This bibliography includes oral histories from the Montana Historical Society’s Helena Businesses Oral History Project. Begun in 1896, this ongoing project focuses on the development of Helena businesses from World War I through urban renewal in the 1960s. Montana Historical Society staff and volunteers interviewed people who established or worked in Helena’s communications, entertainment, manufacturing, service, grocery, and retail businesses. Narrator discussions include business practices, changing consumer demands, changing technologies, and the impact of the automobile. The project not only reflects changes in the economy of the “Capital City” but also sheds light on the fiscal development of towns across Montana and the West. Where possible, audio format is noted. The collection is divided between oral histories that have been transcribed and those that have not. Where possible, length of typed transcription is noted.
Lucille Pontet Interview. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1779). Montana Historical Society Archives. 1 audio tape. 21-page transcript. In this interview Lucy Pontet describes her experiences growing up in Helena, Montana; her family’s catering business; family ownership of Jorgenson’s restaurant; and her own work as waitress, cashier, and hostess in the restaurant.
Not Transcribed (may include a typed summary):
Bernice Mitchell interview, 1988 April 9. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1188). Montana Historical Society Archives. 2 audio tapes (1 hr., 25 min.) 4-page summary. Access restriction: No signed release form. Topics include her parents and their operation of a Helena confectionery; the 1935 Helena earthquakes; the 1930s Depression; her husband’s World War II military service; owning and operating Clafin’s Furniture; other Helena businesses; and urban renewal.
Glenn and Eileen Redd Breed interview. 1987 September 17. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1185). Montana Historical Society Archives. 3 audio tapes. 6-page summary. Glenn Breed discusses his military service in World War II; his family; and his involvement in civic activities and organizations in Helena. Eileen Breed describes her parents’ ownership and operation of Redd’s Grocery and other businesses in Helena; her marriage to Glenn Breed; owning and operating Rodney Street News and Confectionery; and recollections of various Helena area businesses.
Jean G. Weeks interview, 1987 May 18. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1183). Montana Historical Society Archives. 1 audio tape (55 min.) 5-page summary. Topics include the origin and business operations of the Globe Men’s Store in Helena from 1890 to 1958.
Mary Friel interview, 1987 September 18. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1186). Montana Historical Society Archives. 2 audio tapes (85 min.) 4-page summary. Topics include her early life in Idaho; her relocation to Montana; her experiences during the 1930s Depression; owning and operating a gift shop in Helena; the effects of government regulations on business; and urban renewal.
Susan Eaker interview. 1986 September 6. Helena Businesses Oral History Project (OH 1173). Montana Historical Society Archives. 2 audio tapes. 5-page summary. Susan Eaker (1900-1992) discusses arriving in Helena, Montana, in 1930; working as a speech and drama teacher at Helena High School; owning and operating a bookstore on North Main Street; rebuilding her business after a 1951 fire; neighboring businesses; changes in the retail book industry; types of books carried; and the effects of urban renewal.