Published: May 14, 2018

The Margaret Long Papers combine the old West with the early automobile travel to document the unpaved trails of the West. Margaret Long (1873-1957), medical doctor, Colorado historian, and writer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1873, daughter of Mary Glover and John D. Long. Her father served as governor of Massachusetts from 1880-1883 and Secretary of the Navy during the McKinley administration. She attended Derby Academy, graduated from Smith College in 1895. After some time spent traveling in Europe, she entered the John Hopkins Medical School, graduating in 1903. She served as a nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Brooklyn during the Spanish-American War before completing her M.D. degree.

An image of papers in our archives.

She contracted tuberculosis and had to move to Denver, Colorado, in 1905, engaging in general practice until her retirement in 1930.

From 1918 through the 1940s she drove the rutted historical Western wagon trails in order to photograph them and trace them before they were paved or plowed over. Her collection holds many hundreds of photographs of her in her Model T and Model A, wearing a flying cap and goggles, during her many expeditions. Her descriptive logs, travel diaries and photos can be seen as a historical record of the Gila, California, Overland, Mormon, Oregon and Santa Fe Trails.

An image of Margaret Long and an automobile. An image of Margaret Long and an automobile.


The logo of the CU Archives 100 Stories for 100 YearsThe University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #77 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!