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Collection 1268 - Victor K. Chesnut Papers, 1903-1922

Creator: Chesnut, V. K. (Victor King), 1867-1938

Provenance Note: Letters, diary transcripts, and research notes collected or created by Victor King Chesnut were donated to Special Collections in 1979.

Historical Note: Victor King Chesnut was born in Nevada City, California on June 28, 1867. He attended high school in Oakland, California and college at the University of California, the University of Chicago, and George Washington University specializing in chemistry and botany. He worked for the Bureau of Plant Industry, U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1894-1904, and as a professor of chemistry and geology at Montana Agricultural College (Montana State University) from 1904-1907. Following his work in Montana Chesnut relocated to Washington, DC where he finished his career working in a variety of positions for the USDA. He retired in 1933 and died in August, 1938.

Content Description Note: Letters, diary transcripts and research notes pertaining to the 1869 Cook-Folsom expedition into Yellowstone National Park were gathered or created by Chesnut during his employment at Bozeman Montana (1904-1907) and Washington, D.C. (1921-1922). In 1904, Chesnut met Charles W. Cook, an elderly farmer living in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Cook, along with David E. Folsom and William Peterson, had explored the Yellowstone National Park region in 1869 and recorded their journey in a joint "diary" which had appeared in edited form several times during the intervening years. Cook gave Chesnut his original manuscript version of the diary from which Chesnut prepared a typed transcript. The typed transcript was then submitted by Chesnut to David E. Folsom of Diamond City, Montana, for his correction. In 1921, Chesnut was contacted by Oscar Mueller, a Lewistown, Montana attorney and son-in-law of Charles Cook requesting the return of the original manuscript version. Chesnut no longer had the original but provided a copy of the transcript then in his possession. The Chesnut papers include the 1904 transcript of the Cook-Folsom expedition diary prepared by Chesnut and corrected by David E. Folsom; letters written in 1921 and 1922 from Oscar Mueller, Horace Albright, and Stephen Mather all pertaining to the diary or to a planned appearance of Charles Cook at a celebration at Yellowstone National Park; a copy of the 1894 publication of the expedition diary as edited by Nathaniel Langford and corrected by David E. Folsom; miscellaneous research notes.

Restrictions: Original materials in folders 1 though 7 are restricted due to fragility. Researchers should use the photocopies of the same material in folders 11-17.

Contents

Box 1
1. Letters, 1921-1923; Authors include Oscar Mueller, Horace Albright, J. E. Haynes, and Stephen Mather
2. Diary transcript, 1904
3. Folsom correction note, 1904
4. Photograph of original draft page
5. Partial diary transcripts, 1922
6. Chesnut research notes, circa 1922
7. Langford pamphlet, 1894
8. "Death Gulch," reprinted from Science, N.D., Vol 19, 485 (April 15, 1904): 632-34.
9. Haynes' Bulletin, 1922, 1924
10. Fergus County Argus, 1921
11. Letters, 1921-1923 (photocopies)
12. Diary transcript, 1904 (photocopy)
3. Folsom correction note, 1904 (photocopy)
4. Photograph of original draft page (photocopy)
5. Partial diary transcripts, 1922 (photocopy)
6. Chesnut research notes, circa 1922 (photocopy)
7. Langford pamphlet, 1894 (photocopy)
18. Fergus County Argus, 1921 (photocopy)

Updated: 5/27/09