Robert J. McCaig Papers, 1904-1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
McCaig, Robert J., 1907-1982
Title
Robert J. McCaig Papers
Dates
1904-1982 (inclusive)
Quantity
5.25 linear feet and one oversize box
Collection Number
Mss 115 (collection)
Summary
Robert J. McCaig was a writer from Great Falls, Montana. This collection includes biographical information on McCaig and his family, professional and personal correspondence, research materials McCaig collected for his writing projects, records and correspondence from his involvement with the Western Writers of America, a small set of family photographs, and a selection of McCaig's novel and short story manuscripts.
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

Robert J. (Bob) McCaig was born September 8, 1907 in Seattle, Washington. Jesse McCaig, his father, suffered from silicosis, a lung disease common among mine workers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Believing fresh air would promote better health for Jesse, the family lived in tents year-round during much of Bob's youth. They moved frequently to find appropriate conditions and support from extended family. For short periods the McCaig family lived near Bering, Alaska, St. Ignatius, Montana, and Edmonton, Alberta. When Bob was six years old his father found steady work in Great Falls, Montana, and the family moved from Alberta to be with him in 1915. Jesse McCaig died less than a year later. Mrs. McCaig decided to keep the family in Great Falls.

McCaig attended summer school classes in order to graduate early and help support the family through a full-time job. In 1923, at the age of fifteen, McCaig graduated from Great Falls High School and began working as a shipping and receiving clerk for the Paris of Montana, a large Great Falls department store. When he turned eighteen McCaig left the Paris for a meter reader position with the Montana Power Company. Bob McCaig was a devout Catholic and was quite active in the St. Gerard Parish of Great Falls. He married Edith Engren in 1953. McCaig worked his way up through the Montana Power Company until he became Great Falls Division Chief Accountant, the position he held until retirement in 1972.

McCaig began writing in his spare time during the 1940s and sold his first short story in 1948. He sold his first western novella, "Toll Mountain," in 1952. Over the next three decades McCaig wrote twenty-one books, twelve of which were published by national companies. His writing career was most successful between 1954 and 1964, having nine western novels, one non-fiction book, and two pieces of juvenile fiction accepted for publication. Included among his novels was a western romance co-authored with his wife and published under her maiden name to satisfy the publisher's marketing plans. Robert McCaig was known for meticulous research in preparing historical fiction narratives. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cascade County Historical Society as an outgrowth of his writing activities. His writing career also led to a long-term involvement with the Western Writers of America (WWA), an association originally founded by small-market Western fiction writers. Over the course of his involvement with the WWA McCaig served as President and on the Board of Directors. McCaig helped lead an effort to expand the organization's membership and mission towards promoting all forms of Western literature. McCaig died April 28, 1982 in Great Falls.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection includes biographical information on Robert J. McCaig and his family, professional and personal correspondence, research materials McCaig collected for his writing projects, records and correspondence from his involvement with the Western Writers of America, a small set of family photographs, and a selection of McCaig's novel and short story manuscripts. Biographical materials include the annotator's biographical sketch of Bob McCaig, newspaper articles about McCaig family members, pamphlets on the McCaig family name, and legal paperwork for Bob and Edith McCaig as well as the Engren Family (McCaig's in-laws).

Correspondence covers an array of source materials including publishing industry contacts, personal exchanges, family business matters, and community projects. Subject files contain materials Robert McCaig collected as research references for his writing projects, articles he wrote on the craft of writing, as well as all materials related to his involvement with the Western Writers of America. This collection also includes the small portion of family photographs submitted with the original donations.

In addition, the collection includes original manuscripts for two novels and eight short stories. The two novel manuscripts are: The Rangemaster (1958) and The Shadow Maker (1970). The eight short story manuscripts are: "Pop and the Cockeyed Windmill," "Trouble on Circuit 13, "Flame Across the Night," "Fools Are My Theme," "The Badger from Ballyduff," "Green Light for Grogan," "The Fall Guy," and "Turmoil at Tinasket." All short story materials are dated between 1947 and 1954.

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], Robert J. McCaig 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:  Biographical , 1904-1981Return to Top

0.25 linear feet

This series consists of biographical materials on Robert J. McCaig and his extended family. Materials include the annotator's collection overviews and biographical synopsis. Most of the items in this series are materials McCaig collected and were originally filed with family correspondence, though the items were not attached to specific correspondence. These relocated materials include newspaper articles about McCaig family members, pamphlets on the McCaig family name, and legal paperwork for Bob and Edith McCaig as well as the Engren Family (McCaig's in-laws). This series includes one of McCaig's World War II ration books. The ration book is in fragile condition.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Title Page, Index, Preface, Brief McCaig Biography
1/2
Biographical
1/3
Biographical-Ration Book
1/4
Donald McCaig

Series II:  Correspondence , 1944-1982Return to Top

2.25 linear feet

This series includes correspondence and a few short narrative samples directly related to on-going correspondence with business associates. The series has been separated into three subseries according to distinct content. Subseries 1 contains correspondence directly related to McCaig's involvement with the publishing industry. Contents include correspondence with contracted and potential book agents, manuscript proposals, book sale receipts, royalty payment receipts, editorial exchanges regarding manuscripts accepted for publication, and McCaig's marketing suggestions for sold manuscripts. These materials include both carbon copies and original documents, including a few handwritten letters. Additional correspondence directly related to the manuscripts in Series V is located in that series-in a separate folder associated with each manuscript.

Subseries 2 contains personal correspondence with family and friends. Family correspondence is separated from other personal letters as a reflection of the original annotators organization. The family correspondence folders contain some materials of a biographical nature that were attached to family letters, including a few weathered letters, receipts, and newspaper articles. Subseries 3 includes correspondence relating to McCaig's involvement with civic organizations, church groups, and small-scale business partners. Correspondence with business partners includes a few short samples of narrative Mr. McCaig wrote for use in product catalogues as part of his business relationship with William Ukrainitz. This subseries also includes correspondence with manufactures regarding items purchased by the McCaig family and service requests. For correspondence from and about the Western Writers of America, please see Series III, subseries 2.

The series is arranged in three subseries.
Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Publications
Box/Folder
1/5
Agent Sales File
1951-1952
1/6
Agent Sales File
1953
1/7
Agent Sales File
1954
1/8
Agent Sales File
1955
1/9
Agent Sales File
1956
1/10
Agent Sales File
1957
1/11
Agent Sales File
1958
2/1
Agent Sales File
1959
2/2
Agent Sales File
1960
2/3
Agent Sales File
1961
2/4
Agent Sales File
1962
2/5
Agent Sales File
1963
2/6
Agent Sales File
1964
2/7
Agent Sales File
1965
2/8
Agent Sales File
1966
2/9
Agent Sales File
1967
3/1
Agent Sales File
1968-1969
3/2
Agent Sales File
1970
3/3
Agent Sales File
1971
3/4
Agent Sales File
1972
3/5
Agent Sales File
1973
3/6
Agent Sales File
1974
3/7
Agent Sales File
1975
3/8
Agent Sales File
1976
3/9
Agent Sales File
1977
3/10
Agent Sales File
1978
4/1
Agent Sales File Additional Commentary.
1979
4/2
Agent Sales File
1981-1982
Subseries 2: Personal
Box/Folder
4/3
Personal Letters
1944-1964
4/4
Personal Letters
1966-1972
4/5
Personal Letters
1973
4/6
Personal Letters
1974-1975
4/7
Personal Letters
1976-1977
4/8
Personal Letters
1978
4/9
Personal Letters
1979
4/10
Personal Letters
1980
4/11
Personal Letters
1980
5/1
Personal Letters
1981
5/2
Personal Letters
1982
5/3
William Ukrainetz
1977-05 - 1979-04
5/4
William Ukrainetz
1979-06 - 1981-12
5/5
McCaig-Engren Family Letters
1914-1957
5/6
McCaig-Engren Family Letters
1962-1980
Subseries 3: Business/Community
Box/Folder
5/7
Business Letters
1950-1963
5/8
Business Letters
1965-1977
5/9
Business Letters
1978-1980
5/10
Business Letters
1981-1982

Series III:  Subject Files , 1910-1982Return to Top

1.5 linear feet and one oversize box

This series contains materials Robert McCaig collected as research references for his writing projects, articles he wrote on the craft of writing, as well as all materials related to his involvement with the Western Writers of America. Some of the research subject files include correspondence from McCaig requesting articles, brochures, or general source materials from businesses and institutions. Most of the folders in this series include documents and newspapers in fragile condition. When logical and feasible, these materials were transferred to archival paper; however, numerous items were retained in original format for historical or practical purposes. The "Lewis and Clark and the Great Falls" oversize folder contains a portion of an undated quadrant map for the Great Falls of the Missouri River. This map is in fragile condition. The "Montana Power Company-Research and Writing" folder contains a copper plated pamphlet produced by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors regarding the 1940 annual meeting in Great Falls.

The series has been separated into two subseries according to conceptual categories: Writing Research and Western Writers of America.
Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Writing and Research
Box/Folder
6/1
On Writing
6/2
Ideas, Plots and Brainstorms
6/3
University of Wyoming, announcements of Publications and Presentations
6/4
Library Work
6/5
The Pepys Library
6/6
The Trumpeter
1974-1982
6/7
St. Gerard Church/Church of Eastern Montana
1981-1982
OS1/1
St. Gerard Church/Church of Eastern Montana
1981-1982
6/8
Cascade County Historical Society Calendars
1982-1983
6/9
Book Creations Inc.
1976-1980
6/10
Trails West Cards/Work
6/11
Interest in Western Art
6/12
Artist: Charles M. Russell
OS1/2
Artist: Charles M. Russell
6/13
Artist: Earle E Heikka
6/14
Ranching, Cattle, Horses
OS1/3
Ranching, Cattle, Horses
6/15
Guns and Related Materials
OS1/4
Guns and Related Materials
7/1
Gatlin Guns
1974-1978
7/2
Little Rockies Mine/Mining History
OS1/5
Little Rockies Mine/Mining History
7/3
Hudson Bay Company
1960-1978
7/4
Lewis and Clark and the Great Falls
OS1/6
Lewis and Clark and the Great Falls
7/5
Montana Native Americans
OS1/7
Montana Native Americans
7/6
Montana Power Company-1910 Letters and Reports
7/7
Montana Power Company-1911 Letters and Reports
7/8
Montana Power Company-Research and Writing
7/9
Montana Power Company-General and Hebgen Dam
OS1/8
Montana Power Company-General and Hebgen Dam
8/1
History-General
OS1/9
History-General
8/2
History-Montana Post
8/3
History-Montana
OS1/10
History-Montana
8/4
History-Great Falls
OS1/11
History-Great Falls
8/5
Retirement-Montana Power Company
8/6
Retirement-Personal
Subseries 2: Western Writers of America
Box/Folder
8/7
WWA-Administrative Information
8/8
WWA-Correspondence and Convention Materials
1954-1967
OS1/12
WWA-Correspondence and Convention Materials
1954-1967
8/9
WWA-Correspondence and Convention Materials
1975-1976
8/10
WWA-Correspondence and Convention Materials
1977-1982
8/11
WWA-Waters Ways West Project
8/12
WWA-Water Ways West Correspondence and Research

Series IV:  Photographs , 1934-1980Return to Top

0.25 linear feet

This series includes a small portion of family photographs submitted with the original donations. When dates could be established for photographs, such is noted in the content description. The series includes several photographs previously mounted on paper with annotative notes by LeRoy Stahl. During reprocessing in 2003 these photographs were separated from non-archival paper and, when possible, the adhesive was removed. The series also includes loose photographs of McCaig, his mother and sister, and locations where the family lived. Most of the loose photographs are undated or were inscribed with speculative dates prior to donation. The series also includes numerous photographs McCaig collected during his research for writing projects. These photographs include images of the Great Falls of the Missouri River prior to hydroelectric dam construction, canoeing techniques and designs, as well as World War II U.S. Army Air Corps aircraft and bases. Last, the series includes two undated flexible photograph negatives of the Great Falls of the Missouri River. These negatives are not duplicates of collection prints.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
9/1
115(IV):1: Mother
undated
9/2
115(IV):2: Parents
undated
9/3
115(IV):3: Woman
undated
9/4
115(IV):4: Bridge
undated
9/5
115(IV):5: Schoolhouse
undated
9/6
115(IV):6: McCaig's
1973
9/7
115(IV):7: McCaig's
1974
9/8
115(IV):8: McCaig's Christmas Card
undated
9/9
115(IV):9: McCaig's Christmas Card
undated
9/10
115(IV):10: McCaig's Christmas Card
undated
9/11
115(IV):11: McCaig's Christmas Card
undated
9/12
115(IV):12: McCaig's Christmas Card
1979
9/13
115(IV):13: McCaig's Christmas Card
1980
9/14
115(IV):14: Retirement
9/15
115(IV):15: Retirement
9/16
115(IV):16: Retirement
9/17
115(IV):17: Retirement
9/18
115(IV):18: Matt Biers-MPC
undated
9/19
115(IV):19: Volta Powerhouse on the Missouri River
undated
9/20
115(IV):20: Great Falls of the Missouri River
undated
9/21
115(IV):21: Great Falls of the Missouri River
undated
9/22
115(IV):22: Great Falls of the Missouri River
undated
9/23
115(IV):23: Great Falls of the Missouri River
undated
9/24
115(IV):24: Great Falls of the Missouri River
undated
9/25
115(IV):25: Unknown man and woman
undated
9/26
115(IV):26: Unknown group of men posing in a fire hall
undated
9/27
115(IV):27: Freight Canoe
undated
9/28
115(IV):28: Canoes on the Abitibi River
undated
9/29
115(IV):29: Portaging
undated
9/30
115(IV):30: Hudson's Bay Post
undated
9/31
115(IV):31: Canoe on Rupert's River
undated
9/32
115(IV):32: Launching of Sir George Simpson at Ft. William Lake Superior
undated
9/33
115(IV):33: Canoes on the low waters of the Pic River
undated
9/34
115(IV):34: Canoe Landing at Rupert's House
1924
9/35
115(IV):35: Airplane-Madiganu, India
1943
9/36
115(IV):36: Moffett Field [Sunnyvale, California]
1941
9/37
115(IV):37: Airplane-P40 Kunming
1943
9/38
115(IV):38: Moffett Field [Sunnyvale, California]
1941
9/39
115(IV):39: Airplane
undated
9/40
115(IV):40: Airplane-Martin Bomber
undated
9/41
115(IV):41: Moffett Field
1941
9/42
115(IV):42: The Bomb Group-Madaganu, India
1943
9/43
115(IV):43: Moffet Field [Sunnyvale, California]
1941
9/44
115(IV):44: Airplane-P-12 Scout
undated
9/45
115(IV):45: Kweilin
1943
9/46
115(IV):46: Karachi
1943
9/47
115(IV):47: Martin Bomber
undated
9/48
115(IV):48: Airplane
undated
9/49
115(IV):49: Moffet Field [Sunnyvale, California]
1941
9/50
115(IV):50: Great Falls of the Missouri River (film negative)
undated
9/51
115(IV):51: Great Falls of the Missouri River (film negative)
undated

Series V:  Manuscripts , 1947-1965Return to Top

1.0 linear feet

This series contains original manuscripts for two novels and eight short stories. The two novel manuscripts are: The Rangemaster (1958) and The Shadow Maker (1970). The eight short story manuscripts are: "Pop and the Cockeyed Windmill," "Trouble on Circuit 13, "Flame Across the Night," "Fools Are My Theme," "The Badger from Ballyduff," "Green Light for Grogan," "The Fall Guy," and "Turmoil at Tinasket." All short story materials are dated between 1947 and 1954. Correspondence directly related to the writing and publication of the materials in this series are retained in physical association with the manuscripts to facilitate research. The bulk of the correspondence regarding McCaig's writing efforts can be found in Series I, subseries 1.

During 2003 processing archives staff identified some organization anomalies among these materials. The Shadow Maker manuscript contains two segments marked "Chapter 8." In the final publication these pieces became subsequent chapters-the second chapter 8 became chapter 9. McCaig wrote several sheets of alternate text for page 106 of Chapter Seven. During processing these sheets were found in the folder for Chapter Five. These alternate text sheets were relocated to Chapter Seven and placed in order following the original page 106. Most of the manuscript materials included correspondence and research material directly related to each writing project. In reflection of McCaig's decision to donate such materials with the manuscripts, these documents were processed within the manuscript series. However, all such materials were separated from the original manuscripts and placed in subsequent folders.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
10/1
The Shadow Maker, Correspondence 1965
10/2
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 1
undated
10/3
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 2
undated
10/4
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 3
undated
10/5
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 4
undated
10/6
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 5
undated
10/7
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 6
undated
10/8
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 7
undated
10/9
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 8 (1)
undated
10/10
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 8 (2)
undated
10/11
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 9
undated
10/12
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 10
undated
10/13
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 11
undated
10/14
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 12
undated
10/15
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 13
undated
10/16
The Shadow Maker, Manuscript Chapter 14
undated
10/17
The Shadow Maker, Carbon copy of original draft (1)
undated
10/18
The Shadow Maker, Carbon copy of original draft (2)
undated
10/19
The Shadow Maker, Publisher's copy (1)
undated
10/20
The Shadow Maker, Publisher's copy (2)
undated
10/21
The Shadow Maker, Publisher's copy (3)
undated
10/22
The Shadow Maker, Notes
undated
10/23
The Shadow Maker, Notes and research
undated
11/1
The Rangemaster, Manuscript copy 1 (1)
undated
11/2
The Rangemaster, Manuscript copy 1 (2)
undated
11/3
The Rangemaster, Manuscript copy 2 (1)
undated
11/4
The Rangemaster, Manuscript copy 2 (1)
undated
11/5
"Pop and the Cockeyed Windmill," correspondence
1947
11/6
"Pop and the Cockeyed Windmill," short story (1)
undated
11/7
"Pop and the Cockeyed Windmill," short story (2)
undated
11/8
"Trouble on Circuit 13," correspondence
1947
11/9
"Trouble on Circuit 13," short story
1948
11/10
"Flame Across the Night," correspondence
1948-1949
11/11
"Flame Across the Night," short story
undated
11/12
"Flame Across the Night," published article
1951
11/13
"Fools Are My Theme," correspondence
1949
11/14
"Fools Are My Theme," short story
undated
11/15
"Fools Are My Theme," published article
1951
11/16
"The Badger from Ballyduff," correspondence
1950
11/17
"The Badger from Ballyduff," short story
1950
11/18
"The Badger from Ballyduff," published article
1950
11/19
"Green Light for Grogan," correspondence
1949-1950
11/20
"Green Light for Grogan," short story
undated
11/21
"Green Light for Grogan," published article
1950
11/22
"The Fall Guy," correspondence
1950
11/23
"The Fall Guy," short story
undated
11/24
"Turmoil at Tinasket," correspondence
1954
11/25
"Turmoil at Tinasket," short story
1953

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • American fiction--20th century
  • American fiction--Montana
  • Authors, American--Montana--Great Falls
  • Corporate Names :
  • Western Writers of America
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Family papers--Montana--Great Falls
  • Novels
  • Photographs
  • Short stories
  • Western stories
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • McCaig, Edith
    • McCaig, Robert J. Flame across the night
    • McCaig, Robert J. Fools are my theme
    • McCaig, Robert J. Green light for Grogan
    • McCaig, Robert J. Pop and the cockeyed windmill
    • McCaig, Robert J. The fall guy
    • McCaig, Robert J. The badger from Ballyduff
    • McCaig, Robert J. The Rangemaster
    • McCaig, Robert J. The Shadow Maker
    • McCaig, Robert J. Trouble on Circuit 13
    • McCaig, Robert J. Turmoil at Tinasket
    • Stahl, Leroy
    • Family Names :
    • Engren family