Archives West Finding Aid
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Montana Oral Histories, 1949-1978
Overview of the Collection
- Montana State University Library
- Montana Oral Histories
- 1949-1978 (inclusive)19491978
- 0.8 linear feet
- Collection Number
- 0847, 0847 (collection)
- The Montana Oral History Collection consists of various individual recordings. Persons interviewed or speaking on the various tapes include: Holmes Stuart Batchelder, Frank Christopher Collins, Beatrice Freeman Davis, Lucy Stafford Peck, Harvey P. Griffin, Eugene Quaw, Malcolm Chilton Story, Elizabeth Spain Ault, Charles Diggs Greenfield, Thomas Tillman, Maria Leonard, Janet McAtee, Doris Townsend, Annie Davidson Boyse Childress, A.C. Newby, Edwin Iverson, and Gardner Waite. Montana llaces mentioned in the various tapes include Gallatin County, Stillwater County, Lewis and Clark County, Madison County, Powder River County, Bozeman, Belgrade, Helena, Big Timber, Missouri Flats, Gallatin Field Airport, and Montana State University. Subjects include homesteading, newspaper reporting, musicians, aviation, the Alpha Lambda Delta sorority, retail business, the Glass-Lindsay Land Company, and general Montana history.
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.
Biographical NoteReturn to Top
Prior to the establishment of the Montana State University Library's Special Collections, history professor Merrill G. Burlingame began collecting oral history interviews of Montana pioneers still living in the late 1940s and early 1950s. His work continued through his student, David Swingle in 1964, and by librarian Minnie Paugh. The recordings were amateurish, often difficult to hear, and were not transcribed. After 1964 the recordings were, for the most part, given separate accession numbers and accessed infrequently through a card catalog system. Bringing all these disparate tapes together into one collection is an attempt to increase their research profile and better assist bibliographic control.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Oral History Collection consists of various individual recordings from a variety of sources. Persons interviewed or speaking on the various tapes include: Holmes Stuart Batchelder, Frank Christopher Collins, Beatrice Freeman Davis, Lucy Stafford Peck, Harvey P. Griffin, Eugene Quaw, Malcolm Chilton Story, Elizabeth Spain Ault, Charles Diggs Greenfield, Thomas Tillman, Maria Leonard, Janet McAtee, Doris Townsend, Annie Davidson Boyse Childress, A.C. Newby, Edwin Iverson, and Gardner Waite. Montana Places mentioned in the various tapes include Gallatin County, Stillwater County, Lewis and Clark County, Madison County, Powder River County, Bozeman, Belgrade, Helena, Big Timber, Missouri Flats, Gallatin Field Airport, and Montana State University. Subjects include homesteading, newspaper reporting, musicians, aviation, the Alpha Lambda Delta sorority, retail business, the Glass-Lindsay Land Company, and general Montana history. The collection consists of the recordings and in a few cases accompanying documentation. Some original audiotape reels consist of more than one recording and can be found in other collections.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Recordings made by MSU Library personnel, faculty, and students on reel to reel magnetic tape were gathered into this artificial collection on October 29, 2018.
This collection was processed 2018 October 29. This collection incorporates tapes formerly assigned accession numbers 848, 867, 876, 920, 1001, 1134, 1156, and 2360.
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
|1||1||Holmes Stuart Batchelder, interviewed by Merrill G. Burlingame, Ed Willson, and Robert Dunbar at an unknown location
H. S. Batchelder was born in Bryant, Iowa on October 6, 1883 and came to Montana in 1908 where he worked at the Marcus Daly ranch near Hamilton until1911. He moved to Three Forks afterwards and established a dairy operation until his retirement in 1955. Batchelder died on December 20, 1975 in Bozeman. In a 1970 note to then Montana State University librarian Minnie Paugh, Merrill G. Burlingame stated that Ed Willson had also worked on the Daly ranch and reminisced with Batchelder on the tape. "Their recall was not good, we did not have the right questions, and the interview does not have much that is worthwhile, and they talked in a very low tone."
|1||2||Frank Christopher Collins, interviewed by Merrill G. Burlingame, Bella Gilchrist, and Virginia Buttleman in Three Forks, Montana
Frank C. Collins was born in Gallatin County, Montana on April 23, 1875. He was a grandson of the Mary Wells "Granny" Yates family, Montana pioneers who came to the territory in the 1860s. Collins grew up near Flathead Pass north of Bozeman and married Grace Cheney on October 22, 1903. The couple lived near Central Park and Belgrade, Montana where Collins worked as an auctioneer. The family moved to San Diego in 1925 where Collins worked in real estate sales. They moved back to Gallatin County in 1951 and Frank Collins died in Three Forks on June 23, 1954. In the interview Collins reminisces on his early life, the history of Belgrade, and the Granny Yates family.
|1||3||Beatrice Freeman Davis and Lucy Stafford Peck interviewed by Merrill G. Burlingame at the Mary Mills home in Gallatin Canyon
Beatrice Freeman Davis was a 1900 graduate of Montana State College and a faculty member in the English department from 1920-1962. Lucy Stafford Peck was one of four first graduates from the college in 1896. In this unstructured discussion, Davis and Peck recall their memories of early day Montana State College.
|August 25, 1949|
|1||4||Harvey P. Griffin, interviewed by David Swingle in Bozeman, Montana
Harvey P. Griffin was born in Omaha, Nebraska on March 19, 1889. He attended the University of Missouri and came to Bozeman after graduating in 1909. He worked for Montana State College as an assistant in animal husbandry and also worked his own Gallatin County livestock operations. Griffin also worked as the editor of the weekly Bozeman Courier newspaper and was famed as a turkey breeder. He spent many years in California prior to returning to Bozeman after 1955 and where he died on November 28, 1974. In this interview Griffin speaks about the history of Bozeman and his memories of life in the town during the early twentieth century. [Original collection number 848.]
|1||5||Eugene Quaw, interviewed by David Swingle in Bozeman, Montana
Eugene Cole "Gene" Quaw was born in Belgrade, Montana on March 6, 1891. His family moved to Bozeman around 1896 and Gene attended local schools before graduating from Montana State College (Montana State University) in 1910. While growing up he worked as a piano player at the Bozeman Opera House under musical director Louis Leo Howard and early displayed a talent for music composition. Gene worked as a band leader and composer after his graduation from college in Bozeman and also studied at the University of Minnesota, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Arizona, and Louisiana State University where he worked as the recreation director for twenty years until his retirement in 1961. During the 1920s, he conducted a dance orchestra for several summers at Yellowstone National Park, and he also worked for the Paramount motion picture company as a composer for cartoon features. Gene's published musical scores include: Under Any Old Moon at All (1909), Twilight Time (1920), Old Man Jazz (1920), Nobody Else (1923), The Rose of Sigma Chi (1924), Yellowstone (1937) Song of the Engineers (1942), and Dream Girl of Sigma Chi (1948). Gene Quaw died in Bozeman, Montana on December 17, 1968. In this interview Quaw relates incidents from his career in music. [Original collection number 848.]
|June 11, 1964|
|1||6||Malcolm Chilton Story, Winifred Story Lovelace, Montana Hathorn Lovelace, interviewed by David Swingle in Bozeman, Montana
Malcolm C. Story was born in Bozeman, Montana on June 12, 1902, son of Thomas Byron Story and grandson of Nelson Story, a prominent Montana pioneer. Malcolm attended local schools before enrolling in the Culver Military Academy and the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He married Rose Ashby on Sept. 18, 1924, in Madisonville, Ky. After their marriage, they moved to Los Angeles where they lived for several years. He moved back to Montana in 1933. Considered an authority in local history and his famous family, Story was often sought out for information on those topics during his final years. He died on September 16, 1994. Winifred Story Lovelace was Malcolm's sister, also born in Bozeman on April 11, 1911. She married Bozeman businessman Jack Campbell Lovelace in 1933. Winifred lived in Bozeman until her death on October 12, 1988. Winifred's mother-in-law was Montana Hathorn Lovelace, born on April 23, 1882 in Livingston, Montana. She died in Bozeman on February 25, 1971. In this interview Malcolm, Winifred, and Montana relate incidents of the Story family history and the history of Bozeman, Montana. This tape has yet to be digitally rendered as of July 10, 2018. [Original collection number 848.]
|1||7||Elizabeth Spain Ault, interviewed by David Swingle in Bozeman, Montana
Elizabeth S. Ault was born August 24, 1879 in Lynchburg, Virginia. She came to Bozeman with her family in 1885 where she attended local schools. In June, 1900, she married Thurman Ault and the couple lived in Seattle and Canada until returning to Bozeman in 1932. Ault died on July 18, 1967. In the tape Ault apparently discusses the history of the Story family, but the recording quality is quite poor due to a separate track of classical music that often overwhelms the voices. This tape has yet to be digitally rendered as of July 10, 2018. [Original collection number 848.]
|1||8||Charles Diggs Greenfield, interviewed by Minnie Paugh in Helena, Montana
Charles Diggs Greenfield, Jr., was born in Helena, Montana, in 1885. He graduated from Helena High School in 1903. Between 1907 and 1919 Greenfield worked as a newspaper reporter for The Helena Independent and the Montana Record Herald. In 1919 he accepted a position as Montana Director of Publicity and farmed in the Helena valley. In 1923 he joined the office of Montana Life Insurance Company (later Western Life), where he worked in various capacities until his retirement in 1960. In succeeding years Greenfield wrote numerous historical articles for such publications as True West and Frontier Times. He was elected to the Lewis and Clark County Commission (1954-1960) and was a long-time member of the Helena Kiwanis Club. He also received a U.S. Weather Bureau award for keeping precipitation records over a forty-year period. Greenfield married Anna Elizabeth Nelson, daughter of Henry H. Nelson of Vandalia, Montana, in 1913. They had three children: Henry, Ann, and William. Charles Diggs Greenfield, Jr., died in Helena on September 26, 1975. In this interview Greenfield describes his father's career as well as his own. Original tape reel has been placed in Collection 298. Digital copy available. [Original collection number 876 .]
|November 19, 1970|
|1||9||Minnie Paugh, group meeting at Freyes Café, Big Timber, Montana
William, James, John and Alex Glass formed a real estate operation 1904. In 1908 they reorganized with Frank Lindsay to form the Glass-Lindsay Land Company and contracted with the state Carey Land Act Board to build several reservoirs and irrigation canals as part of the Big Timber project. In addition to two reservoirs, the company built thirty-five miles of canals to transport water to irrigate sugar beets and fruit. The project was completed about 1915. Among the settlers who came to the area to establish farms were members of the Church of the Brethren. This tape created by librarian Minnie Paugh features twenty-five residents of the Big Timber area who met to share their memories of the Glass-Lindsay development. The original audiotape reel was combined with several transactions of the Montana Institute of the Arts meetings and placed in Collection 298 as tape numbers 52-56. Two blueprint drawings of the project's reservoirs, a complete list of the speakers heard on the tape, and several copy photographs accompany this recorded meeting. [Original collection number 920.]
|May 7, 1971|
|1||10||Thomas Tillman, interviewed by Francis Niven in Bozeman, Montana
Thomas Nelson Tillman was born on October 30, 1884 in Denmark. He came to the United States in 1905 and settled near Bozeman in Gallatin County, Montana. On December 22, 1913 he married Maude Ruth Wright in Livingston, but the couple made their home in Bozeman where Thomas worked as a butcher and eventually established the North Side Meat Market. Tillman died on December 1, 1982. In his interview with Francis Niven, Tillman recounts incidents of his own career in Bozeman and discusses other butcher shops in the town. [Original collection number 1001.]
|1||11||Maria Leonard, interviewed by Jane M. Ulrich, location unknown
Maria Leonard was born on February 9, 1880 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Butler University as a voice major and then earned a Master's degree in mathematics from Colorado College. Her intention was to be a mathematics teacher. Educational administration was then a relatively new field and, in 1910, she became Dean of Women at Idaho State Normal College in Albion. Two years later, she became Dean of Women at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a position she held until 1923 when she became Dean of Women at the University of Illinois. She was on the UIUC campus for 22 years, from 1923-1945. Leonard founded Alpha Lambda Delta in 1924; it was originally an honorary to recognize academic excellence among freshmen women. Maria Leonard died in Livermore, California on October 31, 1976. In this scripted conversation, Bozeman chapter charter member Jane M. Ulrich speaks with Leonard regarding the history of the organization she founded. [Original collection number 1156.]
|1||12||Janet McAtee and Doris Townsend, Missouri Flats interviews, location unknown
Interviews with Paul Schoenek, Ferd Schoenek, Vern Neely, and Hiny Shuster regarding a former town site on the upper Madison River, Montana. No CD Rom version or transcript available. [Original collection number 1134.]
|1||13||Annie Davidson Boyse Childress, interviewed by Jack Jeakins near Broadus, Montana
Annie Davidson was born in Yorkshire, England on February 11, 1882. She came to the United States sometime after the turn of the century and settled in Montana. She married Henry Osborne Boyse on July 1, 1904 and the couple had three daughters. The Boyse family homesteaded in Powder River County and in her interview she relates many anecdotes of homestead life. Henry Boyes died in 1947 and Annie married John Childress the following year. The original recording is on reel 16 of Collection 298, but a CD Rom copy is available for research in this collection. [Original collection number 867.]
|1||14||A.C. Newly, Edwin Iverson, and Gardner Waite, panel discussion at Gallatin County Historical Society
The Gallatin Field airport was first established around 1928 and has grown into one of the busiest transportation hubs in Montana. Newly, Iverson, and Waite were all involved with the airport's growth of the years and presented different perspectives on their experiences. The original recording is on a part of Collection 298, reel 65, but a CD Rom copy is available for research in this collection. [Original collection number 2360.]
|October 19, 1978|