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Full Body Burden

15 Jun


“Part memoir, part investigative journalism, Full Body Burden is a tale that will haunt your dreams.” –John Dufresne

Kristen Iversen’s “superbly crafted tale of Cold War America’s dark underside” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) draws on many of the 160 oral history interviews about the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant that are archived in the Boulder Public Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History collection (, click on “Special Collections,” then on “Rocky Flats” in the blue box that appears on the left side of the screen).

In alternating chapters, Iversen tells the story of her family’s secrets and Rocky Flats’ secrects and the ways in which they intersected for her as she grew up in Arvada, Colorado.

Iversen’s book is available for checkout at each of the Boulder Public Library’s circulating branches. You can hear her speak on Monday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Church in an event sponsored by the Boulder Bookstore ($10 voucher required; good for a discount on the book).

A Dinner Party Makes History

23 Jun

Artist Judy Chicago stands in front of her now-famous art installation "The Dinner Party"

THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, in 1976, artist Judy Chicago invited the world to a dinner party that already had more than a thousand guests. “The Dinner Party” is “an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art…. [It] comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates … rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.” (This description is taken from the web site of the Brooklyn Museum, which now permanently displays the art installation as the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Anne Marie Pois, an oral historian with the Boulder Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program, was involved in the creation of “The Dinner Party.” She has made a short video,  “Right Into History: The Dinner Party as Catalyst for Social Activism,” which you can watch here, in which she tells the story both of the collaborative process of creating this now-famous piece of art and the ways in which it contributed to her becoming a history professor (she taught in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Colorado for sixteen years) and a life-long social activist. Continue reading

The Gift of Nonviolence

17 May

LAST WEEK, our oral history program was fortunate enough to receive a donation of three videos that use techniques pioneered by the Center for Digital Storytelling to create a visually dynamic, emotionally engaging way to share personal stories.

This week, we’d like to share with you the first of those digital storytelling videos. “The Gift of Nonviolence” is Dr. LeRoy Moore’s moving account of how an abusive childhood taught him an important lesson about nonviolence, which later shaped his career. Dr. Moore went on to teach courses in nonviolent social change at the University of Colorado and used nonviolence to work for the closure and cleanup of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.

To create this video, Dr. Moore worked with students of Dr. Kayann Short’s class “Innovative Approaches to Contemporary Issues through Service.”  This video is archived on The Memory Box Project site online ( and at the Boulder Library’s Carnegie Branch Library for Local History. The Boulder Library will be exploring more uses of Digital Storytelling in the coming year.

To hear longer interviews with Dr. Moore and many others about Rocky Flats, visit

Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant: See the Movie, Hear the Interviews

16 Apr

Two members of our oral history program traveled to the Southwest Oral History Association conference last week to give a presentation about our collection of oral histories about the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant. You can watch an introductory movie about the stories of Rocky Flats here:

Rocky Flats, located on the outskirts of Denver, was a key part of the nuclear weapons complex charged with implementing the nuclear deterrence policy of the United States in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The plant, opened in the early 1950s, manufactured the plutonium pit that is the explosive detonator of a hydrogen bomb.

Initially, the plant was greeted as a boon to the regional economy. Workers at all levels flocked to the plant: it was at the leading edge of Continue reading

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