John B. Herford papers,, 1862-1953  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Herford, John B.
John B. Herford papers,
1862-1953 (inclusive)
1.2 linear feet
Collection Number
MC 394
This collection consists of the records of erstwhile cowboy and eventual Billings lawyer, John B. Herford, and includes correspondence (1862-1953) between John (Jack) Herford, Susan Herford and their children; financial records (1899-1952) dealing with general Herford family business; a subject file (1918-1931) primary concerned with Beatrice Herford, Jack's sister and a well-known stage actress; poetry (n.d.) written by Jack Herford; and miscellany (1900-1950) predominantly clippings.
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

John (Jack) Brooke Herford was born in England (Yorkshire West Riding) in 1858 to Reverend Brooke Herford and his wife Hannah. He had eight brothers and sisters: William, Helen, Lucy, Mary, Oliver, Laura, Hannah, and Beatrice. Jack's oldest brother, William, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1870's, settling in New Mexico and starting his own sheep ranch. In 1876, the rest of the Herford family followed suit, settling briefly in Chicago, Illinois. Jack worked on his brother William's sheep ranch for a time, but by the 1880's had established a ranching operation of his own on the Musselshell River.

Around 1885, Jack married Ms. Susan Whitney, daughter of Billings Post Master, Lucius Whitney. The couple would eventually have three children: Helen, Whitney, and Brooke. Jack studied for and passed the bar, serving as the Yellowstone County Attorney from 1894 to 1896, and the Yellowstone County Sheriff in 1908. He would eventually move the family to Billings 1911, practicing law there until his death. Jack also served in the Third United States Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish American War, and in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in World War I. Jack died in Billingsin 1923.

Helen Herford studied in Germany and Massachusetts before returning to Montana to teach school and work on her parent's ranch. In 1929, she and her cousin Helen Underwood Wellington formed a partnership to create a dude ranch near Limestone, Montana. The Swining H Ranch, as it was called, operated until 1937. By 1940, Helen was working as an independent artist in Limestone. Helen Herford died in Stillwater County in 1971.

Whitney Herford worked as a bookkeeper in a bank in his 20s, and served in both World War I and World War II. By 1930, Whitney had moved to Lake Grove, Oregon, where he worked as a truck drive for a fuel company. He married a women named Lucia and the couple had four children: Beatrice, Ruth, Lucius, and Jack. Brooke, the youngest of the Herford children, served in World War I, like his older brother Whitney. After the war, he moved back to Billings and lived with his mother Susan and sister Helen. He was still living with them in Billings in 1940, working for an estating crew there. No death date could be found.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of out-going, general, and miscellaneous correspondence (1862-1953) between John and Susan Herford and their children, and some written to and from Beatrice Herford; financial records (1899-1952) including bills, receipts, and the final Will and Testament of Reverend Brooke Herford, John's father; a subject file Beatrice Herford (1918-1931), which includes play reviews, some typed copies of Ms. Herford's monologues, and a few pieces of material published by Ms. Herford; the writings of John Herford, including poetry, and a piece entitled "Cow Camp Sketches on a New Range;" and miscellany (1900-1950), which includes a photograph of John B. Herford.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Montana Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

[item description and date]. Name of Collection. Collection Number. [box and folder number]. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives. Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Biographical materialReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1
Includes census data, copies of draft cards, etc. (also includes Last Will and Testament of Brooke Herford, John's father)
n.d., 1899

Outgoing correspondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 2
John B. Herford (Correspondents include: John Herford to his mother and father, Hannah and Brooke, and to his wife, Susan)
1 / 3
John B. Herford (Transcripts of letters in Folder 1 / 2)
1 / 4
Helen Herford (Correspondents include: Aunt Laura and Uncle Herman, Katherine Reynold, Mary Herford, Aunt, Elizabeth Herford, Aunt)

General correspondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 5
John Herford (Correspondents include: William Hankinson, William Herford, Susan Herford, Mary Rogers, Helen Herford, Paul J. Morgan, Arthur L. Stein)
1 / 6
Susan Herford (Correspondents include: Helen Herford, John Herford, Brooke Herford, Whitney Herford, Agnes Burtoro)
1 / 7
Susan Herford (Correspondents include: Lucy Whitney, Helen Herford, Gertrude Whitney, Brooke Herford, “Nanny” Herford, Beatrice Herford, Laura Weisse, Anonymous representative of the Klu Klux Klan writing to Mrs. Herford regarding the behavior of her daughter, Helen, and relating to a man named Eiden or Edens)
2 / 1
Helen Herford (Correspondents include: Hannah Herford, Susan Herford, Helen Ward, Philip Coolidge, Whitney Herford, Elmo Brocon, Scott Wainwright, Merle Bowers, Bissell Brooke, Laura Hills, Edmund Pound, Kula Arnold)
2 / 2
Helen Herford (Correspondents include: Rollo and Helen Underwood, John Herford, Merle Bowers, Susan Herford, Katherine Reynold, Whitney Herford, Marion Chapple, two anonymous letters to Helen regarding going around with “that Scab Eiden” similar to the letters sent by the KKK to Mrs. Herford)
2 / 3
Whitney Herford (Correspondents include: Susan Herford, Helen Herford, Ethel Rogers, Edith Rogers, Constance "Connie" Chapple, Brooke Herford (son of John))
2 / 4
Whitney Herford (Correspondents include: Beatrice Herford, Susan Herford, Constance Chapple)
2 / 5
Brooke Herford (Correspondents include: Helen Herford, Anonymous letter from the Klu Klux Klan to Brooke Herford regarding the behavior of his sister Helen with the “dirty scab” Eden)
2 / 6
Beatrice Herford (Correspondents include: Hannah Herford, Brooke Herford (her father), Henry P. Binney, Oliver Herford (her and John’s brother))

Miscellaneous correspondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 7
Correspondents include: Sidney, Gretel, Brigitta Weisse, Alice, D.B. Herford, Monte, Merle Bowers, P.J. Morgan, Mrs. Hayward, Polly, T.W. Parsony, F. Smith
2 / 8
"Orphaned" correspondence pages ( authorship unknown)

Financial recordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 1
Bills, receipts, etc.

Subject FilesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 2
Beatrice Herford (typed/hand-written stage monologues, play reviews, etc.)

WritingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 3
John B. Herford (Poetry, "Cow Camp Sketches on a New Range")

MiscellanyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 4
Includes, clippings, small account/note book, Fortnightly Club invitation, Newton Charity Horse Show program, Middlesex School Graduation Dance dance card, and poetry
3 / 5
Miscellaneous photographs, including one of Jack B. Herford

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Actresses--United States.
  • Lawyers--Montana.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Canada--Canadian Army--Canadian Expeditionary Force.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Billings (Mont.)
  • Musselshell River (Mont.)
  • Yellowstone County (Mont.)