James Brisbin, a Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, native, served as an Army officer in the Civil War and the Indian Wars, 1868-1891. He was stationed at Fort Ellis, Fort Assiniboine, Fort Custer, Montana Territory, and many other western forts. Brisbin was also a writer and publicist. The collection contains a small amount of correspondence (1860-1890), and writings (1850-1891) concerning the Army, the Indian Wars, the West, and Montana Territory.
Helena, Montana, mining and geological engineer Leverett Ropes (1868-1953) was employed by various mining firms, by the federal government, and as a private consultant. This collection contains papers (ca. 1888-1952) concerning Ropes' mining engineering and geology consulting work and his interest in a variety of political issues. The general correspondence (1928-1952) concerns mines in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater counties, Fort Peck Dam, his dispute with federal agencies over financing of Montana mining ventures, and issues of personal interest to Ropes such as the repeal of prohibition and New Deal policies. In addition there is biographical material (1935-1946); court papers (1910, 1940); financial records (1936-1951); legal documents (1928-1943) for several mining companies; reports (1929-1952) by Ropes and others on numerous mining properties; speeches and writings (1929-1952) on mining and politics, including the lawlessness (racketeering) caused by prohibition; miscellany (1891-1947); and clippings.