Obit:Eleanor Gehres, longtime head Western History and Genealogy, DPL
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GenAnnual at aol.com
Wed Mar 22 00:05:12 EST 2000
Eleanor Gehres, Obituary from the Rocky Mountain News,
20 March 2000
Gehres turned history collection into world-class
By Mike Patty
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
Eleanor Gehres, the longtime head of the
prestigious Western History and Genealogy
Department of the Denver Public Library, died
Saturday at the Hospice of Metro Denver after a
lengthy battle with cancer. She was 68.
Arrangements for a memorial service are pending.
"The 25 years she managed the Western History
Department were the real glory years of what is
the finest collection of Western photographs,
manuscripts and other printed material
anywhere," said Colorado historian Tom Noel.
"And not just Colorado history but of the entire
Rocky Mountain region."
Noel said Mrs. Gehres not only expanded and
enhanced the department's collection but was
responsible for opening it to the public.
"Eleanor's predecessors used to guard the
department, making it only available to scholars,"
Noel said. "She took in everybody from
second-grade schoolchildren to public tours."
Noel said Mrs. Gehres also taught Colorado
history and wrote several books.
"She probably should have been dead a year
ago," Noel said. "But she wanted to finish some
books and some Western history projects and
just wouldn't let go. She was so helpful. Her name
shows up on the acknowledgments of more
books on Western history than anyone around."
Born Feb. 18, 1932, in Riverside, N.J., Mrs.
Gehres received a bachelor's degree from Mary
Washington College at the University of Virginia
and master's degrees in history and librarianship
from the University of Denver.
She became manager of the Western History Department
that time the department added the library's famous
conservation collection, the rare book collection
and completed the
photo imaging project.
"One of her greatest legacies was the completion of
Noel said. "It makes the collection available to
other libraries and
general public online."
She retired in 1999.
Among her numerous awards, Mrs. Gehres was given the
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Library
and the Wallace
Stegner Award from the Center of the American West.
The Eleanor Gehres Award, named in her honor, is
recognition of a
significant contribution to the Western history
She is survived by her husband, Jim Gehres, a Denver
widely known mountaineer.
March 20, 2000
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