March 16, 2016

News from the MHS Research Center - March 2016

by Molly Kruckenberg, Research Center Director

A monthly report of cool new (and sometimes old) collections, reference resources, and projects that you might be interested in.

Newly Processed Materials Available for Use:

In the Photograph Archives, we have acquired and processed an oversize photographic print of Marysville showing the town and mining buildings.  The names of mining claims, including the Drumlummon, are superimposed onto the print.

Newly Received Collections (not yet processed, but available for use):

The Archives recently received a collection from the Backcountry Horsemen of Montana. The collection contains material spanning back to its creation in 1973 in the Flathead. This local organization, the first of its kind, later joined with similar organizations in Idaho and other surrounding states to create the Backcountry Horsemen of America. The papers include material from the original Flathead Valley Chapter, the statewide organization, the national organization, as well as papers from chapters in surrounding states. The collection also includes a number of photographs.

Collections Currently Being Processed:

David Cogley donated a self-published copy of his Vietnam journal.  He served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 in the 101st Airborne, and wrote his journal shortly after returning home.  Recently, he resurrected the work and has created bound copies for distribution.   Aside from oral histories, the Research Center has very few primary docs concerning Montana veterans’  Vietnam experiences.

Some Neat Things We’ve Been Working On:


  • The new Montana History Compass, replacing the Montana History Wiki, is now available for use!  Take a look at the revised site, which includes a sortable and filter-able data set of all of the newspaper held on microfilm.
  • Arriving soon, the Montana Newspaper repository will allow for improved access to nearly 300,000 pages of Montana newspapers not available on Chronicling America!  Look for the public release around the middle of this month.


Cool Things We’ve Used from the Collections:

A patron question prompted us to look for information on business communications being written in code.  After careful searching of the catalog and Archives West we found 2 books that we have that deal with this topic.  In the early 1900's businesses used telegrams to communicate important information quickly.  Telegrams could get expensive because you were charged by the word.  The code books were created by specific industries to code common phrases and numbers so that longer messages could be communicated in fewer words.  One of the books includes a letter that was sent to a company and included the name of the code book used along with a list of locally created codes that they would use in their communication.  An example from McNeill's Code shows the phrase I estimate the ore in sight to amount to 36450 tons and to have an approximate value of $400,000.  This could be communicated by 3 cipher words: Imminebant, Esfumacao, Zeitparole.  Imminebant is decoded to I (we) estimate the ore in sight to amount to ____ tons and have an approximate value of _____.  The other 2 words decode to the values that were listed above.

The Library has McNeill's Code (1908 edition) and Broomhall's The Imperial Combination Code for Mining, Company Promoting, Financial and Stock Exchange Purposes from 1913.  We also have some telegraphic codes from the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in the MC 169 collection.

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