James Reid Letters and Photographs, 1902-1904

Overview of the Collection

Reid, James R., 1849-1937
James Reid Letters and Photographs
.2 linear feet
Collection Number
Accession 89017, MtBC, us (accession)
The James R. Reid Letters consist of positive photocopies of the extensive correspondence between him and Ella Holden from 1902-1904, typewritten pages of genealogical information on the Reid family, and photographs of Reid and his wife, Ella, and other members of the extended Reid family.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James R. Reed was born in Ontario, Canada in 1849, the son of Samuel and Nancy Marlin Reid who had emigrated to Canada from Ireland and Scotland around 1828. James attended the Hamilton, Ontario Collegiate Institute and the University of Toronto prior to his graduation from McGill University in 1881. He attended further schooling as a Presbyterian minister, and in 1889 came to Montana where he taught at the College of Montana in Deer Lodge. He served as president of the college until 1894 when he accepted the presidency of the newly formed Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (Montana State University) in Bozeman. While traveling in 1902, Reid met his future wife, Ella Holden, and after his return to Montana began a steady correspondence with her. In 1904 he resigned from the college presidency and moved to Montreal where he married Ella, and the couple eventually had two children. James and Ella moved to Riverside, California in 1919 where he died on December 6, 1937.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The James R. Reid letters are positive photocopies of the extensive correspondence between him and Ella Holden from 1902-1904. The letters are personal in nature, containing courtship messages interwoven with news about Reid's academic life. The letters contain comments on the faculty and students of the Montana College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, detailed descriptions of the physical setting of the school, and the social life of Bozeman are also included. Reid also reports his actions in dealing with the state legislature for college appropriations. Faculty and community members specifically mentioned include Frank W. Traphagen, William F. Brewer, Peter Koch, and Mrs. Emma Weeks Willson. The majority of the letters were written from Bozeman, but some are posted from locations where Reid had traveled including a trip to Europe and shorter journeys to Butte, Helena, and Salt Lake City. Two typewritten pages of genealogical information on the Reid family have been placed in a separate folder. The original photographs of this collection are of Reid and his wife, Ella, and other members of the extended Reid family.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Personal letters, genealogical information, and photographs pertaining to the personal life of James Reid were loaned to Montana State University by Professor John D. Goheen of Stanford, California on July 31, 1987. After photocopying, the letters were returned to Goheen at his request and their present location is unknown.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2013 March 2013

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Letters, 1902Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1

Letters, January-June, 1903Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/2

Letters, June-July, 1903Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/3

Letters, 1904Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/4

Genealogical informationReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/5

Photographs, #1-6Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/6

Container(s) Description Dates
#1 James and Ella Reid
#2 James Reid
circa 1900
#3 William Reid
circa 1900
#4 John and Jenny Reid
circa 1900
#5 Alec Reid
circa 1900
#6 James Reid and unidentified group
circa 1900

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Canadian Americans -- Montana -- Bozeman
  • Education -- Montana
  • Education, Higher -- Montana -- Bozeman -- Finance
  • Higher education and state -- Montana
  • Presbyterians -- Montana -- Bozeman
  • Universities and colleges -- Montana -- Bozeman -- Finance

Personal Names

  • Brewer, William F.
  • Koch, Peter
  • Reid, Ella Holden -- Correspondence
  • Traphagen, Frank W.
  • Willson, Emma Weeks

Corporate Names

  • Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts

Family Names

  • Reid family

Geographical Names

  • Bozeman (Mont.) -- Genealogy
  • Bozeman (Mont.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs -- Montana -- Bozeman


  • College presidents -- Montana -- Bozeman