Creator: Doane, Gustavus Cheyney, 1840-1892


Provenance Note: Military and personal papers created or collected by Gustavus C. Doane were donated to Special Collections by Merrill G. Burlingame in 1992.

Original letters and papers collected and created by Gustavus C. Doane throughout his life were added to by his widow, Mary Hunter Doane, after his death in 1892. Mrs. Doane became acquainted with Dr. Merrill G. Burlingame in the 1930s and provided him with much of this material to assist him with his research. Dr. Burlingame collection additional Doane papers from the estate of Mrs. Marian Cooper Bunker and the Alderson family, both of Bozeman, Montana, sometime after Mrs. Doane's death in 1952. Before donating the material to Montana State University, Dr. Burlingame supplemented the collection with transcriptions from his own research.


Historical Note: Gustavus Cheyney Doane was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on May 20, 1840, and grew up in California. He graduated from the University of the Pacific at Santa Clara in 1861, and afterwards enlisted in the "California Hundred," a federal volunteer unit absorbed by the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry. Doane attained the rank of sergeant by 1864 when he resigned to accept a commission as lieutenant with the first regiment, Mississippi Marine Brigade. After the war Doane lived for a time in Yazoo City, Mississippi where he was appointed mayor by the Reconstruction authorities in 1867. In 1868 he applied for a commission with the army and 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. During his postwar career Doane was stationed at a variety of frontier posts in Montana, California, and Arizona, including Fort Ellis, Fort Custer, Fort Keogh, Fort Maginnis, the Presidio, and Fort Bowie. He participated in the Sioux war of 1876, the Nez Pearce War of 1877, and the Apache campaign of 1886. 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 and to influence widespread army acceptance for his invention, the Doane Centennial Tent. 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: The Doane papers consist of personal and military correspondence, orders, reports, property returns, receipt books, and research notes. Correspondents include: Mary Hunter Doane, Nancy Davis Doane, Anna G. Doane, Nelson A. Miles, John Gibbon, Samuel D. Sturgis, and James S. Brisbin. Subjects to which the papers pertain are: Indian wars including the Sioux, Nez Pearce, and Apache; the exploration of the Rocky Mountain area, especially Yellowstone National Park, the Snake River, and the Judith Basin areas; the Howgate polar expedition of 1880; the development and promotion of the Doane Centennial Tent; the history of the Second United States Cavalry.While the papers were in the custody of Merrill G. Burlingame whatever original order that may have existed was lost during his efforts to transcribe portions of the documents and to write a biography of Gustavus Doane. Burlingame's own correspondence and notes became interfiled with the papers and by the time the materials were inventoried by Special Collections in 1992 it was no longer apparent which materials were original and which were transcriptions. The folder headings of the first inventory did suggest a rough arrangement based on subjects or proposed chapters for the biography Burlingame was planning to write. The present arrangement has preserved some of Burlingame's subject divisions in series 3. These subject files contain more substantial reports created or collected by Doane, and "case files" of materials such as affidavits and statements that he may have saved in these groups for presentation to others. Here, for example, can be found his collection of affidavits for missing property claims, his patent and specifications for the Doane Centennial tent, and extensive reports and field notes for the Judith Basin survey and the Snake River expedition. Other military documents have been gathered in chronological order within the files of series 2. These papers include military correspondence, orders, and other documents which cannot be determined to pertain to one particular subject or another.


Series 1: Personal correspondence, 1864-1937

Personal and family correspondence written or received by Gustavus C. Doane, his first wife Amelia Link Doane, second wife Mary Hunter Doane, mother Nancy Davis Doane, and sister Anna G. Doane, and a few other friends and relatives. The earliest letters from California describe conditions there during the Civil War. Other exchanges between Gustavus and Mary Doane describe experiences at various frontier posts in Montana and Arizona. The most extensive files contain letters from Mary at the Presidio, California and Gustavus on duty in southeastern Arizona during the first half of 1886. The file of letters from 1894-1937 pertain to Mary Hunter Doane. The letters have been chronologically arranged.

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Box 1
2. 1878-1879
3. 1880
4. 1881
5. 1882
6. 1884
7. 1885
8. January 1-10, 1886
9. January 11-20, 1886
10. January 21-31, 1886
11. February 1-7, 1886
12. February 8-12, 1886
13. February 13-20, 1886
14. February 21-25, 1886
15. March 1886
16. April-May 1886
17. June 1886
18. July 1-15, 1886
19. July 16-31, 1886
20. August 2-12, 1886
21. August 16-31, 1886
22. September-November 1886
23. 1886
24. 1887
25. 1888-1889
26. 1890
27. 1891-1892
28. 1894-1937
29. no date

Series 2: Military papers, 1864-1893

Orders, letters, minor reports, clothing and equipment returns, and other military documents created or collected by Gustavus Doane during his post-Civil War career. Correspondents include Nelson A. Miles, Samuel D. Sturgis, and James S. Brisbin. Many of the orders and letters are "true copies," prepared by Doane or at Doane's request from originals held elsewhere. The documents are chronologically arranged

Box 2
1. 1868-1871
2. 1872-1873
3. 1874-1875
4. 1876
5. January 1877
6. April 1877
7. May 1877
8. June 1877
9. July 1877
10. August 1877
11. September 1877
12. October 1877
13. November-December 1877
14. January-June 1878
15. July-December 1878
16. 1879
17. 1880
18. 1881
19. 1882
20. 1883-1884
21. 1885-1888
22. 1889
23. 1890
24. 1891-1893

Series 3: Subject files, 1860-1893

Reports, notes, letters, printed materials and other original documents pertaining to specific subjects in Doane's life as identified by Merrill G. Burlingame in preparation for a biographical work. In general, the documents in this series pertain specifically to the subject at hand, while those in series two could be interpreted to relate to several topics. Correspondents include John Gibbon, Doane's collaborator in the development of the Centennial Tent. Printed items gathered at the end of the series pertain to the Second U.S. Cavalry, the Howgate polar expedition, and general topics regarding the Indian wars and the frontier military. Oversize items have been removed from their appropriate files and stored elsewhere. The items have been replaced by separation notices within the files which have been indicated with an asterisk.

Box 3
1. Biographical-obituaries
2. University of the Pacific--printed items, 1860-1861
3. University of the Pacific--student orations, 1860-1861
4. University of the Pacific--student essays, 1860-1861
5. Civil War service documents, 1862-1887*
6. Postwar commissions, appointments, certificates, 1868-1887*
7. Judith Basin survey, 1873-1874
8. Campaign report, 1876
9. Snake River expedition, 1876-1877; orders, affidavits
10. Snake River expedition, 1876-1877; report pp. 1-70
11. Snake River expedition, 1876-1877; report pp. 71-122
12. Nez Pearce War, 1877; reports, affidavits
13. Property shortages, 1877-1886
14. Howgate polar expedition, 1880-1884*
15. Yellowstone National Park superintendent petitions
16. Doane Centennial Tent--patent
17. Doane Centennial Tent--documents, 1876-1891
18. Doane Centennial Tent, artillery endorsements
19. Doane Centennial Tent, cavalry endorsements
20. Doane Centennial Tent, infantry endorsements, 1-15th regiments
21. Doane Centennial Tent, infantry endorsements, 16-25th regiments
22. Printed items, 1867-1889
23. Printed items, 1903-1911*
24. Newspaper clippings, 1929-1935
25. Liberty Magazine, 1934

Series 4: Receipt and letter books, 1881-1891

Originally letter books which Doane kept to track his own correspondence, but later adapted for the filing of receipts and return letters. Doane pasted the material within the volumes without maintaining any apparent order, and the inclusive dates of any of the four volumes are an estimate. Many of the letters pasted into the 1886-1891 book pertain to Doane's attempts to gain the superintendency of Yellowstone National Park.

Box 4
1. Letter and receipt book, 1877-1887
2. Letter and receipt book, 1881-1886
3. Letter and receipt book, 1886-1891
Box 5
Letter and receipt book, 1883-1886

Series 5: Burlingame research notes, ca. 1930s

Typed and handwritten research notes and transcriptions of original primary and secondary sources, both from this collection and those held elsewhere, prepared by Merrill G. Burlingame while preparing a biography of Gustavus C. Doane. The material has been gathered in subject files which repeat and supplement those found in series 3.

Box 6
1. Research correspondence, 1934-1939
2. Biographical-obituaries
3. Doane correspondence notes and transcripts
4. "Republican Speech to the Working Men of the South"
5. Yellowstone exploration
6. African exploration
7. Judith Basin survey, 1873-1874
8. Snake River expedition, 1876-1877
9. Campaign report, 1876
10. Nez Pearce War, 1877
11. Hailstorm report, 1878
12. Howgate polar expedition
13. Montana military posts
14. Yellowstone National Park superintendent

Series 6: Photographs, ca. 1870-1880s

Two copy photographs of Gustavus C. Doane portraits from unidentified originals. The first photograph shows Doane close to the beginning of his postwar career, the second was obviously taken towards the end of his life.

Box 6 (cont.)
15. Photographs 1 and 2

Updated: 2/11/15