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