The Montana Historical Society Research Center has the most complete and extensive collection of unpublished records and manuscripts documenting the history of Montana and its government.
The Archives Collections is comprised of:
Manuscripts collections are records or papers created or gathered by an organization,
individual, or family. Manuscripts collections constitute the core of our research
collection and range from the early 1860s to the present. The collection is
especially strong on 19th century business history, political history, the history of
social and cultural organizations, pioneer diaries and reminiscences, women's
experiences on the frontier, and military encounters.
State & Local Government Records
The Montana Historical Society has been the unofficial archives of Montana state
government since 1865 and the official state archives since 1969. The State Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to inactive, historically significant state records. In addition to the records of executive branch agencies and elected officials, the State Archives includes records of legislative sessions.
Since 2001 the Montana Historical Society has acted as a repository for local government records with historical significance. Currently, our holdings include marriage records and naturalization records from the District Court Clerk's office and school census records, submitted to the Office of Public Instruction by the County Superintendent of Schools.
Oral history interviews add dimension to the historical record by preserving first-hand recollections of those who may not have initiated historic events, but whose experiences shaped and in turn were defined by those events. Since the 1880s, when interviews were recorded by hand, the Montana Historical Society has conducted oral history interviews with Montanans from across the state, and from various walks of life. The oral history collection covers such topics as the New Deal and Fort Peck Dam, reminiscences by veterans, war brides, and homesteaders, as well as the history of medicine, education and government in Montana.
Searching the Collection
Find Information about the Research Services available through the Research Center.
Find information about how to donate items to the Archives Collections.
For information about these committees contact Jodie Foley, State Archivist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-444-7482.
The Montana Historical Society Research Center holds the nation's largest collection of published materials pertinent to the study of Montana's history.
The Library Collection is comprised of:
Books and Pamphlets
The main collection has some 40,000 books and pamphlets principally related to Montana, with some material from neighboring states and provinces. Areas of special strength include:
Newspapers & Periodicals
The newspaper collection includes approximately 95% of the papers ever published in Montana in 2,000 bound volumes and 17,000 reels of microfilm. Approximately 100 current titles are micofilmed on a regular basis.
Approximately 400 active periodical titles supplement over 4,000 volumes to round out the collection.
The Library has an extensive map collection which contains:
Federal and State Publications
The Montana Historical Society was a federal depository library until the mid 1980s so we have extensive federal holdings related to Montana, most notably:
Over 60,000 items form the single largest repository of official Territory and State of Montana publications, including many unique items.
Posters, Printed Ephemera, and Musical Scores
The Library holds several thousand rare and unique posters and pamphlets. Strengths include:
The Library maintains the state's largest collection of newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and miscellaneous material. These materials are contained in a series of subject and biography ready-reference files (1870-present).
Searching the Collection
Library materials can be searched through the online catalog and our in-house catalog.
Find information about the Research Services available through the Research Center
Find information about how to donate items to the Library Collection.
The Research Center collects photographic materials in a variety of formats that document the diverse history of Montana and the lives and accomplishments of tis people. It includes the work of amateur and professional photographers, who have captured the faces of the state's inhabitants, immortalized its landscape and recorded its agricultural, industrial and technological developments.
The Photograph Collection contains approximately 400,000 images and is comprised of:
The Agriculture Collection shows rural life in Montana, 1880-1960. It includes views of livestock, crops, farm and ranch buildings, and irrigation projects.
The North American Indian Collection documents Native American life after white settlement began in Montana. It contains portraits of tribal leaders, views of ceremonies, dances, dwellings and reservation life.
The Mining Collection traces the history of placer and underground mining in Montana, 1860s-1960s. It documents mines, smelters, and mining equipment.
Collections containing the work of significant photographers or recording the lifes of prominent Montanans, including:
Collections of photographs created by agencies of Montana State
Government, elected state officials and the Legislature including:
|Montana Travel Promotion Unit Collection (1960-1985) offers photographs of tourist attractions and recreational areas throughout the state.|
Montana Aeronautics Commission Collection contains images (1910-1960) collected for the commission's Aviation History project and published in Frank Wiley's book, Montana and the Sky.
Montana Department of Transportation Collection documents road construction and maintenance from the 1920's to the 1970's, and contains view of governors, legislative activities and the Constitutional Convention of 1972.
Searching the Collection
Find information about the Research Services available through the Research Center.
Find information about how to donate items to the Photograph Collection.
All photographs are property of the Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives. Material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).