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Robert Kisken Photograph Collection

Identifier: C Photo Collection 220

Scope and Contents

Images of "ghost signs," faded, painted signs, often 50-100 years old. The signs are located on exterior walls of buildings and herald obsolete products, outdated trademarks or clues to a building's occupancy. Views from Denver, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Most images are identified, though only a few are dated.

Also included are images of historic hotels in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, South Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, and Idaho.


  • 1989-2017, undated


Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Bob Kisken was born in Tarrytown, New York. He received a B.A. in mathematics from Rockford College (Rockford, Ill.), and pursued graduate studies in government at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). He worked as a public school teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 1965-1994. After his retirement Mr. Kisken has devoted more time to his interest in photography. As of 2018, he lived in Denver, Colorado.


7 photo boxes

3 oversize folios

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift; Bob Kisken; 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2018.

Separated Materials

Three books transferred to the Western History collection: C. L. Haas, Ghost Signs of Arkansas (1997). W. Stage, Ghost Signs: Brick Wall Signs in America (1989). W.G. Simmonds, Advertising Barns (2004).

Physical Description

The photographs are in good condition. Many of the photographs are mounted on mat board.


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.


The donor would like to note that this collection was donated in memory of Nate Kisken (1968-2003), who was murdered in Denver, Colorado.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States