Harry W. Weston Papers, 1884-1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Weston, Harry W., 1895-1970
Title
Harry W. Weston Papers
Dates
1884-1982 (inclusive)
Quantity
7.5 linear feet, (11 boxes and 33 oversize volumes)
Collection Number
Mss 132
Summary
Harry Weston was a businessman in Missoula, Montana. His papers contain the records of his various businesses in Missoula and other towns in western Montana, as well as a few personal items, personal and business photographs, and some office equipment that was used in his businesses.
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

Harry W. Weston was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1895. His parents, Mary and John Weston, had come to Missoula from Sweden in 1893 and 1890 to join relatives. John Weston was a mechanic for the Northern Pacific Railway.

Harry graduated from Whittier Grade School in 1910, then worked at the Missoula Laundry. In 1912, he graduated from the Garden City Commercial College. In 1918, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at Fort Missoula.

In December 1912, Weston started his first business, a wholesale jobbing business at 520 North Higgins Avenue in Missoula. He sold barrels of beef, salt, flour, pork and similar commodities. In 1913, he started a retail hardware business at 236 Madison; the business closed later that year. Harry then worked for C.H. Kiesling in his store, founded in 1908 in the Park Hotel building on Railroad Street. The store moved to 505 North Higgins Avenue in about 1914, and Weston became a partner in 1915, changing the name of the store to Kiesling & Weston Clothing Store. Later that year, Kiesling sold his share to Alfred Sterner, and the store's name became Weston & Sterner.

Weston & Sterner expanded the business and bought a building at 451 North Higgins, built for Henry L. Shapard in 1917. In 1919, the business name changed to Westerner's Inc.

Westerner's was a mainstay of Missoula's downtown from the 1930s through the 1960s and a prominent Montana business. The store sold clothing and outdoor products. Sales mirrored the occupations and interests of Missoula and surrounding communities, and customers included railroad, lumber, and forestry workers; ranchers; and business and professiona people. Customers sometimes put paychecks at the store for safekeeping until they could cash them, and they sometimes got loans from the store as well.

Weston built the business first by traveling to area lumber camps to sell and deliver merchandise and to take orders. During the 1920s through the 1940s, Weston established store outlets at Thompson Falls, Montana; Sandpoint, Idaho; and Anaconda, Montana. All of the stores eventually closed. Weston also operated many other stores in Missoula, including The Hub, Grant's Army Store, Bargain Store, Quinn's, and Nu-Way. He also operated Thrift Furniture in Ronan, Montana. Westerner's also operated as a wholesaler for many small stores in and around Montana.

He married Ella Maria Hemgren in Spokane, Washington, in 1919; she was born in 1894. Their first home was at 330 Main Street in Missoula. Later they built and lived in the Von Don Apartmets on West Spruce Street. Their son, Donald H., was born in 1927; another son died in infancy.

Harry Weston died in 1970. Ella Weston died in 1974.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists primarily of records relating to Weston's Missoula and western Montana businesses. Weston dealt with dry goods and clothing for both townspeople and rural residents who worked in the logging business, and the financial records reflect this. There are also records of small businesses in rural western Montana towns, for whom Weston was a wholesaler. The records of Westerner's and other Missoula-based businesses also demonstrate a changing business climate as Missoula grew in the early and mid twentieth century. Additionally, Weston owned a number of other business and residential properties in Missoula, and property abstracts and appraisals reflect the location, use, and value of these properties at different times. A reflective sample of office equipment used in his businesses demonstrates the technology used, and photographs of the interior and exterior of his stores shows advertising and merchandising techniques over time.

As a lifelong Misoula resident, Weston's personal materals document changes in the city's landscape. Photographs document the appearance of the north end of downtown Missoula, as well as the Northside neighborhood.

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], Harry W. Weston 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, UndatedReturn to Top

1 folder

This series consists of a single folder of newspaper clippings about Harry Weston and his businesses, including a complete summary story published the year before Westerner's closed.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Undated

Series II:  Correspondence, 1923-1977Return to Top

5 folders

This series contains a mix of personal and business correspondence. Much of the correspondence was between Weston and various suppliers for his businesses.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/2
1923-1949
1/3
1950-1954
1/4
1955
1/5
1956-1957
1/6
1958-1977

Series III:  Financial, 1912-1982Return to Top

5 linear feet

This series consists of financial records from Weston's many businesses in Missoula, Anaconda, and Ronan, Montana. The majority of the records are from Westerner's, with other records from Weston's early jobber business, Weston & Sterner, the Hub, Grant's Army Store, Nu-Way, Thrift Furniture, Westerner's Anaconda, and the Bargain Store. Other financial records document the value of the many properties owned by Weston and the Westerner's store inventory.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/7
Property appraisal
1937
1/8
Property appraisal
1982
1/9
Disbursements and receipts
1971-1973
1/10
Goods sold and orders taken
1945-1946
1/11
Annual report
undated
2/1
Inventory
1934
2/2
Inventory
1946
Volume
1
Cash book, Westerner's
1932-1938
2
Cash book, Westerner's
April-October, 1938
3
Cash book, Westerner's
November, 1938-May, 1939
4
Cash book, Westerner's
1939
5
Cash book, Westerner's
1939-1940
6
Cash book, Westerner's
1940-1941
7
Cash book, Westerner's
January-August, 1941
8
Cash book, Westerner's
1941-1942
9
Cash book, Westerner's
March-October, 1942
10
Cash book, Westerner's
1942-1943
11
Cash book, Westerner's
1943-1944
12
Cash book, Westerner's
February-December, 1944
13
Cash book, Westerner's
1944-1945
14
Cash book, Westerner's
1945-1946
15
Cash book, Westerner's
1946-1947
16
Cash book, Westerner's
1947-1948
17
Cash book, Westerner's
1948-1949
18
Cash book, Westerner's
1949-1950
19
Cash book, Westerner's
1950-1951
20
Cash book, Westerner's
1951-1952
21
Cash book, Westerner's
1952-1953
22
Cash book, Westerner's
1953-1954
23
Cash book, Westerner's
1954-1955
24
Cash book, Westerner's
1955-1956
25
Cash book, Westerner's
1956-1957
26
Cash book, Westerner's
1957-1958
27
Cash book, Westerner's
1958-1959
28
Cash book, Westerner's
1959-1960
29
Cash book, Westerner's
1960-1962
box-volume
3/30
General journal, Weston's early jobber business
1912-1913
3/31
General ledger, Weston & Sterner
1916-1918
3/32
Stockholder's ledger [unknown buisness]
1925-1926
3/33
Property income and expense
1932
3/34
Property income and expense, Weston & Sterner
1931-1945
3/35
General ledger, Weston & Sterner
1923-1951
4/36
Inventory of paper supplies
1937
4/37
Journal, Hub, Grant's Army Store, Nu-Way
1936-1965
4/38
Disbursements, Grant's Army Store
1947-1947
Volume
39
Cash book, Hub and Grant's Army Store
1938-1956
box-volume
4/40
Income and expense ledger, Hub
1955-1956
4/41
Income and expense ledger, Hub
1956-1957
4/42
Income and expense ledger, Hub
1956-1959
5/43
General ledger, Thrift Furniture
1950-1951
5/44
Sales journal, Bargain Store
1949-1950
5/45
Cash book, Hub, Nu-Way, Weston & Sterner
1953
5/46
Cash book, Weston & Sterner
1946-1965
6/47
Charge sales book, Westerner's
1947-1948
6/48
Charge sales book, Westerner's
1948-1950
6/49
Charge sales book, Hub
1950-1958
6/50
Charge sales book, Westerner's
1951-1953
6/51
Charge sales book, Westerner's
1953-1955
7/52
Charge sales book, Westerner's
1955-1956
7/53
General ledger, Weston & Sterner
1953-1968
7/54
General ledger, Westerner's
1959-1970
7/55
Rent receipts
1964-1969
7/56
Rent receipts
1960-1973
8/57
Ledger, Thrift Furniture
1948-1949
8/58
Ledger, Thrift Furniture
1949-1950
8/59
Wholesale orders
1950-1951
8/60
Trial balance book, Westerner's, Westerner's Anaconda, Hub, Grant's Army Store
1942-1947
8/61
Trial balance book, Westerner's, Westerner's Anaconda, Hub
1927-1941
8/62
Trial balance book, Westerner's, Hub, Grant's Army Store
1941-1951
9/63-80
Check registers, Westerner's
1930-1946
10/81-95
Check registers, Westerner's
1946-1981
10/96
Check register, Westerner's Anaconda
1940-1944
11/97
Check register, Weston & Sterner
1929-1934
11/98-100
Check register, Westerner's
1975-1981
Volume
101
Payroll ledger
1937-1940
box-volume
11/102
Record of good received
1937-1939
Volume
103
Stock book, Westerner's
1971
104
Stock book, Weston & Sterner

Series IV:  Legal, 1884-1981Return to Top

0.5 linear feet

This series mostly consists of abstracts for properties in Missoula later owned by Weston. A 1971 deed passes responsibility for his father's affairs to Donald H. Weston, and materials from 1981 document the liquidation of the Westerner's store.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/3
Abstract, U.S. to Saron Blain to California Hide & Wood Depot to Bissinger & Company
1930
2/4
Abstract, U.S. to Christopher P. Higgins to William Dillingham
1889
2/5
Abstract, U.S. to Christopher P. Higgins to O.J. Englund to Henry L. Shapard
1929
2/6
Abstract, U.S. to Christopher P. Higgins to Independent City Market
1924
2/7
Abstract, Christopher P. Higgins to Montana Catholic Mission to Weston, Sterner & Company
Undated
2/8
Abstract, Christopher P. Higgins to Northern Pacific Railway to Edward Schilling
1889
2/9
Abstract, U.S. to Christopher P. Higgins to Schilling & Nink
1900
2/10
Abstract, U.S. to Christopher P. Higgins to Schilling to Vadner
Undated
2/11
Abstract, Northern Pacific Railway to Keith, Schully & McLeod
1884
2/12
Abstract, A.J. Urlin to Barnard Langenhahn
1947
2/13
Agreement, H.G. Johnson, L.M. Heppler, Weston
1944
2/14
Agreement of partnership, Weston & Lake
1962
2/15
Bill of sale, Victor property
1971
2/16
Corporation deed, Montana Catholic Mission to Western, Sterner & Company
1939
2/17
Deed of executor, Donald H. Weston for Harry Weston
1971
2/18
Indenture, Bissinger & Company and Weston
1930
2/19
Lease, Carpenter Paper Company
1952
2/20
Lease, Northern Pacific Railroad warehouse
1940
2/21
Lease, State Hardware Company
1960-1970
2/22
Licenses
Undated
2/23
Liquidation of Westerner's
1981
2/24
Mortgage deed, Gibson
Undated
2/25
Mortgage deed, Prudential Insurance Company
Undated
2/26
Promissory note, Weston & Silver
1932
2/27
Trade name registration, Westerner's
1975
2/28
Warranty deed, Henry L. and May Shapard to American Bank & Trust
1920

Series V:  Printed Materials, UndatedReturn to Top

3 folders

This series contains a variety of printed materials that relate to Weston's Missoula businesses. The file of souvenirs contains a 1939 Westerner's catalog and an early advertisement for Levi's jeans.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/29
Stationery samples, various businesses
Undated
2/30
Survey for Westerner's store building, Missoula, Montana
Richard Hale
Undated
2/31
Souvenirs
1939 and undated

Series VI:  Photographs, 1908-1950sReturn to Top

15 photographs

This series contains a mix of personal and business-oriented photographs. Personal items include portraits of Weston's classes at Whittier School and Garden City Business College, the Weston's wedding portrait, and a view of the Northside neighborhood from Waterworks Hill. Business images include several of the Westerner's store and of other businesses, including Kiesling's store, the Thompson Falls Mercantile, and several images of Woody Street in Missoula.

Description Dates
87-0007: Perhaps the forerunner of Harry's store [C.H. Kiesling's store, 505 North Higgins Avenue]
undated
87-0008: Garden City Business College [class on steps of building, including Weston]
1912
87-0009: Westerner's widow display, Ella Weston on right
undated
87-0010: Weston & Sterner store
ca. 1930s
87-0011: Harry and Ella Weston, wedding portrait
1919
87-0012: Whittier School, class on steps, including Weston
1908
87-0013: Missoula, view from Waterworks Hill including Northside neighborhood
ca. 1890
87-0014: Weston & Sterner store interior
1916
87-0015: Harry Weston's store in Thompson Falls [Montana, Thompson Falls Mercantile Co.] At this time he also had a store one block north of present store (Missoula)
ca. 1920
87-0016: Old Quigley [Montana] stage
ca. 1900
87-0017: Whittier School, class on steps
ca. 1910
87-0018: Westerner's parade float in Missoula, Montana
ca. 1950
87-0019: Harry Weston, portrait
1961
87-0020: Woody Street, east side including Rex Bar, Quinn & Griffen Wholesale Meats, Missoula, Montana
1937
87-0021: Woody Street, east side including Quinn & Griffen Wholesale Meats, Independent Grocery, Hart's Shoe Shop, Missoula, Montana
1937
87-0054: Jack Munro, Northern Pacific Railway conductor, working in office
undated

Series VII:  Artifacts, UndatedReturn to Top

Four items

Items in this series were apparently used in the Westerners office, or in other of Weston's offices. They consist of a manual typewriter, a checkwriter, a calculating machine, and a mail-a-voice recorder that used a nine-inch magnetic disc to record sound.

Although all the items are undated, most appear to date to the 1920s and 1930s.

Description Dates
Royal typewriter
Undated
Hedman Manufacturing Company checkwriter
Undated
Monroe calculating machine
Undated
Mail-a-voice recorder
Undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Clothing trade -- Montana
  • Dry-goods -- Montana
  • Real property--Montana -- Missoula
  • Wholesale trade -- Montana
  • Corporate Names :
  • Westerner's Inc.
  • Weston & Sterner (Missoula, Mont.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Missoula (Mont.)--Commerce
  • Missoula (Mont.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Business records -- Montana--Missoula
  • Personal papers--Montana --Missoula
  • Photographs--Montana -- Missoula
  • Occupations :
  • Businessmen--Montana --Missoula
  • Distributors (Commerce) --Montana--Missoula
  • Landowners--Montana -- Missoula
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Kiesling & Weston Clothing Store (Missoula, Mont.)