Dude Ranchers Association Records, 1926-1971

Overview of the Collection

Dude Ranchers Association
Dude Ranchers Association Records
1926-1971 (inclusive)
2.0 linear feet
Collection Number
Mss 097 (collection)
The Dude Ranchers Association was formed in Montana and Wyoming as an advocacy group for dude ranches and other forms of rural tourism.
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.

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.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

On September 19, 1926, western resort owners of Montana and Wyoming held a two day convention in Bozeman, Montana, to officially set up an organization called The Dude Ranchers Association. The association determined to promote a national interest in mountain resorts and dude ranches and made proposals for a nationwide campaign to attract tourists.

The Northern Pacific Railroad sponsored the conference in hopes of establishing rapport between resort owners and railroad officials. The railroad anticipated an active participation in the transporting of patrons from the east to the "dude ranch country."

By 1971, the association had 800 associate members and 43 dude ranches in Wyoming and Montana actively participating. The association produced a quarterly magazine, Dude Rancher, from 1937 to 1971. In 1971 members of the association decided to publish an annual recreation guide, The Montana Outfitters and Dude Ranch Annual, which replaced the Dude Rancher.

The Dude Ranchers Association was highly active in conservation issues dealing with legislative issues which may have an adverse effect or no adverse effect on land. Organizations they worked closely with included the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and Bureau of Reclamation. The Association was also concerned with Montana tourism, working with major railroad companies such as Northern Pacific and major airlines. The association was active in the promotion of their association, and economic issues.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection includes two revised versions of their Constitution, general and business correspondence pertaining to the Association, legislative issues, conservation issues, and advertising issues. There are financial records that show members who owe dues, and statistics of guests arriving by plain, train, or automobile. Minutes from Director's Meetings were also kept, along with two convention reports. There are clippings from newspapers pertaining to the meeting that was held to establish the Dude Ranchers Association.

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], Dude Ranchers Association Records, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is divided into four series:

Series I: Constitution, 1 folder, 1949 and 1950

Series II: Correspondence, 7 folders, 1949-1961

Series III: Publications, 2 folders, 1955-1971

Series IV: Clippings, 1 folder, 1926, 1957, 1960

Acquisition Information

Gift, in part, of Howard Kelsey, 1977.

Processing Note

The actions of the original processors are unknown. In 1999, the collection was re-described. Materials have been grouped by subjects and dates to make it easier to find documents

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  Constitution , 1949-1950Return to Top

1 folder

Two revised versions of the Association's constitution are present. The first revised version is from March 1949, the other October 30, 1950.

Container(s) Description Dates
Revised Constitutions

Series II:  Correspondence , 1949-1961Return to Top

7 folders

There are two general correspondence folders in this series (1949, 1954-1961). This correspondence is from association members, various inquires from individuals about dude ranches, discussions about forming a Montana Wilderness Society, working with the Hilyard Taylor Peaks Wilderness Area, and the Gallatin Wilderness Area. The third folder includes letters to and from various advertising companies and also deals with promoting the Association (1949-1959). The fourth folder pertains to letters regarding budget and finances of the Association (1955-58), and the fifth folder includes correspondence relating to their annual conventions (1956-1960).

Box two contains the last two folders from this series. The first folder in box two is associated with correspondence about Director's Meetings and includes minutes from some of these meetings (1949-1959). The last folder in this series is related to legislative issues that the Association found to be pertinent to their way of life (1949-1961). Included is an outline of a bill presented by Mr. Mathews, H.R. 7537, a reprint from the Congressional Record entitled Wilderness Preservation, and letters regarding various proposed dams.

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
1949, 1954-1956
General Correspondence
Advertising and Publicity
Budget and Finance
Director's Meetings

Series III:  Publications , 1955-1971Return to Top

2 folders

This series includes convention brochures (1955-1960), a list of ranches accepting guests, and a 1971, volume 12, number 1, issue of the Montana Outfitters and Dude Ranchers Annual.

The last folder in this series has two convention report publications (1956 and 1957).

Container(s) Description Dates
Convention Reports
1956, 1957

Series IV:  Clippings , 1926, 1957, 1960Return to Top

1 folder

This series includes newspaper clippings about the conference that established the Association and articles on various board members.

Container(s) Description Dates
1926, 1957, 1960

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Dude ranchers--United States--Societies, etc.
  • Dude ranches--United States
  • Tourism--Montana