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Collection 2109 - Helen Brooke Herford papers, 1886-1957

Creator: Herford, Helen Brooke, 1887-1972

Provenance Note: Personal papers and ranch records created or collected by Helen Herford were donated to Special Collections by Richard K. Slayton of Billings, Montana on May 22, 1973.

Historical Note: Helen Brooke Herford (1887-1972) was the daughter of John ("Jack" Brooke Herford and Susan Whitney Herford of Yellowstone County, Montana. Jack Herford (1857-1923) was one of nine children of Rev. Brooke Herford (1830-1903), an English clergyman. Jack's oldest brother, William, immigrated to the United States in the early 1870s where he established a New Mexico sheep ranch. By 1876 the rest of the Herford family temporarily settled in Chicago. Jack soon joined William in New Mexico while two other siblings pursued careers that would bring them national prominence: Oliver Herford became a writer famous for his wit and sarcasm while Beatrice Herford achieved fame as a Broadway actress. Jack and William eventually moved on to Kansas and Nebraska where they continued ranching. By the early 1880s Jack had located in Montana Territory where he established a ranch of his own on the Mussellshell River. He studied for the bar and held several government positions in Montana including: Yellowstone County Attorney, 1894-1896; Yellowstone County Sheriff, 1908; Billings City Attorney, 1911. Jack also served in the Third United States Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish American War and in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He married Susan Whitney, daughter of Billings postmaster Lucius Whitney, around 1885 and the couple had three children; Nye, Whitney, and Helen, the principal creator of this collection. Following her education in Germany and Massachusetts, Helen Herford returned to Montana where she taught school in Carbon County and worked on her parent's ranch. In 1929, she and a cousin, Helen Underwood Wellington, entered into a partnership to establish a dude ranch near Limestone (Stillwater County) Montana. The Swinging H Ranch operated until 1937 when financial pressures forced Helen Herford to suspend operations and sell. She returned to teaching afterwards and died in Columbus, Montana in 1972.

Content Description Note: The Herford papers consist of family letters, ranch operation documents, and photographs all pertaining to the Herford family and the Swinging H ranch arranged in four series. Series one consists of family letters, written from various locations in Montana, Massachusetts, England, and elsewhere pertaining to Herford family activities, Helen Herford's early education, the operation of the Jack Herford Ranch, and Jack Herford's Spanish American War service. Ranch letters in series two specifically relate to the operation of the Swinging H ranch, ranch guests and employees, and Helen Underwood Wellington, Helen Herford' business partner. Series three, Ranch Operation Files, document the financial transactions of the Swinging H, promotional essays written by Helen Herford for publication, and subject files for facilities, livestock, and the Levi Strauss and Company's introduction of women's pants in 1934. 674 individually numbered photographs and seven photograph albums in series four pertain to the Herford family and relatives, Montana towns and natural features, Yellowstone National Park, and ranch life.

Related Collection: Researchers are advised that the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana holds the John B. Herford Papers, MC 394.

Contents

Series 1Herford family letters, 1886-1957
Series 2Ranch letters, 1929-1957
Series 3Ranch operation files, 1929-1937
Series 4Photographs, 1900-1937

Series 1: Herford Family Letters, 1886-1957

Letters exchanged by members of the Herford family and friends pertaining mostly to family and personal matters. Included are letters from Beatrice Herford, Rev. Brooke Herford, Helen Herford, Jack Herford, Susan Whitney Herford, Oliver Herford, William Herford, Dolly Whitney, Harvey W. Louther, Sue Larabie Cunningham, and Kula Thuss. Letters were written from various locations in Massachusetts, Montana, England, and elsewhere. Included are letters written by Jack Herford while serving in the Spanish American War and related documents. For letters between Helen Herford and her business partner, Helen Underwood Wellington see series two, ranch letters. Many of the letters are undated, and the identification of many writers is unclear. The letters have been loosely arranged by the name of the supposed writer or recipient.

Box 1
1. Beatrice Herford, 1906-1909
2. Beatrice Herford, 1930-1957
3. Beatrice Herford, no date
4. Beatrice Herford, no date
5. Rev. Brooke Herford, 1886-1892
6. Rev. Brooke Herford, 1893-1901
7. Helen Herford (sister of Jack, William, and Oliver) 1890-1894
8. Helen Brooke Herford, 1902-1908
9. Helen Brooke Herford, January-February, 1909
10. Helen Brooke Herford, March-April, 1909
11. Helen Brooke Herford, May-August, 1909
12. Helen Brooke Herford, October-December, 1909
13. Helen Brooke Herford, 1910
14. Helen Brooke Herford, 1911-1936
15. Helen Brooke Herford, no date
16. Helen Brooke Herford, no date
17. Helen Brooke Herford, no date
18. Sue Larabie Cunningham, no date
19. Jack and Susan Herford, 1886-1889
20. Jack and Susan Herford, 1895
21. Jack and Susan Herford, 1898
22. Jack and Susan Herford, 1899
23. Jack and Susan Herford, 1900-1901
24. Jack and Susan Herford, 1905, no date
25. Dolly Whitney, 1931-1935
26. Oliver Herford, no date
27. William Herford, 1892-1897
28. Other Herford relatives, 1882-1898
29. Other Herford relatives, 1900-1947
30. Harvey W. Louther, no date
31. Kula Thuss, no date

Contents | Special Collections

Series 2: Ranch Letters, 1929-1937

Letters created or collected by Helen Brooke Herford pertaining to the establishment and operation of her dude ranch, the Swinging H, near Limestone, Montana. Included are: letters to and from her partner, Helen Underwood Wellington, that were written before and during the ranch establishment; letters from various guests who stayed at the ranch or requested information regarding its facilities; notes and memorandum regarding employees; personal letters of Helen Brooke Herford written after the closing of the ranch in 1937.

Box 2
1. Helen Underwood Wellington letters, 1912-1928
2. Helen Underwood Wellington letters, 1929
3. Helen Underwood Wellington letters, 1930
4. Helen Underwood Wellington letters, 1931
5. Helen Underwood Wellington letters, transcripts, 1929-1931
6. General correspondence, 1926-1929
7. General correspondence, 1930
8. General correspondence, 1931
9. General correspondence, 1932
10. General correspondence, 1933
11. General correspondence, 1934
12. General correspondence, 1935
13. General correspondence, 1936
14. General correspondence, 1937
15. General correspondence, 1938-1957
16. Christmas cards

Contents | Special Collections

Series 3: Ranch Operation Files, 1929-1937

Financial records, promotional essays, diaries and subject files pertaining to the operation of the Swinging H ranch. Papers include: bank statements and tax records; promotional essays written by Helen Brooke Herford for submission to dude ranch magazines; brief memoranda diaries from 1930 and 1934; subject files pertaining to the ranch automobiles, livestock, legal matters, facility construction, and the development of women's pants by Levi Strauss and Company in 1934.

Box 3
1. Bank statements, 1929-1930
2. Bank statements, 1931-1932
3. Bank statements, 1933
4. Bank statements, 1934
5. Bank statements, 1935
6. Bank statements, 1936
7. Petty cash ledger, 1931-1934
8. Tax assessments, 1929-1936
9. Essay, Dude Rancher
10. Essay, Dude Ranching
11. Essay, Reminiscences
12. Essay, Montana Ranch Women
13. Essay, Moose and Moose
14. Essay, What does a dude rancher do?
15. Essay, What Oliver Herford might call a woman's view of the west
16. Essay, With only one woman
17. Diary, 1930
18. Diary, 1934
19. Automobiles
20. Cabin plans
21. Lawsuit, 1934
22. Levi Strauss and Company
23. Ranch operations
24. Sheep Dogs

Contents | Special Collections

Series 4: Photographs, 1900-1937

674 individually numbered prints, six albums, and multiple negatives of images taken by Helen Brooke Herford, the Herford family, or commercial photographers of a wide variety of subjects and people. Included are images of: The Herford family and residences; Montana communities; Yellowstone National Park; Montana lakes, rivers, and mountains; vacation and leisure activities; ranch life on both the Herford and Swinging H ranches. The photographs have been arranged in alphabetical order based on broad subject headings. Photograph albums and negatives have been stored in separate containers. The negatives for prints found in the photograph albums are collected in small booklets bearing the same volume number. Loose negatives which have no corresponding prints have been gathered in similar subject headings as the numbered prints in boxes 4 and 5.

Box 4
Folder 1. Photos #1-13
#1-2. Agric. Extension Service, Women
#3. Alpine, Montana 1914
#4-9. rnold, John B. Ranch (a number of pictures ident. as Herfords were taken here)
#10-13. Artist's Carnival
Folder 2. Photos #14-27
#14-24. Automobile 1914
#25. Avalanche Lake
#26-27. Barn
Folder 3. Photos #28-40
28-40. Beartooth Mts. - scenic
Folder 4. Photos #41-53
#41-47. Beartooth Mts. - scenic
#48. Beartooth summit
#49-50. Cody rodeo parade (?)
#51. Billings - railroad siding
#52. Billings - Paradise Park
#53. Billings - Riverside Park
Folder 5. Photos #54-67
5#4. Billings roundhouse crew
#55-57. Billings parade 1940 (55956 Chapple's Petek photo)
#58. Boulder River (Bray Photo)
#59-62. Branding cattle
#63-64. Bridge - Glendive
#65. Broken bridge (Yellowstone)
#66-67. Buffalo
Folder 6. Photos #68-79
#68-69. Buffalo Bill traveling show
#70-73. Butchering a bear
#75-77. Camping in Beartooth Mts.
#78-79. Camping on West Rosebud
Folder 7. Photos #80-92
#80-83. Camps
#84-88. Cattle Range (Herford Ranch)
#88-89. Chickens (Herford Ranch)
#90-92. Children
Folder 8. Photos #93-106
#93-97. Clark Fork Canyon area
#98-100. Cody Rodeo Parade
#101-103. Cooke City 1930
#104-106. Cooke City area
Folder 9. Photos #107-120
#107-115. Corrals
#116-117. Crow Fair
#118. Deer
#119. Demet Maybelle, Fishing on West Fork
#120. Demet Maybelle, Riding
Folder 10. Photos #121-131
#121-122. Ditching on Herford Ranch
#123-124. Dude Ranch (Beartooths)
#125-131. Dude Ranch Publicity
Folder 11. Photos #132-146
#132-146. Dudes
Folder 12. Photos #147-161
#147-148. Dudes, camping
#149-154. Dudes, fishing
#155-156. Dudes, hunting
#157-161. Dude in the mountains
Folder 13. Photos #162-173
#162-166. Dudes, older ladies
#167-173. Dudes on horseback
Folder 14. Photos #174-189
#174-175. Dudes on the trail (Modern Studio, Columbus, MT, LA Maxson)
#176-189. Dudes on the trail
Folder 15. Photos #190-204
#190-204. Dudes on the trail
Folder 16. Photos #205-218
#205-218. Dudes picnicing (216, 217 Modern Studio, Columbus, L A Maxson)
Folder 17. Photos #219-231
#219-221. Dudes swimming
#222-231. East Rosebud
Folder 18. Photos #232-244
#232-238. East Rosebud
#239-243. East Rosebud Lake
#244. Eaton: Alden, Bill, & Willis
Folder 19. Photos #245-258
#245-247. Elk
#248-249. Farm yards
#250-251. Fences
#252-253. Fishing
#254-255. Flathead Lake
#256-258. Flood - Yellowstone River
Folder 20. Photos #259-276
#259-276. Glacier National Park, Set from: Redshirts, Pahaska Tepee, Cody, Wyoming
Folder 21. Photos #277-289
#277. Goose Lake
#278-279. Granite Peak
#280. Grass Mountain
#281-289. Grasshopper Glacier
Folder 22. Photos #290-301
#290-295. Haying
#296. Hell-Roaring Falls
#297-298. Herford, Brooke
#299-301. Herford, Helen Brooke
Folder 23. Photos #302-313
#302-313. Herford, Helen Brooke
Folder 24. Photos #314-325
#314-320. Herford, J.B. and Ivan
#321. Herford, J.B. - Warehouse
#322-324. Herford, Mrs. J.B.
#325. Herford, Mrs. J.B. and Brooke
Folder 25. Photos #326-336
#326-329. Herford, Rose
#330-334. Herford family
#335-336. Herford friends (men)
Folder 26. Photos #337-348B
#337-348. Herford Ranch (+348A & 348B)
Folder 27. Photos #349-365
#349-355. Herford Residence
#356-359. Herford station wagon
#360-365. Homestead fun
Folder 28. Photos #366-378
#366-378. Horsemen
Box 5
Folder 1. Photos #379-389
#379-389. Horses
Folder 2. Photos #390-400
#390-400. Horses
Folder 3. Photos #401-409
#401-407. Horses (Brooke Herford) not the same man indent. as Brooke Herf. in photos 297, 298 & 325
#408-409. Horses, standing
Folder 4. Photos #410-421
#410-421. Horses, Morgans in Vermont
Folder 5. Photos #422-431
#422. Indian Craft Shop - St. Mary's (?).
#423. Indian Cave, Billings
#424. Jacobn's private car
#425-428. Lillian's cards (Beartooth and family)
#429. Limestone Post Office
#430-431. Log bridges
Folder 6. Photos #432-443
#432-443. Log cabins
Folder 7. Photos #444-454
#444-446B. Logging (446 Photo Service, Newport, WA)
#447. Lowther, H.W.
#448. Mammoth, WY
#449. Mary's Lake
#450. Milking a cow
#451. Mill (aluminum mill on the Stillwater - maybe)
#452. Montana State College laboratory
#453. Mount Aeneas, Jewel Lakes
#454. Mount Lockhart & Mt. Reargard, Red Lodge
Folder 8. Photos #455-466
#455-458. Oil wells
#459. Oil well workers (?)
#461-461. Pack horses in winter
#462-466. Pack outfits
Folder 9. Photos #467-479
#467-472. Pack outfits
#473-477. Pets (dogs)
#478-479. Picnics
Folder 10. Photos #480-490
#480-481. Pigs
#482-483. Chief Plenty Coups
#484-486. Railroad, Wyoming and Southern
#487-490. Ranch hands at work
Folder 11. Photos #491-501
#491-497. Ranch houses
#498-501. Rattlesnakes
Folder 12. Photos #502-512
#502-512. Red Lodge (set of commercial photos)
Folder 13. Photos #513-524
#513-520. Red Lodge area (set of commercial photos)
#521. Red Lodge area
#522. Red Lodge - Cooke City Highway
#523. Road in winter
#524. Rock Creek
Folder 14. Photos #525-538
#525-535. Rodeos (Photos by R.R. Doubleday)
#536. Saloon
#537. Sawmill in Beartooth Mts.
#538. Shadow Lake (composite print)
Folder 15. Photos #529-550
#539-543. Sheep
#544-547. Sheep camp
#548. Shoeing a horse
#549. Slough Lake
#550. Skiing
Folder 16. Photos #551-563
#551-554. South Fork Ranger Station, Big Horn Mts.
#555. Spring wagons
#556-563. Stillwater canyon and Basin
Folder 17. Photos #566-577
#564-577. Stillwater Basin
Folder 18. Photos #578-591
#578. Stillwater Meadows
#579-591. Stillwater River and West Fork
Folder 19. Photos #592-602
#592-594. Stocking fish in Beartooth Mts.
#595-602. Surveying from Beartooth Plateau
Folder 20. Photos #603-611
#603-607. Swimming in the Yellowstone
#608. Telephone line
#609. Tennis
#610. Train
#611. Train wreck (L.G. Webber, Silesia, MT)
Folder 21. Photos #612-620
#612-619. Wagons and buggies
#620. Wash day, bachelor camp
Folder 22. Photos #621-634
#621-634. West Rosebud
Folder 23. Photos #635-648
#635-639. Westfork (635 is same bridge I.D. as Kerwin's Ranch in another negative)
#640-646. Women, 1915
#647-648. Yellowstone Canyon
Folder 24. Photos #649-663
#649-658. Yellowstone Park, 1921
#659-662. Yellowstone River
#663. Boulder R.
Folder 25. Photos #664-674
#664-667. Camping trip, 1919
#668. Fleming, Dave 1919
#669-670. Hay drag
#671-674. Lewis Ranch on the Clark Fork, 1917-1918
Box 6
Volume 1. Photograph album, ca. 1920s
Pack outfit; Beartooth Mountains; Yellowstone National Park, ca. 1925; Herford Ranch; Native Americans; Buffalo
Volume 2. Photograph album, 1890-1915
Jack Herford family; Billings; Germany; England; Salt Lake City; Beatrice Herford
Volume 3. Photograph album, 1914-1918
Chesnut, 1914; Bozeman parade, 1914; Indian Cave, Billings, 1914; Kirby Ranch, 1915; Prior Agency, 1915; Glendive bridge, 1915; World War I training camp, location unknown.
Volume 4. Photograph album, ca. 1920s
Beartooth Mountains
Box 7
Volume 5. Photograph album, 1916
Daily's Ranch; Woods Ranch; Stillwater River; Stillwater basin; Woodbine Falls; Devil's Washtub; Sioux Charley Lake; Big Park Ranger Station; Horseshoe Creek; Wounded Man Lake; Lake of the Woods; Lake Abundance; Daisy Pass; Cooke Ranger Station; Broadwater River; Kersey Lake; Fox Lake; Rock Island Lake; Clark's Fork Falls; Cooke City; Elk Park; Beartooth Lake; Deep Lake; Mirror Lake
Volume 6. Photograph Album, ca. 1930s
Beartooth Mountains; Herford Ranch; Stillwater River; Swinging H Ranch; Rosebud River; Sheep
Volume 7. Photograph album, 1913-1916
Lame Deer Reservation; Indian Caves; Kirby Ranch; McCormick Cabin; Rosebud Lake; Shadow Lake; Slough Lake; Snow Lake; Miles City Roundup
Box 8
Negatives for volumes 1-5
Numbered image negatives: 4, 5, 6, 8, 26, 27, 98, 100, 102, 121, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 157, 167, 168, 174-184, 201, 202, 214, 215, 216, 292, 297, 298, 302, 305-317, 321, 326, 346-348a, 352-355, 376-378, 379-381, 422, 424, 432-434, 455-457, 462, 463, 431, 482, 521, 539-541, 544, 548, 550, 551, 605, 635, 639, 647, 648
Loose negatives by subject:
Arnold, John B. Ranch
Automobiles 1914
Beartooth Mts.
Big Timber
Billings - railroad siding
Cattle Feeding
Cattle Range
Children
Cody, WY
Corrals
Dead Indian panorama
Deer
Dude Ranch
Dude Ranch Publicity
Dudes
Dudes, fishing
Dudes in the mountains
Dudes on horseback
Dudes on the trail
Dudes picnicing
Dudes swimming
Farm show
Geese
Goat cart
Haying
Herford, Brooke
Herford, Helen Brooke
Herford, J.B. in office
Herford, Mrs. J.B.
Herford, Mrs. J.B. and Brooke
Herford friends
Herford RanchHerford Residence
Herford station wagon
Horsemen
Horses
Indian Craft Shop - St. Mary's (?)
Kerwins Ranch
Log cabins
Mckay, Mary Ellen
Milk Cows
Navajo rugs
Mystic Lake
Oil Wells
Pack Mules
Pack Trip
Picnic
Ranches on Stillwater
Ranch Houses
Red Lodge
Russell, Charles M., painting
Rosebuds near Red Lodge
Sheep Wagon
Skiing
Stillwater River
Tennis
Wading
Wellington, Helen
White, Dudley, ranch
Wright, Eleanor
Wright, Fred
Wright, George
Wright, Harr
Yellowstone National Park

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 4/11/13