Creator: White, Edna Tracy, 1887-1982

Provenance Note: Diary, letters, legal documents, printed materials, and photographs, were donated to Montana State University-Bozeman by Edna Tracy White of Bozeman, Montana in November, 1981. Additional materials collected by Mrs. White were donated to Special Collections through Dr. Merrill G. Burlingame in 1970, 1971, 1974, and 1979. This collection incorporates accession numbers 839, 916, 1282, 1311, 2019, and 2020.

Historical Note: Sarah Jane Bessey was born at Pecatonica, Illinois on Oct. 19, 1851 and married William H. Tracy in April, 1869. William H. Tracy first came to the Gallatin Valley in 1863 and following their marriage the Tracys returned to Montana, travelling by steamboat to Fort Benton and then overland to Gallatin County. The Tracys settled in Bozeman where William employed himself as a farmer and real estate agent, as well as the proprietor of an early brick yard, freighting business, and feed and seed store. The Tracy's had six children, four of whom survived to adulthood: Elmer, Albert, Frank S., and Edna B., the donor of this collection. Edna Tracy, born on March 17, 1887, graduated from Montana State College in 1908 with a degree in chemistry. She taught school in Virginia City and Pony, Montana prior to marrying John J. White on August 22, 1914. She helped manage her husband's construction business and stayed active in many local organizations, including the Gallatin County Historical Society before her death on April 29, 1982.

Content Description Note: The papers consist of a diary, letters, literary productions, legal documents, printed materials and photographs created or collected by Sarah J. Tracy or her daughter, Edna Tracy White. Materials include: Sarah Tracy's diary, 1869-1872, recording her accounts of her marriage to W. H. Tracy and her journey to Montana from Illinois by train, steamboat, and wagon; letters received by Sarah Tracy from friends and relatives in Illinois; literary productions written by Sarah, Edna and others pertaining to Montana pioneer history, Mrs. W. J. Beall, Mrs. Cynthia E. Tanner, the early Presbyterian Church in Bozeman, Native Americans, and travels through Yellowstone National Park; printed materials covering similar topics; photographs of the Tracy family, Bozeman street scenes circa 1920s, Gallatin Female Seminary, and Belgrade, Montana.

Restrictions: Sarah Bessy Tracy diary in folder one is restricted due to fragility. Researchers should use the transcription in folder two or the published version. Permission to use the original diary must be received from the Special Collections librarian.


Series 1 Diary, 1869-1872
Series 2 Correspondence, 1873-1878
Series 3 Literary productions, 1898-1953
Series 4 Legal documents, 1869-1901
Series 5 Printed materials, 1882-1972
Series 6 Photographs, ca. 1870-1930s

Series 1: Diary, 1869-1872

The diary of Sarah B. Tracy, 4 April 1869 to 4 January 1872, gives her accounts of her marriage to W. H. Tracy and her journey to Montana from Illinois by train, steamboat, and wagon. The diary also contains poetry, addresses, cash accounts, recipes, and documentation of correspondence. A transcript of the diary, likely prepared by Merrill G. Burlingame, can be found in Folder 2.

Box 1
1. Original diary, April 4, 1869 to January 4, 1872
2. Transcription

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Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1878

Five letters which were received by Sarah B. Tracy. The letters regard the birth of her children, family matters, diphtheria and scarlet fever epidemics, and community news from friends and relatives in Illinois.

Box 1 (cont.)
3. Letters, 1873-1878

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Series 3: Literary productions, 1898-1953

Literary productions created or collected by Sarah Tracy or Edna Tracy White. Topics of essays are: Mrs. Tracy's journey to Montana, the early Presbyterian and Methodist Church in Bozeman, the Greater Yellowstone area, Mrs. Cynthia E. Turner, Life in Early Bozeman, Indians in Early Bozeman, and Yellowstone National Park. The history notes were taken by Edna Tracy White in 1953 from Mrs. Armetage regarding early Montana history. Two scripts are contained within the collection: the "History Group Field Trip Script" and the script of the program "The Old Spinning Wheel." Both of these are concerned with Montana's pioneer history. One biographical sketch of Mrs. W.J. Beall probably written by Mrs. E. Lina Houston includes her experiences on the east coast, the Civil War, and journeying to Montana as a pioneer. "The Brides of Pioneers" was given by Sarah B. Tracy to the Women's Relief Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic at a 1898 banquet. Col. Thomas D. Drake's commentary was given to the Relatives of Prisoners of War meeting on 24 November 1944 in Washington, DC, Col. Drake's commentary discusses his life experiences as a POW in WWII, the psychology of the POW, as well as common questions about POWs. Edna Tracy White's adopted son was a POW in WWII. Other authors include Katherine Jones and Mrs. George King.

Box 1 (cont.)
4. Essay, "The Trip to Bozeman," by Sarah J. Tracy
5. Speech "The Brides of Pioneers", given 1898 to Women's Relief Corp of the Grand Army of the Republic by Sarah J. Tracy
6. Essay on the Early Presbyterian Church in Bozeman by E.M. Gardner
7. Commentary by Col. Thomas D. Drake at Relatives of POW's meeting, 24 November 1944, Washington D.C.
8. Essay "Marvels in Scenery" by Sarah J. Tracy
9. History notes of Edna Tracy White from Mrs. Armetage, 1953
10. Essay "Mrs. Cynthia Tanner" by Sarah J. Tracy
11. Essay "Life in Early Bozeman" by Sarah J. Tracy, printed draft
12. Written drafts of Essay contained in Folder 11
13. Essay "Indians in Early Bozeman" by Sarah J. Tracy
14. Script of History Group Field Trip, author unknown
15. Essay "Reminiscences of a Trip Through the National Park in 1874" by Sarah J. Tracy
16. Script of program "The Old Spinning Wheel", Gallatin Pioneers Society
17. Biography of Mrs. W.J. Beall, probably written by Mrs. E. Lina Houston
18. Essay "History of the Methodist Sunday School" by Sarah J. Tracy, 1915
19. Essay "Early Methodism in Eastern Montana" by Sarah J. Tracy
20. Speech "Welcome to Rev. James King" by Sarah J. Tracy, 1901
21. Essay "History of the Sunday School" by Sarah J. Tracy
22. Essay "Work of Women in our Church" by Sarah J. Tracy
23. Essay "The Sunday School of the Future" by Sarah J. Tracy
24. Essay "The First Methodist Episcopal Church, Bozeman" by Sarah J. Tracy
25. Essay "The Recognition Social" by Katherine Jones, Mrs. George King, and Sarah J. Tracy, 1900

Contents | Special Collections

Series 4: Legal documents, 1869-1901

Box 1 (cont.)
26. Marriage Certificate of W.H. Tracy and Sarah J. Bessey, 5 April 1869
27. Certificate of Baptism of Edna B. Tracy, 28 July 1887 and Testimonial Completion of Grammar School, 25 January 1901

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Series 5: Printed materials, 1882-1972

Newspaper clippings, programs, invitations, and a published song book. Topics of the clippings include: Bozeman's pioneer history, Native Americans, and the Greater Yellowstone Region.

Box 1 (cont.)
28. Clipping "Bozeman History Group Slates Friday Meeting" from Gallatin Co. Tribune and Belgrade Journal, 28 September 1972
29. Obituary of Solon Bessey and clipping "Card of Thanks", dates and paper unknown
30. Dance invitation from "The Bachelor Maids", Story Hall, Bozeman, MT, 28 May 1903
31. Souvenir of the Sixth Grade, Bozeman, MT, 1898, from Miss Stewart
32. Song book "Class and Concert", Edna Tracy
33. Clipping series "Here and There" by Virginia Battleman, from The Three Forks Herald, 22 February, 1 March, 8 March, and 15 March 1951
34. Clipping "Journey From Missouri to Montana in 1880 Was Great Adventure According to Mrs. Mary Myers" by Mrs. Mary Myers, from Avant Courier, date unknown
35. Clippings "Buffalo Meat To Be Feast For Indians" by W.E. Lowell and "many See Fall Bison Roundup" author unknown, Bozeman, MT, dates unknown
36. Clipping "Brass Ornaments and Gold Adornments" by Sallie Bragg, from The Bozeman Courier, date unknown
37. Clipping "Romantic Yellowstone" author unknown, from St. Paul and Minneapolis Pioneer Press, 16 April 1882
38. Clipping "Fred F. Wilson Named Honorary Anniversary Head" author unknown, Bozeman, MT, date unknown
39. Clipping "Savings Firm Buys Home For Office" 2 November 1969; photo clippings "Past Era Coming Down" 3 May 1971, and "Early Bozeman Dwelling" no date, from Bozeman Daily Chronicle; and notes on the sale of the Tracy home
40. Programs of Eighth Grade Commencement Exercises, Bozeman Public Schools, 25 January 1901 and 24 January 1902
41. Graduation announcement of the Montana Agricultural College, 3 June 1908
42. Clipping "Reminiscences of the Early Days" by Mrs. W.H. "Sarah Jane" Tracy, from the Avante Courier, 11 March 1899
43. Clipping "Pioneer Women Tells of Early Home Life" from Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 10 August 1954

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Series 6: Photographs, ca. 1870-1930s

Photographs #1-5 are portraits of the Tracy family, dates unknown. Photo #4 was taken by G.W. Barnes of Bozeman, MT. Photograph #6 is of the city of Bozeman; note the Tracy home bottom right of center. Photographs #7-11 are scenes of general construction in Bozeman: photo #7 by Chappell and #8, unknown, are circa 1925; photo #9 is entitled "Standard Construction Co., Bozeman, MT, 26 September 1924." Photographs #12-18 are various scenes of the surrounding area of Bozeman: the gravel pit, main street, a bridge, and gravel roads; dates and photographers unknown. Photographs #19-26 are of the Gallatin Female Seminary and Presbyterian Church on the old Verwolf Ranch. Photos #19-21 are dated 1932, photo #22 dated 1935, photo #23 of Mrs. Doane, Mrs. Edsall, and unidentified person dated 1935, photo #24 dated 1932, photo #25 dated 1935, and photo #26 is undated. Photographs #27-29 are scenes of cattle and a ranch in the Gallatin Valley, dates and photographers unknown. Photographs #30-31 are of Main Street Belgrade, dates and photographers unknown. Folder #43 contains the negatives of photographs #7, 14-17, 30 and 31. Folder 44 contains print copies of various photographs.

Box 1 (cont.)
44. Photographs #1-5
45. Photograph #6
46. Photographs #7-11
47. Photographs #12-18
48. Photographs #19-26
49. Photographs #27-29
50. Photographs #30-31
51. Negatives, photographs #7, 14, 15, 30, 31
52. Duplicate prints

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Updated: 3/11/09