April 12, 2018

Ephemera 101: When are you going to clean under your bed?

By Zoe Ann Stoltz, Reference Historian

ephemera 1 : something of no lasting significance 2 : paper items (such as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles

When mom ordered me to “clean under my bed,” she was not referring to the dust bunnies.  She was despairing over my teenage clutter: movie calendars, church bulletins, pamphlets, tickets, and so much more.  Fortunately, a lot of folks were not raised to worry about such clutter.  Rather, they collected and savored programs, advertisements, bulletins, and more. Some of these memorabilia find their way to the MHS Research Center’s Ephemera Collection.

Recently two pieces of ephemera from 1918 landed at the MHS Library.  These century old documents offer informative glimpses of Helena as well as Montana’s cultural environment.  The first is a theater program dated April 4, 1918 from Helena’s Marlow Theater. In hopes of understanding the context of the piece, I searched the 1918 Helena Independent. I discovered that just the day before, April 3, was the Marlow’s grand opening and Helena’s social event of the year!  Newspaper headlines described the “Capital Elite in Force.”  The sheer spectacle of scenery and costumes of “Show of Wonders” amazed the crowd.  However, the Independent critiqued the chorus as “young and pretty and shapely,” but “not a real voice in the lot.”  Also reported was a generous gift of $50.00 for “Red Cross Women to Attend Marlow Opening,” sent by the vacationing Senator T. C. Power. [1]

The Helena IndependentApril 3, 1918
Marlow Program
April 4, 1918
MHS Research Center Ephemera Collection

The program itself delivers a plethora of historic information.  It lists the schedule for the Marlow in the coming weeks, from vaudeville and musical performances to “black face comedians” and drama.  Fisher’s Millinery, the State Nursery & Seed Company, and Montana Phonograph Company are just a few of the dozens of businesses advertised.  The leaflet also lists the Theater’s stockholders and firms connected to the Theater’s construction.  In short, the program offers an exciting glimpse into Helena’s businesses, society, and the era’s entertainment culture. [2]

Montana State War Conference, May 28-29, 1918
MHS Research Center Ephemera Collection

The second booklet is for the May 28-29, 1918 Montana State War Conference, coincidentally, held at the recently christened Marlow Theater. Numerous delegate organizations are listed.  Governing bodies such as the Red Cross, Liberty Loans, Federal Food Administration, Extension Bureau, and County Councils of Defense are predictable.  The presence of groups such as YMCA, Rotary Clubs, and Knights of Columbus reflects the depth of mainstream participation. The Conference’s patriotic goals were highlight by musical performances of Marseillaise, America, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Newspaper reports emphasize the diversity of backgrounds represented by speakers. They included Lt. Paul Perigord, a Catholic priest turned soldier, and Dr. James A. B. Scherer, Lutheran Minister and expert on Japanese relations.  The Independent declared that “in Montana, politics, religion, sex and creed have been forgotten.” The common goal was to “help the national government win the war.” [3]   The many organizations represented at the Conference played integral roles in not only uniting Montanans, but in monitoring and regulating individual behavior. 

While the Marlow program creates images pertaining to 1918 recreation and entertainment, the Montana State War Conference pamphlet reminds readers of the countless organizations and coordinated efforts necessary to win the war.  Two very different perspectives of 1918 Montana, both accessed through items not meant to last a house cleaning – ephemera. 

[1] “Helena Theater Opened, Capital Elite in Force,” pg. 1 & 7,  “Senator T.C. Power Gives $50,” pg. 8, Helena Independent, April  3,1918.
[2] See Montana Historical Society Research Center Ephemera Collection, “Helena (Montana)-Theatres-Marlow Theatre.”
[3] “History is Debated by Councilmen,” Helena Independent, May 28, 1918, pg. 1 & 6.

April 2, 2018

National Boot Day...Montana-Style, April 13, 2018

Barbara Pepper-Rotness, MHS Research Center Library Technician

April 13th is #NationalBootDay and we are celebrating it Montana-style…with cowboy boots, of course! Visit us April 13, 2018 wearing your western-style boots to receive free admission.

Also, we are creating a new Pinterest board dedicated to this day and we need your help! Read below to learn how you can play our Facebook sweepstakes and participate in this collaborative collection.

The picture of the cowboy boots below is our most popular image on Pinterest and is the inspiration for our #NationalBootDay event.

Image: MHS Museum #2004.47.01

Play to win:
Gifts you could win (minus the boots)
Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer
  • Two books published by the Montana Historical Society Press
    • A Tender Foot in Montana, by Francis M. Thompson, ed. by Kenneth N. Owens
    • Charlies Russell Roundup, ed. by Brian Dippie
  • One issue of Montana The Magazine of Western History
  • Several postcards from our store
  • MHS bookmarks and pencils from the Research Center

Enter Sweepstakes:
  • Go to our Facebook Page to enter.
  • Add one clear, close-up image of your cowboy or western-style boots (boots only, no people) in the Comments field of our April 13 #NationalBootDay Facebook post. Submissions for the contest will be accepted through 5:00pm on April 16th.
  • “Pick a Winner”, a third-party app sponsored by Woobox, will randomly select a winner at 5:01pm (MDT) April 16th.
  • Photos will be displayed on our Pinterest #NationalBootDay…Montana-Style board*.

 *During the month of April, you can watch our Pinterest ‘channel’ set to the #NationalBootDay board. Click on the Pinterest tab (no mobile access) on the left side of our Facebook Page  and watch this gallery grow!

Well-worn cowboy boots
Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer

  • Must be eighteen years or older to win.
  • Must be a resident of the United States to win.
  • We reserve the right to remove any images that contain faces, names, profanity, nudity, hateful or political content. Removal of your image will nullify your eligibility.
  • Employees of MHS are restricted from entering contest. 
  • No purchase necessary to win.
  • Playing this game is not required to receive free admission to the museum on April 13th; nor, is admission to the museum contingent upon entering the contest.
  • Must access our Facebook Page to play.
  • Submit one clear (not blurred) image, 600 x 900 pixels minimum for Pinterest.
  • We will not use names for any purpose other than to notify and announce the winner.
  • Winner will be notified by April 17, and winner will be announced (after verifying his/her compliance with our official rules) on Facebook no later than April 30, 2018.

  • By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook and Pinterest from any liability in connection with this contest.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, associated with, or administered by Facebook, Pinterest, or, other social networks.
  • By adding your image in the Comments field of our #NationalBootDay Facebook post, you are granting MHS permission to use image on other social media.
  • Prize has no cash value.

March 22, 2018

A Visit from Silent Cal

by Kelly Burton, Film Archivist

President Calvin Coolidge and Superintendent Horace Albright at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 1927 (PAc 93-25)

When speaking about photography in the American West, few names are as ubiquitous as Haynes. Frank Jay Haynes made his name by documenting the settlement of the west, ultimately becoming the first official photographer of Yellowstone National Park. Upon his retirement in 1916, his son, Jack Ellis Haynes, inherited his father’s business and continued as the official park photographer until his death in 1962. Jack began shooting motion picture film of Yellowstone shortly after the advent of 16mm film in 1923, and aside from a handful of commercial films for the park and the Northern Pacific Railway, these films can be classified as home movies. The Jack Ellis Haynes collection at the Montana Historical Society (PAc 93-25) documents Yellowstone’s ecology and its employees from the 1920s to the 1950s, as well as Jack’s family life during this time. Footage of his 1930 marriage to Isabel Nauerth is part of the collection, and the couple’s daughter, Lida, grows up in front of her father’s camera lens.

Dr. Hubert Work (center) with Albright (right) in Yellowstone National Park, 1927 (PAc 93-25)

In addition to capturing the daily lives of those who lived and worked within the park, the collection also documents the leisure time of several well-known Yellowstone visitors. One reel in particular highlights the amount of promotion that Superintendent Horace Albright undertook on behalf of the park in the very busy year of 1927. Labeled the “Celebrities Reel” by the Haynes Studio, this film features several notable names from the worlds of politics and finance: Dr. Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior; Judge John H. Edwards, Assistant Secretary of the Interior; Dr. John Merriam, president of the Carnegie Institution in Washington D.C.; Dr. Harold Bryant, founder of the Yosemite Field School of Natural History; Will H. Hays, former U.S. Postmaster General and first chairman of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA); and Kenneth Chorley from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Foundation. It is worth noting that Yellowstone’s southern neighbor, Grand Teton National Park, was established in 1929, due in large part to Albright’s promotional efforts in the region.

Grace and Calvin Coolidge at Camp Roosevelt in Yellowstone, 1927 (PAc 93-25)

The most famous visitor on the “Celebrities Reel” is arguably President Calvin Coolidge, who came to Yellowstone with his wife, Grace, and his son, John, in the summer of 1927. After spending several weeks at their vacation lodge in South Dakota’s Black Hills, Interior Secretary Hubert Work urged the family to spend time in nearby Yellowstone before returning to Washington. (1) According to Albright’s memoir, the surprise visit came shortly after Coolidge issued the statement that he would not seek a second full term as president:
“Having made his decision not to run, he had thought he might as well add a few days to his vacation and get in some fishing in the park before returning to the summer heat of Washington. Bill Starling of the Secret Service came to Yellowstone with an advance party to check on security procedures, and wanted special protection measures taken. Starling told me not to announce ahead of time where the President would be going, and to be flexible with the planning because they might change the schedule with no notice. While I wanted to make it possible for the President to get his rest and relaxation fishing, I did not intend to miss the opportunity to push for some of our priorities.” (2)
Superintendent Albright ultimately satisfied Coolidge’s predilection for fishing, (3) and was even witness to the quiet president’s “peculiar style of wry, taciturn wit,”(4) but was somewhat less successful in discussing matters of park promotion with the president at that time. (5)

Albright and Coolidge at Artist Point in Yellowstone, 1927 (PAc 93-25)

The Haynes footage of the visit begins with the presidential motorcade approaching the north entrance to the park in Gardiner, Montana. Mounted park rangers salute from the side of the road as the automobile procession passes through Roosevelt Arch, so named for the president that laid its cornerstone in 1903. The touring group then poses in front of a wooden building at Camp Roosevelt, east of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Wyoming side of Yellowstone. Artist Point overlook on the south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone provides Haynes with the most significant images from the celebrity visit, and it is from these viewing platforms that we see Superintendent Albright pointing out various features of the landscape to President Coolidge and his family.

Calvin, John, and Grace Coolidge at Artist Point, 1927 (PAc 93-25)

The Jack Ellis Haynes collection consists of 141 reels of 16mm film. Twenty of these films are available for viewing in the Montana Historical Society Research Center, and two of the commercial productions, Magic Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park: Scenic Wonderland of America, can be watched on the MHS Moving Image Archive YouTube playlist.

(1) Richard Bartlett. Yellowstone: A Wilderness Besieged (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1985), 97.
(2) Horace M. Albright. The Birth of the National Park Service: the founding years (Salt Lake City: Howe Bros., 1985), 211-212.
(3) Bartlett, 97-98.
(4) Albright, 212.
(5) Bartlett, 98.

March 15, 2018

Oh, The Places You'll Go: A Research Request Journey

by Barbara Pepper-Rotness, Library Technician

The Montana Historical Society’s Research Center receives an average of twenty paid requests per month for information on various subjects. No matter the topic, each request provides us with a question we must answer and forces us to look more in-depth at materials we may not have previously. Once the search begins, we embark on a journey that hopefully leads to an answer; or, at minimum, provides the patron with one or two pieces of the puzzle he/she is trying to solve. Whatever the question, we are always fascinated by what we learn.

A request for information about a building in Helena arrived recently. The patron was interested in knowing when this structure was first built and who resided there, both of which are typically easy to ascertain.

After verifying that the building is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we can use the Helena Polk City Directories to determine who currently resides at the address. We can also see who lived there when it was first built by searching under the street address (only in the Polk’s from 1929 to the present).

1954 Polk City Directory

When was it built, though? We used the current resident’s name found in the Polk City Directory to search for the property in the online Montana Cadastral database. Nothing came up, though.  Since this database is for valuation of property owned, the most likely explanation is that the person who resides or does business there is not the owner. If you don’t have a name to search, you can zoom in on the associated map. Once you select the correct plat, the corresponding data will display. The cadastral data indicates that this cabin was built in 1953 and we can verify that against the Polk Directory to see if the address is listed before 1953. It wasn’t. In addition, we can check our Helena Sanborn maps for surveys of that area. In the collection of 1930-revised-to-1953 maps, there was nothing surveyed above the 1500 block of 11th Avenue.

Because our patron also wanted information about the people who resided at that location, we must go back to the Polk City Directories and determine who lived there when. We tracked that ownership from the first resident to the present, noting each year the ownership changed.

From the Spokesman Review, November 11, 1951, p.2
The gem of this search, however, was learning about the first owner, Jean Barnes Allen, who resided and did business at 1807 11th Avenue. We were pleasantly surprised to find a vertical file for her and it held surprises of its own. Jean sold, from her home business, antler and horn carvings that she fashioned into buttons, belts, and jewelry.

From the Great Falls Tribune, November  18, 1962, p.2

The highlight of Jean’s life, though, was when she rode an eleven-year-old Morgan horse called Black Beauty 1500 miles from Deer Lodge, Montana to Chicago, by herself, for the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933, a trip that took sixty-eight days. Although on her own for the ride itself, and with only $10.00 in her pocket, she was greeted by fans and was welcomed into homes along the way. Of her experience in Chicago, she commented, “I had been told to watch out for gangsters in Chicago, but the only person I saw who looked like a gangster turned out to be an evangelist.”

From the Great Falls Tribune, November 18, 1962, p.2

We never know what we will learn, and will want to continue learning about, in our quest to help our patrons!

Mac, ‘Tana. “Helena Woman recalls 1,500-Mile Ride on Horse.” Great Falls Tribune, November 18, 1962.
Friesen, Phyllis L. “When Extra Money Needed…Hobby Became Career.” Great Falls Tribune, March 29, 1970.
Helton, Dorothy. “Montana Headline Girl Runs Side-of-the-road Shop” Spokesman Review, November 11, 1951.

March 2, 2018

Montana Madness: The Other Big Tournament This March

This March, sixteen objects from the Montana Historical Society’s vast collections are competing in “Montana Madness” for the title of Montana’s Most Awesome Object.

The competition, modeled on the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, will pit object against object from the Montana Historical Society’s museum, archives, and library collections.
Throughout the month, objects will face-off in online polls that will be promoted on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MontanaMadness. But the game isn’t limited to Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can download a Sweet Sixteen bracket from the Montana Historical Society website home page, where they can also vote on the objects they think should advance in the tournament.

Those voting through the website can enter a sweepstakes to win a one-year family membership to the Montana Historical Society, a signed copy of Montana's Charlie Russell: Art in the Collection of the Montana Historical Society, by Jennifer Bottomly-O'looney and Kirby Lambert, or a 7 ½” x 9 ½” print of Night Storm, by Blackfeet artist Gale Running Wolf, Sr.

According to MHS Historical Specialist Martha Kohl, “The Montana Madness competition is our way of having a little fun while looking to expand the audience for Montana history.”
History enthusiasts chose the Sweet Sixteen competitors from 65 objects displayed in the Society’s new online exhibit, “Appropriate, Curious, & Rare: Montana History Object by Object.”

Let's meet the Sweet 16 objects and view the matchups. For the story behind the object, follow the links in blue below.

Group A - Voting March 5-March 11

The Smith Mine Disaster Board, 1943 (#1 Seed) squares off against the "Square & Compass" Branding Iron, 1899 (#16 Seed), both from Montanans at Work.

Lewis and Clark Bridge Near Wolf Point, 1930 (#5 Seed) from Montanans in Motion plays the game with the Faro Board and Casekeep, ca. 1920 (#12 Seed) from Montanans at Play.

White Swan's Painted Robe, ca. 1880 (#4 Seed) from Montanans in Conflict faces off against Fort Benton Weather Vane, ca. 1854 (#13 Seed) from Coming to Montana.

Elk Tooth Dress, before 1860 (#7 Seed) from Montana Before Montana versus A’aninin (Gros Ventre) Tipi Liner, 1875-1900 (#10 Seed) from Montanans at Home: in a style battle between fashion and home decor, which one is better?

Group B - Voting March 12-March 18

Montana State Federation of Labor Certificate of Affiliation, 1908 (#2 Seed) tries to organize its way out of the challenge thrown down by Cree Gauntlet Gloves, 1910 (#15 Seed), both from Becoming Montanans.

Shoe Worn by Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, ca. 1914 (#6 Seed) from Montana and the Nation has a crushing competition with Petroglyph, 350-2,000 before present (#11 Seed) from Montana Before Montana.

When the Land Belonged to God by Charles M. Russell, 1914 (#3 Seed) from Montana State of Mind battles Fisherman's Map of Montana by Jolly Lindgren, 1940 (#14 Seed) from Montanans at Play.

Letter Written at Three Forks, Montana, 1810 (#9 Seed) from Coming to Montana tries to (paper)cut the Beaded Cradleboard, ca. 1900 (#8 Seed) from Montanans in Motion out of the competition.

Don't miss your chance to participate.  Download your bracket today!

February 22, 2018

Lee Metcalf's Reports from Washington

by Kelly Burton, Film Archivist

It seems only fitting that the third largest moving image collection at the Montana Historical Society documents the professional career of Lee W. Metcalf, one of the state’s most industrious public servants. Between the years 1937 and 1952, Metcalf served as a Montana state congressman, state assistant attorney general, World War II soldier and military prosecutor, and a Montana Supreme Court Associate. From 1953 to 1961, he held Montana’s First District United States Representative seat, and in 1962, he became the first Montana native to serve his home state in the U.S. Senate. His career as a Democratic senator was distinguished by a long list of progressive measures, many of which were related to conservation and environmental protection legislation. In addition to his passion for regional and national ecological concerns, Metcalf was also known for turning his attention to a host of complex societal issues such as health care, veterans’ rights, consumer protection, public education, firearms, and poverty. Metcalf served Montana in the U.S. Senate until his death on January 12, 1978 and was ranked number 15 on a list of the 100 Most Influential Montanans of the Century by The Missoulian in 1999.

Given the progressive nature of his political endeavors and his desire to reach the voting public en masse, it is no surprise that Metcalf’s office was responsible for the creation of a large volume of motion picture films and videotapes. The Lee Metcalf moving image collection at the Historical Society consists of 388 reels of 16mm film, with an additional 38 items on various video and digital formats. These 426 items pertain directly to Metcalf’s political endeavors between 1959 and 1973, and his work in both the House and the Senate is represented within these documents. Campaign commercials with twenty, thirty, and sixty second running times were recorded by Metcalf and his team, and the themes of these advertisements give us a clear idea of the policies that he was addressing with his constituents: education, farming, industrial and small business development, social security, unemployment, taxation, and conservation, to name a few. Certain commercials also feature endorsements by like-minded politicians in Washington, D.C., and these films show strong support for Metcalf from such prominent figures as Senators’ Mike Mansfield and Edward Kennedy and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The collection also contains various speeches given by Metcalf during this period, with appearances being filmed both inside and outside of Montana.

From Metcalf’s “Washington Report” of May 12, 1966 (Lot 31)

The bulk of the items in the Metcalf moving image collection represent installments in a series of television films created by the politician’s team during his time in the Senate, the purpose of which were to inform constituents of current political issues via mass media. “Report from Washington” (1963-1965) and “Washington Report” (1965-1967) feature Metcalf addressing the camera in an office setting, and often in conversation with a political contemporary who has detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. Topics of conversation in this series are as far-reaching as those found in his campaign films, and the participants regularly discuss specific policies and pieces of legislation: Medicare, Minuteman-II missile production, Peace Corps, the Economic Opportunity Act, and the Veterans’ Readjustment Act. The issues directly related to Montana are often environmental in nature, including the creation of Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area, the building of Libby Dam, increased protection of migrating waterfowl, and the Great Plains Conservation Program.

Production script from 60 second commercial 
MC 172, Box 646, Folder 3
Script from Kennedy endorsement commercial 
MC 172, Box 646, Folder 3

As with many of the items in the moving image archives, the content of Metcalf’s films can be greatly enhanced by information from other collections within the Historical Society. The Lee Metcalf photograph collection contains over 3,500 items, many of which similarly record his extensive political career. We also have access to a wealth of textual information related to the senator’s films in the Lee Metcalf papers, a collection which boasts over 300 linear feet of documentary material. Copies of recorded speeches, scripts of political endorsements, detailed information on general campaign commercials, transcripts from the “Report from Washington/Washington Report” television films, and even teleprompter printouts from televised addresses can all be found within these files. Such items provide a meaningful window into the production process undertaken by Metcalf and his staff, thus giving us an idea of just how much work went into the completion of a single film.

Section of a teleprompter script 
MC 172, Box 646, Folder 3

Several items from the Metcalf collection have now been digitized, and a selection of these films can be seen on the MHS moving image archive YouTube channel and in the Research Center reference room.

February 8, 2018

Racial Legislation in Montana that Particularly Affected African Americans

by Kate Hampton, Community Preservation Coordinator

Montana has a long history of racial injustice.  For example, school segregation, bans on interracial marriage, infringements to civil liberties, and inequitable participation in the legal system were all codified in Montana law for significant periods of time.  As part of the Identifying Montana’s African American Heritage Resources project, the Montana Historical Society worked to identify and digitize copies of the laws enacted by Montana Territory and the State of Montana that discriminated against, as well as those designed to protect, the black community.  Based on Glenda Rose Spearman Eruteya’s “Racial Legislation in Montana:  1864 – 1955,” we compiled a list of Montana state legislation passed between 1864 and 2003 that had a particular impact on African Americans.  This annotated list, with links to legislative documents, can be found here. [1]

After Congress declared Montana a territory in 1864, the First Territorial Legislature convened in Bannack to establish its legal framework.  The Legislators used Idaho’s Territorial laws as a template for creating those for Montana, and in doing so, adopted discriminatory practices, including limiting suffrage to white men.  Statutes also restricted a person’s ability, based on race, to serve as a witness in legal proceedings, and allowed only voters (white males) to serve as jurors.  Idaho Territory banned marriages between races, but several Montana Legislators had Indian wives, and that measure failed to pass.[2]

In 1872, the Montana Territorial Legislature came into compliance with the 15th Amendment by expanding suffrage to black men.  It also lifted the witness restriction.  Limitations on jury service, however, remained in place in Montana until outlawed at the national level by the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and Strauder v. West Virginia (1880). [3]  Also in 1872, a new law required segregated schools, stating that
the education of children of African descent shall be provided for in separate schools.  Upon the written application of the parents or guardians of at least ten such children to any board of trustees, a separate school shall be established for the education of such children, and the education of a less number may be provided for by the trustees, in separate schools, in any other manner…. [4]
The law proved unpopular, mainly because of the extra cost incurred by school districts to maintain separate facilities, and was repealed in 1883. [5]

“William M Holland,” The Montana Plaindealer, July 30, 1909,p. 4
In May1908, William Holland, a Helena pianist and vocalist, wore his Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) insignia pin in public, in violation of a 1907 Montana law banning such public displays.  He was arrested and fined $100.00.  Holland appealed his case, and the Montana Supreme Court ruled in his favor, declaring the law a violation of the 14th Amendment.  

As post-Reconstruction discriminatory laws and practices flourished across the country in the late 19th and early 20th century, some Montana citizens engaged in racist, sometimes violent practices.  Voter intimidation, tar-and-feathering, and hangings were reported in local newspapers.  The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-black organizations, as well as the implementation of local and statewide laws furthered inequity between the races.  For example, a briefly-enforced 1907 state law prohibited African American members of the Improved and Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World from wearing the fraternal order’s insignia. [6] The Anti-Miscegenation Act of 1909 made it illegal for whites to marry people of Chinese, Japanese, and/or African descent, and penalized those who performed such marriages.  The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law in 1942.  The legislature finally repealed it in 1953. [7]

While Montana law did not codify discrimination in regard to accommodations, it’s practice was not banned until 1955.  In 1951, the Legislature considered a bill “to guarantee full and equal enjoyment of all places of public accommodation.” [8]  It did not pass.  Four years later, an anti-discrimination in accommodations law (very similar to 1951’s) did pass, though virtually all of the original language and penalties for non-compliance were stripped from the final version. [9] While the law ordered that owners of public places of accommodation or amusement could not discriminate on the grounds of race or religion, enforcement was not uniform.  Several Montana hostelries advertised in The Green Book to indicate that African American travelers were welcome at their establishments.

When Montana’s first equal accommodations bill was introduced in 1951, it included a provision that allowed for violators to be fined up to $500 or jailed for up to 30 days.  That bill failed to become law.  In 1955, House Bill 52 called for equal accommodations, but decreased the proposed maximum penalty to a $50 fine.  The version of the law that passed that year contained no penalty provisions.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act not only provided for the end of segregation in public places, but also outlawed racism in employment, and Montana’s 1972 Constitution established anti-discrimination rights for all in Montana.  Montana lawmakers reaffirmed their commitment against prejudicial practices and codified the state constitution’s directives with the Human Rights Act of 1974, which addressed discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, and banking. [10] Through the last third of the 20th century, more state legislation passed aimed at protecting the rights of people regardless of race.  In 1989, Montana outlawed malicious intimidation and harassment based on race and allowed for sentencing enhancement for hate crimes. The state also prohibited taking race into consideration when sentencing, and in 2003, enacted a ban on racial profiling. [11]

Montana law has evolved and changed since the first Territorial Legislature convened in December 1864.  Racial legislation affected not only the African American community, but also American Indians, Chinese, and Japanese residents.  While discrimination based on race is no longer legal, prejudice and injustice often remain in practice across Montana and the nation.

[1] Glenda Rose Spearman Eruteya, “Racial Legislation in Montana:  1864 – 1955,” Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, Paper 8625. Political Science Department, University of Montana, Missoula, 1981.  Available online: http://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9660&context=etd.

[2] Suffrage:  1864 Idaho Territorial Laws (Idaho T.L.) 560; 1864 Montana Territorial Laws (T. Laws) 375; Reaffirmed 1867 T. Laws 96.

[3] Voting rights extended to all male citizens: 1871-2 T. Laws 460; racial restrictions for witnesses no longer law: 1871-2 T. Laws 125; limits on jury service retained:  1871-2 T. Laws 506 (Section 8). U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1875, 18 Stat 335-337, 43rd Congress, Session II, Chapter 114Strauder v. West Virginia 100 U.S. 303 (1880).  

[4] 1871-2 T. Laws 627-628 (§ 34).

[5] 1883 T. Laws 56-57.  While repealed in 1883, school segregation was retained in recodification of Territorial Statutes 1887 Revised Statutes 1185(§1892 of the School Law); and repealed finally in 1895 (Senate Bill 39):  1895 S.J. 290; 1895 H.J. 386, 1895 MT Codes 163 (§ 1920; Part III, Title III, Chapter VI, Article XIV).

[6] 1907 Laws 24; The Montana Plaindealer, May 15, 1908, p. 1; State v. Holland, 37 Mont. 393 [aka 96 Pacific Reporter 719 (1908)]. For more information on the national movement to bar African American fraternal organizations’ activities, see Ariane Liazos and Marshall Ganz, “Duty to the Race: African American Fraternal Orders and the Legal Defense of the Right to Organize,” Social Science History, Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2004, pp. 485-534.  Available online:  http://leadingchangenetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Duty-to-the-RaceAfrican-American-Fraternal-Orders-and-the-Legal.pdf

[7] 1909 Senate Bill (S.B.) 34.  “1909 Senate Bill 34,” MT Governors’ Records, MC 35, Bills Received by Governor, Box 4, Folders 8-9; 1953 H.B. 8; In re Shun Takahashi’s Estate, 113 Mont. 490 [aka 129 Pac 2d 217 (1942)]; “House Bill 8,” MT Legislative Assembly Records, 33rd:  1953, LR 33 Box 1, Folder 14, Box 2.

[8] 1951 H.B. 391. “House Bill 391,” MT Legislative Assembly Records (32nd:  1951), LR 32, Box 1, Folder 8 (HB 391)

[9] 1955 House Bill 52; Statute: 1955 Session Laws 525 and 526 (Chapter 240).

[10] Civil Rights Act of 1964, Public Law 88-352, 78 Stat. 241; Constitution of Montana, Article II, Declaration of Rights, Section 4; Montana Human Rights Act (Title 49, Chapter 2 of Montana Codes Annotated).

[11] Hate crimes:  intimidation/harassment – MCA 45-5-221, sentence enhancement -  MCA 45-5-222; Criminal sentencing - MCA 46-18-101.  In 2003, the State of Montana outlawed racial profiling:  MCA 44-2-117.

February 1, 2018

Hooverizing to Victory OR Food: A Weapon of War

by April Sparks, Government Records Archivist

By 1917 after three years of war, Europe faced severe food shortages with some populations on verge of starvation. Throughout the continent, farms had either been left vacant or become battlefields as farm workers either joined armies or fled from them. In addition, the war caused disruptions in the transportation and distribution of imported food. The United States government, on entering the war, saw an opportunity to use their status as the largest producer of food as a weapon. To manage the United States’ food supply, its conservation, and distribution, President Woodrow Wilson created the United States Food Administration and named Herbert Hoover its head.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, WWI Posters

As administrator, Hoover chose not to implement any mandatory food conservation measures, instead he relied on the volunteerism of the American people. Hoover believed that the American people would gladly join in the effort to conserve food on the home front so that the American soldiers and their allies overseas would have enough food to win the war. Conservation efforts focused on wheat, meat, fat, and sugar, as all were considered vital for the success of the Allied forces. The program developed a pledge card to muster support and pledge drives were held across the country in the fall of 1917.

The food conservation effort was quickly nicknamed “Hooverizing”, and women led the charge. Newspapers often had weekly menus filled with recipes that followed the guidelines. Local women’s organizations and church groups produced cookbooks centered around the patriotic act of food conservation. Many of the recipes included leftover meats, foods not normally consumed prior to the war, and reduced, omitted, or substituted wheat, sugar, and fats. Not many of these cookbooks have survived through the years, but the MHS Research Center has three cookbooks from this era in its collection.

“War-Winning” Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality St. Francis Xavier’s Church, 1918
MHS Research Center Collection: CKB 641.5 ST109W 1918

The Red Cross Cook Book from the Hot Springs Red Cross Society, one of the three cookbooks held by MHS, has a dedication, which reads in part:

Save the waste, control the taste;
Eat corn bread and ryye,
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 –
the ladies of Hot Springs Montana, Red Cross have gathered these recipes and had them bound, so that we can all do our bit toward doing our best; we can help win this war by eating. For we must eat to win, but so must Our Boys and Our Allies.” 

The Daily Missoulian, July 15, 1917 page 3.

Emphasis was put on home food production to leave most commercial crops available for the war effort. Children were encouraged to pitch in by planting and tending to vegetable gardens. These gardens provided food for the child’s family, but also perhaps for a neighbor as well. Women were urged to think beyond fresh food and utilize both canning and drying to extend the use of their garden products. Food really was one of the ultimate weapons in the fight to win World War I, which is perhaps why this focus on food would be seen again during World War II in food conservation pledges and the planting of victory gardens.

For more, join us on Facebook every Sunday in 2018 where we will be exploring different aspects of WWI Hooverizing.

January 25, 2018

Knute W. Bergan and The Piegan Medicine Lodge

by Kelly Burton, Film Archivist

Opening credits of The Piegan Medicine Lodge (PAc 2018-06)

On May 9, 1968, Montana Historical Society Director Sam Gilluly (1967-1974) conducted a short oral history interview he simply labeled, “FROM TAPE BY RUSS STEEN ON BLACKFEET DANCE.” The five-page transcript (OH 37) details the filmed documentation of a Piegan ceremony held in Heart Butte, Montana during the summer of 1956, the title of which was never stated. Interviewee Russ Steen was the Director of Audio-Visual Education at the Montana’s Department of Public Instruction in the mid-1950s, and he served as both a technician and a consultant on the unnamed documentary. Fish and Game Department photographer Kenneth Thompson acted as the cameraman in Heart Butte, and Alfred Humphreys, Supervisor of Music for the Department of Public Instruction, provided the narration and soundtrack for the film. Knute W. Bergan, another consultant on the film, was the Director of Indian Education at the Department of Public Instruction, and it was his relationship with the various tribes in Montana which ultimately allowed the crew to document what would have been a ceremony closed to photographers.

Chief Iron Pipe recounts the legend of Scarface (PAc 2018-06)

Comparing the details of Steen’s reminiscences with various Piegan-related materials in the Historical Society’s moving image collections, it becomes clear that film under discussion is a documentary entitled The Piegan Medicine Lodge. The 23-minute film begins with Chief Iron Pipe explaining a Piegan ceremony through gestures and in the Blackfoot language, which is then overdubbed by Humphreys in English. According to the legend, “Scarface, a young brave, traveled to the home of the great Sun God to get permission to marry a beautiful maiden. The Sun God gave his permission for the marriage, removed the ugly scar from the young brave’s face, and revealed to him the medicine lodge ceremony which Scarface brought back to his people.” The narrator then explains the occasion for performing the ritual in 1956: “The medicine lodge ceremony portrayed in this picture was promised by Maggie Swims Under to the Great Spirit, the Sun, when she prayed for the recovery of her grandson, Joseph, who was ill at the time with polio. Joseph recovered, and true to her promise, Maggie Swims Under held this medicine lodge, thanking the Great Spirit of the Sun for sparing her grandchild.” As the narrator describes various aspects of the proceedings, images of Maggie Swims Under performing ceremonials in the medicine woman’s sacred tipi are intercut with the construction of the medicine lodge by male members of the tribe. The ceremonial four-day fast by Maggie Swims Under is broken by the eating of thinly-sliced, boiled bison tongue, and the following day is then given over to feasting and entertainment. Events documented in the film include a parade celebrating tribe members in the armed forces, the performance of traditional songs and dances, and the playing of the Stick Game by a gathered group.

Cutting the center pole for the medicine lodge (PAc 2018-06)

The interview with Russ Steen provides the historian with several anecdotes not included in the narration of the film. Specific time frames and working conditions are initially discussed by the interviewee: “This took place just after the Fourth of July. During the period that followed there we had rain, and many conditions came up that extended this period of taking this over seventeen days. We lived there, in Heart Butte School, but visited back and forth with the Indians.” Steen then speaks of the ceremony itself, particularly the hardships undertaken by the medicine woman, Maggie Swims Under: “She was supposed to remain in there for four days with her sister, but after she was in there three days she found out there was going to be a funeral for an old friend, and so she broke fast and went to town and needed to come back and start this fast over. She just drank a little bit of water and had a little amount, a very little amount, of food, and it was quite an endurance test as far as I could see.” Some of the more illuminating aspects of the conversation pertain to Bergan’s relationship with the tribe, and the permissions this friendship affords his project. Steen describes another visitor who was denied the right to film the ceremony, despite the offer of money: “That day there was $500 that he had offered to take pictures of Mrs. Swims Under and it was refused, and yet here we were his friends and were able to do this. And this was a great tribute to Mr. Bergan, I think, because he did have deep friendship with the Indians.”

Maggie Swims Under breaks the four-day fast (PAc 2018-06)

The Montana Historical Society digitized Bergan’s 16mm print of The Piegan Medicine Lodge in 2017, in cooperation with the Siksika Board of Education. This film is now available for viewing in our Research Center, and can also be seen here on the Historical Society’s YouTube channel.

January 19, 2018

Bradley Fellow Hard at Work

by Jill Falcon Mackin, 2017 Bradley Fellow

Jill Mackin at the
Montana Historical Society Research Center
Photo by Tom Ferris
The opportunity to spend an extended and supported time in the Montana Historical Society archives as a James H. Bradley Fellow, has built a solid foundation for my doctoral research. Under the working title, “Miinigoowiziwin (That Which is Given to US): Changing Anishinaabe Food Systems, 1780-1920,” my dissertation research focuses on the Old North Trail Corridor and human relationships to this bioregion. Given the infrequency in which native foods were discussed in historical source documents, my research in the MHS archives threw a broad net at the sources for this period including fur trade journals, military post journals, oral histories and reminiscences, newspapers, maps, and State Historic Preservation Office site reports.

Working in this diversified group of records has nuanced my understanding of how, within the context of colonization, the lifeways and foodways of my own ancestors--Ojibwe, Cree, and Métis people--changed. My overarching observation from my research at MHS is the emergence of two highly interwoven economies during this timeframe—the gift or subsistence economy and the capitalist economy. Both are concerned with resources. In Anishinaabe culture, food is not merely subsistence but gift. The pull of food resources drew native people out of the Red River to the West, while they themselves were drawn deeper into the evolving capitalist economy of the fur trade and westward nation building. The capitalist economy expands to the West in search of furs, gold, and land.

A few specific examples from the records illustrate my emerging conclusions on the interface of these two economies. The Journal of Larocque from the Assiniboine to the Yellowstone, 1805, shows the dependency the traders had on indigenous geographic knowledge, as well as how native communities functioned as weigh stations for traders where they procured food and clothing. The journals of Fort Benton, Fort Belknap, and Fort Shaw shed light on evolving trade relationships between Indians and settler colonists, in which native peoples delivered furs and robes in exchange for food. The U.S. Interior Department: Montana Superintendency of Indian Affairs Records, (1861-1871) report government initiatives to deliver food annuities and press native people into Euro-American style farming.

While, there is a clear shift in agency and dependency for both settler-colonists and native peoples, there is also a growing ambiguity in the identity of some fur traders of mixed native-Euro-American descent. These individuals are identified with native bands and living an indigenous lifestyle, but are also caught up in congealing racial boundaries. Racial identity, socio-economic roles, and settlement patterns, impacted the evolution of Anishinaabe food systems as the people moved from the Red River Valley to the Rocky Mountains. Reminiscences, such as that of Ben Kline and Eli Guardipee, and oral histories, such as those of the Métis Cultural Recovery Trust, are especially valuable for the light they shed on the persistence or “survivance” of Anishinaabe foodways into the early 20th century.

Additionally, during my research time I have gathered essential information on settlement sites of Ojibwe-Cree-Métis along the Old North Trail Corridor; significant place names longer in use; the relative abundance and scarcity of game; the influence of the Whoop-up Trail and whiskey trade on well-being and access to food; locations of bison herds and native camps throughout the Corridor; a view of the rapid rise of the cattle industry; and, the infrastructure issues involved in the delivery of food annuities to native peoples on the Missouri by steamboat.  These insights are part of the patchwork quilt of changing indigenous foodways through the 19th century and, thus lend a foundation going forth with my dissertation research. My research follows with these questions: How do these two economies affect the food systems? How do the competing food systems and economies interact in native life?

I am deeply grateful for my time spent at MHS, for the hospitality, collegiality, and resourcefulness of the staff. Thank you for this great opportunity to study history together.

If you are a graduate student, faculty, or independent scholar looking to do research in the collections of the Montana Historical, please consider applying for a James H. Bradley Fellowship.  The deadline is March 1.