James Brownlee Rankin Research Collection : Charles M. Russell, 1910-1962  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Rankin, James Brownlee, 1900-1962
Title
James Brownlee Rankin Research Collection : Charles M. Russell
Dates
1910-1962 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 162
Summary
James Brownlee Rankin--a New York and San Bernadino, California, teacher and historian--collected information concerning Montana artist Charles M. Russell in preparation for a Russell biography and an illustrated catalog of his work. The collection consists primarily of correspondence concerning Russell's life and work as remembered by his friends, acquaintances, and art owners. The collection also contains photographs, clippings, and research notes. [Selected photographs transferred to the Photograph Archives.]
Repository
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
59620-1201
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
mhslibrary@mt.gov
Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James Brownlee Rankin was born in Denver, Colorado, January 31, 1900, the son of Reverend James Doig Rankin and Daisy Meloy Rankin. Rankin's father had been assigned to Denver to begin a mission. Eventually, he was to build and be pastor of the United Methodist Church in that city. Rankin and his sister attended schools in Denver, but soon were sent to their parents' original home, Chicago, to study in that city's Latin schools. At the age of ten, James Rankin and his sister were sent to Europe for four years and studied in schools in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Returning home at the outbreak of World War I, Rankin attended the Horace Mann School in New York City in preparation for entering Princeton. Mr. Rankin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Princeton and subsequently a Master of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In his college years James Rankin developed a great love for books and for the rest of his life collected rare books and first editions. Somewhat later he also developed an interest in art, and particularly western art. This avocation led him to begin a collection of books illustrated by western artists, notably Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington. Rankin's first employment after completing his education was a position at the Collegiate School for Boys in New York City. He remained at this school until 1939. With his summers free, Rankin could pursue his many interests: travel, book collecting, western art, and history. By 1936, he had developed a very strong interest in the work and life of Charles M. Russell, and that summer, he decided to research and write a biography of the artist and produce an illustrated catalog of all of Russell's known works. This was his primary goal and the object of all of his free time until 1940. He took advertisements in national and regional newspapers as well as pertinent magazines. From this, he developed a wide range of contacts who had known Russell or knew of or owned works by the Montana artist. He made extensive trips to interview individuals and to catalog Russell's art. Rankin moved to Pasadena, California, in 1939, to be closer to his father and to pursue his teaching and research interests. He married Josephine Crenshaw of New York City in 1940. He never lost his lifelong interest in Russell, but did not continue working on the biography/catalog after that year. Ultimately he destroyed his manuscript after the publication of a Russell biography by a friend who, Rankin believed, had plagiarized much of his earlier work. The one piece Rankin did publish on Russell is a bibliography of published works illustrated by the artist which appeared in American Book Illustrations in 1938. James Brownlee Rankin died at San Bernardino, California, August 2, 1962.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Research Collection. 1910-1969. 2 linear feet. The collection centers solely on Rankin's research on the life and work of Charles M. Russell. One series, General Correspondence, constitutes eighty percent of the collection. It also is the most valuable for research on Russell and on ranching and cowboy life in the open range era. Many friends and acquaintances of Russell corresponded extensively with Rankin, and their reminiscences would have been the basis of his book. Other correspondents discussed the Russell paintings and sculpture in their collections. The letters also reflect the provenance of much of the artist's work, kinds of shows that it appeared in, and methods by which it was acquired. The Research Notes series of the collection contains listings of paintings, notes on interviews, and transcriptions of letters of Russell and others. Also, there are several photographs of pieces of Russell's work owned by various institutions and individuals at that time. The collection is completed by a series of Clippings gathered by Rankin which generally concern Russell's life. Selected photographs were separated to the Photograph Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

General Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1 / 1
A [correspondents include E. G. Abbott, Alex Aitken, Alice Albright, Edward L. Albright, P. G. Allard, D. W. A. Allen, O. P. Andrews]
1936-1940
1 / 2
John R. and Leslie Foote Barrows
1936-1940
1 / 3
C. A. Beil
1936-1937
1 / 4
James W. Bollinger
1936-1939
1 / 5
H. E. Britzman
1937-1944
1 / 6
B [correspondents include George C. Baer, C. L. Bartholomew, Jewel W. Beard, Theodore Bolton, C. F. Bouldin, B. M. Bower, John Brendel, Walter C. Brenner, E. A. Brininstool, Ralph Budd, A. J. Buel]
1936-1939; 1946
1 / 7
Grace Stone Coates
1936-1940
1 / 8
Philip G. Cole
1936-1939
1 / 9
Bud Cowan
1937
1 / 10
C [correspondents include Calgary Expedition and Stampede, M. S. Campbell, Rachel Campbell, Marion Caming, Charles W. Carson, Frederick A. Chadbourn, Edland C. Clement, Irvin S. Cobb, College of Great Falls, C. D. Conrad, Angelo B. M. Corrubia, C. M. Cotton, L. D. Cram, Lucy R. Crenshaw, Irving S. Cutter]
1936-1940
1 / 11
I. F. "Finch" David
1937-1939
1 / 12
J. Frank Dobie
1937-1939
1 / 13
D [correspondents include Fred T. Darvill, C. Kier Davis, Mary Davis, Lee Dennis, Maynard Dixon, Dudley R. Dobie, C. E. Dobson, Doubleday Doran and Company, A. G. Douglass, Ves Downs, H. H. Durston
1936-1942
1 / 14
E [correspondents include Fred Edmunds, C. J. Ellis]
1936-1939
2 / 1
Louise Fernald
1937-1939
2 / 2
F [correspondents include Douglas Fairbanks Pictures, L. E. Falk, W. R. Felton, William A. Flower, Lee M. Ford, F. E. French, C. Wellington Furlong]
1930-1939
2 / 3
Mrs. M. C. Goodell
1937-1938
2 / 4
G [correspondents include Great Falls Lodge No. 214 BPOE, Great Northern Railway Company]
1936-1939
2 / 5
Jake Hagenson
1936-1937
2 / 6
William S. Hart
1936-1938
2 / 7
Emma M. Henderson
1937
2 / 8
N. B. Holter
1938
2 / 9
Lila M. Houston
1936-1937
2 / 10
Wallis Huidekoper
1936-1938
2 / 11
H [correspondents include Hiram Henry, Mrs. Roy Hopkins, C. E. Hubbard, Mrs. Frank V. Hurley]
1937-1942
2 / 12
I [correspondents include Will Irwin]
1936
2 / 13
J [correspondents include J. W. Jackson, S. E. Johns, Sid W. Johns, Mrs. B. T. Johnson, Della Jones, Mrs. R. O. Jones, A. M. Joys, J. Edward Jones]
1930-1938
2 / 14
Henry Keeton
1937-1939
2 / 15
Theodore A. Koetzli
1938-1939
2 / 16
K [correspondents include Kansas City Art Institute, Walter G. Kendall, Otillie Kraemer]
1937-1939
2 / 17
Reginald and Gladys Laubin
1938-1939
2 / 18
Alexander Leggat
1937
2 / 19
Walter Lehman
1936-1941
2 / 20
Frank B. Linderman
1936-1937
2 / 21
L [correspondencts include Tom Lea, Great Falls Leader, Earl LeFebure, J. B. Lincoln]
1936-1939
2 / 22
Mina Mathey
1936-1939, 1944
2 / 23
Edward Mead
1938
2 / 24
Fergus Mead
1938-1939
2 / 25
Churchill Mehard
1937-1939
2 / 26
Mac, Mc [correspondents include Helen R. Mackay, H. F. McDonald, Bessie MacGregor, Mary A. McGuire, Lila B. McKinley, J. F. McNamara]
1936-1941
2 / 27
M [correspondents include J. N. Major, H. E. Manville, Alice H. Marchand, Sam Martel, James W. Masterson, Mrs. M. G. Meeks, Richard K. Mellon, Albert Milch, W. St. J. Miller, Grace A. Miracle, Harry B. Mitchell, Montana Historical Society, Montana State University--Missoula, Edith Ellis Morrison]
1932-1951
3 / 1
Alick C. Newton
1937-1939
3 / 2
N [correspondents include W. W. Newton, C. Raymond Noyes]
1936-1937
3 / 3
O [correspondents include J. D. O'Donnell, B. V. Older]
1937
3 / 4
James Pearson (includes Charles Russell letter, non-illustrated]
1937-1938
3 / 5
Cassandra O. Phelps
1937-1939
3 / 6
Con Price
1936-1938
3 / 7
P [correspondents include Albert J. Partoll, Harry W. Peterson, Frank Phillips Ranch, City of Pittsburgh, T. G. Portis]
1936-1940
3 / 8
Daisy M. Rankin
1937
3 / 9
Josephine Rankin
1940
3 / 10
Charles Reymershoffer
1938-1939
3 / 11
Vesta Robbins
1936-1937
3 / 12
Sophia Ruskin
1937-1938
3 / 13
Florence M. N. Russell
1937-1939
3 / 14
Jack Russell
1937, 1941
3 / 15
Nancy C. Russell
1936-1940
3 / 16
R [correspondents include K. E. Rasmussen, Clara M. Reeder, William D. Reese, D. E. Riley, Mary Roberts Rinehart, E. C. Robert, Ben R. Roberts, O. W. Robertson, C. V. Rubottom, Basil G. Rudd]
1928-1945
4 / 1
James Willard Schultz
1936-1937
4 / 2
Harry P. Stanford
1937-1939
4 / 3
Allis B. Stuart
1937, n.d.
4 / 4
Luke D. Sweetman
1937-1952
4 / 5
S [correspondents include Mary P. Sleicher, Coy P. Smith, C. Owen Smithers, E. T. Spencer, J. O. Spreen, Charles R. Steedman, E. L. Stendahl, Robert E. Strahorn Agnes E. Sweet]
1933-1940
4 / 6
Earl Talbott
1936-1946
4 / 7
Josephine Trigg
1937-1940
4 / 8
Mrs. Pat Tucker
1936-1938
4 / 9
T [correspondents include Charles P. Taft, Robert Taft, Louise J. Thomas, Mrs. T. R. Thorn, Bernard Tomm, Elizabeth Troyke]
1936-1940
4 / 10
U [correspondents include Universal - International PIctures, Univesity of Washington Library]
1936-1954
4 / 11
V [correspondents include Ruth Van Meter, Virginia Historical Society, Jessie Wiley Voils]
1936-1939
4 / 12
Norma Linderman Waller
1937-1942
4 / 13
Phil Weinard
1937-1942
4 / 14
Laura Whittemore
1938-1939
4 / 15
Sid Willis
1936-1938
4 / 16
W [correspondents include Rose M. Wadsworth, Eliza E. Walker, H. P. Webster, Mrs. John M. Wenneis, John A. Willard, Eugene E. Wilson, Windsor Castle, Kathearine W. Winston, M. A. Witofsky, Ted Worrall, Cushing F. Wright]
1936-1945
4 / 17
Y [correspondents include Karl Yost, N. J. Young, Mrs. William A. Young]
1936-1937
4 / 18
Frank Zahn
1936-1937

Clippings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
5 / 1
Charles M. Russell: art and shows
1926-1957, n.d.
5 / 2
Charles M. Russell: memorials, publicicity, honors, etc.
1939-1962
5 / 3
Charles M. Russell: reminiscences of Russell by acquintances
1936-1939, n.d.
5 / 4
Charles M. Russell: reviews of works concerning Russell
1933-1957
5 / 5
Charles M. Russell: statue controversy
1956-1957
5 / 6
Charles M. Russell: miscellaneous
1926-1939, n.d.
5 / 7
Cowboy reunions
1939-1940, n.d.
5 / 8
Montana history
1934-1940
5 / 9
Nancy C. Russell
1937-1940
5 / 10
Rankin project
1936-1940

Photographs Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
5 / 11
Charles M. Russell works owned by J. W. Bollinger
n.d.
5 / 12
Charles M. Russell works owned by Amon Carter
n.d.
5 / 13
Charles M. Russell works owned by Great Falls Elks Lodge
n.d.
5 / 14
Charles M. Russell works owned by William S. Hart
n.d.
5 / 15
Charles M. Russell works owned by Charles M. Joys (includes positive and negative photostats of one drawing, "Young Louse"; of five untitled paintings; and of one writing, "The Enemys Country")
n.d.
5 / 16
Charles M. Russell works owned by Newhouse Galleries
n.d.
5 / 17
Charles M. Russell works owned by Alick C. Newton
n.d.
5 / 18
Charles M. Russell works owned by Harry Stanford
n.d.
5 / 19
Charles M. Russell works owned by Phil Weinard
n.d.
5 / 20
Charles M. Russell works owned by various collectors
n.d.
5 / 21
Charles M. Russell works unidentified as to ownership
n.d.
5 / 22
List of photographs separated to the Photo Archives
n.d.

Research Notes Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
5 / 23
Informational notes taken from publications and interviews
c. 1936-1940
5 / 24
Listings and descriptions of Charles M. Russell works in various collections
c. 1936-1940
5 / 25
Names and addresses of contacts and informants
c. 1936-1939
5 / 26
Notebook containing art collection descriptions, notes on history, trancripts of letters
c. 1936-1939
5 / 27
Notebook containing art collection descriptions, information notes, source notes, book descriptions, transcripts of letters
c. 1936-1940
5 / 28
Notes on sources
c. 1936-1940
5a / 1
Drafts of bibliography of published works illustrated by Charles M. Russell
1938
5a / 2
Drafts of first chapter of Charles M. Russell biography
c. 1938
5a / 3
Items acquired in course of research
n.d.
5a / 4
Typescript copies of articles and reminiscences
1901-1937, n.d.
5a / 5
Typescript and photographic copies of Charles M. Russell letters
1910-1926

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Ranch life
  • Sculpture
  • West (U.S.) in Art
  • History--Research
  • Personal Names :
  • Russell, Charles M. (Charles Marion), 1864-1926
  • Geographical Names :
  • Great Falls (Mont.)
  • Judith Basin County (Mont.)
  • Lake McDonald (Glacier National Park, Mont.)