Creator: Switzer, M. A.(Malphus A.), 1848-1947

Provenance Note: This diary of a trip to the geysers of Yellowstone National Park written by Malphus A. Switzer was loaned to the Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections of the Montana State University Library for photocopying and transcription by Mrs. Patti Gibson of Shields Route, Livingston, Montana in December 1965. M. A. Switzer was Mrs. Gibson's father. The original diary was returned to Mrs. Gibson and her family following its reproduction. In 1966 Mrs. Gibson loaned four original Switzer family photographs for copying. They also were returned to her, and the photographs were assigned accession number 394. They have been incorporated into this collection.

Historical Note: Malphus A. Switzer was born in Indiana on August 31, 1848, the son of Traver Branham and Susanah Walter Switzer. In 1865 the Switzer family traveled to Virginia City, Montana and established a ranching operation in the Ennis, Madison County, area. Switzer eventually took over the ranching operation and also operated a store in Jeffers starting in 1903. He died on February 1, 1947.

Content Description Note: This account of a trip to the geysers of Yellowstone in the fall of 1876 was written by M.A. Switzer in a daybook dated 1874. Included is a record of the mileage between the major stops made. The book also contains extraneous entries from 1875 to 1877 about supplies bought or sold. The Yellowstone trip begins on September 11 when Switzer and six friends set out to see the sights of Yellowstone. They traveled by horse to Henry's Lake, through Gibbon's Fork to the Lower, Upper and Shoshone Geyser Basins, hunting and sightseeing along the way. From there they went to Lewis Lake, Yellowstone Lake and then explored at both Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls. They went to Mammoth Springs and then down to Miners Creek across to the West Gallatin River and finally through Jack Creek Canyon to the Madison River. On October 1st they split up to return to their respective homes. Switzer describes the geysers, the terrain and the weather along the way. The horses caused many problems with shifting packs, breaking loose and bucking. They shot some game, antelope and grouse, but caught and ate mainly fish during the trip. Evidence of as many as 100 other visitors before them were seen written on the crust and on pebbles at Old Faithful. Folder 1 in this collection contains both a photocopy of the original daybook and 2 typed manuscripts. Folder 2 contains copy photographs of the Switzer family


Folder 1. Diary, 1876 (written in a book dated 1874)
Folder 2. Photographs and negatives
#1. M.A. Switzer, 1902
#2. Switzer family, 1886
#3. Switzer family, 1913
#4. Switzer general store, Jeffers, Montana, 1908

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 5/26/09