Photo Gallery

Girls at the Fort Shaw Indian School, southwest of Great Falls, learned sewing, embroidery, knitting, and other household skills with the idea that they would take domestic jobs when they finished school. MHS Photo Archives 947-401
Girls at the Fort Shaw Indian School, southwest of Great Falls, learned sewing, embroidery, knitting, and other household skills with the idea that they would take domestic jobs when they finished school. MHS Photo Archives 947-401
Evelyn Cameron snapped this picture of a woman and her team of five horses at work. Photo Credit: MHS 13-14 PAc 90-87 65-6.
Evelyn Cameron took this picture of Rosie Roesler, the daughter of Russian-German homesteaders, and her team of five horses at work. Photo Credit: MHS Photo Archives PAc 90-87 65-6.
Women telephone operators at the Helena Exchange, July 28, 1914. MHS Photo Archives PAc 2008-85.16
Women telephone operators at the Helena Exchange, July 28, 1914. MHS Photo Archives PAc 2008-85.16
The Works Progress Administration employed men and women on community improvement projects, including staffing traveling libraries. This bookmobile is making a stop in, Fairfield, Montana. MHS Photo Archives PAc 89-38 F5
The Works Progress Administration employed men and women on community improvement projects, including staffing traveling libraries. This bookmobile is making a stop in, Fairfield, Montana. MHS Photo Archives PAc 89-38 F5
Group at Fish Rock, Lolo Hot Springs, 1890s,
Group at Fish Rock, Lolo Hot Springs, 1890s, photograph by Myrta Wright Stevens. MHS Photo Archives Maloney Collection, Fishing Folder
The short-lived 1924 Havre girl's football team. According to local sources, they only played one game. Photo by Brainerd, MHS Photo Archives Al Lucke Collection 948-415
The short-lived 1924 Havre girl's football team. According to local sources, they only played one game. Photo by Brainerd, MHS Photo Archives Al Lucke Collection 948-415
Dry Landers on Little Pumpkin Creek, Powder River County, ca. 1900. L. A. Huffman photographer. MHS Photo Archives 981-588 Gift of Huffman Photos, Ltd.
Dry Landers on Little Pumpkin Creek, Powder River County, ca. 1900. L. A. Huffman photographer. MHS Photo Archives 981-588 Gift of Huffman Photos, Ltd.
Opening ceremony of the new Great Falls, Montana, Public Library L to R: Mrs. Beatrice Eigher, Mrs. Margaret Warden, Mr. L.L. Callaway (publisher of Newsweek), and Librarian Mrs. Alma Jacobs, all standing in front of the circulation desk October 12, 1967.
As an adult, Alma Smith Jacobs–posed here (far right) with her mother and sisters at Spring Creek near Lewistown, ca.1920–made numerous contributions to Montana as a civil rights activist. She is most often remembered, however, for her work as a librarian. MHS Photo Archives PAc 96-25.1
The Suffrage Daily News, the short-lived paper in which this photo ran on November 2, 1914,, identified these suffrage campaigners only by their husband's names. while noting that the women had campaigned for the vote in four different Montana counties. Left to Right: Mrs. R.F. Foote, Mrs. J.B. Ellis, chairman, Silver Bow County, Mrs. H. Salholm, Mrs. A. Obermyer and Mrs. E.G. Clinch. MHS Photo Archives 951-821
Cameron photographed (left to right) Mrs.F. P. Reiley and Mellisa, Dean, and Florence Fluss on July 4, 1906, at the First State Bank in Terry, Montana.Catalog #PAc 90-87.G006-004
During the 1918 flu epidemic, Tuell worked as a field nurse on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, where the family was then living. Courtesy of Buzz Tuell, Tuell Pioneer Photography
Julia Tuell took this photo of a family and horse travois on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 1906. She identified the woman on the horse as Strong Left Hand. Courtesy of Buzz Tuell, Tuell Pioneer Photography.
One of the first two women to serve as an allotment agent. Clarke is shown here standing next to the wagon. at the Otoe Agency in Oklahoma, circa 1891. The beautiful quilt on her bed hints at her effort to make camp life comfortable. MHS PHoto Archives 941-747
Poor, uneducated, and unmarried, Lucy Conforth, shown here in her mug shot, was convicted of murdering her daughter in 1929. She spent the remainder of her life in either prison or in Warms Springs State Hospital. MHS Photo Archives PAc 85-91 9373.
A female lookout stands outside the Morrell Mountain Lookout in Missoula National Forest, in August 1922. Although the Forest Service hired women to staff lookouts, they were not supposed to fight fires. Photograph by K. D. Swan, courtesy of the Forest History Society, Durham, N.C.
Pretty Shield, shown here fleshing a buffalo hide, worked hard to pass down traditional Crow skills to her granddaughter Alma. Montana State University Library, Bozeman, James Willard Schultz Photograph and Personal Papers Collection, Collection 10.
Author of ʺA Taste of Heritage, Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Remediesʺ and ʺGrandmother’s Grandchild: My Crow Indian Life,ʺ Alma Snell poses in her kitchen, circa 1998. © Kristin Loudis 2013.
This fanciful drawing of Pine Leaf/Woman Chief accompanied James Beckworth’s memoir, published in 1856. From The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth. New York, 1892.
Beginning with the arrival of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1869, women religious played a vital role in providing health care for Montanans. Here Sister Camille (near instrument stand) and Sister St. Charles assist Doctors (left to right) Thomas H. Pleasants, Fred Attix, and Joseph Brice with a 1909 surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lewistown. MHS Photo Archives 949-002.
Beginning with the arrival of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1869, women religious played a vital role in providing health care for Montanans. Here Sister Camille (near instrument stand) and Sister St. Charles assist Doctors (left to right) Thomas H. Pleasants, Fred Attix, and Joseph Brice with a 1909 surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lewistown. MHS Photo Archives 949-002.
Businesswoman and writer Rose Gordon poses with her brother, Taylor, in front of her White Sulphur Springs home, on May 1960, MHS Photo Archives 951-717.
Maggie Smith Hathaway outlined her positions on Prohibition, Child Welfare, and a “Workable Farm Loan Law” in this 1916 campaign flier. Maggie Smith Hathaway Collection, Mss 224, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
Members of the Fort Peck Friendly Homemakers Club prepare to serve food at a fund-raiser for a children’s Christmas party, circa 1948. Early clubs on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation were segregated by race, but the Extension Office worked to integrate clubs in the 1960s. Roosevelt County Extension Service, “Annual Report of Cooperative Extension Work, 1949.” 22.
As representatives of the Extension Service, county Home Demonstration agents reached rural women with workshops, bulletins and circulars, radio and television broadcasts, and, most popularly, at meetings held in club members’ homes. Here, circa 1945, agents Lois Knowlton Stephens, Frances Smith Patten, and Lillian Stone Mikkleson demonstrate electric roasters, one of many electrical appliances which became more commonplace in rural homes after World War II. F 2, box 19, Agricultural Engineering Records, 1906–77, 00007, Montana State University Archives, Bozeman.
Before moving to Missoula, Judy Smith was active in the feminist movement in Texas. She poses here with her mother at the first Texas statewide women’s reproductive rights conference at the University of Texas Student Union in Austin in 1971. Photo by Alan Pogue, courtesy The Rag.
Members of the Women’s Resource Council, pictured here, were the nucleus of feminist activism in Missoula in the 1970s and 1980s. Among other services, the WRC provided free classes for women on everything from auto mechanics to assertiveness training. Diane Sands Papers, Series 1, Box 2, Folder 19 (Women’s Resource Center Photographs, 1975-1983), University of Montana Archives.
Shown here celebrating her 100th birthday, Julia Schultz lived to be 104. MHS Photo Archives 944-893.
When this photograph of Jeannette Rankin was taken in Washington, D. C., in April 1917, she was at the beginning of what appeared to be a very promising political career. Her unpopular votes against the U.S.’s entry into World Wars I and II would bring an end to her political aspirations but would ultimately earn her widespread respect for adhering to her principles. MHS Photo Archives 944-480.
Jessie Tarbox took this picture of the Fort Shaw girls’ basketball team in 1904 on their visit to St. Louis. Standing, from left: Rose LaRose, Flora Lucero, Katie Snell, Minnie Burton, Genevieve Healy, Sarah Mitchell. Seated, from left: Emma Sansaver, Genie Butch, Belle Johnson, Nettie Wirth. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
Cultural assimilation was the primary objective of off-reservation boarding schools such as Fort Shaw. Thus, spectators at Fort Shaw’s basketball games were also treated to performances of the school’s mandolin club, shown here at the school with a variety of stringed instruments. MHS Photo Archives PAc 80-79 M2.
Over the course of five months, more than three million fair-goers gaped at Indian students demonstrating their skills in domestic and industrial arts, drama, and music. However, the almost all-white audience devoted most of its fascination to ten Indian girls playing basketball and, between games, reciting Longfellow’s “Hiawatha” in distinctive buckskin dresses. Standing (from left) are Nettie Wirth, Genevieve Healy, Josephine Langley, Belle Johnson, Minnie Burton, Sarah Mitchell, and kneeling (from left) are Emma Sansaver, Gertrude LaRance, and Rose LaRose. Photograph by Andrew P. Williams, MHS Photo Archives PAc 80-79 M3.
Born a slave in the 1830s, Mary Fields arrived in Montana in the Ursuline Sisters who came to establish an Indian boarding school and mission. Fields remains a legendary frontier character, celebrated for her tough persona and kind heart. Photo courtesy Ursuline Sisters Archives, Great Falls.
An avid baseball fan, Fields regularly attended home games and rewarded Cascade team members who hit home runs with bouquets from her garden. Photo courtesy Wedsworth Memorial Library, Cascade, Montana.
Dorothy Johnson spent most of her childhood in Whitefish. After a short stint on the east coast, she returned to Montana, where she lived in Whitefish and Missoula. She is pictured here, circa 1953, second from left, at the Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish, attending the Montana Library Association banquet. MHS Photo Archives PAc 86-97.
Switchboard operators at work in Helena in 1906 included chief operator Anna Bennett (standing) and, from left to right, Elizabeth Hartwig, Irene LaSalle, Susie Hildebrand, Elma Barnes, Tillie Gillan, Susette Amacker, Kate J. Merrill, Rose Lacking, and Jennie Stoehr. MHS Photo Archives PAc 75-43 f26.
Telephone operators worked at hotels as well as at exchanges. Photographed here is Helen (last name unknown), an operator at Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park in 1925. At the time, park concessionaires often required their Blackfeet employees–including bus drivers and telephone operators—to dress in “traditional” clothing to appeal to eastern tourists. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
In 1927 Susie Walking Bear (seen here, back row, center, with her graduating class from the Boston City Hospital’s School of Nursing) became the first member of the Crow Nation and one of the first Indians in the country, to become a registered nurse. MHS PAc 87-70.
Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail’s contributions to Indian health care were innumberable. With her husband Thomas (shown here in an undated photograph), she also worked to preserve traditional Crow culture. MHS PAc 87-71.
Fort Benton area midwife Mary Kassmeier kept an album of the children she delivered from the 1910s through the 1930s. Pictured here in 1919 are May and Clara Overman, with their mother. Courtesy Overholser Historical Research Center, Fort Benton.
Posed here in October 1946 with the Sheridan Electric Coop’s first board of trustees, Anna Dahl became used to being the only woman at the table. She went on to become the second woman in the United States elected president of the board of a rural electric coop, the first woman member of the board of directors of the Montana State REA, and the first woman trustee of Northwest Public Power Association, Anna Dahl Scrapbook, SC909, MHS Archives.
Pictured here in 1945, Rose Hum Lee became a sociologist, who used her academic training to document Butte’s Chinese community. Courtesy of the Mai Wah Museum in Butte, MT.
In 1911, thirty-nine-year-old Grace Binks (left) and twenty-nine-year-old Margaret Major (right) came to Sumatra, Montana (northwestern Rosebud County) as part of a group of Iowa homesteaders. The women stayed only a year, paying cash to “commute” their homesteads into purchased land. MHS Photo Archives PAc 92-62 p.19 #C.
Barnstormer Katherine Stinson performed at the Montana State Fair in 1913. Among other stunts, she flew bags of mail from the fairgrounds, which she dropped onto Helena’s downtown post office, thus becoming the first person to deliver airmail in Montana. Photograph by R. H. McKay, Missoula, Montana, MHS Photo Archives 949-885.
Doris Brander, shown here in her enlistment photo, joined the navy’s Women’s Auxiliary Voluntary Expeditionary Service (WAVES) in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor. Courtesy Linda Brander.
St. Joseph’s Home for Orphans fulfilled one of the missions of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Earthquakes in 1935 left the children homeless and they spent nearly two years as the guests of wealthy U. S. Senator James E. Murray at Boulder Hot Springs. Photo courtesy Independent Record.
The Florence Crittenton Home, founded in Helena circa 1897, has always maintained strict anonymity as this photograph from the 1940s suggests. The home continues to offer services, but now focuses on parenting teens. Photo courtesy Florence Crittenton Home.
Deaconesses at the Montana Deaconess School offered their students many opportunities to excel in both academics and the arts. Longtime deaconess administrator and teacher Helen Piper, right, often enlisted musician A. I. “Daddy “ Reeves, left, to teach the children. Photo courtesy Intermountain.
Jeannette Rankin’s youngest sister, Edna Rankin McKinnon (shown here on left with sister Grace on right), joined the Margaret Sanger Research Center in 1936. Between 1937 and 1946, she established birth control clinics across the United States, but none in Montana, out of respect for her brother Wellington, who feared Edna’s outspoken advocacy of birth control would harm the Rankin family’s reputation. Photo courtesy MHS Photo Archives PAc 74-57.31.
Western author Bertha M. Bower (left) rides side saddle along the Tongue River in 1917, accompanied by Nancy Russell’s sister, Jean Ironside. MHS Photo Archives 941-206.
The WCTU remained active even after the repeal of Prohibition. The photo of this billboard was taken from the 1951-1957 minute book of the WCTU’s Kalispell chapter, MHS Photo Archives PAc 83-55.22.
Etta Weatherson, Candace Shaw, Elizabeth Blakeman ride on the WCTU float in 1916 Fourth of July Parade, Columbus, Montana. MHS Photo Archives 951-822
Alice Greenough traveled the world as a trick rider and rodeo star. Photo courtesy of MHS # 942-480.
Matrons put students at the Montana State Vocational School for Girls to work, believing that “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” The girls’ farm labor helped support the school. Photo c. 1920. Catalog # PAc 96-9 3 [Montana State Vocational School for Girls.] 1920.
This photo captured the women (and children) of the first MFCWC Annual Convention, which took place in Butte on August 3, 1921. Photograph by Zubick Art Studio, Butte, Montana. MHS PAc 96-25.2.
Although the league became more structured after World War II, Montana league members joined in world peace efforts in the 1930s. Photographer Edward Reinig captured this image of Blackfeet chief Eagle Cap signing a petition for reduction of world armaments at the Montana League of Women Voters booth at the Montan State Fair. Staffing the LWV booth were (left to right) Agnes Webster. secretary of the College League, Helen Seth, president of the College League; Charlotte Bowman, Mrs. E. K. Bowman, International Relations Chairwoman of the Montana League. MHS Photo Archives Catalog PAc 87-103 Folder 4.
Havre and Great Fall members of the League of Women Voters gather traveled to Helena for "League Day" at the Montana legislature, February 3, 1961. MHS Photo Archives PAc 88-96 Folder 5 of 5.
Children pose in front of "the Castle" in 1896, three years after the Montana State Orphanage was built. Many of them were not true orphans, but from destitute families whose parents could not care for them. MHS Photo Archives 951-328.
Widowed twice, and the mother of seven, Martha Plassmann became a Socialist Party activist in later years, asserting that socialism "offered the best solution for many of our social ills.” Photo from "We Were Seven" by L. Ione Rolfe Pierre. Great Falls: Blue Print & Letter Co., 1976.
Fanny Y. Cory Cooney produced most of her cartoons at the dining room table, or in the living room on a drawing board that she perched on her lap. MHS Photo Archives PAc 95-13.2
Public health nurse Margaret Thomas (shown here circa 1925, back left) traveled throughout western Montana organizing well baby clinics, lecturing on nutrition, care of the sick, and sponsoring school health contests. MHS Photo Archives Lot 30 Box 2 Folder 9.
Henrietta Crockett, one of Montana’s first public health nurses, served on the Montana Tuberculosis Association for thirty years. Among her accomplishments was the construction of a medical wing dedicated to Native Americans at the state tuberculosis sanitarium in Galen, which had previously excluded American Indians. In 1949, tribal members presented her with a star quilt in recognition of her advocacy. Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, MC433-359-2.
Both Fligelman sisters were lifelong activists and involved in many organizations including the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women. They are shown here with Mrs. Garrett (center) at the 1963 Helena AAUW book sale. PAc 90-20 f5 booksale 1963.
Daniel Slayton's family—and especially the women of his family—cared for him during his illness and final days. Pictured here in a happier time are Daniel and Son Ernest (front seat), sons Bert and Daniel (middle seat), and daughter Lydia, wife Lizzie, and daughter Ruth (back seat.) MHS Photo Archives PAc 88-75.
Harriette Cushman, shown here culling birds, mostly found positive reception among Montana’s farmers even as some scoffed at the idea of an expert advising experienced farmers about their own flocks. One of her biggest challenges was getting growers to cull nonproducing hens. One woman was aghast when Cushman culled over half her flock, but soon discovered, as other growers did, that culling saved money on feed without decreasing egg production. Cushman’s expertise saved Montana’s egg producers tens of thousands of dollars each year during the 1920s and 1930s. Harriette Cushman Extension Service Records, 1898-1975. Image 20. Courtesy of Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections, Montana State University Library,
Ellen Bigsam, Mary Ann Coombs, Victor Vanderburg, and Sophie Moise were children when the Salish were force marched out of the Bitterroot. SPCC c-0582 Courtesy Salish-Pend d'Oreille Culture Committee, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Sister Providencia, shown here with Eleanor Roosevelt, brought crafts from nine northwest tribes to display in the House of Indian Affairs Committee Room at the U.S. Capitol in 1941. Providence Archives, Seattle, Washington.
Despite some initial resistance, the Anaconda Company celebrated women’s war work in its magazine, Copper Commando.
Freda Beazley, a member of the Assiniboine Indian Tribe of Fort Peck Reservation and a vice-president of the National Congress of American Indians, at the 15th annual meeting of the National Congress of American Indians held in Missoula, Montana, during September 14-19, 1958.
Dorothy and Gladys Hill, both Blackfeet tribal members and students at the Cut Bank Boarding School, showcased their project “Furnishing of a Model Indian Home” at the 1930 4-H Club Hi-Line Association Conference at Rocky Boy, Montana. MHS Catalog #PAc 84-59 f2.
The Finnish Ladies’ Band of Red Lodge poses here in 1907. Courtesy Carbon County Historical Society.
The WPU represented women who worked in service industries, including waitresses, cooks, maids, elevator girls, and janitors. By the 1940s, the union had won eight-hour shifts, the right to overtime pay, sick leave, and paid vacations for its members. Above, a WPU member is shown working the candy counter at the Rialto Theater. PH088 W.P.U./H.E.R.E. Photograph Collection, Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives.
This photo of the Norris and Harrison 4-H Girls’ Club was captured sometime around 1951. Photo courtesy MHS #PAc 2008-17.19.
The bookmobile carried films as well as books, but many communities lacked facilities to set up movies. In Troy, citizens solved the problem by closing their local tavern when the bookmobile came to town. "The Dirty Shame" played host to children and adults alike, giving them the opportunity to see educational films about rockets and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a very unconventional setting. This photo was taken in October 1962. Photo courtesy of the MHS Photo Archives PAc 2002-3 Box 2.
Shown here with her grandchildren, Josephine Pease Russell was one of the first Crow women to graduate from college. On her return to the reservation, she persevered in the face of discrimination to become a trailblazing educator. Photograph by Kathleen Wescott.
Wash day at the C.M. Goodell ranch. Homer T. Goodell sitting on engine which he rigged up to mechanize the old fashioned washer. Ruby Goodell at tub. Philbrook, Mont. [ca. 1900] [Homer and Rudy Goodell, children of Millie Priest Goodell and Clarence Goodell].
Aunt Bina Easty and Adeline Carlson plucking chicken, 1915. [McCone County, Montana] Adeline was later Mrs. W.H. Pipal of Bozeman.
Betty Jo Houchin and Ruby Larson used their informal network to organize a picket of St. James Hospital in July 1971. Their husbands were both on strike when the women decided to protest the hospital’s decision to treat strikers and their families “only on an emergency basis” because striking workers were not covered by the Anaconda Company’s health insurance. Photo courtesy of the Montana Standard (July 4, 1971).
During World War I, many women joined the workforce both for the economic opportunity and out of a sense of patriotism. The War Department cataloged this photo of two women working on the Great Northern Railway near Great Falls, c. 1918. National Archives, Records of War Department, General and Special Staffs (165-WW-595-D-14).

One thought on “Photo Gallery

  1. My grandmother attended this wretched school. Most of the time was spent marching on the parade ground and doing chores. Enemy tribes were put together. Because the Blackfeet and Sioux were enemies my grandmother’s cousin lost an eye from a rock thrown by a Blackfeet boy. It is easy to see from the faces that these children are very unhappy.