Creator: Thatcher, Irene, 1880-1966

Provenance Note: Two scrapbooks created by Irene Thatcher were donated to Montana State University by her sister, Catherine Carrau of Bozeman, Montana, during the summer of 1968.

Historical Note:
 Mary Irene Watkins was born in Harrison, Montana on September 17, 1880.  She married Perry A. Thatcher in 1930 and thereafter routinely referred to herself as Irene Thatcher. She moved to Spokane, Washington around 1922 where she operated a hotel until 1947.  That year she moved back to Bozeman, Montana where she was active in several heritage organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, and the Montana Huguenots Society.  She died on December 14, 1966.

The Montana Territorial Centennial Commission was created by the legislature in 1961 for "the sole purpose of providing a dignified, significant celebration during the full year of 1964 commemorating creation of the territory as well as honoring 75 years of statehood by and for the people of Montana." The Montana Centennial Train, organized by Howard Kelsey, was equipped with four exhibit cars, traveled through Montana in February 1964, and then in the spring journeyed to New York City where it was on display in the Montana Pavilion of the World's Fair for two years, providing Montana media exposure and publicity that would be felt for many years. Among the 300 people who signed up to ride the train was Irene Thatcher.

Content Description Note: The Thatcher scrapbooks consist of two volumes.  The first, which covers the years 1963-1966, deals with the Montana Centennial train and contains newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and passenger lists all dealing with the train’s organization and journey to New York in 1964.  The second scrapbook contains newspaper clippings dating from 1948 to 1955 about Madison and Gallatin County pioneers, including Lilla Bogert, Frieda Bull, Elmer Cass, Mary Hunter Doane, Caroline McGill, Pete Karst, Frank “Doc” Nelson, Lester Pierstorff, and  Davis Willson.


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Updated: 9/23/16