Denver Public Library Honors Jim Kroll with Eleanor Gehres Awards

Former Western History & Genealogy Department Manager receives annual award 

The Denver Public Library hosted the annual Eleanor Gehres award ceremony honoring Jim Kroll, April 27, at the McNichols Civic Center Building. The award recognizes his contributions to the Western History & Genealogy Department during his tenure at the library. 

Kroll managed Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department from 1999 to 2018. During his nearly twenty years leading the department, he continued to be an innovator and built on the work of his predecessor, Eleanor Gehres. He oversaw the grant to begin digitizing the first photographs in the collection, establishing a digital lab and hiring staff to scan and catalog photographs to make them digitally available for the first time. 

About the Eleanor Gehres Awards 

The award honors individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution of library materials (books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, works of art or other items), scholarship, life-long service or bequest, that enhances the Western History Collection and expands the department’s significance and contributions to the community. The award is named in memory of Eleanor Gehres who headed the Library’s Western History & Genealogy department for 25 years from 1974 to 1999. Her leadership built the department from a regional resource into a national treasure.

Background on Eleanor Gehres

Eleanor was born in Riverside, NJ, on Feb. 18, 1932. She worked as a schoolteacher and librarian before becoming manager of the Western History Department in 1974. She was also the first woman elected to Posse Membership in the Denver Posse of Westerners and was a past president of the Colorado History Group. In June 1996, Eleanor won the Wallace Stegner Award, from the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado. The award is given to an individual who has made a sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West through literature, art, history, lore or an understanding of the West. 

To learn more about the Eleanor Gehres Award and past winners, visit


Written by jgosalvez on May 5, 2022