The William Ross Moore Mining History Library of the American West is a very valuable collection now in place at the Ouray County Historical Society's Research Center located at 722 Main Street, Ouray. It is already being used by researchers from various parts of the USA. There are almost 10,000 publications whose dates range from 1875 - 2017 on the shelves currently. Hard back books comprise about 30% of the collection; soft cover books the remaining 70%. The subjects addressed are:

- history, methods, economics, location and ore genesis, analysis and processing

Mineralogy - crystallography, microscopy, geomorphology, stratigraphy and petrography

Geology - geophysics, geochemistry, tectonics, volcanology and energy resources

Many maps accompany the collection


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The collection focuses on Colorado, especially the San Juan region. There are many materials related to other areas of the USA: NM, TX, UT, NV, AZ, MT, WY and there are some publications related to the subject matter from CA, WA, OF, SD, OK, IA, MI.

The Ouray County Historical Society (OCHS) received this extraordinary and generous gift of over 4,000 volumes in 2000 from Ross Moore of Lake Jackson, Texas. It is a privilege to have been selected to be the repository and care giver of the material. Mr. Moore collected his library materials over a 40-year period.
William Ross Moore has lived near the Texas coast since he was born in Nixon, Texas, in 1938. He grew up in Maxwell, Texas in a strong and loving family but without much in the way of comforts and possessions. He worked a large variety of jobs to help his family and to acquire his education which culminated in 1965 in the Bachelor of Science degree in Cbemistry/Math/Biology from Southwest Texas State University. He married Susan Frances Sheneman in 1963 and they now greatly enjoy their three adult children and six grandchildren from their home in Lake Jackson, Texas.

His college degree allowed him to pursue a career for almost 28 years as a Research Chemical Specialist with Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas, the largest chemical plant on a single site in the world. Here he worked on projects related to very dangerous chemicals for both military and civilian uses. This technology will be used in the future to provide clean-burning fuels. His background in chemistry enabled him to follow, for a period of almost forty years, his love of the minerals of the San Juan Mountains by studying, collecting, and trading them and by establishing his library related to them.

He and his family made many, many trips to the San Juan Mountains pursuing these activities and always enjoying the magnificent scenery and climate. His mineral collection is in the process of being donated to the Creede Underground Mining Museum in Creede, Colorado. Mr. Moore is a member of several professional geological societies.

Due to Mr. Moore's generous donation, other individuals have donated all or part of their collections to the library which has now grown to over 9,000 volumes.

The Ouray County Historical Society, its Board of Directors and Executive Director are pledged to make the library available to the public. The public is now able to check books out from the collection. We will also assist with or conduct research for interested parties. You may call (970-325-4576), email:, or write (OCHS, P.O. Box 151, Ouray CO 81427-0151) the Museum for details.

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