Magazine
The Archives Issue
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April 1, 2022

In HCN’s first-ever “Archives Issue,” we examine the West through a variety of historical lenses. In one of our features, we meet a New Mexico woman who always wondered how her family got from rural China to Albuquerque. We rummage through natural archives, from ice cores, tree rings and pack rat middens to parasite burrows in thousand-year-old oysters. We see Oklahoma through the eyes of the first female Native American photographer and learn about LGBTQ+ life in LA from the 1970s onward. We visit archives devoted to specialized subjects: Idaho’s Black history, Rocky Mountain skiing, beer making in Oregon and everyday life in the pandemic. We also ask uncomfortable questions: Who is buried in the unmarked graves at a former Indigenous boarding school? And when is a cliff dwelling not a cliff dwelling? (Spoiler: When it’s in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and its stones were taken from a faraway ruin and reassembled to create a kitschy tourist trap.)

Feature

What’s wrong with the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve?
What’s wrong with the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve?
Archival documents reveal the true origins of a popular Colorado tourist attraction.
How a California archive reconnected a New Mexico family with its Chinese roots
How a California archive reconnected a New Mexico family with its Chinese roots
Aimee Towi Mae Tang’s Chinese American family never talked about the past. She decided to change that.

Reportage

How the Earth stores records of the past
How the Earth stores records of the past
When human data doesn’t go back far enough, researchers turn to natural archives.
A living archive of Oregon’s hops and beer
A living archive of Oregon’s hops and beer
More than a beverage, beer helps tell the history of the Northwest.
Schussing through time
Schussing through time
A Utah library holds a comprehensive archive commemorating ski sports.
When lockdown happened, historians took to the internet
When lockdown happened, historians took to the internet
The COVID-19 Digital Archive documents life during a global pandemic.
The children at rest in 4-H Park
The children at rest in 4-H Park
The city of Albuquerque is finally working to address the legacy of its boarding school cemetery.
Idaho’s only Black history museum
Idaho’s only Black history museum
A museum in Boise seeks to deepen the state’s understanding of its past.
A mystery worm is threatening the future of Washington’s oysters
A mystery worm is threatening the future of Washington’s oysters
Clues from 1,000-year-old shells could reveal the parasite’s past —and portend the future.

Editor's Note

How we know what we know about the past
How we know what we know about the past
The collected and preserved can give us a window into history.

Essays

My archive: 20 years of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ movement
My archive: 20 years of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ movement
Between 1978 and 1998, Lydia Otero built a collection around queer activism in LA.

Photo Essay

Images from the first-known Native American female photographer
Images from the first-known Native American female photographer
Jennie Ross Cobb put her subjects at ease for uniquely candid photos from early 1900s Indian Territory.

Heard Around the West

Hungry, habituated bears; viral pirates; truffle snuffers
Hungry, habituated bears; viral pirates; truffle snuffers
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

What’s in your HCN archives?
What’s in your HCN archives?
Show us your swag.
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