The Eagle Valley Library District, in partnership with the Eagle County Historical Society, has been awarded the Josephine H. Miles Award! This award was presented for the "Alfred Borah Journals: Collection, digitization, and transcription of a pioneer journal" project.
Who was Josephine H. Miles?
The Josephine H. Miles Award is awarded through History Colorado, and recognizes an "individual, organization, or museum in a municipality of Colorado which has made a major contribution during the year to the advancement of Colorado history. " Josephine Miles (1899-1996) was descended from early Colorado pioneers. Throughout her life, she recognized the importance of preserving Colorado history, and served for a number of years as President of History Colorado's volunteers, beginning in 1963. Upon her passing in 1996, her will provided for the annual presentation of the Josephine H. Miles Award. The first award was given in 1998.
The award is presented in conjunction with the Caroline Bancroft Award, also given for advancing Colorado history. The Eagle Valley Library District and Eagle County Historical Society are no strangers to these awards. The Historical Society was previously awarded the Caroline Bancroft award in 1988 for the preservation of the Chambers Ranch barn that now serves as the Historical Society Museum. In 2014, the Four Rivers Historical Alliance, of which the Historical Society is a member, was awarded the Josephine H. Miles Award for "promoting historical tourism by creating a map of regional historic sites." (Vail Daily, 12/25/2014) The Eagle Valley Library District contributed to the project. The Historical Society was also given an honorable mention for the Josephine H. Miles Award in 2015, for its work on Richard Perske's book, Boom Town to Ghost Town: The Story of Fulford.
Alfred Borah Journals: Collection, digitization, and transcription of a pioneer journal
This award would not have been possible without Alfred Borah and his descendants. Alfred kept a daily account of his life, and the library was fortunate to receive his journals written between the 1870s up through 1917, when he left for Arizona with his family. The journals were donated by Alfred's great-granddaughter to the Eagle County Historical Society, who in turn gave them to the library to digitize and store in our shared Local History Archives. Alfred Borah was born on February 13, 1845, at Borah's Ferry, Kentucky. He lived near Burlington, Kansas in the early 1870s before moving to Sunshine, Colorado around July of 1875. He eventually settled in what would become Eagle County around 1882. He homesteaded in the Brush Creek Valley, south of the town of Eagle. His homestead was located on what is now the Frost Creek Golf Course & Country Club. Along with his brother Jake, known for leading President Theodore Roosevelt on his expedition through Eagle County in 1905, Alfred often led hunting and fishing trips. In later years, Alfred bred horses and occasionally worked with the Doll Brothers of Gypsum. His journals tell a fascinating story of what life was like here in Eagle County.
Active in local community life, Alfred served as the secretary for School District Number 10. He was elected to this position in 1889, and served as secretary through at least 1899. In this role, Borah was often tasked with the hire of new teachers for the school and conducted a yearly school census. Alfred married Mary Grant on April 16, 1889. Together, they had one daughter, Mittie Alda Borah, born on December 4, 1896. Alda worked meticulously on making a summary of Alfred's journals, and also labeled many of the photographs that accompanied the journals. Because of this, we have been able to connect several pictures with Alfred's journal entries.
Digitization and Transcription
Thanks in large part to a grant awarded through the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board (CHRAB), through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives Records Administration, the library was able to safely digitize Alfred's journals using an Archivist Quill Kit Book Scanner. A book scanner is ideal for scanning journals because it causes less stress on the spine of the journal. Alfred's journals are extremely fragile and using a flatbed scanner would have destroyed the journals. Once the journals were scanned, transcription work began. The first round of journals totaled about 1,235 pages in length. Many hours were spent transcribing the journals over a period of about four months. The family has since donated eight more journals, which are currently being transcribed by a great group of library volunteers! The completed journals have been uploaded to the library's Digital Archive, complete with a transcription. We hope you enjoy reading through them as much as we did!
"Keeping Local History Alive" (Vail Daily, July 30, 2021)