Collection 798 - Dorothy Floerchinger Collection, 1864-1975
Creator: Floerchinger, Dorothy, collector
Provenance Note: Photocopies of original documents collected or created by Dorothy Floerchinger of Conrad, Montana, were donated to Special Collections by Floerchinger over a period of time from 1964-1974. These donations were variously assigned collection numbers 418, 892, 1100, and 1212. An additional photocopied speech delivered by Floerchinger in 1975 was donated to Special Collections by Carl Kranzel as collection number 1153.
Historical Note: Dorothy Floerchinger was a longtime resident of Conrad (Pondera County) Montana. An active collector and historian, she wrote a number of studies on the history of the Conrad family and Pondera County, including: School days, good old golden rule days (1987), The story of Conrad in the Whoop-Up Country (1980), To speak of love was not enough: a biography of Daniel and Panayiota McCorkle (1974), The Bruner bunch / by kith and kin (1973). In 1963, Floerchinger was contacted by Lesley Heathcoate, librarian at Montana State College, to assist in the collection of primary source materials dealing with Montana agriculture. During the following years, Floerchinger provided the library with various photocopies of original documents from her own research and specific collecting efforts for this purpose. Floerchinger was particularly interested in the families of W. G. Conrad and Charles E. Conrad. W. G. Conrad (for whom the town of Conrad was named) was born in 1848 and came to Fort Benton in 1868 with his brother Charles. They first clerked for the firm of I. G. Baker but eventually acquired the firm by 1876. Extremely successful businessmen and bankers, they took up land in Pondera County in 1886 where they ranched and established the Conrad Investment Company, the largest irrigation project in Montana during the earlier 1890s. This company later became known as the Valier Land and Water Company. Charles eventually made his home in Kalispell where he died in 1903. W.G. dabbled in politics during his later years, serving in the Territory Legislature and running for the U.S. Congress before his death in 1914.
Content Description Note: The Floerchinger collection consists of an oral history interview, photocopies of original documents and copy photographs pertaining to: the families of W. G. and Charles Conrad, including Alicia Conrad Campbell, Alice Conrad Adams, Barnaby Conrad, and Arthur Conrad; the Conrad Investment Company; the Valier Land and Water Company; the Pondera Soil and Water Conservation District; the history of Pondera County; and the towns of Valier and Conrad. Two essays or speeches written by Dorothy Floerchinger on Pondera County history are included. The collection has been divided into topically labeled folders.
- Box 1
- 1. Conrad family letters, 1883-1913. Business letters and letter from Ed Ganong, undersheriff of Choteau, Montana in reference to the kidnaping of the body of W. G. Conrad's grandson.
- 2. Conrad family scrapbook, ca. 1864-1904. Documents apparently collected by Alice Conrad Adams
- 3. Conrad family newspaper clippings, ca. 1903-1950s
- 4. Conrad family legal and financial documents, 1885-1905 Estate settlement of Charles E. Conrad; statement of cattle owned by Conrad Investment Company; inventories of the I.G. Baker company of Fort Benton.
- 5. Pondera County irrigation documents, 1910-1965 Statement of H. J. Saunders regarding his recollection of affairs with the Conrad Land and Water Company...during the years 1910-1914; report of Valier project by "resident engineer," 1910; Long range work plan of the Pondera Soil and Water Conservation District, 1965
- 6. Photographs W.G. Conrad and promoters of the Conrad Irrigation Project, ca. 1890 Portrait, W. A. "Champ" Clark
- 7. "Quietly Flows Maria's River," by Dorothy Floerchinger, 1977
- 8. "Farmer's Union Saved Me From Drowning in Dishwater," by Dorothy Floerchinger, 1975
- 9. Alicia Conrad Campbell, oral history interview conducted by Dorothy Floerchinger, October 13, 1973. Copy cassette recording of an original held by the University of Montana, Missoula. (Removed for separate storage.)