John E. Erickson papers, 1883-1958  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Erickson, John Edward, 1863-1946
John E. Erickson papers
1883-1958 (inclusive)
3 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 149 (collection)
John E. Erickson was the Governor of Montana from 1924 until 1933, and a U.S. Senator from 1933 to 1934. Collection (1883-1958) consists of correspondence, speeches, subject files, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous mementos. Topics discussed include various campaigns and elections, the Democratic Party, Helena local history, the opening of Yellowstone National Park, the Custer Battlefield anniversary, Norwegian-Americans, and Mrs. Burton K. Wheeler. [Photographs and printed materials transferred to the Photograph Archives and Library respectively.]
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 open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

John Edward Erickson was born in Stoughton, Wisconsin, on March 14, 1863, the son of a Norwegian immigrant. A year later his family moved to a Greenwood County, Kansas, homestead. Erickson graduated from Washburn College in Topeka in 1890, and was admitted to the Kansas state bar a year later.

In 1893 Erickson moved to Choteau, Montana, and began his law practice. He served three terms as county attorney, and then was elected judge of the 11th Judicial District for three terms, beginning in 1904. Erickson resigned from the bench in 1915 to move his law practice to Kalispell. Three years later he was appointed to fill an associate justice vacancy on the Montana Supreme Court, but refused to accept the position. Always active in politics, Erickson was a delegate to the 1920 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco and chairman of the Democratic State Committee in 1922. Two years later he received his party's nomination for governor. He defeated the incumbent, Joseph M. Dixon, and assumed the office on January 5, 1925. He was re-elected in 1928 and 1932. Erickson resigned the governor's seat on March 13, 1933, to accept an appointment as U.S. Senator, replacing Thomas J. Walsh who died in office. Erickson was defeated by James E. Murray when he ran for the Senate in November 1934.

Erickson returned to Helena to work again as a lawyer and to serve on the Montana Old Age Commission. On June 27, 1898, Erickson married Grace Vance at Salt Lake City. They had three children, Vance (b. 1901), Ellen (b. 1904), and John Cooper (b. 1908). John E. Erickson died in Helena on May 25, 1946, at the age of 83.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of correspondence (1925-1944), speeches (1923-1939), subject files (1904-1936), clippings (1893-1944), and miscellany. Much of the correspondence is congratulatory or in support of his campaigns, with little information on policy or strategy. Speech topics include Woodrow Wilson, Elk Days, Roosevelt's inauguration, the Custer Battlefield, etc. In addition, there are speeches in the subject file Erickson kept. The scrapbooks in the subgroup deal with the Good Roads Convention in Louisiana in 1926, the fiftieth anniversary of the Custer Battlefield in 1926, the opening of Yellowstone National Park, and the Valier Irrigation Project. The scrapbooks also contained numerous photographs which were transferred to the Photo Archives. The newspaper clippings in the collection were arranged and titled by Erickson.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collection. In some cases permission for use may require additional authorization from the copyright owners. For more information contact an archivist.

Preferred Citation

Item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.

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
1 / 1
B-W (correspondents include H. Bjornson, T.W. Elliot, Ralph Budd, David R. McGinnis, B.S. Robertson, Jerome Williams)
1 / 2
C-W (correspondents include Chattanooga News, E.C. Carruth, Dillon Tribune, C.F. Morris, Maurice P. Murphy, Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association, Warren Toole, Edmund G. Toomey, Clifford Walker, May Watson)
1 / 3
A-W (correspondents include O.C. Adams, Buffalo Creek Sheep Company, Gordon Campbell, Dan R. Conway, Charles Gordon, George E. Hurd, Hydro-Electric Power Association, Thomas Middleton Jones, Max Lowenstein, H.H. Schwartz Jr., J.E. Swindlehurst, Yellowstone County, Yellowstone National Park)
1 / 4
A-C (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Walter Aitken, E.B. Amdahl, Herbert L. Barber, Big Timber Pioneer, Jim Blake, E.V. Blankenship, W.C. Brown, T. Cantrell, Charles M. Russell Memorial Committee, Ed F. Crossfield)
1 / 5
D-L (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Daniels County Clerk of Court, Chris W. Demel, Democratic Party, James C. Dockstader, James Donovan re Big Hole Battle, Flathead County, John A. Fox, Kalispell-Kevin Oil Company, Marcus Lyter)
1 / 6
M-R (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Missoula Drug Company, D.H. Morgan, H. Clyde Nelson, L.S. Olsen, Goodwin T. Paul, W.F. Ruegsegger)
1 / 7
S-Y (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Scandinavian Fraternity of America, H.R. Schlytter, George E. Snyder, Tom Stout, E.J. Stromnes, Howard Toole, Warren Toole, H.J. Toomey, Earl T. Vance, Fred Whiteside)
1 / 8
A-W (correspondents include George Arnott, A.E. Erickson, H.R. Green, Chester T. Kennan, Harold A. Lafounte, Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association, Ludwig Rose, Tom Stout)
1 / 9
C-W (correspondents include F. Denny Curry, Independent Petroleum Association, Montana Oil Journal, Leo L. Totten, Earl T. Vance, Frances D. Whittemore)
1 / 10
D-W (correspondents include Democratic Party, Ke-Sun Oil Company, Paul C. Phillips, Walter Smethurst, Stillwater County Commissioners, Burton K. Wheeler, B.C. White)
1 / 11
A-E (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Joe Bosone, Frank F. Bossuot, Boston Mayor James M. Curley, Thomas Cantrell, M.B. Casey, L.E. Cooper re "Slippery Bill" Morrison, Mrs. L.E. Cooper, Chris W. Demel, Democratic Party, Charles H. Draper, Ernest T. Eaton, O.B. Egland, L.M. Erickson)
1 / 12
F-K (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Robert S. Good, Charles Gordon, Albert Hopen, Kalispell City Clerk)
2 / 1
L-N (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include H.S. Larson, J.A. Lowry, George McCormick, Earl F. McGinnis, Cora M. Marsh, Montana Record-Herald, Montana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Montana State Council of Carpenters, Maurice P. Murphy, H.L. Myers, Hal Noftalin)
2 / 2
O-S (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include Jack O'Neill, Gifford Pinchot, H.M. Roberts, Scandinavian Fraternity of America, M.B. Sherrard, J.H. Stevenson, Tom Stout, J.E. Swindlehurst)
2 / 3
T-Y (primarily congratulations on re-election; correspondents include T.A. Thompson, United States Society, Thomas J. Walsh, J.A. Weaver)
2 / 4
H-W (re Reconstruction Finance Corporation; correspondents include Claude E. Hamilton Jr., James E. Murray, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Burton K. Wheeler)
2 / 5
Edward M. Curray

Incoming Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 6
John W. Stanton
2 / 7
C-W (correspondents include Will A. Campbell, Charlie P. Donnell, George L. MacGibbon, F.H. Stoltze)
2 / 8
A-W (correspondents include Horace M. Albright, A.M. Anderson, American Good Will Association, E.C. Carruth, Clarence H. Howard, W.S. McCormack, Omaha Bee, O.S. Warden)
2 / 9
C-U (correspondents include E.C. Carruth, Disabled American Veterans, Frank J. Jennison, Harry M. Ralston, C.J. Seely, J.E. Swindlehurst)
2 / 10
A-U (correspondents include A.B. Cook, J.G. Diamond, E.S. Kosen enclosing speech by Wellington D. Rankin, P.W. Murray, Frank H. Nash, C.D. Powell, James T. Shea, Sam W. Teagarden, Tioga Club, O.S. Warden)
2 / 11
A-W (correspondents include Anti-Saloon League of Montana, I.M. Brandjord, Maggie Smith Hathaway, W.H. Howe, KFBB, Chester T. Keenan, Burton K. Wheeler)
2 / 12
B-T (correspondents include Billings Advertising Company, J.M. Byrnes, Charles H. Clapp, Chester T. Keenan, "Powder River" Jack H. Lee, Joseph P. Monaghan, Oscar Halvorsen Reinholt, Hans C. Roe, George F. Spaulding re Rhodes Scholarships, Sam W. Teagarden)
2 / 13
H-W (correspondents include R.F. Hanks, Chester T. Keenan, Rosalta Laist, New Mexico Governor, Elizabeth Peterson, Virginia Governor, R.J. Williams)
2 / 14
A-I (correspondents include American Forestry Association, E.C. Carruth, E.B. Coolidge, Democratic Party, Tom Dooley, Edward E. Elliott, Idaho Governor, Ernest J. Immel)
2 / 15
J-P (correspondents include Carl A. Kansala, Andrew P. Larsen, "Powder River" Jack Lee, John Lindquist, J.A. Lowry, Frank R. Marsh, J.E. Murphy, David Murphy Jr., Gerald F.M. O'Grady, Picket-Journal)
2 / 16
R-Y (correspondents include Luther H. Reichelderfer, J.E. Ricketts, Ray N. Shannon, M.B. Sherrard, Harry Stanford, T.S. Stockdale, S.A. Stoddard, Gus E. Strand, W.P. Sullivan, J.E. Swindlehurst, United States Society, Virginia Governor)
2 / 17
A-V (correspondents include Will Aiken, I.J.K. Isakson, George Y. Patten, I. Parker Veazey Jr.)
2 / 18
Dean King
2 / 19
B-W (correspondents include Frank J. Bell, "Powder River" Jack Lee, H.S. Robinson, Marian P. Stover, Burton K. Wheeler, Mrs. A.E. Williamson)

Outgoing Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 20
1926-1932, 1940, 1944
2 / 21

Maps, Photographs, and Printed Materials Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 22
List of maps and printed materials transferred to the Library; list of photographs transferred to the Photo Archives

Speeches Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 1
Messages to legislative assemblies
3 / 2
1923-1939, undated
3 / 3

Subject Files Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 4
Campaigns for district judge
1904, 1908
3 / 5
Seward J. Erickson
3 / 6
Campaign of 1918 for State Senator
3 / 7
Montana Supreme Court appointment
3 / 8
Democratic National Convention, San Francisco
3 / 9
"League of Nations Foundation: Cause and Cure"
3 / 10
Campaign for governor
3 / 11
Campaign for governor
3 / 12
Campaign for governor
3 / 13
U. S. Senate and campaign of 1934
Oversize Folder
MC 122-157
U.S. Senate and campaign of 1934 [Map Case See Folder MC 122-157]
3 / 14
Montana Old Age Pension Commission
1936, undated

Clippings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
3 / 15
"Campaign for County Clerk"
4 / 1
Scrapbook of political clippings
1893-1921, undated
4 / 2
Scrapbook of John Erickson
4 / 3
"Campaign of 1900 for County Attorney"
4 / 4
"Democratic State Convention"
4 / 5-7
"Campaign of 1924 for Governor"
4 / 8
"Administration 1925-1927"
5 / 1
"Campaign of 1928 for Governor"
5 / 2
"Administration 1929-1931"
5 / 3
"Campaign of 1932 for Governor"
5 / 4
5 / 5
"U.S. Senate Appointment and Campaign of 1934"
5 / 6
Scrapbook of cartoons of U.S. Senators
1934, undated
5 / 7
"John E. Erickson"
1936-1956, undated
5 / 8
"Bible and Church - Salvaging of Civilization by H. G. Wells; the Bible of Civilization"
5 / 9
"A. Lincoln; Jefferson"
5 / 10
"Crusade Against Evolution per Darwin"
5 / 11
"Disarmament Conference - Reports by Ida Turbell and H. G. Wells"
5 / 12
"Helena's Diamond Jubilee"
5 / 13
"K-9 Corps at Rimini, Montana"
6 / 1
"Montana Products"
6 / 2
"World War II"
6 / 3
1906-1944, undated

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
6 / 4
Certificates, eulogy, memberships, etc.
6 / 5
Conferences of Governors booklets
1927, 1932
6 / 6
Notes on court cases, speeches, miscellaneous
1890-1920, undated
6 / 7
Political materials re F. D. Roosevelt; T. J. Walsh; Kalispell highways; government publications; Northern Pacific Railroad; etc.
6 / 8
Items removed from scrapbook and photo album re Good Roads Convention, Custer Battlefield Anniversary, Yellowstone National Park opening, Valier Irrigation Project, etc.
6 / 9

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Elections
  • Norwegian Americans--Montana.
  • Personal Names :
  • Erickson, John Edward, 1863-1946 (creator)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Custer Battlefield National Monument (Mont.)
  • Helena (Mont.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
  • St. Peter's Mission (Mont.)
  • Yellowstone National Park