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Women in the Archives Research Guide


Montanan and Western history is a primary focus of Archives and Special Collections at MSU. As a result, there is a large amount of information centering around Western experiences. Women played important roles in Western life through farming, ranching, agriculture, and daily life. Women had a huge impact on agriculture in the early American West. Their work in gardening, farming, and other plant-based pursuits influenced the success or failure of frontier homes. Some women ran agricultural ventures alone or with the help of family members. 

Montana State University Extension Service Records, 1912-1970

The Extension Service Records concern the activities of the Extension Service, which worked within agricultural communities across Montana. Topics include crops, livestock, weather summaries, and organizational efforts and programs. A variety of women worked within the Extension Service. Of note are the records of Harriet Cushman, a professor at Montana State College who specialized in poultry.

Jeffers Family Collection, 1868-1975

This massive collection includes diaries, ledgers, correspondence, interviews, historical essays and reminiscences regarding the Jeffers, Ennis, and Chowning families of Madison County, Montana. Of note in terms of women's voices include a history of the Madison Valley Women's Club, letters and reminiscences from women, and women's contributions to the Trinity Church.

Rodney Wallace Page Family Papers, 1881-1927

Among other materials and topics, the Wallace family papers include correspondence between Rodney's daughter Elvira to her daughter Mary concerning farming and ranching activities in Madison County, Montana. In addition, legal documents concern the sale and management of Rodney's cattle.