Creator: Binkowski, Don, 1929-

Provenance Note: Research papers created or collected by Don Binkowski were donated to Montana State University Special Collections in January 1996 with an additional shipment arriving in November 2002.

Historical Note: Judge Don Binkowski was born on October 29, 1929 in the Detroit suburb of Norris, which later became North Detroit. He attended Wayne State University and obtained his law degree in 1958. In 1961-62, he took part in Michigan's Constitutional Convention as a state Senator in the 2nd District and afterward moved to Warren, Michigan to begin his law practice. Binkowski served as Mayor Pro-Tem and later became a 37th District Court judge in Warren. In 1995, after years of research and collecting, Binkowski published a biography of Philetus W. Norris which he had undertaken as a hobby. Binkowski's other avocational interests include his Polish-American heritage and Native American culture, and environmental protection. Binkowski now lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina and is a member of the Yellowstone Association, Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society.

Philetus Walter Norris was born in Palmyra, New York August 1821. He first worked as a land surveyor and also served in the Union Army during the Civil War as a spy. Norris gained his first position with the government by becoming the first Postmaster of Pioneer, Ohio. After being a state legislator and an unsuccessful bid for Senator, Norris moved to the Rocky Mountain west. In May 1877 he was appointed Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park where he served until 1882. Norris is best known for securing money for road building in the Park and naming numerous attractions.

Content Description Note: The Don Binkowski papers consist of research materials dealing with Philetus W. Norris, Binkowski's literary work, and personal correspondence. Most of the papers pertain to research conducted by Binkowski in preparation for his 1995 publication, Col P. W. Norris: Yellowstone's Greatest Superintendent. The book began as a local history project about Binkowski's childhood home, but during the course of his research, Binkowski discovered Norris' Michigan homestead was just blocks away from this home and largely forgotten by the local residents. The research notes collected by Binkowski contain mostly letters and periodical articles that he transcribed from source materials. Also included in these papers are versions of the Norris biography and a copy of Binkowski's earlier article, "From Prairie Mound to Yellowstone National Park." Of particular importance among the correspondents are letters from Wilna Krisher, and Aubrey Haines. The collection has been arranged in topically labeled folders.


Box 1
1. Transcribed news stories; 1857-65
2. Transcribed news stories; 1870-73
3. Transcribed news stories; 1875
4. Transcribed news stories; 1877
5. Transcribed news stories; 1878-79
6. Transcribed news stories; 1880
7. Transcribed news stories; 1881
8. Transcribed news stories; 1882-83
9. Transcribed news stories; 1884-85
10. Transcribed news stories; 1886-94
11. Transcribed Correspondence; 1840's
12. Transcribed Correspondence; 1850's
13. Transcribed Correspondence; 1860-88
14. Transcribed Correspondence; Miscellaneous
15. Transcribed Correspondence; Edwin Norris 1864-76
16. Transcribed Correspondence; M. R. Waite
17. Genealogy of P. W. Norris

Box 2
1. Master Manuscript; 1977
2. Second Revision
3. Miscellaneous Notes
4. Outline and Synopsis
5. Chapters 1-3 and Appendix a
6. "From Prairie Mound to Yellowstone National Park"; 1994
7. Finished Copy; Col. P. W. Norris: Yellowstone's Greatest Superintendent
8. Correspondence; Norris Homestead (cabin)
9. Miscellany

Box 3
1. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1960-72
2. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1973
3. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1974
4. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1975
5. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1976
6. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1977

Box 4
1. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1978
2. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1983-84
3. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1985-86
4. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1989
5. Miscellaneous Correspondence; 1990-92
6. Correspondence; Aubrey Haines; 1974-91
7. Correspondence; Wilna Krisher; 1965-90
8. Native American Interests
9. Polish American Interests
10. Miscellaneous Photographs

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 5/28/09