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Records of the American West Program

Identifier: UAWP

Scope and Contents

The Records of the American West Program consists of documents dated from 1969 to 2005. Joseph W. Angell and Arthur T. Wilcox (the creators of the program) created extensive files of correspondence, background information, and academic files that comprise approximately one fifth of the collection. Contracts, administrative notes and files, and meeting minutes also comprise the broader collection. Correspondence between program participants is included as well as correspondence with the coordinating board of the program and other administrators.


  • Creation: 1969- 2005


Restrictions on Access

Some folders are restricted due to presence of Social Security numbers and financial information. Review of the contents of these folders by an archivist before access is granted is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


The American West Program at Colorado State University, a cross-disciplinary program, was designed to bring together scientists, humanists, engineers, and artists to explore a common theme related to the American West. Another purpose of the program was to increase the utilization of the University's facilities and resources as well as providing greater cultural opportunities for the University community, Fort Collins, and summer visitors.

Under the leadership of Drs. Joseph Angell and Arthur Wilcox of Recreation Resources, the American West Program was officially launched in the summer of 1972. The program's highlight was the Thomas Moran art exhibit, held in conjunction with the centennial of the National Park Service. The following year, Dr. Russell Churchill, professor in the Electrical Engineering department assumed the leadership. During his three-year tenure the American West Program evolved into a loosely structured aggregation of films, conferences, seminars, art exhibits, and other events related to concepts of western Americana.

After 1975, funding for the American West Program became increasingly difficult to procure, due to both legislative and university budget constrictions. History professor Harry Rosenberg, Ph.D. coordinated the 1976 program which was very nearly the last program. In 1977, Dr. Daniel Tyler, also of the history department, joined in administration of the program. The American West Program then shifted from a cultural to an academic focus. Funding was obtained from outside sources.

Harry Rosenberg continued to administer the program through the summer of 2002. By that time, the program no longer received funding from the Provost and relied solely on external support. Following Rosenberg, Anne Bond, a public historian who had worked extensively with the Colorado Historical Society, administered the program. With guidance from department faculty, the program was again extensively revised to draw in scholars and audiences who were interested in topics that went beyond the history of nineteenth century western frontiers. The program continued for the summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005. Dr. Ruth Alexander was coordinator of the program during these final years. The program ended due to insufficient participation/audience fees and support from the College of Liberal Arts. The program was resurrected in 2011 and the final iteration narrowed the scope of programming to academic speakers hosted by the Public Lands History Center several times each year during the academic year.

Learn more about American West Program at Colorado State University. VIEW


3 linear feet (2 record cartons)

Language of Materials



The American West Program at Colorado State University was a cross-disciplinary program designed to bring together scientists, humanists, engineers, and artists to explore a common theme: the American West. Drs. Joseph Angell and Arthur Wilcox began the program in 1972 with a Thomas Moran art exhibit in conjunction with the hundredth anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. The program evolved to include many thematic aspects of western Americana. The program ceased in 2005 due to a lack of funding but resumed in 2011.


The collection consists of 2 series in 2 record cartons:

Series 1: Subject files, 1969-1978 and undated

Series 2: 2021 Accrual, 1975-2005


The Records of the American West Program, including the files of Drs. Joseph Angell and Arthur Wilcox was acquired from Dr. Russell Churchill in June 1978. An accrual to the collection was donated by Robert Gumestad in 2021.

Related Collections

The Papers of Harry Rosenberg include one folder of papers related to the Records of the American West Program. Related thematic posters created by Bob Coonts are in the Archives and Special Collections Poster Collections. VIEW.


Processing was completed in March 2012. All materials were rehoused using acid-free folders, and metal fasteners were removed and photographs were sleeved. The folders were ordered in a sequence by an archivist during a preliminary inventory in 1978 and remain in that order to accompany a previous index. Because loose papers were incorporated into appropriate folders, the previous index may not be completely relevant to the current arrangement. Papers in separate folders are undated but are associated with that year's program. They are housed at the back of the appropriate folder. The 2021 accrual arrived foldered; contents were refoldered in acid-free folders and paperclips were removed. Items that had been clipped together were placed together in original order in paper folders. Brochures were removed and grouped together by year. Confidential information was noted and restricted.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Genre / Form



Guide to the Records of the American West Program
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Victoria Lopez-Terrill; revised by Terrie Farley and Victoria Lopez-Terrill
Copyright 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2024 June 26: Accrual added

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA