Archives West Finding Aid
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Mary Payne Cowan Diaries, 1890-1896
Overview of the Collection
- Cowan, Mary Payne, 1855-1933
- Mary Payne Cowan Diaries
- .1 linear feet
- Collection Number
- Collection 637, MtBC, us (collection)
- Mary Payne Cowan Diaries consist of typed diary transcriptions that begin with her residence in New York State (1890-1891), documents the Cowan's trip to Malta, Montana, establishing a home, teaching school in Malta, and experiences with ranching. Subjects include various ranch chores, sheep, illnesses, weather conditions, entertainments, and candid observations regarding family relations.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
Biographical NoteReturn to Top
Mary Jayne Payne was born on April 6, 1855 in Schoharie County, New York. She married Lewis Brockway on January 12, 1874 at Stamford, New York, and the couple had three children, Mabel (born 1876), Sidney (born 1879) and Fred (born 1881). In August, 1891, Mary divorced Lewis and, the following December, married Arthur J. Cowan. In 1893 Mary, Arthur, and the three children moved to Phillips County, Montana where Arthur's brothers had settled the previous year. They first lived in Malta, where Mary taught school. In October 1893 they moved to a home on a sheep ranch established by Arthur's brothers near Woody Island Creek, Blaine County, and remained there until 1903. The couple then moved to Harlem where Arthur opened a butcher shop and served as a bank director. Arthur died sometime after 1930 and Mary died on January 23, 1933.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
Typed transcriptions of Mary Cowan's diaries begin with her residence in New York State (1890-1891) and describe her daily life in very brief entries which mention numerous local people and weather conditions. There is no diary for 1892. The 1893 diary documents the Cowan's trip to Malta, Montana via the railroad and her initial experiences establishing a home and teaching school in Malta. Entries following the family's removal to Woody Island Creek describe Mary's experiences on the ranch. Subjects include various ranch chores, sheep, illnesses, weather conditions, entertainments, and candid observations regarding family relations.
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Administrative InformationReturn to Top
An original diary kept during 1895 by Mary Payne Cowan was loaned to Special Collections for transcription by Louis Petrie of Turner, Montana on October 9, 1968. The diary was returned to him after transcription by library personnel. Additional typed transcripts of Mary Cowan diaries dated 1890, 1891, 1893, 1894, and 1896 were prepared by Mrs. Allan Murray of Ogden, Utah and loaned to Special Collections for photocopying on November 18, 1981 and April 2, 1982.
This collection was processed 2009 September 9
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Railroad travel-United States
- Ranch life-Montana-Blaine County
- Sheep ranches-Montana-Blaine County
- Women teachers-Montana-Malta-Diaries
- Women-Montana-Blaine County-Diaries
- Women-New York (State)-Diaries
- Cowan, Arthur J., d. 1946
- Cowan, Mary Payne, 1855-1933-Diaries
- Malta (Mont.)
- Woody Island Creek (Mont.)
Form or Genre Terms
- Diaries-New York (State)
- Murray, Allan, Mrs (creator)
- Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)-Library (creator)