Irma Brown Reeder papers, 1927-1963

Overview of the Collection

Reeder, Irma Brown, 1898-1971
Irma Brown Reeder papers
1927-1963 (inclusive)
1 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 102 (collection)
Irma Reeder was a Big Sandy, Montana, schoolteacher. She later moved to Livingston where she owned and operated a motel. This collection consists of 13 of her diaries (1927-1963). There are also a diary (1930-1932) kept by S. Eugene Reeder while in Russia as a tractor expert; a letters; cards; programs; and clippings.
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.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Irma Elizabeth Brown was born in Littlerock, about ten miles south of Olympia, Washington, on August 30, 1898. Shortly after Irma's graduation from Olympia High School, her family moved to a homestead near Big Sandy, Montana. Irma attended Montana Wesleyan College in Helena and then taught high school English in several towns, including Midland, South Dakota; and Big Sandy, Three Forks, and Willow Creek, Montana. In 1930, Irma became friends with Seneca Eugene ("Gene") Reeder, whose family had also moved from Washington to homestead near Big Sandy, Their friendship deepened through correspondence while Reeder was in the Soviet Union as a tractor expert during Stalin's first Five-Year Plan. After his return, Reeder continued his work as a tractor mechanic around Park County. In April 1933, Gene Reeder and Irma Brown married and moved to Livingston where they established a tourist court on the road to Yellowstone Park. They operated this court until 1942, when they went to Bremerton, Washington, to do war work in the naval shipyards. After the war they returned to their tourist court in Livingston and added trailer parking and laundromat facilities to their cabins. After Gene's death on December 31, 1957, Irma Reeder continued to run the court alone until her retirement in 1966, Irma Reeder was active in the Methodist Church, women's lodge activities, choir and dramatic performances, and charity work. She died October 6, 1971.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists primarily of thirteen diaries, kept by Irma Brown Reeder during the years 1927-1963. The early diaries, before her marriage in 1933, are very detailed and personal; the later ones simply chronicle events. The 1932-1934 diary also includes the 1930-1932 diary kept by Gene Reeder while he was in Russia. In addition, there are a few letters, cards, programs, and clippings.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society. The Society 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 Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Arranged by series.

Location of Collection


Acquisition Information

Acquisition information available upon request

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to Photo Archives. See inventory below for more information.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Incoming Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1

Diaries Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 2-3
Diaries (two volumes)
1 / 4
Diaries (two volumes and loose sheets; includes S.E. Reeder diary 1930-1932)
1 / 5
Diaries (two volumes)
2 / 1-3
Diaries (three volumes)

Photographs Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 4
List of photographs transferred to the Photo Archives

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 5
Greeting cards
2 / 6
Get-well cards
2 / 7
2 / 8
1927-1931, undated

Clippings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2 / 9

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Teachers

Personal Names

  • Reeder, Irma Brown, 1898-1971 (creator)

Geographical Names

  • Big Sandy (Mont.)
  • Livingston (Mont.)--Commerce
  • Midland (S.D.)
  • Three Forks (Mont.)
  • Willow Creek (Mont.)--Education