September 13, 2018

A Family Tradition of Writing

by Karly Watts, Summer Archives Intern

There is a tradition in every family: a holiday meal, a pearl necklace on a 16th birthday.
 In this family collection, that tradition was writing.

A love letter Alexander wrote to his wife, Mildred, five years after their marriage.
Some of it was natural; letters between family during wartime deployment was the norm. 
Others were carefully cultivated and encouraged by surroundings and education: 
a childhood diary, college degrees in English and Journalism, poetry, 
glee clubs, literary magazines, and family histories.

Soldier's letter from home, 1898
The Swaney Family Papers are filled with the works of three generations of Montanans, 
stretching from the pioneer and homesteading days of the 1880s to the very recent 2015. 
From Andrew’s letters home while stationed in Manila, Philippines 
during the Spanish-American War; to Alexander's letters home 
from the consulate in Chefoo, China; to the letters written 
in sympathy of Alexandra’s wife’s passing.

Flyer for Mildred Swaney née Buckneberg’s Glee Club
The Swaney Family Papers, more than letters, 
is a collection of the ups and downs of life: 
war, growing up, marriage, death, travel, and love.

Within this collection you will find letters
 –  between friends, lovers, mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons – 
poetry, diaries, Blackfoot oral histories, published articles, and many manuscripts. 
There are also newspaper clippings of their exploits, land deeds, certificates, 
membership ephemera, and military miscellany. 

The Swaney Family Papers detail pioneer life, worries, 
turn of the century commitment to Country, 
the adaptability to changing culture and technology, 
and a great fondness for Montana life and culture.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the friends, family - and friends that may as well be family - to the late Alexandra Swaney. As I have poured over the richness of the lives of Andrew, Alexander, and Alexandra, I have come to realize how special they were, and how special a place their beloved home, Montana, was and continues to be. As I poured over their personal papers, I grew rather attached to the people that have long left this world before I even entered it. More than once I laughed as I read Alexander’s sharp opinions on modern media and cried over his letters to a young Alexandra after the passing of her mother. Never before have I had such fear of the unknown as I read the letters and musings of Alexander in his twilight years, when he felt himself slipping away.

But, they are gone now, and it is thanks to you, dear friends, that some small piece of them remains so that the rest of us can get to know, even a little, the bright, gentle souls that have gone on before us.

August 23, 2018

Mueller Family Internship - One Archivist's Summer of Processing

Derek Corder, Archivist
Oscar Mueller Family Papers
Montana Historical Society

This summer I was honored to receive the Mueller Family Internship. Generous funding from the Mueller Family allowed me to travel to Montana from Bellingham Washington to process the Oscar Mueller Family Papers. I have enjoyed learning of this family’s fascinating history. The collection includes the records of Oscar’s immediate and extended family which demonstrate their deep connection to Montana’s history and committed service to the communities in which they lived.

Oscar Otto Mueller was born March 29, 1877 on a farm near Van Meter, Iowa. After earning his law degree, he relocated to Lewistown, Montana in 1908 where he filled the position of assistant county attorney in 1909 and 1910. Then, in 1917, he was appointed city attorney.

Oscar Mueller Lot 38 B7 F3
He was elected mayor of the City of Lewistown and served one term from 1929 to 1931. As the mayor, he had to deal with the challenge of enforcing Prohibition. One of his actions was to bring charges of bootlegging against the Chief of Police himself. Oscar was dedicated to upholding the rule of law and honorably serving his constituents.

Oscar Mueller Lot 38 B6 F26
On June 9, 1915 he married Josephine Cook of White Sulphur Springs, the daughter of the Montana Pioneer Charles W. Cook. Cook was one of the first stockmen of the state and a member of the Cook-Folsom-Peterson party of 1869 that made the first exploration of the Yellowstone Park region. Josephine shared Oscar’s passion for service and family. She was also fond of writing poetry.

Josephine Cook Lot 38 B1 F16
Charles Cook Lot 38 B6 F16

Oscar and Josephine had three children, Charles, Glenn, and George. Charles died in infancy in 1917. Glenn and George both served in the army during WWII.

Glenn and George Mueller (Lot 38 B10 F11 and Lot 38 B1 F1)
After the war, Glenn worked for the Forest Service while George went to work for the US Weather Bureau. While their work took them from their home state of Montana at first, they both, eventually, made their way back. Like their father, they took pride in serving their communities as leaders.

Glenn Mueller Lot 38 B10 F11

In addition to his work as an attorney, Oscar was an active amateur historian. He was interested in Central Montana history and contributed many historical articles to local newspapers including the Great Falls Tribune. The first issue of the Montana Magazine of History included his work “The Central Montana Vigilante Raids of 1884”. He, along with his son, George, contributed many written and material donations to the Montana Historical Society in Helena. Additionally, he was an amateur archaeologist and paleontologist. In honor of his work, three new species were named for him.

Oscar Mueller (right) and friend (Lot 38 B1 F1)
Native American Pictographs Lot 38 B27 F23
Oscar continued his passion for service both as an attorney and civic leader until his death on January 3, 1964.

The collection contains rich correspondence between family and members of the community. The correspondence also includes Oscar and George’s communication with various Montana publishing, educational, and government institutions. Their research materials and publications provides a detailed look into Montana history.

This collection, along with the extensive collection of photographs (processed by fellow intern Deanna Leiser), will be available for research soon. I want to thank the Mueller family for sponsoring this internship and allowing me this rare opportunity to devote an entire summer to a truly special collection.

August 9, 2018

Hooverizing in Montana during the Great War

Shortly after the United States entered World War I in the spring of 1917, Herbert Hoover was appointed head of the U.S. Food Administration. As such, he oversaw the coordination of food production and conservation of food supplies for the war effort. The Administration’s education and promotion proved so successful in stirring national conscience about food rationing that the term ‘Hooverizing’ became synonymous with a national stamp of approval for economizing food. Below is the main structure of what was expected while Hooverizing your meals.

In reaction to federal and state propaganda and the narrowing definition of patriotism, Montana’s women and communities steadfastly applied themselves to Hooverizing. To prove their patriotism and raise monies, women’s groups published community cookbooks filled with appropriately rationed recipes and literature.

At least three of these 1917-1919 cookbooks have survived and are housed in the MHS Research Center Cookbook Collection. From Butte, Missoula, and Hot Springs, the books offer endless insights into the women’s sphere and how they interpreted Hooverizing. The first two shown below have been digitized and are on the Montana Memory Project (see each link beneath its corresponding title cover).
[Ladies' Aid Society Cook Book. First Baptist Church. Butte, Montana, 1917. CKB 641.5 F519L 1917] On MMP

[Red Cross Cook Book. Hot Springs Red Cross Society. Hot Springs, Montana, 1918 CKB 641.5 H797R 1918] On MMP

["War Winning" Recipes. Young Ladies Sodality. St. Francis Xavier's Church. Missoula, Montana. 1918. CKB 641.5 St109W 1918]
Could you go a full week of Hooverizing? Maybe you already do cut back on wheat, sugar, and meat. But, which of these recipes would you, or do you, use on a regular basis? Try them out and let us know what you think. Notice that most recipes have names, or use terms, associated with the war and with Hooverizing!

Check out our board on Pinterest dedicated to the #HooverChallenge, where we can review each recipe and share more recipes with one another. We would love to hear from you about the challenge; about any of the recipes; about any recipes you share with us; about whether you know of a Montana cookbook from that era that we don’t have; about anything related to World War One and Hooverizing on food! Let’s get cookin’…

 World War One ‘Hooverizing’ Recipes
 Save the waste, control the taste;
Eat corn bread and rye,
Meatless days, wheatless days,
Eat less cream and pie.
For our Allies’ sake, cut out the cake,
Save food, and win – or die;
Keep fighters fit, this is our bit,
And that is the reason why…
[from: Red Cross Cook Book, p.13]


Scotch Broth
5 cups water
5 tbs. rolled oats
½ can tomatoes
1 small onion diced
2 small potatoes diced
Salt and pepper to suit taste. Cook about 1 hour until onion and potatoes are well done.
            Mrs. Mary Kimball, who made this notation next to this recipe:  Good
               War Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality, of St. Francis Xavier’s, Missoula, MT, 1918, p.21.

Conservation Soup
Put 1 tbs. butter in sauce pan, slice in a small onion, let simmer slowly until onion is soft, but not brown.  Now add any small bits of left-over vegetables you may have, also cooked rice or oatmeal, season to taste with salt, pepper, a bit of bay leaf or anything you may like, simmer slowly until ready to serve, add milk or cream and milk, to make enough needed, heat to boiling point and serve; 2 rolled crackers added just before serving is an improvement.
               Mrs. Belle Vanderhoof, Hot Springs, Mont.
               Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.17

Woodrow Wilson’s Okey Hash
Cook a piece of lean beef or other meat till very tender, take meat out of broth, when meat is cold run through food chopper or chop fine.  Heat broth to boiling and stir in barley groats as for mush, stir in as much as you can with a spoon, add chopped meats, let cook for 3 or 4 hours on back of stove or in double boiler, or fireless cooker.  This can be eaten fresh or warmed up same as hash or cold potatoes. 
          Mrs. Belle Vanderhoof, Hot Springs, Montana
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.20.

Allies. Left-Over meat
1 pint any cold meat or fowl.  Cook together a few minutes, ½ cup water or stock and 2 tbs. bread crumbs, add 2 tbs. cooking oil or butter, the meat, seasoning and 2 well beaten eggs, fill well greased custard cup or gem pans, stand in pan of boiling water in oven and bake 15 or 20 minutes.  Sauce—1 tbs. butter, 1 tbs. flour, ½ cup milk and ½ cup stock or water, mix well, put on stove, stir till boiling, remove and add yolk of one egg, salt and pepper and strain into serving dish.  Turn Allies into sauce, and garnish with triangles of toasted bread.
           Mrs. T. G. Demer, Hot Springs.
           Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.18

“O woe is me,” cried Mrs. Rye
On Wheatless, meatless day,
“What shall I fix that isn’t meat?”
We answer, just this way:
[from: Red Cross Cook Book, p.23]

Liberty Salad
1 small head cabbage, 1 medium sized onion, 5 cold boiled potatoes, 3 slices fat bacon or fat from ham, chop onion and cabbage fine together, dice potatoes finely, then mix with cabbage and onion, dice bacon and fry crisp, mix all together, pouring grease from bacon over all while still hot.  Dressing— ½ tps. Salt, ½ tps. Pepper, ½ tsp. mustard, cup of vinegar, if too strong weaken with water, mix and pour over salad.  Can omit potatoes and add either cold dried beans or cooked string beans.
          Mrs. C. Maher, Hot Springs.
           Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.24

General Pershing Salad
Mix ½ cup grated cheese with 1 cup whipped cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add 1 tbs gelatin dissolved in 1 scant cup water. Put into molds rinsed with cold water; when jelly begins to harden sprinkle with grated cheese. A nice change can be had by adding any small quantity of any preferred minced green vegetable, such as chives, green onions, parsley, etc., but only a small quantity, and minced fine, some salad fruits also can be used, chopped apples and celery, bananas and celery, or a very little orange. Serve with French or cream dressing. During war time possible French will be more appropriate.
          Mrs. C. Maher, Hot Springs, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.24

Side Dishes

Carrots and Onions, La France
Carrots sliced, not too thin, boil in salted water till tender. Cut up onion and fry in hot drippings, pour about 1 cup into pan with the onions, let come to boil, thicken with cornstarch stirred up in cold water, cook till slightly thickened, add carrots, drained cook up, add pepper and sald.
               Mrs. Alex Howell, Rosalia, Wash.
               Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.29

Tomatoes en Camouflage
Slice nice large ripe tomatoes, lay two or three slices on each plate, on lettuce, mince up green onions, radishes, parsley, sweet green peppers and cucumbers, mix well together, and sprinkle over tomatoes and pour over them any good salad dressing, dressing like for the tuna fish salad is good. Any of the above things can be omitted but onion.
          Mrs. S. L. Oliver, Spokane, Wash.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.25

Cakes, Cookies, Pies
Milkless, eggless, butterless cake
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
1/3 c. lard
2 c. seeded raisins
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves

Boil all 3 minutes. When cold add ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp soda dissolved in a little water.  Add 2 c. flour sifted with ½ tsp. baking powder.  Bake in slow oven.  Also served hot as a pudding with sauce. 
        Hand-written recipe inside cover of War Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality of St. Francis Xavier’s,                   
        Missoula, MT, 1918

Wheat-less Chocolate Cake
½ cup fat, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup syrup, 3 eggs, ¾ cup milk, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup rice flour, 2 cups barley flour, 6 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 squares chocolate.  Cream the fat, sugar and egg yolks.  Add the syrup and mix well, add alternately the liquid and dry ingredients sifted together, add flavoring and melted chocolate. Fold in well beaten whites.  Bake 1 hour, starting in moderate oven, after 20 minutes raise heat. 
          Florence Hotel, Missoula, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.48

Liberty Angel Food
Whites of 4 eggs, ¾ cup powdered sugar, ½ cup pastry flour, 1/3 tsp cream of tartar, beat whites stiff, then beat the other ingredients in, bake in moderate oven.
          Mrs. Dave Hyre, Hot Springs, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.41

 War Breads

The ad above, from the May 31, 1918 Hardin Tribune, alludes to the fact that war bread might not go down very well. Below are some recipes for war bread that you can try. Let us know if you could ‘stomach’ them.

War Bread
Two large cups whole wheat flour, 1 large cup white flour, 2 cups bread sponge, 2 tablespoons dark molasses, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons shortening, ¾ cup warm water, salt, mix, let rise once, then put in tins, let rise and bake; makes two loaves.
          Mrs. Ed Mergel

War Bread
Set a sponge at night with 3 pints potato water (warm), 3 pints flour mixture, 1 cake compressed yeast.  In the morning add lard size of an egg, 2 tbs. sugar, 1tbs. salt; enough flour mixture to knead stiff.  Let rise until light, about 1 ½ hours, then mold into loaves when light.  Bake 1 hour.  This will make 3 good loaves.
          Mrs. R. Klinager
           War-Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality, St. Francis Xavier’s, Missoula, 1918, p.2

Contributors to the #HooverChallenge Project include MHS staff members Maggie Ordon, Curator of History; Molly Kruckenberg, Research Center Director; Zoe Ann Stoltz, Reference Historian; April Sparks, Government Records Archivist; and Barbara Pepper-Rotness, Reference Librarian.

And, if you are looking for a home for your Montana WWI era cookbooks (or, other Montana cookbooks), you can contact Zoe Ann Stoltz at 444-1981 or

July 26, 2018

Bob Vine and the Anaconda Copper Mining Company of the 1960s

Kelly Burton
Film Archivist
Montana Historical Society

A tour group at an Anaconda facility, circa 1960s (PAc 2008-102)

In his 1986 interview for the Montana Historical Society’s oral history project ‘Metals in Montana: Industry and Community in the 20th Century,’ lifelong Montana resident Bob Vine discussed his relationship with the town of Anaconda and its namesake company: “I’ve been in Anaconda since 1950 when I got out of college. I taught art and English in the high school for seven years. And then joined the company in June of 1957 as an artist. Subsequently I went into communications and training. I was personnel director in Anaconda, personnel director in Butte. Then I became director of education and development for the entire Montana operations.” (OH 925, p. 2) Vine worked for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and ARCO smelter in Anaconda from 1957 to 1983, and during that time he developed an enduring respect for the individual workers and the communities at large. In addition to providing MHS with two in-depth oral histories (OH 925 and OH 1676) on the mining industry after his retirement, Vine also produced a history of Anaconda’s first women smelter-workers at the Washoe Reduction Works of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company titled “Women of the Washoe” (978.687 V75W) and a centenary celebration of the town entitled “Anaconda Memories 1883-1983” (PAM 1567).

 Bob Vine’s most distinctive and voluminous contribution to the historical record of Montana exists not on the printed page, but rather within thirty-nine canisters of 16mm motion picture film. Donated to MHS by the Vine Family in 2008, this film collection (PAc 2008-102) adds up to approximately 10,000 feet – or five continuous hours – of regional moving image history about the mining industry. Most of the films created and collected by Vine were shot during the 1960s, and these color and black and white reels cover a wide range of activities related to Anaconda Copper during a turbulent decade for the company. Extensive notes on the original film canisters provide a wealth of detail regarding content, and the choice of subject matter throughout demonstrates Vine’s desire to temper his industrial images with more human scenes from the greater mining communities.

Blasting at the Berkeley Pit, circa 1960s (PAc 2008-102)

The footage created by Vine consists primarily of mining and smelting processes at various Anaconda sites, and the 1960s saw ACM trying to balance rising costs with diminishing profit margins. Bonner Lumber Mill, the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway, and the Anaconda Reduction Department are just a few of the many subjects documented by Vine. Canister labels provide meticulous – and occasionally dramatic – program descriptions, as evidenced by this small section from a canister note about filmed Berkeley Pit activities in Butte: “changing truck tires with overhead crane; trucks being loaded; top rim of pit NE of viewing stand; pit from above; powder truck; overhead view of shovel; blasting crew; powder truck; BLAST!” The editing/splicing methodology employed by Vine is not always apparent, however – images from rugged outdoor locations such as the Berkeley Pit are occasionally and incongruously followed by bureaucratic scenes in departmental offices and sterile control rooms.

An Anaconda Company control room, circa 1960s (PAc 2008-102)

The Bob Vine film collection also covers some of the less routine aspects of working life at the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Awards ceremonies, contests, training sessions, and stockholders’ meetings at the Washoe Theater on Anaconda’s Main Street are just a few of the events listed on the collection’s canister labels. Communications and education played a large role in Vine’s career with ACM, and we also find several commercials that were made to emphasize the more human side of the company. These commercials often used footage taken from community events sponsored by ACM, such as the Smeltermen’s Union Day at Washoe Park, Children’s Day at Butte’s Columbia Gardens, and public tours through the plants themselves.

Smeltermen's Union Day at Washoe Park in Anaconda, MT, circa 1960s (PAc 2008-102)

Eight films from the Bob Vine collection have recently been digitized by MHS in cooperation with the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana as part of an evolving multimedia project pertaining to Montana and its history. These films can now be found on the MHS Moving Image Archives YouTube playlist: MHS Moving Image Archive.

July 18, 2018

Making Happy Kampers: Documenting the History of KOA

by Jodie Foley, Montana Historical Society State Archivist

What does summer mean to you?  Hiking, swimming and picnics?  For most of us summer is the time to hit the road and explore as a family.  One of the most familiar sites folks see as they travel our highways is the big yellow and black KOA sign.
KOA signs have called to weary travelers since the 1960s, but many don’t know that the company behind the sign has its origins in Montana.
[Dave Drum, Life Magazine, September 29, 1972]
In 1962 Dave Drum, local business man and entrepreneur, noticing the high number of travelers heading for the Seattle World’s Fair, decided to set up a campground on his property just outside of Billings.  Following on that successful summer, Drum surveyed his visitors asking what they thought of the facilities, location and to give general impressions of the campground.  The enthusiastic responses encouraged Drum and his new partners to think bigger and by 1969 they had expanded Kampers of  America into a network of over 250 modern campgrounds across the county.
1967 KOA Directory
Unknown family at the Billings KOA, ca.1960s

In time KOA’s bright yellow logo became synonymous with America's modern ideas of camping—hot showers, concession stores, swimming pools, game rooms and other amenities meant to make camping accessible and attractive to a larger audience.

Today there are nearly five hundred KOA campgrounds, either corporate or franchises, in the United States and Canada.  
2016 KOA Directory
Much of the success of the company lies in its ability to promote both its services, its franchise model and its overall mission in bold color.
KOA promotional materials
With the donation of these records, researchers can now learn more about a company that has been dedicated to making “Happy Kampers” for over 50 years.  Come see this and many more collections that explore Montanans' love affair with the great outdoors!  A description of the collection can be found in our catalog at
"We're Happy Campers" coaster, no date