History of the Index

The Wyoming State Historical Department, under the supervision of State Librarian and Historian Gladys F. Riley, edited and published the first Index: Annals of Wyoming and miscellaneous historical publications (Volumes 1 through 14) in 1943. In her forward to the document, she explained the importance of that  

"The need for an index to the contents of the Annals of Wyoming has long been obvious to workers in the field of Wyoming History. No matter of what interest or value the contents of any book or publication may be, its full worth is lost if the material contained in it is not known or easily available. Researchers, students and teachers are turning more and more to the Annals as source material on Wyoming History, and the quarterly magazine is also being used in many schools as supplementary reading."

That edition, which was produced with the help of Zita Winters and Lola M. Homsher, contained index entries from the Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925) and Annals of Wyoming (1925-1942), as well as information about Wyoming Historical Collections of 1897, 1920, and 1922. The Miscellanies of 1919 also was included. That original volume offered sophisticated, detailed, and multi-subcategorized entries similar to those found in indexes of academic and scientific publications.

It would be seventeen years before an updated Annals index was produced by Homsher, who had succeeded Riley as director of their Department. Volume II, covering 1943 through 1959 (Volumes 15 through 31) was published, again, with the assistance of Halverson. Henryetta Berry and Ruth J. Bradley collaborated in that effort. The resulting 140-page document featured a slightly more simplified index consisting primarily of key words and proper nouns. It also included such special major categories as FERRIES; FORTS AND CAMPS; GRAVES; HISTORICAL MARKERS; HORSES AND MULES; MILITARY and RANCHES.

Halverson, who had played such a major role in indexing and publishing the first two volumes, subsequently was promoted to Director, Historical Research and Publications Division of the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. With her extensive experience with Annals indexing, she was able to further streamline the process by limiting entries almost exclusively to keywords and proper nouns when she produced Volume III. That third index covered 1970 through 1974 (Volumes 32 through 46).

Although the editors of Annals began as early as Spring, 1981 to include quarterly or year-end indexes in the backs of select issues, there was no long-term consistency. Judy West bridged that gap in 1991, however, when she compiled those Annals index entries since 1974 (Volumes 46 [sic] through 63). West was the secretary of the Wyoming Historical Society. Although her computerized work never was published formally, the results were reproduced and have since been used extensively by the staff of the Wyoming State Museum’s Research and Publications Division as well as countless visiting researchers.

It was not until September, 1994, that an organized effort was made on behalf of the Wyoming Historical Society to bring all previous indexes into a single source. David Kathka (Ph.D.), then director of the State Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, asked me to compile and edit a single index that would encompass key words and proper nouns that appeared in all editions of the Annals since its inception. Because of the magnitude of that assignment, several editorial decisions were made to facilitate the task. The major challenge was to meld the various formats used by my predecessors into a single system that would be accessible to and easily understood by students as well as experienced researchers. Toward that end, the following editorial decisions were made.

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