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Special Collections and Archives at Tomlinson Library

Introduction to how to use archives and some of the significant collections and items held in Special Collections and Archives here in Tomlinson Library.

Cool collections at CMU

The Migrant Ministry scrapbooks serve as an ethnographic record of Grand Valley’s seasonal agricultural laborers between 1961 and 1973.  They also chronicle the Grand Valley chapter of a statewide ecumenical social service program called the Migrant Ministry.

Dorothy Power’s scrapbooks record local migrant culture and history, including socioeconomic issues and civil rights concerns. Power used newspaper and newsletter articles, photographs, personal notes, and occasional Migrant Ministry reports to document the local migrant workers' lives.

The collection also includes Migrant Ministry scrapbooks created by Evelyn Van Regenmorter and Carol Marsman who have a more personal, memoir-like style.  The Van Regenmorter and Marsman scapbooks feature photographs with handwritten reflections and observations.

The scrapbooks feature topics including housing, education, day care, health status, recreation, discrimination, worker documentation, fair compensation, Native American and Hispanic traditions, and spiritual well-being. The contents also address agricultural business owner concerns such as weather and harvest loss, labor costs, mechanization trends, and migrant worker political and legal issues.

Most of the news articles are from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, while others are sourced from the Denver Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the National Peach Council newsletter Peach-Times, the Farmer’s Union Magazine, the Rocky Mountain Churchman, and a newsletter for the Colorado Council of Churches entitled The Church Councillor.

The William H. Nelson Water Collection covers issues dealing with Colorado water with an emphasis on the Upper Colorado River. The contents cover the late 1940s through the early 1980s and include photographs, correspondence, government documents, newsletters and a variety of other material. Nelson was a newspaperman and a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Nelson began working for The Daily Sentinel in June of 1935 and retired in 1982, ending a forty-seven-year career. He was appointed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board by Governor Edward C. Johnson and served ten years.

John Redifer was a professor in the Social and Behavioral Science Department at Mesa State College who donated his collection of materials related to water management in the Colorado River Basin. The collection includes water booklets, reports, and conference materials related to Colorado River Basin water issues.


When the Atomic Energy Commission dissolved in Grand Junction, the Department of Energy transferred the bulk of their reports, map overlays, library, and microfiche to the university. The collection includes a significant amount of content related to the mining and milling of uranium in the United States along with other government documents. In addition to the initial collection transferred by the DOE, material has been added over the years by Union Carbide (the company that managed Uravan and other operations in the area), scientists who worked for the DOE or the mining and milling companies, and more material from the DOE.

The Department of Energy in Grand Junction has transferred a significant amount of their material related to the development of the oil shale industry in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah to Colorado Mesa University. Some of it can already be located in the library catalog, but for reports and items that have not yet been added, access can be arranged by request.

More collections at CMU

Barry Paul Michrina was a professor of anthropology at Colorado Mesa University. He grew up in the coal-mining region of northern Pennsylvania and as a result his professional and academic interests were focused on the people of Pennsylvania’s coal-mining regions (specifically Cambria County where was born and raised). After he began teaching at Mesa State College, his research expanded to include the Southern Utes and Colorado. Michrina passed away in 2012.

The bulk of the collection consists Michrina's research. Topics covered include the Ute tribes, a Southern Ute tribal and spiritual leader named Eddie Box, Sr. who was also known as Red Ute, the Cambria County Pennsylvania coal-mining region and the people who worked the coalfields, research materials for a published book celebrating Michrina's home town’s centennial (St. Benedict, Pennsylvania), plus other anthropological and philosophical materials and research. There is also a small sampling of Michrina’s poetry and other writings.

Walter Walker was born in Kentucky and followed his father to Grand Junction in 1903. He served briefly as The Daily Sentinel's only reporter. He became publisher after the death of founder I. N. Bunting, and in 1917, Walker and his wife purchased the paper. Walker was publisher of The Daily Sentinel from 1911 to 1956.

Walker assisted with the campaign for a veterans hospital for the Western Slope and established the Avalon Theater. He supported Mesa College, and the Mesa State College performing arts center was named in his honor in 1969. He also promoted what became the Grand Junction Regional Center and was in the forefront of the establishment of the Grand Junction Airport, which was named in his honor in 1942. He was charter member and twice president of the Grand Junction Rotary Club.

Walker was a lifelong Democrat, active at both the state and national level. He served a delegate to eight national conventions and was a presidential elector in 1936. He served briefly as U.S. Senator in 1932, filling the seat of the deceased Charles Waterman.

The Walker family papers consist of materials primarily from Walter Walker but also Preston Walker, Robert Clement Walker, and Kathie Walker. They include subject files related to Walter Walker and his projects, photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and research conducted by J. Kenneth Baird.

In the 1940s, skiing began on top of Grand Mesa with a rope tow, and in the 1950s Mesa Creek Ski Area opened with one surface lift. In 1966 Powderhorn Ski Area opened with a double chair and a surface lift two miles below Mesa Creek Ski Area. Twenty years later Powderhorn was sold to a Texas developer who upgraded the facilities in 1988 along with changing the name from Powderhorn Ski Area to Powderhorn Resort. In 1995 Powderhorn was sold to a local entrepreneur and the development of the Wildwood subdivision started. Three years later Powderhorn was sold to Steve Bailey and Dean Skalla. They renovated the hotel and restaurant renaming them the Inn at Wildwood and Wildwood Restaurant respectively.

In 2011 Colorado ski resort mogul Andy Daly, along with partners Tom and Kent Gart, bought the resort for and immediately invested in upgrades, including snowmaking machines, rooms in the lodge, and the introduction of a half-pipe, the only one within a 100 mile radius.

The collection consists of the Powderhorn Ski Area board meeting minutes and financial records for 1974 to 1984.

Louis G. Morton was born in 1928 and raised in Missouri. After graduating high school, Morton enlisted in the United States Army Air Force and spent three years in the service, serving in the Philippines for two years. After an honorable discharge, he earned a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri with a major in history and later a Master of Arts degree in 1966 and an Educational Specialist degree in 1971 from Western State College. In 1966 he became an instructor of History and Political Science at Mesa College. He taught at the college for 29 years, retiring as Professor of Political Science. Morton wrote and updated the history of the college during his tenure, publishing 50 year, 60 year, and 75 year histories. He retired in 1996 and died in 2008.

His collection of photographs and postcards date from his time serving in the Air Force and depict Hawaii, the Philippines, and other locations he visited during his service.