Creator: Doane, Gustavus Cheyney, 1840-1892

Provenance Note: An original exploration report of Yellowstone National Park created by Gustavus C. Doane was donated to Montana State University by Merrill G. Burlingame of Bozeman, Montana on February 25, 1967.

 Historical Note: Gustavus Cheyney Doane was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on May 20, 1840, and grew up in California. He served in the Union army during the Civil War and in 1868 was appointed second lieutenant in the Second U.S. Cavalry. He served with the regiment for the next 24 years, attaining the rank of captain in 1884. Doane gained a great deal of fame as an explorer, having led the first systematic exploration of present day Yellowstone National Park in the early 1870s, a survey of the Judith Basin area in 1874, a trip down the Snake River in 1876-77, and the Howgate polar expedition in Greenland in 1880. Towards the end of his life, Doane attempted unsuccessfully to gain the superintendency of Yellowstone National Park. He married twice, to Amelia Link in 1866 and to Mary Lee Hunter in 1878. Neither union resulted in offspring. Gustavus Cheyney Doane died on May 5, 1892.

 Content Description Note: An original handwritten exploration journal based on field notes created by Doane while leading the military escort of the Langford-Washburn-Doane expedition through present-day Yellowstone National Park in the late summer of 1870.  Leaving Fort Ellis outside of Bozeman, Montana, on August 22 the explorers entered the park from the north, following the Yellowstone River along its course through the Grand Canyon and to the lake beyond.  Doane managed, in spite of a serious infection of his thumb, to keep various notes on the elevation, waterfall heights, temperatures of hot springs, and other natural phenomena encountered.  The party exited the eastern boundary of the park after visiting the geyser basins and Doane led his contingent back to Fort Ellis on September 24.  The following months Doane had at least three copies of his report transcribed by a clerk, although he added the figures in his own handwriting.  One copy was sent to the War Department and another to the Smithsonian Institute. The War Department copy was published in 1871 under the title "Report of Lieutenant Gustavus C. Doane, upon the so-called Yellowstone expedition of 1870," as part of the United States congressional serial set 1440. The copy in this collection is the one he kept himself, and was given by his widow to Merrill G. Burlingame sometime in the early twentieth century.

Restrictions: Due to fragility of original document researchers are required to use the photocopied surrogates.


Updated: 4/19/22