Every day as a Museum Registrar is exciting with unique opportunities to preserve and share local history. Such was the day in December 2013, when I received one particular call. That day will remain in my memory as one of the highlights of my Registrar career.
A gentleman told me that his mother-in-law’s estate contained “old letters” that needed to be sold and they would like to sell them to the City of Greeley Museums first. As I prepared to respond to him that museums rarely have funding to purchase items for their collections and rely on donated materials, he told me that there were approximately 320 letters written to Nathan Meeker in response to his newspaper article, “A Western Colony,” that was published by Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune newspaper in December 1869.
I was very glad that I was sitting down! This offer to sell fell into the category of “once-in-a-lifetime” and was an opportunity the Greeley Museums could not miss. Thankfully, with joint fundraising efforts by the Greeley Museums and the Greeley Museums Heritage Foundation, the letters, many in their original envelopes were acquired and a select number are on currently on exhibit at the Greeley History Museum.
We recently switched some of the letters that were on display so naturally there’s renewed interest in what has also been dubbed, “The Meeker Letters.” Please stop by our museum and check them out. Visit our website that tells more about our exhibit.
Written by: JoAnna Luth Stull, City of Greeley Museums Registrar