and fiction stories about the American West. She served as the official state historian in both Colorado and Wyoming, as well as director of the Wyoming Federal Writer's Project from 1938 to 1941. This collection contains clippings of newspaper and journal articles collected by Agnes Wright Spring about western topics, as well as some original manuscripts and research notes. Topics include the cattle industry, American Indians, cowboys, and outlaws.


This collection is arranged in the following series: 1) Colorado, 1859-1960; 2) Wyoming, 1873-1977; 3) 19th Century West, 1891-1960; 4) Women in the West, 1885-1960; 5) 20th Century West, 1930-1960; 6) Livestock and ranching, 1870-1960; 7) Newspapers, magazines, reports and journal articles, 1871-1960.

Guide Reformatted: March 2006 by Marilyn Burns Edited by: March 29, 2010 by Ella Salvator Transcribed to ArchivesSpace: Jamie Marie Wagner, April 2019
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States