Obit:Eleanor Gehres, longtime head Western History and Genealogy, DPL

GenAnnual at GenAnnual at
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 
in 1974.
                         that time the department added the library's famous 
                         collection, the
                         conservation collection, the rare book collection 
and completed the 
                         photo imaging project.

                         "One of her greatest legacies was the completion of 
                          digitalization project,"
                         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 
given in 
                         recognition of a
                         significant contribution to the Western history 

                         She is survived by her husband, Jim Gehres, a Denver 
attorney and
                         widely known mountaineer. 

                         March 20, 2000 

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