Verne Dusenberry Papers, circa 1885-1966  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Dusenberry, Verne, 1906-1966
Title
Verne Dusenberry Papers
Dates
circa 1885-1966
Quantity
4.5 linear feet
Collection Number
Accession 85015, MtBC, us (accession)
Summary
The Verne Dusenberry Papers provide a rich source of material about the Montana and Northern Plains Indians, in particular the Chippewa Cree (a.k.a./Metis, Landless Indians, Rocky Boy). They also offer some insights into the formative years of the Montana Institute of the Arts and Montana and Western authors of the 1950's and early 1960's. The materials consist of letters, personal papers, research work, and manuscripts collected or created by Verne Dusenberry. The papers also include teaching outlines, classroom aids, exams, and public addresses. The topics cover life ways, material culture, history, language, legends, religion including the Sun Dance and Peyote Cult, reservation concerns, land claims, and literature.
Repository
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
59717-3320
Telephone: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
spcoll@www.lib.montana.edu
Access Restrictions

Researchers are reminded to adhere to copyright regulations that may apply to materials in the information file and material he gathered for his course work. All citations to any materials quoted in Series 5 must be credited to the Glenbow Museum of Calgary, Alberta.

Additional Reference Guides

An alternative form of this finding aid can be found at http://www.lib.montana.edu/collect/spcoll/findaid/acc85015.html

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James Verne Dusenberry was born in Corning, Iowa, April 7, 1906, and came to Montana as a small child. He received a Bachelor's Degree at Montana State College, Bozeman, in 1927; a Master's at Missoula in 1956 and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Stockholm in 1962. He encountered the Pend d'Oreille and Flathead Indians as a businessman in 1935 in western Montana and had much personal contact with them. He later moved to Glendive, Montana where he taught English at Dawson Junior College, where he became dean from 1945-1947. He was associated with the University System for 15 years first becoming an English instructor at MSC where he introduced courses in western Indian literature. He also served as Indian Specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service at the college. From 1951-1953 he was Visiting Professor of English at Northern Montana College in Havre. It was there he began compiling data on the little known Cree and Chippewa people on the nearby Rocky Boy's Reservation. He then returned to MSC but continued active research and efforts for the Association for American Indian Affairs. His master's thesis was based on extensive field work on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and his Ph.D. was devoted to the Montana Cree. He was an early officer of the Montana Institute of Arts in Helena, and he taught anthropology as an associate professor at Missoula until securing a position as director of the Indian Studies Institute of the Glenbow Foundation, Calgary, Alberta. Cancer took his life on December 16, 1966.

Dusenberry has been publicly acclaimed as a scholar of and friend to Northern Rocky Mountain/Plains Indians with a special interest in Indian religion and folklore. He is also recognized for being instrumental in the establishment of the campus museum now known as the Museum of the Rockies and had a keen interest in developing the Indian materials there. He was recognized posthumously in the first Museum of the Rockies Occasional Paper, "Lifeways of Intermontane and Plains Montana Indians." His numerous articles appeared in Ethnos, the Journal of American Folklore, the Christian Century, Nation, and the Montana Magazine of Western History. His doctoral thesis, "The Montana Cree, a Study in Religious Persistence," stands as a major study in Indian culture. It was published in Sweden. He was adopted into the Flathead tribe in 1937 and was named to the Northern Cheyenne Council of Forty circa 1950's.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Dusenberry papers are a rich source of material about the Montana and Northern Plains Indians, in particular the Chippewa Cree (a.k.a./Metis, Landless Indians, Rocky Boy). They also offer some insights into the formative years of the Montana Institute of the Arts and Montana and Western authors of the 1950's and early 1960's such as A. B. Guthrie, Norman A. Fox, Joseph Kinsey Howard, John Laurie, Maria Sandoz, and Charles Kuhlman. Many of Dusenberry's manuscripts, published and unpublished, are here including his doctoral thesis "The Montana Cree, a Study in Religious Persistence" and his master's thesis on the Northern Cheyenne. The collection is comprised in large part of research notes, interviews, manuscripts, rough drafts, and much collected information such as clippings, maps, copies of correspondence shared by others, several original, historical documents (circa 1885-1918), a set of taped interviews and journal articles about the Indian which was used for teaching, writing, his own anthropological course work, and public presentations. The papers proffer information about the Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Crow, Flathead, Dakota, Gros Ventre, Kutenai. Montana Cree, Northern Cheyenne, Pend d' Oreille, and Salish. The topics cover life ways, material culture, history, language, legends, religion including the Sun Dance and Peyote Cult, reservation concerns, land claims, and literature. Individuals with whom Dusenberry corresponded or on whom he gathered information in identifiable folders include Edmund Bradley, Joseph Kinsey Howard, James Kipp, Joseph Kipp, Norman A. Fox, Charles Kuhlman, Father Albert Lacombe, Emanual "Manny" Milstein, Angus McDonald, John McDougall, General George M. Miles, Rodolphe Charles Petter, Dick "Chief Bull" Sanderville, Edgar I. Stewart, Guy Weidick and Robert Yellowtail. There will be others within more general subject heads. Reservation life is revealed in many files with specific folders for the Blackfeet, Colville, Crow, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck Northern Cheyenne, and Rocky Boy reservations. The Indian communities of Montana which have folders in the information files are Browning, Fort Belknap, Fort McKenzie, Fort Peck, Havre, Lodge Pole, and St. Labre Mission though others may appear within related material. The papers also include teaching outlines, classroom aids, exams, and public addresses during his activities in the 1950's and 1960's. The largest body of material is an information and research file on various Indian tribes and subjects. A small part of the collection is personal documents such as contracts, resumes, and diplomas and correspondence which reveals his personal and professional struggles during his later years, his research endeavors and his relationship with Indian peoples and other scholars. The final series in the collection consists of a reel of microfilm of documents recorded by the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, in 1974. These documents pertain to all subjects included in this content note.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers are reminded to adhere to copyright regulations that may apply to materials in the information file and material he gathered for his course work. All citations to any materials quoted in Series 5 must be credited to the Glenbow Museum of Calgary, Alberta.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box
1 Series 1: Personal papers including correspondence
The personal papers in box one include his diplomas, resumes, teaching certificates and employment contracts, and a variety of correspondence. The business correspondence is comprised mainly of letters of application and responses for a variety of positions. The general correspondence covers areas of his personal life, communications with various faculty from the Missoula, Montana, campus, Montana State College and other campuses. It includes a letter from author A. B. Guthrie regarding his books and one from Mrs. Jessie Donaldson Schultz (widow of author James Willard Schultz and early mentor) just prior to receiving her Honorary Doctorate Degree from MSC in 1961. The "Correspondence with Indians" folder contains Dusenberry's 1955 membership certificate with the Continental Confederation of Adopted Indians as well as letters from Indian friends from the Montana communities of Arlee, Ashland, Rocky Boy, Fort Belknap, Lame Deer and Birney as well as one from Fort Providence, Northwest Territories and several inquiries from scholars and a carbon copy of a 1961 plan for economic development for the Fort Belknap Reservation summarized by Paul Eagleman, Chairman. The "correspondence concerning research appointments" is responses to his requests to view research materials. The copious letters from Norman A. Fox, a western fiction/Montana author, give insight into the early years of the Montana Institute of Arts and its writers group. Fox gives an accounting of many interactions with writing colleagues such as Ben Stein, A. B. Guthrie, and Joseph Kinsey Howard and others who were involved with the group as well as criticisms of some. He describes his own experiences with Universal Studios movie version of his novel Gunsmoke in 1953, radio program readings and many other writer's activities during the early 1950's. Emanual Milstein, an MSC graduate in architecture, wrote in friendship; he drew maps and charts for Dusenberry's Cree thesis; he was also designer of what became the Danforth Chapel at MSC. The Lynne Dusenberry folder is a newspaper account of Dusenberry's daughter at a four-day encampment of the Flathead Indians in Bozeman during the town's 90th anniversary celebration in 1955.
1-4 Series 2: Manuscripts and Course Work
The manuscripts and course work in boxes one through four are papers written by Dusenberry as student, as professor and as researcher. Most of these deal with Plains Indian topics; the related tribes were noted in parentheses after most folder titles during an early inventory of the materials as are several other topics: Assiniboine, Flathead, Dakota, Gros Ventre, Montana Cree, Salish, Pend d' Oreille, Crow, archeology, language, and religion including the Sun Dance. Some papers were for publication and small slips with handwritten notation of the journal that pertains are in those folders. The "Big Horn Gun" paper in box one is an historical report about the military cannon stationed in front of the Gallatin County Courthouse on Main Street. In box two the "Missoula entertains many Indians" paper gives historical background on the 11 tribes and the Chippewa attending the third Institute of Indian Affairs at Missoula. The rather lengthy "Indians of North America" manuscript appears to be the transcript of a series of talks or lectures given by Dusenberry and includes a small presentation by Mr. Bagby, Relocation Officer at Fort Belknap. Box two also contains drafts of his doctoral thesis "The Montana Creel" John Kipp and Dr. and Mrs. John Heidelman are subjects of several papers within the "Small Published Articles and Manuscripts" folder in box three as are the Crow, the Flatheads, and Metis. Box three contains Indian research notebooks compiled by Dusenberry. A note from preliminary processing says, "most of the notebooks are based on interviews. There are cross references on research files to this source, but the notes rarely indicate the notebook number." A significant portion of the notebooks are from readings as well. Interview cards in box four list personal interviews for the following people: Big Knife; Denny, George; Denny, William; Dussome, Joe; Favel, Mary; Favel, Pete; Gardipee, Ruth; Flying, Rex; Four Souls; Gardipee, Ruth; Gardipee, Tom; Gray, Andrew; Raining Bird; Seminole, Del; Stanley, Joe; Windy Boy. However, they are not the interviews themselves, and no indication is given as to whether these are references to the interviews in the notebooks. The audio tapes in box four were apparently collected by Dusenberry from other sources; a researcher using the collection in the early 1990's penciled the annotation on the typed inventory that "These tapes are interviews of Crow Indians by Stuart W. Conner, Billings, Montana. Little Bighorn College Library has more information including transcripts of some."
5 Series 3: Classroom Teaching and Conference Material
The classroom teaching and conference material in box five are predominantly for Plains and American Indian courses and contain syllabi, lectures, exams, and related topical material including maps. The conference materials include activity with the early Montana Institute of Arts of which Dusenberry served as President for several terms. Also included is Ethel Auld's "Montana Backgrounds" course which covers Indians, homesteaders, miners, cowboys, settlers and contemporary life. Within this folder is Dusenberry's outline on cultural traits and the Indian. The Swedish book Indiansklubben Arsbok, 1961, a gift to Dusenberry, is also filed with this series.
5-11 Series 4: Information File
The Information File in boxes five to eleven was compiled by Dusenberry and appears alphabetically by subject almost exclusively Indian related. It might more appropriately be called Research and Information File as it contains much of his own chronological history notes and interviews, original manuscripts and correspondence with some folders documenting activities in which he was an active participant. It also contains clippings, subject related journals and journal articles and a few original documents such as an 1891 Northern Cheyenne Tribal Roll for Ration Issue, a 1918 Black Hills Claim resolution, and a statement of religious confirmation and Bureau of Pensions certificate relating to a genealogical search in which Dusenberry's help was solicited. The information file concerns life ways, religious and material culture, history, language, legends, reservation concerns, land claims, and literature. Of particular note are files on the Metis (Chippewa Cree) and the Yellowtail Dam controversy in the Robert Yellowtail folder. The subjects covered more extensively include 14 folders of general-interest Indian topics; six folders of Blackfeet material; 13 of the Chippewa Cree and Rocky Boy Reservation (a.k.a./ the Turtle Mountain Band, Little Shell Band, Landless Indians, Metis--see also that folder title); eight of Crow, six of Flatheads; six specifically on material culture; five specific to Montana, two of the Kutenai and one Salish, 12 of the Northern Cheyenne, and three of Sioux. Information on these subjects may also appear under other subject headings within this series. One will also find folders of information, research and/or correspondence concerning individuals such as Chief Joseph, Edmund Bradley, Joseph Kinsey Howard, James Kipp, Joseph Kipp, Charles Kuhlman, Father Albert Lacombe, Angus McDonald, John McDougall, General George M. Miles, Rodolphe Charles Petter, Dick "Chief Bull" Sanderville, Edgar I. Stewart, Guy Weidick and Robert Yellowtail. Reservations with specific folders include Blackfeet, Colville, Crow, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck Northern Cheyenne, and Rocky Boy; and Indian communities listed are Browning, Fort Belknap, Fort McKenzie, Fort Peck Havre, Lodge Pole, and St. Labre Mission.
12 Series 5: Microfilmed documents from the Glenbow Museum
One reel of microfilmed documents held by the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. The Glenbow was given some of the material by Dusenberry before his death, but borrowed most of the records from his daughter to microfilm and copy. They were subsequently stolen from the Dusenberry home. The filmed documents consist of research materials on the Cree, Cheyenne, Assiniboine, Kootenay, Flathead and Pend d'Oreille. Includes photographs of Cree and Kootenay. The material is presented on the microfilm reel in the order listed below, which was provided by the Glenbow Museum on purchase of the film. Researchers are reminded that any citations to the materials recorded on this film must be credited to the Glenbow Museum.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Assiniboine Indians
  • Blackfeet Indians (Dakota)
  • Blackfoot Indians (Dakota)
  • Cheyenne Indians
  • Cree Indians-Montana
  • Crow Indians
  • Dakota Indians
  • Flathead Indians
  • Gros Ventre Indians
  • Gros Ventre Indians (Montana)
  • Indian literature
  • Indian reservations-Montana
  • Indians of North America-Folklore
  • Indians of North America-History
  • Indians of North America-Land tenure
  • Indians of North America-Languages
  • Indians of North America-Material culture
  • Indians of North America-Montana
  • Indians of North America-Religion
  • Indians of North America-Social life and customs
  • Indians of North America-Social conditions
  • Kalispel Indians
  • Kootenai Indians
  • Pend d'Oreille Indians
  • Peyotism
  • Salish Indians
  • Siksika Indians
  • Sun dance
  • Personal Names :
  • Bradley, Edmund
  • Bull Head-(Blackfeet chief)
  • Fox, Norman A., 1911-1960
  • Howard, Joseph Kinsey, 1906-1951
  • Kipp, James, 1788-1880
  • Kipp, Joseph, 1849-1913
  • Kuhlman, Charles, 1872-1959
  • Lacombe, Albert, 1827-1916
  • McDonald, Angus Henry, 1903-
  • McDougall, John, 1842-1917
  • Miles, George M., 1854-1935
  • Milstein, Emanual
  • Petter, Rodolphe Charles, 1865-1947
  • Stewart, Edgar Irving
  • Weidick, Guy
  • Yellowtail, Robert
  • Geographical Names :
  • Blackfeet Indian Reservation (Mont.)
  • Colville Indian Reservation (Wash.)
  • Crow Indian Reservation (Mont.)
  • Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (Mont.)
  • Fort Peck Indian Reservation (Mont.)
  • Rocky Boy's Reservation (Mont.)