March 19, 2014

Fanny Cory, Montana Illustrator

by Maegen Cook, Digital Collections Assistant

Illustration (above) and poem (below)
from Little me: in picture and verse,
by Fanny Y. Cory (New York : E.P.
Dutton), c1936.

A conscience is a horrid thing!
Just when you're having fun
It makes you look around and see
The mischief you have done-

Recently, the Society acquired nine books that were beautifully illustrated by Fanny Young Cory. A longtime Montanan, Cory was a book, magazine, and newspaper illustrator best known for The Fairy Alphabet; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; and two works by L. Frank Baum: The Magic Key and The Enchanted Island of Yew. Her illustrations appeared in magazines like Life, Saturday Evening Post, and Century.

Fanny Cory in her youth
Fanny Cory in her youth,
from "Fanny Cory Cooney:
Mother and Artist," by Bob
Cooney and Sayre Cooney
Montana The
Magazine of Western History
(Summer 1980) p 9.
Cory was born in 1877 in Waukegan, Illinois, and moved to Helena, Montana, with her family as a ten-year-old. In 1896, she attended the Metropolitan School of Art in New York City. In 1902, she returned to Montana, where she married Fred Cooney. They lived for almost fifty years on Canyon Ferry Lake, raising three children and caring for their ranch. She continued her art until her death in 1972 at age 94.

The Research Center holds 14 works containing her writings or illustrations, and the Museum has 180 pieces of original Cory art.

Illustration in Fairy Tales, (Chicago, Illinois: N.K. Fairbank Company), [1903],
a promotion for Fairbank's 
Fairy Soap

March 4, 2014

"Hot and Cold Baths, Artistic Shaving, and Hair Cutting"

by Christine Kirkham, Coordinator, Montana Digital Newspaper Project

So reads an 1883 ad from Chris Hehli ("The King of Barbers") in Miles City.

For the past four months, MHS volunteer Josef Warhank has spent two mornings a week poring over advertisements in Montana’s digitized historical newspapers. Starting with the Daily Yellowstone Journal (Miles City) in 1882, Josef is working his way through all 34 Montana newspapers currently available online at the Library of Congress web site Chronicling America.

This Miles City saloon promised
"boxing matches every evening."
Page by page, he records details from each ad—business name, location, products, and names of principals. Josef’s fast-growing spreadsheet already lists 165 distinct businesses—and that’s for one newspaper in one town!

Bypassing national advertisers like Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, the Index to Montana Newspaper Advertisers will focus on Montana-based businesses and be made available as a searchable online resource for historians and genealogists. In addition to presenting a panoramic view of active businesses at a specific time and place, the ads speak to the growth of local economies. For example, Miles City’s isolation—and the presence of Fort Keogh just west of town—spurred rapid and varied economic development. Click here to check out an early draft of the Index to The Montana Newspaper Advertisers!

Ad for a Miles City restaurant.
Newspaper ads reflect the reciprocal relationship of the press with the local community. Then as now, fees paid for ad space were an essential source of revenue for publishers. 


Having just commenced a new round of newspaper digitization, the Montana Digital Newspaper Project team is hopeful Josef will continue his work through 2015, when another 100,000 pages from 19 more newspapers will be digitized and added to Chronicling America.