Historical Research & Writing


I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then followed my mother’s advice to go somewhere “different” for college. In 1965, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. Now, more than five decades later, my roots are still in the East, but my heart – and my passion for researching and writing about history – is in the West. Colorado has remained my home. Here you will learn more about my books, articles, current projects – and about me. Thanks for visiting my website. (Visitors to are redirected here, as that site has now merged with this one.)

Stumped on a cold case? Need historical context for a research project? Looking for people or places  in Boulder County, Colorado? Contact me for more information.

Silvia Pettem © 2022


COLD CASE CHRONICLES: MYSTERIES, MURDERS & THE MISSING  (published by Lyons Press, subsidiary of Rowman & Littlefield), tells the stories of victims –– some missing, some murdered and some with changed identities. All are true, and each are mysterious in their own ways. The cases in this nonfiction narrative date from 1910 through the 1950s and include evolutions in forensics, as well as historical context in order to view the men, women and children through the lens of time. CONTACT  YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSTORE OR ONLINE SELLER.

Part I, Up For Grabs
Judge Joseph Force Crater: Cabs and Cabarets
Dorothy Arnold: As Though She Never Existed
Lost Souls and a Buried Past: Hart Island
Part II, Missing Adventurers
Everett Ruess: He Kept His Dream
Glen and Bessie Hyde: Grand Canyon Honeymoon
Joseph Laurence Halpern: Reaching for the Stars
Part III, Changed Identities
Lawrence Joseph Bader: Gone Fishing
Twylia May Embrey: Don’t Fence Me In
The Hatbox Baby: A Christmas Miracle
Part IV, Ten & Under
Young Child Abductions and Black-Market Babies
The Boy in the Box: America’s Unknown Child
Connie Smith: Camper from the West
Part V, In Cold Blood
Marion Joan McDowell: Taken from Toronto
“Daredevil” DeLay: Aerial Sabotage
William Desmond Taylor and His Brother: Double Blood Bond
Part VI, Thru the Lens of Time

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

   Long-term missing persons
   Unidentified remains
   Cold case homicides
   Boulder County, Colorado, history