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Women in the Archives Research Guide

Daily Life

Many Western homes were run primarily by women. These women soldiered on through deadly weather events, crop famines, and a variety of other disasters to create sturdy, loving homesteads. They also kept records of Western and early American cooking, which is invaluable to any studies about food. The archives contains plenty of material on women's lives throughout the early and late periods of Western American history. Many of these stories are told through diaries, scrapbooks, and letters focused on homemaking. Women's work formed early American homes. 

Homestead Days, circa 1959

Homestead Days is an essay composed by Jessie Howard Duffield that details her childhood experiences in South Dakota and later homesteading experiences in Montana. She discusses farming, her family, her community and neighbors, and schools.

Charlotte Stowe Autobiography, 1960

This collection includes Stowe's handwritten autobiography and a typewritten manuscript with handwritten addendum. The document details her childhood in New York, travel to Bozeman, and later life in Bozeman with her husband and son. There is an extensive amount of information regarding family members and experiences.

Rodney Wallace Page Family Papers, 1881-1927

The Page papers are composed of letters and legal documents. Many letters are composed by Rodney or his wife Sarah in Michigan to their son Arthur in Montana territory. These letters discuss weather, religion, family life, and preparations for the move to Montana. Letters from Rodney's daughter Elvira to her daughter Mary concern farming and ranching activities in Montana.

Richard H. Clow Family Papers, 1864-1939

The Clow Papers include a variety of correspondence. Of note in terms of women's contributions are letters from Richard's sister Bertha to his daughter Agnes and other female family members. There are also a variety of photographs, including one of Richard's grandniece Bertha Cochrnae Clow, who would become a professor of home economics at Montana State University.

Fannie Louise Davis Ennis Speeches and Essay Transcripts, 1964

Among other materials, this collection contains an essay by Ennis titled "Early Days in Virginia City" that details her early memories of Montana. She discusses social events, her memories of growing up, and religious leaders and events. 

Ellen Louisa Gordon Fletcher Papers, 1866-1910

The Fletcher Papers include a diary illuminating Fletcher's journey to the Montana Territory as well as transcribed letters and entries from the Fletcher family's life in Montana. These documents include details of the Fletcher family in Summit and other Madison County areas.

Strode Family Papers, 1896-1969

The Strode Family Papers encompasses a wide range of topics. Eva I. Melvin and the Strode family play key roles within the collection, and details of family life and homesteading are prevalent within the collection. The collection contains literary productions, maps and charts, legal documents, and financial documents. All of these have aspects of daily life on the frontier.

Gertrude White Papers, 1916-1917

The White papers discuss Gertrude's life through letters, billing statements, and envelopes. Topics covered in the collection include finances, Gertrude's work as a midwife, and Gertrude's son Lester's performance in school.

Sadie Elizabeth Owen Diary, 1905-1907

The Owen diary involves the day-to-day activities of an adolescent girl in Montana at the turn of the century. Sadie lived with her mother Sarah who operated a boarding house in Radersburg, and her father Richard who worked as a miner. Most of the diary is taken up with recreational activities like horseback riding and dances, but it also contains descriptions of classroom life. 

Myrtle May Crosby Letters, 1918

This collection contains two letters written by Crosby to her parents in April 1918. Topics discussed in the letters include Crosby's daily life on a homestead near Riedel, teaching, family life, farm sales, and military service.

Lillian E. H. Culver Papers, 1893-1931

The Culver Papers include letters, short stories, and bank statements. The letters cover important homesteading and homemaking topics like climate and isolation, work, social life, and legal issues on the Western frontier.

David B. Christie Family Letters, 1883-1920

The Christie letters encompass letters written by either David or Emma Christie and those sent to them by family members. The primary focus of the letters is family life and experiences. The letters by David and Emma reveal the "dreams, goals, and struggles of moving to Montana."

Laura Brown Zook Reminisce

This collection is a typed transcription of Zook's reminisce. Zook traveled to Montana in 1878 with her parents and lived there for the rest of her life. The reminisce includes details of Zook's life in Miles City, Montana, her early education, and notable events in the area. 

May G. Flanagan Papers, 1887-1952

The Flanagan Papers include information on May's childhood in Fort Benton, frontier life and education, Indians and trade with Indians, and the residents of Fort Benton and Helena. The papers include reminiscences about the area and trips taken. Of note is information on I.G. Baker, which has been assembled into a manuscript.

Virginia Bunker Barnett Papers, 1941-1966

The Barnett papers contain correspondence concerning daily life in Bozeman, prominent citizens in the town, family problems and successes, and the lives of children. They also include Barnett's accounts of her experiences as a sorority mother in Bozeman