Mary Brennan Clapp papers, 1911-1964

Overview of the Collection

Clapp, Mary Brennan, 1884-1966
Mary Brennan Clapp papers
1911-1964 (inclusive)
1.25 linear feet
Collection Number
Mss 582
The collection contains research materials related to and manuscripts of Mary Brennan Clapp’s history of The University of Montana, 1893-1935.
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
Missoula, MT
Telephone: 4062432053
Fax: 4062434067
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.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Mary Clapp was born in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She earned her master’s degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where she taught in the English department. She moved to Missoula, Montana, in 1921, when her husband accepted the post of president of The University of Montana. After her husband’s death in office in 1935, Clapp taught in the English Department. She held this position until the mid-1950s.

Clapp was asked to write a university history by President James McCain (1945-1950) and she finished the work by 1961. The work remained unpublished at the time of her death in 1966.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains two copies of Clapp’s unpublished manuscript Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935. The history covers The University of Montana’s formative years and the administrations of its first five presidents. Clapp’s handwritten notes appear in the margins and one set is marked “corrected copy.” The manuscripts are copies of an original manuscript that has disappeared.

The collection also contains correspondence, publications, writings, and clippings related to Clapp’s history. The authors of these materials include many notable figures in university history, including Charles Clapp, Lucille Armsby, Mary Elrod Ferguson, J.B. Speer, and many others. Some of the topics include the acquisition and development of campus land, university rules, publicity about Clapp’s history, and an Annual Financial Report of the University, 1919-1920.

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 status unknown.

Preferred Citation

[Name of document or photograph number], Mary Brennan Clapp Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

Copies of the manuscript were in the possession of Lucie Hagens and Peggy Smurr for forty years until they were donated to the archives.

Acquisition Information

Gift of John Hagens, Lucie C. Hagens, and Margaret Clapp Smurr, 2002.

Processing Note

Two separate accessions of materials were combined to create this collection. In 2015, photocopies of the two manuscripts were removed from the collection and returned to the family.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1/1 Mary Clapp's Research and publicity materials for Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935
Includes correspondence, clippings, university pamphlets and an article, "Land for the Campus," by J. B. Speer.
1/2-3 Lucie C. Hagens' original copy of Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935, by Mary Brennan Clapp
With some edits.
c. 1950s
1/4-12 Margaret Clapp Smurr's original copy of Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935, by Mary Brennan Clapp
"Corrected copy" with significant edits.
c. 1950s

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Histories
  • Universities and colleges--Montana--Missoula--History
  • Women historians--Montana --Missoula

Corporate Names

  • University of Montana--Missoula--History
  • University of Montana--Missoula--Presidents

Titles within the Collection

  • Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935