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Denver Public Library offers Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino Research Guide

Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino Research Guide.jpg
Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 27, 2022

DENVER – The Denver Public Library recently announced the creation of the Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino Research Guide, an overview of the libraries collections to help researchers interested in learning more about the Latino community.

“This is basically sort of a top view of across all of our collections,” Laura Ruttum Senturia, the guide’s creator and Denver Public Library Special Collections Archivist of the Western History Department said.

“It doesn't represent everything that we have in the collection by any means. But it really helps people navigate a little bit, what's available,” Ruttum Senturia said.

In 1965, the City of Denver forced hundreds of Latino, Native American, and Italian families to move out of the Auraria neighborhood to build the Auraria Campus which houses three universities and colleges. The city promised to give descendants of those impacted free college tuition to attend universities on the campus.

Ruttum Senturia said materials from the guide have already helped descendants of displaced Auraria neighborhood families trace their family connections to the neighborhood in order to take advantage of the free tuition offering.

“We have college age students coming in all the time, who are looking for their grandparents, sometimes their great-grandparents, where did they live in, you know, 1950. So we're looking in the directories to help them document that information. And that feels like a very real world example of how this material can actually be helpful for our researchers,” Senturia said.

The guide includes bilingual personal records, census data, and maps that date back hundreds of years.

“So everything from published indexes of various church records or civil records, including information like birth information, deaths, marriages, and some of those go back to the 1700s. We have information from directories, so city directories that would show where people were living in a particular year,” Senturia said. “Everyone is welcome to see them and we don't want to be gatekeepers. I think that's an impression that the field has given in prior generations.”

Senturia said for Latino families wanting to know more about their history, the details could very well lie in within the new guide.