Collection 2423 - William J. Walsh Diary, October 5, 1878-February 20, 1884
Creator: Walsh, William J., b. 1858.
Provenance Note: The William J. Walsh diary was donated to Special Collections by the Museum of the Rockies on December 18, 1984. It was formerly part of accession number 2129.
Historical Note: William John Walsh was a native of the east, possibly Boston, and was born September 19, 1858. He moved to Bozeman in the late 1870s working several odd jobs for prominent Bozeman pioneers such as Lester S. Willson, Walter Cooper, and John Young. In July 1879 he moved to Virginia City where he worked as a clerk for W. P. Armstrong and later as an enumerator of the census for Big Hole District of Beaverhead County. He moved back to Bozeman in July 1880 to work as a clerk for Lester S. Willson. Walsh was an avid reader as well as participating in various musical and theater events in Bozeman. He helped organize a literary society and was also involved in local chautauquas. In later years he operated his own mercantile business in Bozeman, eventually selling to the McCracken firm on January 25, 1924.
Content Description Note: The William J. Walsh diary provides insight from a young man on the social life and customs in Bozeman in the 1880s. Walsh writes about many of the dances, musical events, theatrical productions, and other social events in Bozeman and Virginia City from 1878 to 1884. He also talks about various young ladies he escorted to these events. Walsh periodically includes what the weather was like, the price of goods he bought, and letters he received and wrote. He also talks about a few disputes in the local saloons that he witnessed or heard about. The collection is supplemented with three financial record books from Walsh's later business operation in Bozeman which date from 1903 to 1924.