October is Archives Month, the time when archival institutions around the country make a special effort to promote the important work archives do in preserving and providing access to America’s documentary heritage. Here at the Wyoming State Archives, thanks to support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, our outreach efforts include an Archives Month poster each year. This year’s poster topic is county expansion in 1913. Seven new counties were organized that year, a significant amount considering the state has just twenty-three counties total. The poster features a brochure, issued by the State Board of Immigration, trumpeting Wyoming’s resources and the fabulous opportunities they presented.
In addition to the poster, the State Archives will host a talk by Phil Roberts, Professor of History at the University of Wyoming. Professor Roberts will address county expansion in his presentation “They Voted Every Cat, Dog and Canary Bird: Wyoming County Organization in 1913” on October 24, from 1-2, in the multi-purpose room on the first floor of the Barrett Building in Cheyenne. The event is open to the public; please join us if you are able.
As we take some time this month to call attention to the importance of archives, I would be remiss if I did not say a few words about the work we do at the Wyoming State Archives. We had nearly 2000 visits to our research room last year and processed nearly 4000 research requests. Between the records we store for state agencies and those permanent records in the archives, we have over 80,000 cubic feet of records in our possession. Included in that total are half a million photographs; over 12,000 maps, posters, and other over-sized items; more than 2000 books related to Wyoming history; thousands of reels of microfilm; as well as postcards, audio and videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and movie film. Our most used documents include high school transcripts, the photo collection, newspapers, vital records, court case files, and records of the county clerks. Over 90% of our holdings come from state, county, or municipal government offices, and the material in our collections offers a unique and incredibly diverse view of Wyoming’s history.Mike Strom Wyoming State Archivist