UCB Libraries

Colorado Coal Digital Collection

The Collection

The University of Colorado Coal Project was the result of two research projects led by Dr. Ron McMahan and Dr. Eric Margolis, conducted while completing their graduate studies in sociology. The first project was funded by the Colorado Humanities Program in 1974, and the second by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1977. The project involved in-depth interviews with former coal miners, community members, and historians throughout the Western US. The materials collected include video and audio tapes, transcripts, photographs, and slides. This collection was given to the UCB Libraries' Archives department between 1985 and 1987; however the existing media formats are fragile and difficult to disseminate and use. Thanks to a generous gift by Ron and Jane McMahan, this valuable resource has been digitized and made available to the public through the University of Colorado Digital Library.


The collection contains over 4,000 images, as well as 90 videos and audio files. The interviews at the heart of this rich collection are organized by the subject's name and are accompanied by transcripts and photos. The metadata records provide summaries of the interviews and timestamps for key topics in the conversation. The second half of the collection contains photographs and images that are organized by the holding repository.

Project Team

  • Christian Diaz
  • Michael Dulock
  • Lacey Dunlavy
  • Crystal Falconer
  • Sarah Han
  • Cynthia Hardy
  • Dave Hays
  • Holley Long
  • Ron McMahan
  • Patrick Mulcrone
  • Michael Riberdy
  • Mandy Sanchez
  • Ashley Seaward
  • Cora Schneck
  • Eric Sipila
  • Prayash Thapa
  • Jeff Wermer
  • Rosalyn Wong
  • Grace Zhong
  • Jane Zumwalt