North Butte Mining Company records, 1905-1934

Overview of the Collection

North Butte Mining Company
North Butte Mining Company records
1905-1934 (inclusive)
3.5 linear feet
Collection Number
MC 290
Records of the North Butte Mining Company in Butte, Montana, consist primarily of interoffice correspondence (1906-1910, 1914-1926), general correspondence (1906-1923), and outgoing correspondence (1905-1912). In addition, there are assay reports, minor financial records, legal documents, organizational records, subject files, and miscellany. There is a small subgroup of research materials compiled about the company by Al Hooper, focusing on a scrapbook of clippings about the Granite Mountain Mine explosion of October 1915, and the Granite Mountain Mine fire ("Speculator fire").
Montana Historical Society, Library & Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 4064442681
Fax: 4064445297
Access Restrictions

Collection open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The North Butte Mining Company, in Butte, Montana, was incorporated under Minnesota law on April 1, 1905, by Charles A. Duncan, Louis W. Powell, and Joseph B. Cotton. Capitalization was authorized at $9,000,000, although no more than $6,000,000 was ever actually issued. James Hoatson of Calumet, Michigan, was president of the company with Charles Duncan, Joseph Cotton, and Frederick R. Kennedy, all of Duluth, Minnesota, as officers and Arthur C. Carson as the first general manager.

In 1912 Thomas F. Cole replaced James Hoatson as president. He continued as president until 1919 when Robert Linton took over the presidency. Frederick R. Kennedy served as secretary-treasurer of the company from its inception until the late 1920s. Management of the mines in Butte was conducted by A.C. Carson until 1909 when operation was taken over by John D. Pope. In 1915 Norman B. Braly became general manager with Lester D. Frick as assistant manager.

In June, 1905, the company bought the properties of the Speculator Mining Company which had previously been owned by the P.A. Largey Estate. Among the properties acquired were the Speculator, Edith May, Jessie, Copper Dream, and Miner's Union claims. The company contracted with the Washoe Copper Company to process the copper ore, thus eliminating the need to expend large amounts of money building reduction and smelting facilities. However, the company did need to make significant repairs to the Speculator shaft which was in poor condition. This work included the installation of a new electric hoist. Concentrating on production and development work, the company was immediately on a dividend-paying basis. The first year the mines produced over 30 million pounds of copper worth $5 million and paid dividends of $1 million, an almost unheard of amount for a new mining company. Production hit a peak in 1909 with 33 million pounds of copper and dividends of $1.6 million. By 1911 the investors' $6 million investment in stock had been paid off.

Development work pushed forward rapidly as well. Between the start of the company and 1920, development work averaged about 15,000 feet per year. In 1909 the North Butte purchased the Granite Mountain Mine from the Lewisohn Brothers interests. Over the next 5 years the Granite Mountain shaft was sunk from the initial 500 feet down to 2800 feet, the same level as the Speculator shaft. In 1915, the Granite Mountain shaft became the operating shaft, with the Speculator shaft being maintained as backup and as ventilation.

In 1913 the North Butte Mining Company acquired massive holdings in the East Side Mineral Area. This acquisition more than doubled the number of claims being worked by the company.

In 1915 the company suffered the first of two major disasters. On October 19, 1915, a portion of a shipment of dynamite was ignited accidentally on the surface next to the Granite Mountain shaft, killing 15 miners. On June 9, 1917 a spark ignited a fire at the 2300 foot level of the Granite Mountain shaft. Smoke from the fire quickly spread throughout the mine and approximately 160 miners lost their lives. Because of the joint operation of the Granite Mountain and Speculator mines, the disaster has always been known as the Speculator fire.

Although the company quickly repaired the damage to the Granite Mountain shaft, production never returned to pre-fire levels. After the end of World War I, copper prices dropped dramatically. During the period of 1920 to 1923 the company was operating at a loss, and production was sharply curtailed. In March of 1921 production ceased and the mine closed until June of 1922. From then on the mine produced only sporadically, mostly through leasors. In 1942 the Anaconda Company leased the Speculator and Granite Mountain mines; around 1952 they purchased the property. Much of the company's east side property became part of the Berkeley Pit.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The core of this collection consists of interoffice correspondence (1906-1923) between General Managers A.C. Carson, John D. Pope, and Norman B. Braley, in Butte, Montana, and Presidents Thomas F. Cole and Robert Linton and Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy in Duluth, Minnesota, and New York. The correspondence includes annual and quarterly reports and weekly letters, all describing development work and production in considerable detail. The remainder of the interoffice correspondence deals with general problems of operation of the mines.

The general correspondence (1906-1907, 1914-1926) includes letters with the Anaconda Copper Mining Company about the processing of ore, letters with equipment suppliers, correspondence with other mining companies about labor management issues, applications for employment, letters from former employees inquiring about back pay, World War I letters, and a wide variety of other letters. Of special interest are files of letters inquiring about possible victims of the Granite Mountain and Speculator disasters.

There are two letterpress books of outgoing correspondence (1909-1912), which include weekly letters and quarterly reports to the president. There is one folder of photocopies of outgoing correspondence (1905-1906).

In addition, there are a small number of assay reports, ore shipment statements, and estimates of ore reserves; miscellaneous financial records including invoices, freight bills, taxes, and cost sheets; two agreements (1919, 1920) involving labor relations; lists of mining claims; articles of incorporation, a directors' resolution, and stock certificates; an annual report (1929) [other years are in Library]; subject files; and miscellany.

There is a small subgroup of material concerning the North Butte Mining Company compiled by Al Hooper, including a scrapbook of clippings about the Granite Mountain Mine explosion (1915) and fire (1917).

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society Library & Archives. The Library & Archives does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collection. In some cases permission for use may require additional authorization from the copyright owners. For more information contact an archivist.

Preferred Citation

Item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Library & Archives. Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


This collection is arranged into three subgroups: North Butte Mining Company; Al Hooper Material; and Transfers to other Programs. Each subgroup is arranged by series. Some material housed in Archives map case, and oversize boxes. See inventory below for more information.

Location of Collection

15:2-7; 11:7-5 (Oversize Box)

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information available upon request.

Separated Materials

Mining tools and implements were transferred to the Museum. Photographs, printed material, and maps were transferred to Photo Archives and Library respectively.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

North Butte Mining Company Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Interoffice Correspondence
1 / 1
General Manager A.C. Carson: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy and Superintendent John D. Pope
1 / 2-4
General Manager John D. Pope: President Thomas F. Cole
1 / 5-6
General Manager John D. Pope: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy
1 / 7
General Manager John D. Pope: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (annual reports)
1 / 8
General Manager John D. Pope: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (quarterly reports)
1 / 9-11
General Manager John D. Pope: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (weekly letters)
1 / 12
General Manager John D. Pope: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (re cash needs and deposits)
1 / 13
General Manager John D. Pope: corporate counsel D. Gay Stivers (re Granite Mountain explosion)
1 / 14-17
General Manager Norman B. Braly: President Thomas F. Cole
1 / 18
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Vice President Robert Linton (includes lists of employees in World War I service)
2 / 1-2
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Vice President Robert Linton (includes lists of employees in World War I service)
2 / 3-14
General Manager Norman B. Braly: President Robert Linton
3 / 1-3
General Manager Norman B. Braly: President Robert Linton
3 / 4
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Fred L. Cole (includes East Side Development Area reports and World War I letters)
3 / 5
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (includes correspondence while Braly was superintendent)
3 / 6
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (annual and quarterly reports)
3 / 7-11
General Manager Norman B. Braly: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (weekly letters)
3 / 12
General Manager Norman B. Braly: miscellaneous
3 / 13
Chief Clerk R.M. DePew: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy
3 / 14-15
Chief Clerk R.M. DePew: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (re cash needs and deposits)
4 / 1-3
Chief Clerk R.M. DePew: Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy (re cash needs and deposits)
4 / 4
Chief Clerk R.M. DePew: Auditor Henry B. Paull
4 / 5
Chief Clerk Matt Essig: Vice President Fred L. Cole
4 / 6
Chief Clerk Matt Essig: Secretary-Treasurer R.F. Kennedy
4 / 7
Chief Clerk Matt Essig: Secretary-Treasurer R.F. Kennedy (re cash needs and deposits)
4 / 8
Chief Clerk Matt Essig: Auditor Henry B. Paull
4 / 9
Chief Clerk Matt Essig: miscellaneous
4 / 10
Superintendent Lester D. Frink: Presidents Thomas F. Cole and Robert Linton and Secretary-Treasurer F.R. Kennedy
4 / 11
Superintendent Chester Hoatson (Superior, Arizona)
4 / 12
President Robert Linton: Director Thomas F. Cole, Vice President Joseph B. Cotton
1917, 1920
4 / 13
President Paul A. Gow: H.M. Haeusler
General Correspondence
4 / 14
American Institute of Mining Engineers / American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers
4 / 15
American Mining Congress
4 / 16
Anaconda Copper Mining Company
4 / 17-18
Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Purchasing Dept.
5 / 1
Anaconda Copper Mining Company (Charles Swartz re tax assessment)
5 / 2
Applications for employment: B-W
5 / 3
Associated Industries of Butte / Associated Industries of Montana (includes bulletins)
5 / 4
A (correspondents include Charles J. Adami, Aetna Life Insurance Company, Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Alt Woolen Mills, American Blower Company, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Henry Anderson, Frank Anthenien, Associated Oil Company)
5 / 5
Bemis Brothers Bag Company
5 / 6
Butte and Superior Mining Company
5 / 7
B (correspondents include Barrett Company; Bayonne Casting Company; Big Blackfoot Milling Company; Edward C. Black; Mrs. Perry Black; Harry R. Bradley; Brandt Cashier Company; Burroughs Adding Machine Company; Butte, Anaconda, and Pacific Railway Company; Butte Chamber of Commerce; Butte Main Range Mining Company; Butte Mutual Labor Bureau; Butte Tuberculosis Society)
1906, 1914-1921
5 / 8
Card rating system (correspondence re)
5 / 9
"Coal data" (correspondence re)
5 / 10
Consolidated Coppermines Company (includes lists of stockholders and bondholders)
5 / 11
C (correspondents include California Industrial Accident Commission, Calumet and Arizona Mining Company, Carnegie Hero Fund Commission honoring Manus Duggan's rescue of miners in Speculator fire, Cerro de Pasco Copper Corp., J. Parke Channing, Joseph Clayton, Fred L. Cole, R.D. Cole, Continental Life Insurance Company, William Corkill, Joseph Bell Cotton, Coulson and Morris)
1906-1907, 1914-1923
5 / 12
C.A. d'Autremont
5 / 13
Diamond Coal and Coke Company
5 / 14
Pat H. Doyle (re proposal to create Welfare Dept.)
5 / 15
Howard Drullard
5 / 16
Dunbar and Johnson, Lumber
5 / 17
Dupont deNemours and Company
5 / 18
D (correspondents include Lewis M. Daughter, Waldemar Fenn Dietrich, Dewar Manufacturing Company, E. Donlan Lumber, Draeger Oxygen Apparatus Company, Madge B. Duggan)
1906, 1915-1923
5 / 19
Employers Association of Montana
5 / 20
E (correspondents include East Butte Copper Mining Company, John E. Emery, Engineering and Mining Journal, Engineering News-Record, H.J. Epling, W.H. Evans)
5 / 21
F (correspondents include William Ferry, Findex Company, Henry S. Forbes, Patrick Foy, Cassie R. French, John A. Fulton)
5 / 22
George H. Gilman
5 / 23
G (correspondents include General Development Company, General Ore Concentrating Company, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Grasselli Chemical Company, John Alden Grimes, Bertha Grisham, William J. Groetzinger, Frank Groshell)
1906, 1914-1923
5 / 24
Hudtloff-Marquis Company
5 / 25
H-I (correspondents include G.A. Harlow, Sumner Heidel, Hirsch Mercantile Company, Idaho Maryland Mines Company, Imperial Iron Works, Cephus Inabnit, Industrial Management, Ingersoll-Rand Company, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Diamond Drill Contracting Company)
5 / 26
Jeffrey Manufacturing Company
5 / 27
J-K (correspondents include Archie N. Jette, Elmer G. Johnson, C.P. Joslyn, Charles F. Juttner, James P. Kennedy, James Kezentze, John N. Kirk, Kiwanis Club)
1906-1907, 1914-1923
5 / 28
L (correspondents include Largey Lumber Company, Charles R. Leonard, James Lingenfelter)
1906, 1914-1923
5 / 29-30
Montana Industrial Accident Board
6 / 1
Montana (various state agencies: includes Board of Equalization, State Forester, Governor, Dept. of Labor and Industry, Secretary of State, Treasurer)
6 / 2
Montana Mining Association (includes constitution and bylaws)
6 / 3
Montana Power Company
6 / 4
Montana Tonopah Company Reorganized (Fred L. Cole)
6 / 5
M (correspondents include John M. Madden, A.J. Marchand Estate, Charles Mattison, E.C. Meiklejohn, Metal Mine Workers Union, Otto Cleveland Meyer, Miami Copper Company, E.B. Milburn, Minnesota School of Mines, Montana Society of Engineers, Edward Morgan, Lloyd W. Moultrie, Murray Hospital)
1906, 1914-1923
6 / 6
Mc and Mac (correspondents include Errol MacBoyle, Patrick McGinley, William K. McNamara, P.D. McNaughton, McQueen Volunteer Fire Dept., MacRae's Blue Book)
6 / 7
N (correspondents include Nabob Silver-Lead Company, National Bureau of Economic Research, National Coal Company, National Iron Company, National Safety Council, J.W. Neukom, Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, New Almaden Company, New York Rubber Company, C.V. Nordberg Machinery Company, James Norton, Numa Detachable Bit Company)
1906, 1914-1926
6 / 8
O-Q (correspondents include Oliver Iron Mining Company, Oregon Short Line Railway Company, William B. Orem, Frederick W. Overbeck, Pacific Coast Borax Company, Park Utah Mining Company, C.F. Pease Company, Peerless Coal Company, Phelps Dodge Corporation, Portland Cement Association, Quincy Mining Company)
6 / 9
C.F. Raney
6 / 10
R (correspondents include Rainbow Lode Development Company, Rand McNally and Company, Ray Hercules Mines Inc., R.M. Raymond, John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Oscar Rohn, Leverett S. Ropes, R.W. Rossiter, Rotary Club of Butte)
6 / 11
E.R. Shorey (University of Wisconsin professor of mining engineering)
6 / 12
Silver Bow County
6 / 13
Silver Bow Employers Association
6 / 14
Sweet's Catalogue Service
6 / 15
S (correspondents include Salvation Army, Herbert B. Selway, Shoshone Company [Idaho] attorney re I.W.W., Sierra Madre Mining Company, William Slater, St. Louis Smelting and Refining Company, St. Paul Book and Stationery Company, George Gill Stearus, Nelson Story Jr., Roy Strates, C.N. Strevell, James Sutherland)
1909, 1914-1923
6 / 16
T (correspondents include Tamarack and Custer Consolidated Mining Company, Mrs. B. Thompson, Willard Thrasher, Grant H. Tod)
6 / 17
United States Bureau of Mines
6 / 18
United States Forest Service
1906, 1915-1917
6 / 19
United States Geological Survey
6 / 20
United States (various agencies: includes Commission on Industrial Relations; Dept. of Justice, re Speculator fire and IWW; Fuel Administration; Labor Commission; Land Office; Treasury Dept.; War Dept.)
1914-1918, 1923
6 / 21
U-V (correspondents include United States Stores Company, United Verde Copper Company, Vanadium Corporation of America, Savo Vodovar)
6 / 22
Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Company (re electric hoists)
6 / 23
Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company
6 / 24
H.J. Williams
6 / 25
Wilson-Leuthold Lumber Company / Deer Park Lumber Company
6 / 26
W-Y (correspondents include William Huff Wagner, Walkerville Volunteer Fire Dept., Washoe Copper Company, H.J. Wessinger reporting on inspection of mechanical dept., Rush J. White, Evan J. Williams, John Winston, Woman's Club, Young Men's Christian Association [YMCA])
1906-1907, 1915-1922
6 / 27
Letters of inquiry re possible victims of Granite Mountain Mine explosion
1915 October-November
6 / 28-29
Letters of inquiry re possible victims of Granite Mountain Mine fire [Speculator fire]
1917 June
Outgoing Correspondence
7 / 1
Photocopies [location of originals unknown]
7 / 2-3
Letterpress books (includes weekly letters and quarterly reports to president)
Financial Records
7 / 4
Assay reports, ore shipments, ore reserves
1906, 1917-1922
7 / 5
Cancelled labor checks [scattered]
7 / 6
Contract fulfilments
7 / 7
Cost sheets
1906, 1919, 1926, undated
7 / 8
Financial statements
1918, 1923, undated
7 / 9
Freight bills, invoices, etc.
1906, 1919
Inventory of Granite Mountain and Speculator mines at time of sale to Anaconda Company (also includes map of Speculator and Adirondack mines) (Oversize Box)
1953, undated
8 / 1
Invoice book
8 / 2
Invoices for Speculator hoist and head frame
8 / 3
Monthly shifts and earnings
OvBx / 1
Statistical reports (includes expenses for equipment, labor, assaying, production, operations, development work, etc.)
1918 November
8 / 4
1906, 1909
8 / 5
Wage scale
8 / 6
Miscellaneous (includes stulls used, statements of cost per pound of copper, analysis of bonus payments, workmen's time cards)
Legal Documents
8 / 7
Agreement: Butte and Superior Mining Company, East Butte Mining Company, Davis-Daly Copper Company, Tuolumne Copper Company, North Butte Mining Company, Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Elm Orlu Mining Company, and Timber Butte Mining Company ["Clark companies"] and Butte-Bullwhacker Mining Company and Mines Operating Company ["Frank companies"] (re Butte Mutual Labor Bureau)
1920 May
8 / 8
Agreement: Butte Stationary Engineers Union #83, International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers
Organizational Records
8 / 9
Articles of incorporation
8 / 10
Resolutions of board of directors (re curtailment of mining operations)
1914 August
8 / 11
Stock certificates
8 / 12
Annual reports
1908-1925, 1929, 1943
Subject Files
8 / 13
Granite Mountain Mine explosion
1915 October
8 / 14
Labor unions (includes Butte Mine Workers Independent Union, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, working rules and regulations with companies)
8 / 15
Miners' Field Day
8 / 15a
United Gold Corporation (includes Industrial Gold Mining Company and Katinka Gold Mining Company)
8 / 16
Applications of Norman B. Braly and Lester Daniel Frink for draft deferral
8 / 17
Mining claim lists
1920, undated
8 / 18
Detailed job description and procedures for air handler
8 / 19
"Plan of organization of Butte District Clearance Office suggested by committee"
1920 May
8 / 20
Safety notices, etc.
8 / 21
U.S. Bureau of Mines list of lantern slides (re mine safety)
8 / 22
Miscellaneous (includes sample time cards, ventilation charts, list of employees in World War I service, Knights of Pythias application form)

Al Hooper Material Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Research Notes
8 / 23
Granite Mountain Mine explosion
8 / 24
"A very brief history of the North Butte Mining Company" [incomplete]
8 / 25
Scrapbook compiled by Al Hooper re Granite Mountain Mine explosion and Granite Mountain Mine fire (Speculator fire) (photocopied due to deteriorated condition or original)
8 / 26
Miscellaneous re North Butte Mining Company history
Oversize Folder
Assorted blueprints (Oversize: see Archives map case)
circa 1899-1910
High Ore Maps Aerial Views (Oversize: see Archives map case)

Transfers to other Programs Return to Top

Container(s) Description
8 / 27
Lists of artifacts, photographs, printed material, and maps transferred to Museum, Photo Archives, and Library respectively

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Copper mines and mining--Montana--Butte
  • Industrial accidents--Montana--Butte
  • Industrial safety
  • Labor relations--Montana--Butte
  • Mine accidents--Montana--Butte
  • Mine safety
  • Mines And Mineral Resources--Montana--Butte
  • World War, 1914-1918--Home front

Corporate Names

  • North Butte Mining Company (creator)

Geographical Names

  • Butte (Mont.)--History
  • Granite Mountain Mine (Butte, Mont.)
  • Speculator Mine (Butte, Mont.)