Helen Brooke Herford Papers, 1886-1957  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Herford, Helen Brooke, 1887-1972
Title
Helen Brooke Herford Papers
Dates
1886-1957
Quantity
2.8 linear feet
Collection Number
Collection 2109, MtBC, us (collection)
Summary
The Helen Brooke Herford Papers consist of family letters, ranch operation documents, and photographs all pertaining to the Herford family and the Swinging H ranch. Topics include family activities, early education, ranch operation, Spanish American War service, ranch guests and employees, Levi Strauss and Company's introduction of women's pants in 1934.
Repository
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
59717-3320
Telephone: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
spcoll@www.lib.montana.edu
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

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


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Helen Brooke Herford (1887-1972) was the daughter of John ("Jack" Brooke Herford and Susan Whitney Herford of Yellowstone County, Montana. Jack Herford (1857-1923) was one of nine children of Rev. Brooke Herford (1830-1903), an English clergyman. Jack's oldest brother, William, immigrated to the United States in the early 1870s where he established a New Mexico sheep ranch. By 1876 the rest of the Herford family temporarily settled in Chicago. Jack soon joined William in New Mexico while two other siblings pursued careers that would bring them national prominence: Oliver Herford became a writer famous for his wit and sarcasm while Beatrice Herford achieved fame as a Broadway actress. Jack and William eventually moved on to Kansas and Nebraska where they continued ranching. By the early 1880s Jack had located in Montana Territory where he established a ranch of his own on the Mussellshell River. He studied for the bar and held several government positions in Montana including: Yellowstone County Attorney, 1894-1896; Yellowstone County Sheriff, 1908; Billings City Attorney, 1911. Jack also served in the Third United States Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish American War and in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He married Susan Whitney, daughter of Billings postmaster Lucius Whitney, around 1885 and the couple had three children; Nye, Whitney, and Helen, the principal creator of this collection. Following her education in Germany and Massachusetts, Helen Herford returned to Montana where she taught school in Carbon County and worked on her parent's ranch. In 1929, she and a cousin, Helen Underwood Wellington, entered into a partnership to establish a dude ranch near Limestone (Stillwater County) Montana. The Swinging H Ranch operated until 1937 when financial pressures forced Helen Herford to suspend operations and sell. She returned to teaching afterwards and died in Columbus, Montana in 1972.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Herford papers consist of family letters, ranch operation documents, and photographs all pertaining to the Herford family and the Swinging H ranch arranged in four series. Series one consists of family letters, written from various locations in Montana, Massachusetts, England, and elsewhere pertaining to Herford family activities, Helen Herford's early education, the operation of the Jack Herford Ranch, and Jack Herford's Spanish American War service. Ranch letters in series two specifically relate to the operation of the Swinging H ranch, ranch guests and employees, and Helen Underwood Wellington, Helen Herford' business partner. Series three, Ranch Operation Files, document the financial transactions of the Swinging H, promotional essays written by Helen Herford for publication, and subject files for facilities, livestock, and the Levi Strauss and Company's introduction of women's pants in 1934. 674 individually numbered photographs and seven photograph albums in series four pertain to the Herford family and relatives, Montana towns and natural features, Yellowstone National Park, and ranch life.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Herford Family Letters, 1886-1957Return to Top

Letters exchanged by members of the Herford family and friends pertaining mostly to family and personal matters. Included are letters from Beatrice Herford, Rev. Brooke Herford, Helen Herford, Jack Herford, Susan Whitney Herford, Oliver Herford, William Herford, Dolly Whitney, Harvey W. Louther, Sue Larabie Cunningham, and Kula Thuss. Letters were written from various locations in Massachusetts, Montana, England, and elsewhere. Included are letters written by Jack Herford while serving in the Spanish American War and related documents. For letters between Helen Herford and her business partner, Helen Underwood Wellington see series two, ranch letters. Many of the letters are undated, and the identification of many writers is unclear. The letters have been loosely arranged by the name of the supposed writer or recipient.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Beatrice Herford
1906-1909
1/2
Beatrice Herford
1930-1957
1/3-4
Beatrice Herford
undated
1/5
Reverend Brooke Herford
1886-1892
1/6
Reverend Brooke Herford
1893-1901
1/7
Helen Herford
(sister of Jack, William, and Oliver)
1890-1894
1/8
Helen Brooke Herford
1902-1908
1/9
Helen Brooke Herford
January-February, 1909
1/10
Helen Brooke Herford
March-April, 1909
1/11
Helen Brooke Herford
May-August, 1909
1/12
Helen Brooke Herford
October-December, 1909
1/13
Helen Brooke Herford
1910
1/14
Helen Brooke Herford
1911-1936
1/15
Helen Brooke Herford
1947; undated
1/16-17
Helen Brooke Herford
undated
1/18
Sue Larabie Cunningham
undated
1/19
Jack and Susan Herford
1886-1889
1/20
Jack and Susan Herford
1895
1/21
Jack and Susan Herford
1898
1/22
Jack and Susan Herford
1899
1/23
Jack and Susan Herford
1900-1901
1/24
Jack and Susan Herford
1905; undated
1/25
Dolly Whitney
1931-1935
1/26
Oliver Herford_
undated
1/27
William Herford
1892-1897
1/28
Other Herford relatives
1882-1898
1/29
Other Herford relatives
1900-1947
1/30
Harvey W. Louther
undated
1/31
Kula Thuss
undated

Series 2:  Ranch Letters, 1929-1937Return to Top

Letters created or collected by Helen Brooke Herford pertaining to the establishment and operation of her dude ranch, the Swinging H, near Limestone, Montana. Included are: letters to and from her partner, Helen Underwood Wellington, that were written before and during the ranch establishment; letters from various guests who stayed at the ranch or requested information regarding its facilities; notes and memorandum regarding employees; personal letters of Helen Brooke Herford written after the closing of the ranch in 1937.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/1
Helen Underwood Wellington letters
1912-1928
2/2
Helen Underwood Wellington letters
1929
2/3
Helen Underwood Wellington letters
1930
2/4
Helen Underwood Wellington letters
1931
2/5
Helen Underwood Wellington letters, transcripts
1929-1931
2/6
General correspondence
1926-1929
2/7
General correspondence
1930
2/8
General correspondence
1931
2/9
General correspondence
1932
2/10
General correspondence
1933
2/11
General correspondence
1934
2/12
General correspondence
1935
2/13
General correspondence
1936
2/14
General correspondence
1937
2/15
General correspondence
1938-1957
2/16
Christmas cards

Series 3:  Ranch Operation Files, 1929-1937Return to Top

Financial records, promotional essays, diaries and subject files pertaining to the operation of the Swinging H ranch. Papers include: bank statements and tax records; promotional essays written by Helen Brooke Herford for submission to dude ranch magazines; brief memoranda diaries from 1930 and 1934; subject files pertaining to the ranch automobiles, livestock, legal matters, facility construction, and the development of women's pants by Levi Strauss and Company in 1934.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/1
Bank statements
1929-1930
3/2
Bank statements
1931-1932
3/3
Bank statements
1933
3/4
Bank statements
1934
3/5
Bank statements
1935
3/6
Bank statements
1936
3/7
Petty cash ledger
1931-1934
3/8
Tax assessments
1929-1936
3/9
Essay, Dude Rancher
3/10
Essay, Dude Ranching
3/11
Essay, Reminiscences
3/12
Essay, Montana Ranch Women
3/13
Essay, Moose and Moose
3/14
Essay, What does a dude rancher do?
3/15
Essay, What Oliver Herford might call a woman's view of the west
3/16
Essay, With only one woman
3/17
Diary
1930
3/18
Diary
1934
3/19
Automobiles
3/20
Cabin plans
3/21
Lawsuit
1934
3/22
Levi Strauss and Company
3/23
Ranch operations
3/24
Sheep Dogs
3/25
Cambridge Country School pamphlets
3/26
Helen Brooke Herford diaries; blank pocket calendar
Helen Brooke Herford diaries, 1898, 1903; blank pocket calendar 1923
1898; 1903; 1923
3/27
Brooke Herford eulogy
1904

Series 4:  Photographs, 1900-1937Return to Top

674 individually numbered prints, six albums, and multiple negatives of images taken by Helen Brooke Herford, the Herford family, or commercial photographers of a wide variety of subjects and people. Included are images of: The Herford family and residences; Montana communities; Yellowstone National Park; Montana lakes, rivers, and mountains; vacation and leisure activities; ranch life on both the Herford and Swinging H ranches. The photographs have been arranged in alphabetical order based on broad subject headings. Photograph albums and negatives have been stored in separate containers. The negatives for prints found in the photograph albums are collected in small booklets bearing the same volume number. Loose negatives which have no corresponding prints have been gathered in similar subject headings as the numbered prints in boxes 4 and 5.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/1
Photos #1-13
#1-2. Agricultural Extension Service, Women
#3. Alpine, Montana
1914
#4-9. Arnold, John B. Ranch
(a number of pictures identified as Herfords were taken here)
#10-13. Artist's Carnival
4/2
Photos #14-27
#14-24. Automobile
1914
#25. Avalanche Lake
#26-27. Barn
4/3
Photos #28-40
#28-40. Beartooth Mountains - scenic
4/4
Photos #41-53
#41-47. Beartooth Mountains - scenic
#48. Beartooth summit
#49-50. Cody rodeo parade (?)
#51. Billings - railroad siding
#52. Billings - Paradise Park
#53. Billings - Riverside Park
4/5
Photos #54-67
#54. Billings roundhouse crew
#55-57. Billings parade
(55956 Chapple's Petek photo)
1940
#58. Boulder River
(Bray Photo)
#59-62. Branding cattle
#63-64. Bridge - Glendive
#65. Broken bridge
(Yellowstone)
#66-67. Buffalo
4/6
Photos #68-79
#68-69. Buffalo Bill traveling show
#70-73. Butchering a bear
#75-77. Camping in Beartooth Mountains
#78-79. Camping on West Rosebud
4/7
Photos #80-92
#80-83. Camps
#84-88. Cattle Range
(Herford Ranch)
#88-89. Chickens
(Herford Ranch)
#90-92. Children
4/8
Photos #93-106
#93-97. Clark Fork Canyon area
#98-100. Cody Rodeo Parade
#101-103. Cooke City
1930
#104-106. Cooke City area
4/9
Photos #107-120
#107-115. Corrals
#116-117. Crow Fair
#118. Deer
#119. Demet Maybelle, Fishing on West Fork
#120. Demet Maybelle, Riding
4/10
Photos #121-131
#121-122. Ditching on Herford Ranch
#123-124. Dude Ranch
(Beartooths)
#125-131. Dude Ranch Publicity
4/11
Photos #132-146
#132-146. Dudes
4/12
Photos #147-161
#147-148. Dudes, camping
#149-154. Dudes, fishing
#155-156. Dudes, hunting
#157-161. Dude in the mountains
4/13
Photos #162-173
#162-166. Dudes, older ladies
#167-173. Dudes on horseback
4/14
Photos #174-189
#174-175. Dudes on the trail
(Modern Studio, Columbus, Montana, LA Maxson)
#176-189. Dudes on the trail
4/15
Photos #190-204
#190-204. Dudes on the trail
4/16
Photos #205-218
#205-218. Dudes picnicking
(216, 217 Modern Studio, Columbus, LA Maxson)
4/17
Photos #219-231
#219-221. Dudes swimming
#222-231. East Rosebud
4/18
Photos #232-244
232-238. East Rosebud
#239-243. East Rosebud Lake
#244. Eaton: Alden, Bill, and Willis
4/19
Photos #245-258
#245-247. Elk
#248-249. Farm yards
#250-251. Fences
#252-253. Fishing
#254-255. Flathead Lake
#256-258. Flood - Yellowstone River
4/20
Photos #259-276
#259-276. Glacier National Park, Set from: Redshirts, Pahaska Tepee, Cody, Wyoming
4/21
Photos #277-289
#277. Goose Lake
#278-279. Granite Peak
#280. Grass Mountain
#281-289. Grasshopper Glacier
4/22
Photos #290-301
#290-295. Haying
#296. Hell-Roaring Falls
#297-298. Herford, Brooke
#299-301. Herford, Helen Brooke
4/23
Photos #302-313
#302-313. Herford, Helen Brooke
4/24
#302-313. Herford, Helen Brooke
#314-320. Herford, J.B. and Ivan
#321. Herford, J.B. - Warehouse
#322-324. Herford, Mrs. J.B.
#325. Herford, Mrs. J.B. and Brooke
4/25
Photos #326-336
#326-329. Herford, Rose
#330-334. Herford family
#335-336. Herford friends
(men)
4/26
Photos #337-348B
#337-348. Herford Ranch
(+348A and 348B)
4/27
Photos #349-365
#349-355. Herford Residence
#356-359. Herford station wagon
#360-365. Homestead fun
4/28
Photos #366-378
#366-378. Horsemen
5/1
Photos #379-389
#379-389. Horses
5/2
Photos #390-400
#390-400. Horses
5/3
Photos #401-409
#401-407. Horses
(Brooke Herford) not the same man identified as Brooke Herford in photos 297, 298 and 325
#408-409. Horses, standing
5/4
Photos #410-421
#410-421. Horses, Morgans in Vermont
5/5
Photos #422-431
#422. Indian Craft Shop - St. Mary's (?)
#423. Indian Cave, Billings
#424. Jacobn's private car
#425-428. Lillian's cards
(Beartooth and family)
#429. Limestone Post Office
#430-431. Log bridges
5/6
Photos #432-443
#432-443. Log cabins
5/7
Photos #444-454
#444-446B. Logging
(446 Photo Service, Newport, Washington)
#447. Lowther, H.W.
#448. Mammoth, Wyoming
#449. Mary's Lake
#450. Milking a cow
#451. Mill
(aluminum mill on the Stillwater - maybe)
#452. Montana State College laboratory
#453. Mount Aeneas, Jewel Lakes
#454. Mount Lockhart and Mount Reargard, Red Lodge
5/8
Photos #455-466
#455-458. Oil wells
#459. Oil well workers (?)
#461-461. Pack horses in winter
#462-466. Pack outfits
5/9
Photos #467-479
#467-472. Pack outfits
#473-477. Pets
(dogs)
#478-479. Picnics
5/10
Photos #480-490
#480-481. Pigs
#482-483. Chief Plenty Coups
#484-486. Railroad, Wyoming and Southern
#487-490. Ranch hands at work
5/11
Photos #491-501
#491-497. Ranch houses
#498-501. Rattlesnakes
5/12
Photos #502-512
#502-512. Red Lodge
(set of commercial photos)
5/13
Photos #513-524
#513-520. Red Lodge area
(set of commercial photos)
#521. Red Lodge area
#522. Red Lodge - Cooke City Highway
#523. Road in winter
#524. Rock Creek
5/14
Photos #525-538
#525-535. Rodeos
(Photos by R.R. Doubleday)
#536. Saloon
#537. Sawmill in Beartooth Mountains
#538. Shadow Lake
(composite print)
5/15
Photos #529-550
#539-543. Sheep
#544-547. Sheep camp
#548. Shoeing a horse
#549. Slough Lake
#550. Skiing
5/16
Photos #551-563
#551-554. South Fork Ranger Station, Big Horn Mountains
555. Spring wagons
#556-563. Stillwater canyon and Basin
5/17
Photos #566-577
#564-577. Stillwater Basin
5/18
Photos #578-591
#578. Stillwater Meadows
#579-591. Stillwater River and West Fork
5/19
Photos #592-602
#592-594. Stocking fish in Beartooth Mountains
595-602. Surveying from Beartooth Plateau
5/20
Photos #603-611
#603-607. Swimming in the Yellowstone
#608. Telephone line
#609. Tennis
#610. Train
#611. Train wreck
(L.G. Webber, Silesia, Montana)
5/21
Photos #612-620
#612-619. Wagons and buggies
#620. Wash day, bachelor camp
5/22
Photos #621-634
#621-634. West Rosebud
5/23
Photos #635-648
#635-639. Westfork
(635 is same bridge I.D. as Kerwin's Ranch in another negative)
#640-646. Women
1915
#647-648. Yellowstone Canyon
5/24
Photos #649-663
#649-658. Yellowstone Park
1921
#659-662. Yellowstone River
#663. Boulder R.
5/25
Photos #664-674
#664-667. Camping trip
1919
#668. Fleming, Dave
1919
#669-670. Hay drag
#671-674. Lewis Ranch on the Clark Fork
1917-1918
box-volume
6/1
Photograph album
Pack outfit; Beartooth Mountains; Yellowstone National Park, ca. 1925; Herford Ranch; Native Americans; Buffalo
circa 1920s
6/2
Photograph album
Jack Herford family; Billings; Germany; England; Salt Lake City; Beatrice Herford
1890-1915
6/3
Photograph album
Chesnut, 1914; Bozeman parade, 1914; Indian Cave, Billings, 1914; Kirby Ranch, 1915; Prior Agency, 1915; Glendive bridge, 1915; World War I training camp, location unknown.
1914-1918
6/4
Photograph album
Beartooth Mountains
circa 1920s
7/5
Photograph album
Daily's Ranch; Woods Ranch; Stillwater River; Stillwater basin; Woodbine Falls; Devil's Washtub; Sioux Charley Lake; Big Park Ranger Station; Horseshoe Creek; Wounded Man Lake; Lake of the Woods; Lake Abundance; Daisy Pass; Cooke Ranger Station; Broadwater River; Kersey Lake; Fox Lake; Rock Island Lake; Clark's Fork Falls; Cooke City; Elk Park; Beartooth Lake; Deep Lake; Mirror Lake
1916
7/6
Photograph album
Beartooth Mountains; Herford Ranch; Stillwater River; Swinging H Ranch; Rosebud River; Sheep
circa 1930s
7/7
Photograph album
Lame Deer Reservation; Indian Caves; Kirby Ranch; McCormick Cabin; Rosebud Lake; Shadow Lake; Slough Lake; Snow Lake; Miles City Roundup
1913-1916
Box
8
Negatives for volumes 1-5
8
Numbered image negatives:
4, 5, 6, 8, 26, 27, 98, 100, 102, 121, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 157, 167, 168, 174-184, 201, 202, 214, 215, 216, 292, 297, 298, 302, 305-317, 321, 326, 346-348a, 352-355, 376-378, 379-381, 422, 424, 432-434, 455-457, 462, 463, 431, 482, 521, 539-541, 544, 548, 550, 551, 605, 635, 639, 647, 648
8
Loose negatives by subject:
Arnold, John B. Ranch
Automobiles
1914
Beartooth Mountains
Big Timber
Billings - railroad siding
Cattle Feeding
Cattle Range
Children
Cody, Woming
Corrals
Dead Indian panorama
Deer
Dude Ranch
Dude Ranch Publicity
Dudes
Dudes, fishing
Dudes in the mountains
Dudes on horseback
Dudes on the trail
Dudes picnicking
Dudes swimming
Farm show
Geese
Goat cart
Haying
Herford, Brooke
Herford, Helen Brooke
Herford, J.B. in office
Herford, Mrs. J.B.
Herford, Mrs. J.B. and Brooke
Herford friends
Herford Ranch Herford Residence
Herford station wagon
Horsemen
Horses
Indian Craft Shop - St. Mary's (?)
Kerwins Ranch
Log cabins
Mckay, Mary Ellen
Milk Cows
Navajo rugs
Mystic Lake
Oil Wells
Pack Mules
Pack Trip
Picnic
Ranches on Stillwater
Ranch Houses
Red Lodge
Russell, Charles M., painting
Rosebuds near Red Lodge
Sheep Wagon
Skiing
Stillwater River
Tennis
Wading
Wellington, Helen
White, Dudley, ranch
Wright, Eleanor
Wright, Fred
Wright, George
Wright, Harr
Yellowstone National Park

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • British Americans-Montana
  • Businesswomen-Montana-Stillwater County
  • Dude ranches-Montana-Stillwater County
  • Ranch life-Montana-Photographs
  • Ranchers-Montana-Yellowstone County
  • Ranches-Montana-Stillwater County
  • Ranches-Montana-Yellowstone County
  • Spanish American War, 1898-Personal narratives, American
  • Spanish American War, 1898-Veterans-Montana-Yellowstone County
  • Women ranchers-Montana-Stillwater County
  • Personal Names :
  • Herford, Jack, 1857-1923
  • Corporate Names :
  • United States-Army-Cavalry, 3rd
  • Geographical Names :
  • Jack Herford Ranch (Mont.)
  • Swinging H Ranch (Mont.)
  • Yellowstone National Park-Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Business records-Montana-Stillwater County
  • Family papers-Montana
  • Photographs-Montana
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Wellington, Helen Underwood (creator)
    • Family Names :
    • Herford family (creator)