Collection 212 - P. C. Waite Papers, 1887-1959
Creator: Waite, P. C. (Perley Clifton), b. 1868.
Provenance Note: The P. C. Waite diaries and papers were donated to Special Collections in January of 1965 by Gardner Waite. Gardner made an additional donation in 1997 of the Joseph Adam papers. A letter written to Waite by Vera Anderson Cook in 1947 and formerly assigned collection number 1281 was added on December 30, 2013.
Historical Note: Perley Clifton Waite was born on 12 August 1868 in Chester, Vermont to Henry O. and Sarah (Kinsman) Waite. Waite lived in various towns in Vermont during his early childhood until his family moved to Massachusetts when he was thirteen. In October of 1886, Waite moved to the Gallatin Valley in Montana to live with his uncle and aunt, Ned and Helen Hodgman. He worked on their farm for two and a half years. He left the farm in 1889 and moved to Bozeman. Over the next three years, Waite worked at several different stores in Bozeman. He was a clerk at the Willson Company, a dry goods and men's department store, until 1890 when he left to work at Levy and Elias Clothing Store. He quit in 1891 and then worked for Albert A. Spaulding for four months then at C. C. Fuller Cold Storage Warehouse. In 1892, he became the Assistant Postmaster for Bozeman, a job he kept until 1896. During this time, he was also a local reporter for several Montana newspapers. After his job as Assistant Postmaster, Waite became interested in gold mining. He attended chemistry classes at Montana State College in order to find employment in the mining industry. Waite moved to Silver Star, Montana, where he became involved in gold mining. Over the next eight years, Waite continued with the mining business, staying mainly in Silver Star, but also traveling around Montana and other Western states.
Content Description Note: The P. C. Waite Papers consist of his diaries, his autobiography, letters written by family members, and some business and personal papers from his son-in-law, Joseph Adam. P. C. "Cliff" Waite wrote his autobiography when he was eighty years old and describes mainly his business pursuits, especially his gold mining endeavors. The papers also include a letter written by Flora Gardner (Mary Gardner Waite's relative) in 1879 describing the family's trip from Fort Benton to Bozeman. Another letter in the Waite papers includes a copy of a speech delivered by E. M. Gardner, Mary's father, detailing the history of the Presbyterian church. Joseph Adam's papers include his birth certificate, passport from Austria, his naturalization certificate, papers related to his death, a letter from his father, and copyright registrations and royalty contracts for his music. The bulk of the papers, however, are P. C. Waite's diaries which chronicle two periods from 1887-1892 and 1899-1910 and offer some insight to one man's life with close ties to the Gallatin Valley at the turn of the century. Most of his entries begin with a remark about the weather. Overall, Waite recorded daily events with a few reflections about his life. His diaries stop around 1892 and begin again in 1899. During this second period, Waite's diaries were comparable to a work log. He recorded daily events, especially events that were occurring at the mines. General topics he discussed were the amount of ore that went through the mine, the quality of the ore, general repairs needed for the mine, and various other tasks related to mining. In his final entries, Waite was residing in Bozeman. It was during this time that he began working with his father-in-law in the real-estate business. Waite concluded his diary with the death and funeral of Mary's mother.
RESTRICTIONS APPLY: P. C. Waite's diaries and autograph book in Box 1 are restricted due to fragility. Researchers should use the transcripts in Box 2, files 1 to 16. Permission to use the original diaries must be received from the Special Collections Librarian.
- Box 1
- P. C. Waite Diaries, 1887-1892, 1899-1910. Restricted Use
- Box 2
- 1. P. C. Waite Diary, 1887
- 2. P. C. Waite Diary, 1889
- 3. P. C. Waite Diary, 1889-1890
- 4. P. C. Waite Diary, 1891
- 5. P. C. Waite Diary, 1892
- 6. P. C. Waite Diary, 1899
- 7. P. C. Waite Diary, 1900
- 8. P. C. Waite Diary, 1901
- 9. P. C. Waite Diary, 1902
- 10. P. C. Waite Diary, 1903
- 11. P. C. Waite Diary, 1904
- 12. P. C. Waite Diary, 1905
- 13. P. C. Waite Diary, 1906
- 14. P. C. Waite Diary, 1907
- 15. P. C. Waite Diary, 1908
- 16. P. C. Waite Diary, 1909-1910
- 17. P. C. Waite Autobiography, 1949
- 18. Flora Gardner Letter, June 11, 1879
- 19. Eva Lyle Stennett Letter to Dr. McCleave, April 27, 1955
- 20. Joseph Adam: Personal Papers, 1889-1959
- 21. Joseph Adam: Copyright Registrations and Royalty Contracts, 1940-1959
- 22. Vera Anderson Cook letter, 1947