Merrill G. Burlingame Research Files on MSU History, 1895-1968  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Burlingame, Merrill G. (Merrill Gildea), 1901-1994.
Merrill G. Burlingame Research Files on MSU History
2 linear feet
Collection Number
Accession 84014, MtBC, us (accession)
The Merrill G. Burlingame Research Files on MSU History consists of Burlingame's research files utilized to create A History, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana as a commemoration of the University's 75th anniversary.
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
Telephone: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Additional Reference Guides

An alternative form of this finding aid can be found at

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

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Morrill Act of 1862 endowed the state of Montana with the ability to create land grant or agricultural colleges. On February 16, 1893, the Montana legislature passed an act creating the Agricultural College of the State of Montana. The university underwent an assortment on name changes over the first seventy years of its existence; First known as "Montana State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts," it was later shortened to "Montana Agricultural College." In 1921 the institution was known as "Montana State College," and remained as its title until 1965 when the name was officially changed to "Montana State University." The University has observed the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversaries of its founding by special events and the issuance of published histories of the institution.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The research files contained within this collection demonstrates Burlingame's research and writing activities as he worked to create A History, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana as a commemoration of the University's 75th anniversary. Burlingame used his own earlier work and reached out across the campus to gather other material compiled by staff, committee members, alumni, and University former presidents in order to assemble his text. He used an assortment of materials that ranged from short University histories prepared by himself and others to correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, and reminiscences. Of particular interest is preliminary manuscript of Una B. Herrick's work, Twenty Years at Montana State University and an unpublished manuscript history by former MSU President James M. Hamilton. Other items to note include correspondence and writings by two of the original eight students from the university's inception, Lucy Stafford Peck and Tom McKee.

The collection consists of six series, five of which were developed by Burlingame to organize his work, and all original folder titles have been retained in quotes, with added content information added for clarity. Series 6, however, is a hodgepodge of miscellaneous information pertaining to the university which were unorganized and gathered together during processing. Folder arrangement within each series is alphabetic.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
1-2 Series 1: MSU History
General research files pertaining to Montana State University History. This series presents Burlingame's compilation of correspondence, histories, reports, statistics, legislative information, enrollment, and financial information. Information ranges from earlier histories to reports of various anniversary observance committees. This series includes a partial history written by former University President James M. Hamilton which was never published. Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.
2-3 Series 2: Programs and Curricula
Information files on the various programs and curricula of Montana State University. Burlingame compiled an assortment of correspondence, reports, statistics, newspaper clippings, and lists within these materials in order to further his research. This series covers materials ranging from agriculture to the agricultural experiment station, chemistry, fraternity housing, as well as religion, music, etc. Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.
3 Series 3: Buildings
Research files pertaining to buildings around the university. Materials within this series include an assortment of correspondence, lease samples, newspaper clippings, committee information, and reports. This series offers information on the naming of various university buildings by committees charged with the responsibility. It also includes material relating to the Engineering Building dedication, as well as information pertaining to "The M," a prominent local landmark set into the mountainside overlooking the city of Bozeman. Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.
3-5 Series 4: Faculty
Research files pertaining to the faculty of the university. Material within this series includes an assortment of biographical sketches, reports, correspondence, meeting notes, as well as an original manuscript. Information ranges from material on staff members to the Quarter Century Club and generic faculty information. Of note is the original manuscript for Twenty Years at Montana State College by Una B. Herrik. A final version of Herrik's text can be found in the library's monograph collection at call number LD3508.H47 1931. Other items of note are a speech former acting President F.B. Linfield (folder 25, "Personal Story"), a report by Linfield (folder 27, "Story of My Work and Services at Montana State College"), information on former President R.R. Renne's inauguration as president of Montana State College (folder 36), and a report by former President A.M. Ryon (folder 39, "The Beginning of Engineering in Montana"). Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.
5 Series 5: Students
Research files pertaining to students and student activities. Material within this collection consists of lists, newspaper clippings, correspondence, reports, etc. Information ranges from materials on alumni to fraternities, prep-school materials, and correspondence as well as a report by two of the original eight students of the university. Of interest is the report by Lucy Stafford Peck, one of three female students enrolled from the eight original students of Montana State College (folder 25, "Some Memories of Early Days at M.S.C.") Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.
5 Series 6: Miscellaneous
Series 6 is a hodgepodge of information compiled by Burlingame for his text. Topics in this series vary from academic freedom to creation of units (other higher-level education institutions in Montana), as well as finances, endowment, traditions, and the 4-H. Materials range from correspondence to newspaper clippings, reports, and conference proceedings. Quotation marks indicate the original folder titles prior to processing.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Historians-Montana-Bozeman
  • Personal Names :
  • Burlingame, Merrill G. (Merrill Gildea), 1901-1994-A History, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
  • McKee, Tom-Correspondence
  • Peck, Lucy Stafford-Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Montana State College-History
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Alumni and alumnae-Correspondence
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Buildings
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Curricula
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Faculty
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-History-Sources
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Presidents
  • Montana State University--Bozeman-Students
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Hamilton, James McClellan, 1861-1940 (creator)
    • Herrick, Una B-Twenty years at Montana State College (creator)