Creator: Barnett, Virginia Bunker, 1918-1999

Provenance Note: Correspondence received by Virginia Bunker Barnett from family and friends was donated by her son Edward Barnett of Chico, California, in April, 2004.

Historical Note: Mariam Virginia Bunker was born in 1918 to Eugene F. Bunker, Jr., a leading attorney in Bozeman Montana and Mariam Cooper Bunker, the only child of prominent Bozeman Montana pioneer Walter Cooper. Her sister Elizabeth Frances Bunker was born in 1920 and her brother Eugene F. Bunker, Jr. was born in 1928. Virginia was raised in Bozeman and married Edmund S. Barnett, moving to Lafayette, California where he was an attorney. She died in March of 1999 at the age of 80.

Content Description Note: The bulk of the correspondence of Virginia Bunker Barnett consists of letters from her mother, Mariam Cooper Bunker; Elizabeth Frances Bunker who married Garrett Bunker(a distant relative); and Eugene F. Bunker, Jr. Also included are letters from a good friend and chef, James Pomeroy Howe; other friends and relatives; a set of 1966 letters to friends from Virginia originate from Bolivia where she and Ed served in the Peace Corp. A small amount of memorabilia, newspaper clippings, photographs and manuscript material rounds out the collection.

A large portion of this correspondence are the letters of Mariam Cooper Bunker from Bozeman to her daughter. Personal issues and news of the family are interspersed with details and information about prominent citizens in the community, social occasions, news and problems of the town in the late 1940's through the mid 1950's. After Virginia's father died in 1956, Mariam moved first to Illinois where her son Eugene, Jr. lived and then became a house mother for a sorority in Corvallis, Oregon. She continued to write frequently. She retired back to Bozeman and died at age 90 in 1981. Elizabeth's (Betty) letters chronicle her life in Richland, Washington and Glastonbury, Connecticut with news of children and daily activities. Eugene (Gene) Jr.'s letters include more professional and personal problems and commentary. The correspondence has been arranged chronologically with the date of the postmarks in brackets in the upper right hand corner. Some letters where postmarks or envelopes were missing have been inserted into the chronological sequence using the content of the letters for dating.


Box 1
1. 1941-1943
2. 1945-1948
3. 1949
4. 1950
5. 1951
6. 1952
7. 1953
8. 1954
9. 1955
Box 2
1. 1956
2. 1957
3. January-June, 1958
4. July-December, 1958
5. 1959
6. 1960
7. 1962-1963
8. 1966
9. Letter, date or year unknown
10. Photographs, newspaper clippings, Mariam Bunker stories and memorabilia

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 4/28/09