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Collection 2301 - Gallatin Valley Female Seminary, ca. 1934

Creator: Burlingame, Merrill G. (Merrill Gildea), 1901-

Provenance Note: A typescript prepared by Merrill G. Burlingame was donated to Montana State University by him in the spring of 1967 after initally loaning the document to the Museum of the Rockies in 1960.

Historical Note: Merrill G. Burlingame joined the faculty of Montana State College (now Montana State University) at Bozeman in 1929 and became chair of the history department in 1935. He actively began research into many local history topics in Gallatin County, including the Gallatin Valley Female Seminary. Mrs. Mary Crittenden Davidson, the former principal of the school, wrote Burlingame a letter on April 19, 1934 giving her memories of the school based on her earlier reminiscence published in 1902. Later Burlingame interviewed Mary Lee Hunter Doane, whose sister, Lizzie Hunter Rich, had also attended the school. By combining the information from these two sources, Burlingame prepared this essay around 1934, although he preserved the first person voice of Mary Doane in parts of the work. In 1984 Burlingame completed his definitive essay on the seminary and cited only the 1934 Davidson letter as his source for the list of students.

Content Description Note: The essay "Gallatin Valley Female Seminary" gives the history of the institution in a non-linear narrative from its establishment in 1872 by Presbyterian minister Lyman B. Crittenden to its closing in 1878. The essay quotes extensively contemporary newspaper accounts of the school and presents two lists of former students, one in 1872 and the other for 1874. The essay describes the activities of the teachers and students, the curriculum, and the physical description of the school's buildings and their location. The document bears ball point pen marginalia added by Museum of the Rockies registrar personnel.

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Updated: 11/3/11