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Francis W. Cragin Collection


Francis W. Cragin, circa 1900.

Francis Cragin was born in New Hampshire in 1858 and educated in natural history. He became chair of the geology department at The Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, where he devoted twenty-three years of his life to the study of the zoology, botany, and geology of the southern plains and the Rocky Mountain Region. Along the way Cragin amassed an enormous library of materials for a book he planned to write on the early history of the West, with descriptions of its settlers and native inhabitants. Unfortunately, Cragin died in 1937, before the massive volume could be published. In accordance with his will, the collection was deeded to the CSPM later that year.

Cragin’s collection includes 32 handwritten notebooks filled with personal interviews of early settlers and their families, featuring such famous names as Wooten, Autobees, St. Vrain, and Carson. There are also hundreds of photographs, hand-drawn maps, and other illustrations. Also in the collection is his incomplete Rocky Mountain Library. These unpublished manuscripts have been digitized and are available to the public to review and research.


View the 1970 transcription of the F.W. Cragin Manuscript

View the Rocky Mountain Library Manuscripts »

View the F.W. Cragin Collection Finding Aid (PDF format) »

View the F.W. Cragin Collection in our database »


Old Fort Lupton


Bents Old Fort