Creator: Sanders, Wilbur Fisk, 1834-1905

Provenance Note: Letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings collected by Wilbur F. Sanders were donated to Special Collections by Richard Francis, Venice, California, on May 19, 2009.

Historical Note: Wilbur Fisk Sanders was born in Leon, New York on May 2, 1834. He began his career as a school teacher in New York and Ohio where, in 1856, he completed his training as an attorney. Sanders served as a first lieutenant in the Sixty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the early years of the Civil War and, in 1863, joined the rush to the gold fields of Bannack and Virginia City in what would later become Montana Territory. He was active during the vigilante activity of 1864, and afterwards practiced law in Virginia City and Helena. In addition to his interests in mining and stock raising, Sanders also embarked on a political career in the new territory and was defeated in four separate elections for the territorial delegate to the U. S. Congress. Sanders had better luck running for the territorial legislature where he served as a delegate from 1873 to1879. After Montana achieved statehood, Sanders was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from January 1, 1890, to March 3, 1893, but was unsuccessful in his bid for reelection. He married Harriet P. Fenn on October 27, 1858 and the couple had at least three sons, James, Wilbur, and Louis. Louis P. Sanders (1870-1940) attended Harvard University, served with the First Montana Infantry Volunteers as an officer during the Spanish-American War and also became an attorney. Wilbur Fisk Sanders died in Helena on July 7, 1905.

Content Description Note: The Wilbur F. Sanders papers consist of letters and cards received by him in response to an invitation for the sliver wedding anniversary celebration of Harriet and Wilbur Sanders on October 27, 1883. Respondents include James Fergus, William A. Clark, Benjamin F. Potts, and Davis Willson. The letters and cards had been mounted on highly acidic black paper with corresponding typed transcriptions placed in proximity to the originals, but they have been removed from these mountings due to preservation concerns. As a result, the response letters and cards have been placed in odd numbered folders 1-13 and even numbered folders contain the transcriptions found in the preceding folder. The collection also includes a scrapbook of mounted newspaper clippings pertaining to the anniversary observance, Sanders' political activities, and obituaries of Sanders and members of his extended family. Five photographs of Wilbur F. Sanders, Louis P. Sanders and Sidney Edgerton complete this collection.


Box 1
1. Letters and cards, correspondents A-E
2. Transcriptions of folder 1
3. Letters and cards, correspondents F-K
4. Transcriptions of folder 3
5. Letters and cards, correspondents M-S
6. Transcriptions of folder 5
7 Letters and cards, correspondents T-W
8. Transcriptions of folder 7
9. Letters and cards, various names
10. Transcriptions of folder 9
11 Letters and cards, various names
12.Transcriptions of folder 11
13 Calling cards with no transcriptions
14. Scrapbook
15. Loose clippings
16. Photographs #1-5
    #1. Wilbur Fisk Sanders, photograph by Matthew Brady, ca. 1868 [removed to oversize storage]
    #2. Sidney Edgerton, ca. 1865
    #3. Louis P. Sanders in woman's costume for Harvard's Hasty Pudding Review, ca. 1880s
    #4. Louis P. Sanders in military uniform, 1898
    #5. Louis P. Sanders, ca. 1900s

Updated: 9/4/09