Angus and Catherine McDonald Papers, 1858-1899  PDF

Overview of the Collection

McDonald, Angus, 1816-1889McDonald, Catherine, 1815-1902
Angus and Catherine McDonald Papers
1858-1899 (inclusive)
1 volume
Collection Number
Mss 344
Angus McDonald was an early Montana settler; his wife, Catherine, was a Nez Percé. The collection consists of a volume of stories and poems that Catherine told her children that were written down by Angus, and some later notes attributed to Winona Adams.
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
Missoula, MT
Telephone: 406-243-2053
Fax: 406-243-4067
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.

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

Angus McDonald was born in Scotland in 1816, and came to Fort Colville in what is now the state of Washington in the fall of 1839 as a trader for the Hudson's Bay Company. He went to Fort Hall in what is now Idaho in 1840. In 1842, he married a Nez Percé woman, Catherine, at Fort Hall; their marriage was solemnized by a Jesuit missionary in 1854. They had twelve children between 1845 and 1871: Duncan, John Christina, Donald, Anne, Margaret, Thomas, Alexander, Archibald, Joseph, Angus Colville, and Mary. Angus also had another son, Angus Pierre, by another Native American woman. Angus McDonald was sent to Fort Connah on the Flathead Reservation in 1847 and set up his own family home nearby at Post Creek. In 1871, McDonald retired from Hudson's Bay, which was closing down its U.S. operations, and settled back on the family home at Post Creek. He had a lifelong interest and education in English literature, particularly Shakespeare. He died in 1889.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of a volume of stories told by Catherine to her children and written down by Angus. According to James Hunter in Scottish Highlanders, Indian Peoples, it was custom among her people to tell stories that featured events in which she had been involved. Angus apparently carried around a ledger to record these stories, which he embellished with his own literary style. However, the story content is regarded as Catherine's own. The book contains both stories and poems; some are incomplete, and there are pages missing from the book. The book also contains marks and penmanship exercises in a child's hand. In addition, there is a sheath of partial typescript transcripts in the back. Handwriting and circumstance suggest that these are the papers of Winona Adams, a librarian at Montana State University (now The University of Montana) who published an edited version of one of the stories in the Frontier and Midland in 1930.

The collection also includes a full transcription of the original materials that was given to the Archives by Steve Anderson in 2007.

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 not transferred to The University of Montana.

Preferred Citation

[Name of document or photograph number], Angus and Catherine McDonald Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Indians of North America--Folklore
  • Nez Percé women
  • Nez Percé Indians--Folklore
  • Penmanship
  • Personal Names :
  • McDonald, Angus, 1816-1889--Family
  • Family Names :
  • McDonald family
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Poems
  • Stories
  • Occupations :
  • Women storytellers--Montana
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Adams, Winona (creator)
    • McDonald, Catherine, 1815-1902 (creator)