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Collection 2432 - Lucy Young Ford Letter, August 8, 1877

Creator: Ford, Lucy Young

Provenance Note: The Ford letter was purchased by the Montana State University Library Special Collections from Mr. Ron Lerner of Bozeman, Montana on October 16, 2001.

Historical Note: John Young was assigned to the Blackfeet Indian Agency in 1876 and served through 1883 when a famine killed a number of the Indian residents. His administration was controversial, with accusations surfacing that he had misappropriated funds earmarked for the Indians and gave choice employment positions to relatives. One relative in particular was his daughter, Lucy ("Dotie") Young Ford, who joined her father during the summer of 1877 as a schoolteacher. She was the wife of Edward Lloyd Ford, a publisher, born in Oswestry, Shropshire, England. Ford had come to New York in his early youth and was a Civil War veteran, having served in the Union Army. In 1867 he became a partner in the newly established publishing house of J. B. Ford & Co., whose major periodical publication was the Christian Union. He invented and patented folding combinations, folding and pasting apparatus, and devices for printing two sheets simultaneously, and for folding and pasting one within the other.

Content Description Note: The Ford letter, signed only as "Dotie," was written by Mrs. Ford to her husband to report to him on her activities as a schoolteacher at the Blackfeet Agency. The letter mentions many of the couple's friends back east in the context of asking about their health and activities. Mrs. Ford's description of the Blackfeet Agency includes information regarding the students in her school, and mentions several adult Blackfeet, specifically "Fancy Jim" and "White Calf." Particularly interesting is her description of the funeral of an Indian child who was buried in the ground, contrary to the tribe's traditional method of using scaffolds. She also describes the social and leisure activities of the Anglo members of the agency staff like amateur theatricals and playing croquet. Mrs. Ford also mentions "Mr. Warner" and "Mr. Welch" as agency employees. A stamped, addressed envelope is included with the letter.

Updated: 5/14/09