Creator: Burlingame, Merrill G. (Merrill Gildea), 1901-

Provenance Note: Speeches, reminiscence, oral history interview, photograph, and ephemera pertaining to Mary Hunter Doane were donated to Special Collections by Merrill G. Burlingame in several different accessions beginning in 1965. This collection incorporates accession numbers 292, 739, 792, and 2045.

Historical Note: Mary Hunter Doane was born in Missouri in 1859, the oldest of six children born to Dr. Andrew Jackson Hunter and his second wife, Susannah. In 1864, Hunter brought his family to Montana Territory where they lived briefly in Virginia City, Helena, and Bozeman. In 1870, Hunter staked a claim to land encompassing a hot spring near the Yellowstone River in present day Park County and there developed a health spa. Mary grew up in Bozeman and at Hunter's Hot Springs before she attended St. Vincent's Academy in Helena in 1876. On December 16, 1878, she married Lieutenant Gustavus Cheyney Doane and traveled with him to a wide variety of military posts in Montana, California, and Arizona prior to his death in 1894. Mary remained a widow for the rest of her life, living in Bozeman and becoming active in a number of historical organizations such as the Society of Montana Pioneers and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She gained a reputation as an "encyclopedia of Montana history" in her later years, and began a friendship with Professor Merrill G. Burlingame that lasted until her death in 1952. Burlingame both transcribed some of her writings and collected original documents from her.

Content Description Note: The Mary Doane collection consists of speeches, reminiscences, and an oral history interview collected by Burlingame. The papers include: a 1931 address delivered to the Society of Montana Pioneers relating her childhood journey to Montana Territory and early residence in Virginia City and Helena; an undated reminiscence of her experiences and incidents of early frontier Army life; a transcription of an undated paper she prepared for the Mount Hyalite Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on the history of Montana forts; a transcription of an oral history interview conducted with Merrill Burlingame in 1950 regarding St. Vincent's Academy; a portrait of Mary taken while she was living with her husband at the Presidio, San Francisco, ca. 1880s; a dance card for a social held at Fort Assiniboine, Montana Territory, on November 23, 1881. Two manuscript speeches by Doane were added on August 15, 2005.



  • Society of Montana Pioneers speech, 1931
  • Undated speech, "Experiences and incidents of early frontier army life"
  • Essay, DAR, "History of Montana Forts"
  • Oral history interview, 1950, "St. Vincent's Academy"
  • Photograph, Mary Doane, ca. 1880s
  • Dance card, Fort Assiniboine, 1881
  • Speech, "Historic Sites in Montana," January 10, 1930
  • Speech, "Greetings from the President of the Pioneers of Gallatin County," February 22, 1935

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Updated: 1/30/09