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Ottawa W. Harris Papers

Identifier:  ARL130

Scope and Contents

Collection contains materials related to Harris's involvement with the Black American West Museum, Black Genealogy Search Group, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, professional and military life, and family and friends. Materials include photographs, film, negatives, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, newspaper clippings, genealogy resources, correspondence, cards, postcards, awards and programs.


  • 1920-2004


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Ottawa Harris was born in Denver on April 27, 1936 and delivered by Dr. Justina Ford. Harris was an Eagle scout who graduated from Manual High School and later attended University of Colorado, Boulder and McPherson College in Kansas. He earned a masters degree in education from Howard University in Washington D.C and later served in the Korean War. An active community leader in Denver, Harris worked at Community College of Denver as a counselor and advisor until his retirement in 1992, and afterwards as Director of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Harris was instrumental in expanding Denverʹs Black Genealogy Search Group. Ottawa Harris died in Denver on February 6, 2004.


4 Boxes (3.25 linear feet)

6 PhotoBoxes (5.25 linear feet)

2 AVBoxes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift; Brigitte Garner; 2005.

Physical Description

Several black and white photographs were curled. Sent to Preservation Lab in August 2017 to be flatened and rehoused in photo sleeves.


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Repository

2401 Welton St.
Denver Colorado 80205