Leslie Watson "Gay" Randall Papers, 1817-1960  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Randall, L.W. (Leslie Watson), 1893-1970
Title
Leslie Watson "Gay" Randall Papers
Dates
1817-1960 (inclusive)
Quantity
1.5 linear feet, (3 boxes)
Collection Number
Mss 044
Summary
Gay Randall managed his family's dude ranch, the OTO Ranch, near Gardiner, Montana, and later wrote about the ranch and early days in the West and near Yellowstone National Park. The collection contains family genealogy, Randall's writings, and numerous photographs of the ranch.
Repository
University of Montana, Mansfield Library, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
University of Montana
32 Campus Dr. #9936
59812-9936
Missoula, MT
Telephone: 406-243-2053
Fax: 406-243-4067
library.archives@umontana.edu
Access Restrictions

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and the University of Montana--Missoula.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for creating this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Leslie Watson "Gay" Randall, was born in 1893 in Gardiner, Montana, and grew up on the OTO Ranch. His father, James Norris "Dick" Randall, had bought the property in the Cedar Creek Valley, northeast of Gardiner, Montana, just outside Yellowstone National Park, in spring 1898. He intended it to be a ranch, but soon began hosting hunters. Soon the ranch became a dude ranch, the OTO Ranch, one of the first of its kind in Montana. It became a thriving business; by the 1910s, Randall became well-known as "Mr. Dude Ranch" in regional and national publications. The physical facilities of the ranch expanded to include a lodge, guest cabins, and other buildings. Demand for dude ranch vacations increased notably after World War I, and the Dude Ranch Association was founded in 1926 in Bozeman, Montana. With the 1930s Depression, business slowed, and the Randalls sold out to C.T. Libby in 1934.

Randall was married to Wiletta Gertrude Husted, who was born in 1897 in Livingston, Montana. They had three children: Abigail Josephine, William Edward (born 1918), and George Richard. Gay managed the OTO Ranch for a time; he produced advertising and marketing materials for the ranch. By the early 1950s, he was publishing stories of the Old West in popular magazines and living in Clarkston, Washington. He published Footprints Along the Yellowstone, stories of frontier Montana, in 1961. He also wrote an article in Montana, the Magazine of Western History on his father and the history of dude ranching in Montana and Wyoming. He died in 1970.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains family genealogy, Randall's writings, and numerous photographs of the ranch. Randall's writings consist of magazine and newspaper articles and an unpublished book that offer his perspective on the early West, the beginnings of dude ranching in Montana, and the early history of Yellowstone National Park. The photographs, most of which were originally produced for publicity materials for the OTO Ranch, also show the Randall family and some early history of Yellowstone National Park.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright transferred to The University of Montana.

Preferred Citation

[Name of document or photograph number], Leslie Watson "Gay" Randall Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  Genealogy, 1817 and ca. 1945Return to Top

2 folders

This series contains items related to the Randall family genealogy. The first is a genealogical chart of the family that appears to have been produced for William Edward Randall. The second is an original letter from J.A. Randall to William Randall from 1817.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Randall family genealogy
ca. 1945
1/2
Letter, J.A. Randall to William Randall
1817

Series II:  Writings, 1951-1960Return to Top

1 linear foot

This series contains Gay Randall's writings, including research materials articles, newspaper stories and editorials, and the draft of a book, Rising Winds. Research on Fellows D. Pease, who was a Crow Indian agent, Montana trapper, scout, prospector and trader who came to Montana in 1856. There is substantial correspondence between him and the Pease family of Ashland and Lodge Grass, Montana. Much of the research materials, especially that on Pease and for Rising Winds, are copied from the National Archives. Much of that correspondence is directed to his wife, Wiletta. Some of the publications also include articles by Wiletta.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/3
"Battle for the Columbia"
1955
1/4
Research material for "Battle for the Columbia"
1955
1/5
Elk
undated
1/6
Indian stories
undated
1/7
Magazines with articles by Randall
1954-1960
1/8
Magazines with articles by Randall
1956-1962
1/9
Magazines with articles by Randall
1953-1954
1/10
Newspaper articles
1954-1956
1/11
Research material, Fellows D. Pease
1951-1959
1/12
Research material, Fellows D. Pease
undated
1/13
Research material, Fellows D. Pease
undated
2/1
Rising Winds
[1953]
2/2
Rising Winds
[1953]
2/3
Rising Winds
[1953]
2/5
Articles
undated
2/6
Articles
undated
2/7
Articles
undated

Series III:  Photographs, 1886-1941Return to Top

0.5 linear feet

This series contains photographs produced and collected by Gay Randall. They are a mixture of Randall family photographs and early photographs of Yellowstone National Park and environs, but largely consist of publicity photographs of the OTO Ranch. Many of these were taken by Gay Randall as he sought to promote and build the ranch's business, but there are also photographs of F.J. Haynes and Gay's son, Bill Randall. There are original negatives for some images. Many of these photographs appear to have been used in publications; some were contemporary, but many were for Randall's 1950s historical publications. The final folder in the series contains Randall's list of photo identifications; the list is numbered, but does not appear to match with any numbers on the photographs; according to this, most of the dude ranch photographs were taken between 1930 and 1941.

Container(s) Description Dates
81-422: Gardiner Railroad Station, Northern Entrance to Yellowstone National Park
undated
81-423: Petrified trees near Tower Falls, Yellowstone National Park
undated
81-424: Theodore Roosevelt at cornerstone laying ceremonies, north gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Gardiner, Montana
1903
81-425: Theodore Roosevelt at cornerstone laying ceremonies, north gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Gardiner, Montana
1903
81-426: First wagon trail along the Gibbon River, Yellowstone National Park
undated
81-427: Northern Pacific train at Old Cinnabar, Theodore Roosevelt's train for dedication of northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park
1908
81-428: Six-horse tally ho (concord coach) between Gardiner, Montana, and Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
undated
81-429: George W. Wakefield, pioneered first stage lines at Yellowstone National Park
ca. 1890
81-430: Concord Coach of the Wakefield Transportation and Camps Company, Yellowstone National Park
undated
81-431: Freight team in Gardiner, Montana
undated
81-432: Freight team in Gardiner, Montana
undated
81-433: Camp scene near Glenn Creek
undated
81-434: F.D. Pease
undated
81-435: Four loaded freight teams of C.B. Scott, Gardiner, Montana
ca. 1910
81-436: Front and Main Streets in Gardiner, Montana
ca. 1900
44(III):1: "Fishing Boulder River"
undated
44(III):2: "Trail Riders"
undated
44(III):3: Camp Scene "Summer Pack Trip"
undated
44(III):4-16: Camping on saddle horse, tour of Yellowstone National Park
undated
44(III):17: "Off to Castle Cliffs and Petrified Forest"
undated
44(III):18: Partial view of main lodge and cabins, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):19: Cattle, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):20: Cattle, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):21: Cattle, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):22: Cattle, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):23: Cattle, OTO Ranch
undated
44(III):24: "The end of a pleasant journey, Chicago to the OTO Ranch, and a grand time" [automobile on road]
ca. 1920s
44(III):25: Bill Randall and Claude Fite, with log
undated
44(III):26: Looking north on Main Street, Helena, Montana Territory. Ten-mule jerk line team, "Bloody Dick" is standing near the corner of Wood and Main Street.
W.H. Taylor
1874
44I(III):27: Carcasses of elk that died of starvation on the flat in front of Gardiner, Montana, just inside the border of Yellowstone National Park
1920
44(III):28: Cattle, near Cow Creek, on the Yellowstone River
undated
44(III):29: Virginia City, Montana
undated
44(III):30: "A shot at old Two B, working"
undated
44(III):31: Dick and Doc? [Dick Randall and Dr. James A. Randall]
undated
44(III):32: "1923 Lincoln with big engine" [Randall family? in automobile in Livingston, Montana]
ca. 1923
44(III):33: "Part of camera crew making RKO movie"
undated
44(III):34: "Off for a day's fishing"
undated
44(III):35: [Pack string, OTO ranch]
undated
44(III):36: Gail [Randall], with fish
undated
44(III):37: Near Livingston, Montana
undated
44(III):38: "Dick Randall and Gay Randall sharing a bear"
undated
44(III):39: OTO Ranch lodge
undated
44(III):40: "Dora, Bessie, and the chickens, Dick's ranch" [OTO Ranch]
undated
44(III):41: "Bridge and water flume, Dick's ranch" [OTO Ranch]
undated
44(III):42: Gay Randall
undated
44(III):43: "Gibbon Canyon and River"
F.J. Haynes
undated
44(III):44: "June soon finds that it [roping a horse] is not as easy as it looks. The target is a wooden horse (or reasonable facsimile) built so that the guests may practice without endangering the valuable livestock that belongs to the ranch." [OTO Ranch guests]
George Randall
undated
44(III):45: "A big six-point bull slaughtered by a tooth hunter for his two tushes, the carcass left to rot and for the coyotes and ravens to fight over."
Leo D. Harris
undated
44(III):46: "Coon skin Dick and old Two B at lunch on top mountain"
undated
44(III):47: "Pinto and his load"
undated
44(III):48: [Cattle, OTO Ranch]
undated
44(III):49: "Good Morning!" [OTO guest and tent]
undated
44(III):50: "It takes a little practice" [OTO guest and lasso]
undated
44(III):51: "Fishing in Mission Creek Canyon"
undated
44(III):52: Bill Randall
George Randall
undated
44(III):53: Bill Randall
George Randall
undated
44(III):54: Bill Randall
George Randall
undated
44(III):55: "Dick at OTO" [trail ride with guests]
undated
44(III):56: "Snow-capped mountains in the Absarokees"
undated
44(III):57: "Hog-tying a calf"
undated
44(III):58: "Absoroka Mountains, elev. 9500 feet"
undated
44(III):59: "Off on a pack trip, climbing high divide"
undated
44(III):60: "Part of a day's hunting, early fall"
undated
44(III):61: "Packing horses for a mountain trip"
undated
44(III):62: "Bulldogger and Hazen after their steer"
undated
44(III):63: "Northern Pacific [Railway] Depot, Livingston, Montana"
ca. 1895
44(III):64: "Fort Parker. F.D. Pease was appointed first Indian agent to the Crows in 1870 and assigned to Fort Parker"
Montana Historical Society
ca. 1870
44(III):65: Nancy Brockhart Randall
undated
44(III):66: Dr. James A. Randall
undated
44(III):67: "Will's home on the ranch" [OTO Ranch]
undated
44(III):68: "On the way to Will's ranch" [OTO Ranch]
undated
44(III):69: Front row: Frank Shively, Major Reynolds, Plenty Coups, Joseph Dixon, Sees with his Ears. Back row: George Pease, Carl Leider, Scolds the Bear, Big Medicine, Dave Stewart, Jimmie Hill.
undated
44(III):70: Top row: Curley the scout, Plain Owl, White Man Runs Him, Sam Harris. Middle row: Packs the Hat, Sees with his Ears, Holds the Enemy, Stops at Roches, Spotted Rabbit. Bottom row: Horace Song Bear, Thomas Medicine Horse.
undated
44(III):71: "Hom. Miller, taken about 1907 by W.S. Berry, Gardiner, Mont."
1907
44(III):72: "A familar sight every day the dead elk were dragged away to spots for burying in pits"
1920
44(III):73: "Late winter and spring of 1920. Hundreds of elk died on the feed grounds, on the flat in front of the town of Gardiner, Mont."
1920
44(III):74: "Vacation on a dude ranch, riding in the Rockies"
undated
44(III):75: "Dick Randall off for a little trout fishing in cold rushing mountain streams"
undated
44(III):76: "Summit Shell Mountain"
undated
44(III):77: "Evening in camp"
undated
44(III):78: "On the Trail"
undated
44(III):79: "On the corral fence"
undated
44(III):80: "In Montana mountains--Absaroka National Forest Montana" "Summit high divide"
undated
44(III):81: "One of our cowboys riding a cow bareback"
undated
44(III):82: "Cooling off on a holiday in July, Abasaroka National Forest Montana" "Snow Glaciers, elev. 10,000 feet"
undated
44(III):83: "Out for a morning ride"
undated
44(III):84: "Fort Yellowstone from Capitol Hill"
F.J. Haynes
1894
44(III):85: "On the Trail"
undated
44(III):86: "Pack Outfit"
undated
44(III):87: "Bill and bear, hilled fall of 1940"
1940
44(III):88: "Abandoned homesteaders cabin"
undated
44(III):89: "Calf roping"
undated
44(III):90: "Bob, bear hide, Bill [Randall]"
undated
44(III):91: "Second money"
undated
44(III):92: "Romance in the Rockies" (Kay, Bill [Randall])
undated
44(III):93: "Almost there"
undated
44(III):94: "Headed for a spill"
undated
44(III):95: "Ridin' High"
undated
44(III):96: "A days ride in the Absaroka mountains near the ranch"
undated
44(III):97: "Fording Mission Creek at barns"
undated
44(III):98: "Rodeo stock"
undated
44(III):99: "The toughest Hombre west of the Mississippi. That's my Pop [Gay Randall]"
undated
44(III):100: "Bill Randall, grandson of Dick Randall demonstrates the proper technique of holding the lariet for Miss Kay Brown of New York City."
undated
44(III):101: "Cow calling her calf"
undated
44(III):102: "A light from a dude"
undated
44(III):103: "Headin' for Heaven"
undated
44(III):104: "A summers harvest"
undated
44(III):105: "Roping instruction"
undated
44(III):106: "Rope spinning double"
undated
44(III):107: "Making a movie"
undated
44(III):108: "Morning riding party leaving main lodge [of OTO Ranch]"
undated
44(III):109: "Riding Party"
undated
44(III):110: "Packing up for a trip"
undated
44(III):111: "Bob on Rusty"
undated
44(III):112: "One that didn't get away"
undated
44(III):113: "Horses, left to right: Toby, Chief, Patches, Hope, Shorty"
undated
44(III):114: "Montana jack rabbit" [deer]
undated
44(III):115: "Grand Canyon" [of the Yellowstone River]
undated
44(III):116: "Bucking horses"
undated
44(III):117: "A New York lad tries hi luck at bareback calf riding"
undated
44(III):118: "Branding a colt"
undated
44(III):119: "Bulldogger as he leaves his horse"
undated
44(III):120: "Watching a thunder storm on high divide"
undated
44(III):121: "A peaceful nook"
undated
44(III):122: "Watching a thunder storm from a high divide"
44(III):123: "Jupiter Terrace, Yellowstone National Park"
undated
44(III):124: "Going a-fishing"
undated
44(III):125: "Pat"
undated
44(III):126: "A glimpse of two of the cabins [at the OTO Ranch]"
undated
44(III):127: [OTO Ranch employee and guest]
undated
44(III):128: "Headin' for the hills"
undated
44(III):129: "Claude when he broke the law" [fish string]
undated
44(III):130: "A snow bank in July"
undated
44(III):131: "Bulldogging a steer"
undated
44(III):132: "Recreation hour"
undated
44(III):133: "A bad view of the house"
undated
44(III):134: "In camp"
undated
44(III):135: "A good saddle horse awaits you at the OTO"
undated
44(III):136: "The old master himself and a couple of the gals"
1937
44(III):137: "All day trip--Shell Mountain, Elevation 8650"
undated
44(III):138: "Main lodge [OTO Ranch]"
undated
44(III):139: "At the corrals after the day's ride"
undated
44(III):140: "Mission Creek at Ranch house" [young women sitting on bridge]
undated
44(III):141: "Ready for the trail"
undated
44(III):142: "Dreaming" [young woman by lake]
undated
44(III):143: OTO upper ranch, Cedar Creek, upper meadows
undated
44(III):144: "Bill Randall on Will James, Big Timber, Montana, August 2, 1940"
1940
44(III):145: "After completing his roll, the horse and rider both ... to get up. All of the other cowboys hurry to help... one, who despite the weight of the horse passing...suffered only bruises"
undated
44(III):146: "The heavy, stiff hemp rope becomes twisted into a perfect figure eight. Great skill is needed to keep the twisted strands of the rope from snarling into knots. The object in twirling the rope is to keep the loop open and to give the rope enough speed to keep up with its moving target."
undated
44(III):147: "Like everything else on a ranch, Dudes want to learn how to do it, a wrangler obligingly is teaching this young lady how it is done, while the others look on."
undated
44(III):148: "After listening to the careful instructions of the master of the art, Shirly Watson finds that, while the target is stationary, it is still hard to catch. Moving targets are much more difficult as a timing element is involved."
undated
44(III):149: Bill [Randall], Dick [Randall], Gay [Randall]. "Three generations"
undated
44(III):150: "Giving a dude the works on the buckaroo (a dummy horse made from short length of log, suspended by ropes, the rope pullers can give the rider a tough time, even experienced bronc riders find it hard to ride the buckaroo."
Note on back: After seeing a real western bronc perform, every youngster wanted to learn to ride a bucking horse. Naturally the risk of them getting badly hurt was too great, so we at the OTO Ranch came up with this dummy horse, for this practice job for those Dude kids. After a few spills the youngster was usually satisfied that he was not a bronc rider and that he did not care to be one. The four men on the ropes could control the dummy's actions, either for giving the rider a hard or easy demonstration. The publicity for this novel device was taken up by the New York Pictorial Review with a full-page spread, then the Popular Mechanics Magazine gave the OTO more publicity.
44(III):151: "The stage coach Oregon drawn by four horses, and loaded with its capacity load of eleven tourist passengers" [in Yellowstone National Park?]
undated
44(III):152: "Thrashing scene, eastern Montana"
Mrs. R.D. Kennedy
Coal burning steam engine furnishes the power right, bundle wagons and separator in background. This sixteen-man crew could not possibly thresh out as much wheat in a day as the present tractor drawn or self propelled combines, with only a two-man crew."
1913
44(III):153: "The old Mammoth Hotel, built in 1883 in background. Foreground: the stage coach Bighorn, the number one coach of the Wakefield Transportation Company"
F.J. Haynes
1886
44(III):154: "Livingston [Montana] rodeo"
undated
44(III):155: "Dad and dudes"
undated
44(III):156: "The all-log rustic Northern Pacific [Railway] depot at Gardiner, Montana, north entrance to Yellowstone [National] Park, coaches lined up in front loading passengers, train standing on tracks back of depot. Shortly after the first war and the horse and buggy days in Yellowstone, the handsomely built depot was torn down."
F.J. Haynes
undated
44(III):157: "Pat and Gail, Bill [Randall]'s sisters"
undated
44(III):158: "This was an everyday sight along the dusty dirt roads of Yellowstone [National Park] during the horse and buggy days. Four horse-drawn coaches, loaded with tourists, three seated five passenger spring wagons and special surreys lined the roads."
F.J. Haynes
1914
44(III):159: "Going up Mission Creek"
undated
44(III):160: "Crazy Mountains"
undated
44(III):161: "Play hour"
undated
44(III):162: "George seems to be interested in the new guest from Philadelphia"
undated
44(III):163: "A pause to enjoy the view"
undated
44(III):164: "Looking like a dangerous bandit is just one of Dick Randall's ways of entertaining the ladies and making their stay long to be remembered. Mors. Heding is under the hat in case you cannot find her in the picture."
undated
44(III):165: "Getting in practice"
undated
44(III):166: Eastern Montana
ca. 1890
44(III):167: "Pat Tucker, Indian scout, Picture taken Livingston [Montana], July 4, 1930"
1930
44(III):168: "The view from the Ranch"
undated
Box/Folder
3/8
Album pages
undated
3/9
Unidentified
undated
3/10
Unidentified
undated
3/11
Unidentified
undated
3/12
Information on photographs
undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Dude ranches -- Montana
  • Corporate Names :
  • OTO Ranch
  • Family Names :
  • Randall family
  • Geographical Names :
  • West (U.S.)--History
  • Yellowstone National Park--History
  • Yellowstone National Park--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs
  • Occupations :
  • Dude ranchers -- Montana