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Collection 2151 - Bozeman Fire Department Records, 1880-1962

Creator: Bozeman Fire Dept. (Bozeman, Mont.)

Provenance Note: The Bozeman Montana Fire Department Records were donated by the Museum of the Rockies August 13, 2001. The records had been donated to the museum by former Fire Chiefs Herbert Hoey (1973) and Billy Alexander (1982). One folder of items from 1884-1888 had been donated in 1985 and was integrated into the collection.

Historical Note: An organization named the Bozeman Fire Company was established in 1880, and four years later the Bozeman Fire Department was organized as a volunteer group with only 2 paid members. Men requesting membership in the department were voted on by a committee. After five years, an active member could become exempt from call and dues yet still participate in social events and discussion at meetings without voting privileges. For many years a social membership in the department existed, its members also voted on by committee. To raise funds for the department the first Fireman's Ball was held in 1884 and thereafter every year around Thanksgiving. The department had an annual stag banquet each January to review the year's events. The banquet was a very significant social event for the men of Bozeman for many years. In 1911, the Montana State Legislature passed legislation to finance fire relief associations with allocated taxes. In response, the Bozeman Fire Department Relief Association was incorporated in 1912, replacing the department's relief committee. In 1939, after legislation on pensions and wages in the late 1930s was unsatisfactory, the Bozeman Montana firemen joined the International Association of Firefighters Union as Local # 613. The first Fire Marshall (Chief) was A. P. Clark. W. G. Alexander succeeded him in 1889 and served until his retirement in 1925 after 41 years service in the department. Chief Alexander was instrumental in many of the advances in the department including : a state of the art centralized fire alarm system in 1910 and total motorization of the equipment by 1914. In 1890, the Fire Department moved into the new City Hall (Opera House) and remained until 1962. There were significant fires in Bozeman in Dec 1887, Dec 1922, 1936 (Nash-Finch building) and Oct,1961, all of which are documented within these records.

Content Description Note: The Bozeman Fire Department papers are divided into 3 series. Series 1 is the Bozeman Fire Department Records and is divided into four subseries which include legal and organizational papers; minutes of the department meetings; records of membership, roll calls and dues; reports to the city, the state and the membership; records of fires for most years from 1880 to 1961; fire prevention and fire training information; Fire School papers; copies of speeches; business and professional correspondence; materials on special equipment and issues (1910 fire alarm system, 1922 fire report, resuscitator case histories, W. G. Alexander's retirement, John McCrosson's delayed certificate of birth papers and Ernest H. Schumacher's life insurance policy); financial records including secretary and treasurer's cash ledgers, check registers, savings books, cancelled checks, special expenses plus bills and receipts; scrapbook materials include: newspaper clippings, cards, brochures, invitations, .programs and memorabilia of social events. Series 2, the Relief Association materials include legal and organizational papers, minutes, membership records, reports, correspondence, financial records and investment materials. Series 3, the Union Local #613 materials include a copy of the constitution, minutes, membership, correspondence, financial records and assorted International Association of Firefighters papers and communications.

RESTRICTIONS APPLY: A newspaper clipping scrapbook in series 1,subseries 4, is restricted due to fragility. An inventory of the newspaper clippings is provided.

Contents

Series 1: Departmental papers of the Bozeman Fire Department, 1880 - 1962.
Sub-series 1: Operational reports and documents, 1880 - 1962
Sub-series 2: Correspondence, 1884 -1950
Sub-series 3: Financial records, 1880 - 1962
Sub-series 4: Scrapbook, news clippings and other memorabilia, 1887 - 1947
Series 2: Bozeman Fire Department Relief Association papers, 1911-1959
Series 3: Bozeman Fire Department Union papers, 1939-1957

Series 1: Departmental papers of the Bozeman Fire Department, 1880 - 1962

The departmental papers have been divided into 4 sub-series: sub-series 1 contains the operational reports, documents, and literary papers related to the subjects of membership, fire prevention and protection, apparatus, histories, reports of fires, and topics of special interest . Sub-series 2 includes the business and departmental correspondence related to operations, individual issues, and appreciation. Sub-series 3 are the financial records of the department including ledgers, bank books, checks, registers, bills, receipts and related materials. Sub-series 4 holds scrapbook material and memorabilia of the department including a scrapbook, newspaper clippings, invitations, dance cards, tickets, brochures and assorted ephemera.

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 1: Operational reports and documents, 1880 - 1962

The constitutions, bylaws and amendments begin this series. Following are the department record books which in the early years included most pertinent daily records. Later these records split into several categories including: memberships, roll calls, secretaries minutes, treasurer's records, fire reports, and dues records. In 1918, the secretary and treasurer positions were combined. Also present are annual and monthly reports of the Fire Chief to the city and the members; reports of the secretaries, treasurers and assorted committees; reports to the State Auditor and State Fire Marshall; roll call records ;general papers and special topics. Topics featured are Red Cross, Civil Defense, specialized equipment, fire training and prevention, city ordinances and state laws, and maintenance records. Beginning records are arranged chronologically followed by special topics in alphabetical order.

Box 1
1. Constitution and by-laws, 1880 (Bozeman Fire Company)
2. Constitution, bylaws and amendments, 1884, 1907 (ledger includes member lists)
3. Constitution and instruction for members booklets1884, 1903, 1906
4. Histories of BFD
5. Fire Department records book, 1884-1886
6. Fire Department records book, 1887-1891
7. Fire Department records book, 1891-1893
Box 2
1. Fire Department records book, 1894-1895
2. Fire Department records book, 1900-1907
3. Fire Department records book, 1907-1914
4. Fire Department minutes, 1914-1944
5. Fire Chief's Book, 1902-1912 - includes fire records and inventories
Box 3
1. Chief's annual report to the city, 1884-1923
2. Chief's annual report to the city, 1924-1938
3. Chief's annual report to the city, 1941-1956
4. Chief's monthly report to the city, 1942-1951
5. Annual report's to the members, 1884-1922
6. Secretary and Treasurer's reports, 1885-1949
7. Trustee's and Finance committee reports, 1916-1923
8. Annual building inspection reports, 1911-1924
9. City Clerk's report to the State Auditor, 1911-1949
10. Reports on fires to the State Fire Marshall, 1926-1936
11. Banquet Committee reports, 1884-1949
Box 4
1. Reports of fires, 1882-1885 (loose), see also Fire Department records book, 1884-1886; 1887-1891
2. Reports of fires book: May 24, 1889 - Sept 17, 1910
3. Reports of fires book: May1,1910-Dec 31,1912
4. Reports of fires book: Jan 3, 1913 - Apr 24, 1915
5. Reports of fires book: May 2, 1915 - Mar 31, 1917
6. Reports of fires book: Aug 19, 1919 - Apr 28, 1922
7. Reports of fires book: Jan 19, 1927 - Nov 1, 1928
8. Reports of fires book: Nov 6, 1928 - May 23, 1930
Box 5
1. Reports of fires book: June 1, 1930 - Dec 9, 1932
2. Reports of fires book: Dec 15, 1932 - Dec 24, 1934
3. Reports of fires book: July 20, 1938 - Dec 27, 1939
4. Reports of fires book: Jan 3, 1940 - Aug 8, 1941
5. Reports of fires book: Aug 14, 1941 - Feb 28, 1943
6. Reports of fires book: Jul 6, 1944 - Sep 26, 1945
7. Reports of fires book: Sep 26, 1945 - Aug 22, 1946
8. Reports of fires book: Aug 22, 1946 - Oct 13, 1947
Box 6
1. Reports of fires book: Oct 14, 1947 - Sep 24, 1948
2. Reports of fires book: Sep 25, 1948 - Jul 31, 1949
3. Reports of fires book: Aug 2, 1949 - June 29, 1950
4. Reports of fires book: Jan 2, 1959 - Dec 26, 1959
5. Reports of fires book: Jan3, 1960 - Dec 29, 1960
6. Reports of fires book: Jan 5, 1961 - Oct 31, 1961
7. Reports of fires book: Nov 4, 1961 - Dec 30, 1961
8. Report of fires notepads: March 1943 - June 1948
9. Report of fires notepads: Jan 1955- June 1956
10. Report of fire (single sheet) : Dec 15, 1922 (fatality; John Robinson)
** Master Fire Record Book, 7/1/43-10/16/61 (oversized) ** stored separately
Box 7
1. Membership lists, 1889-1935 - includes active, exempt, social and deceased
2. Proposals for membership, 1882-1889
3. Applications for membership, 1913-1949
4. Applications for social membership, 1915-1920
5. Resignations from department, 1884-1889
6. Roll call book, 1900-1906
7. Roll call ledger, 1907-1913 - includes active, exempt and social lists; financial records
8. Roll call ledger, 1913-1951 - includes active, exempt and social lists
9. Bozeman business and residential addresses, maps of fire districts
10. Bozeman City ordinances, 1902-1935
11. Civil Defense, 1940-1942
Box 8
1. Equipment inventories, 1885-1917, first aid cabinet, 1937
2. Fire Alarm system(1910) with list of apparatus and cost
3. Fire Prevention, 1928-1941
4. Fire prevention talks presented by Fire Chief,1911
5. Fire School 1930
6. Fire School 1931
7. Fire School 1932
8. Fire School 1933
9. Fire School 1934
10. Fire School materials c1930-1934
11. Fire School materials c1938-1939
12. Fire service training manual, chapter 1
13. Fire service training manual, chapter 2
14. Fire service training manual, chapter 3
15. Fire service training manual, chapter 4
16. Fire service training manual, chapter 5
17. Fire service training manual, chapter 6
18. Fire service Basic unit training course, 1950
Box 9
1. General papers, 1884-1949
2. Red Cross, c1940s
3. Resuscitator case histories and endorsements, 1940s
4. State Firemen's Tournament, 1891
5. State Legislative Bills, 1935-1941
6. Vehicle maintenance record book, 1927-1962

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1884-1950

Business correspondence; general correspondence including thank you cards; Building Inspector notifications with attachments; letters and telegrams about legislation, wages and pensions; files related to individual personnel; and communications with fire associations are present.

Box 10
1. Building Inspector (Fire Chief) notifications with some legal attachments, 1921-1948
2. Business correspondence, 1884-1888
3. Business correspondence, 1924-1947
4. General correspondence, 1885-1949
5. General correspondence, undated ( thank you cards)
6. Legislation, letters and telegrams 1935-1941
7. Montana State Firemen's Association, 1922-1949
8. Pacific Coast Assn of Fire Chiefs; International Assn of Fire Chiefs 1927-1950
9. Pensions and retirement, 1920s - 1949
10. Personnel: W. G. Alexander, retirement - correspondence and personal history 1925
11. Personnel: John McCrosson, delayed certificate of birth papers 1942-1946
12. Personnel: Ernest H. Schumacher, life insurance policy, 1893-1934
13. Wage increase petitions, 1905-1943

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 3: Financial records, 1880-1962

Sub-series 3 begins with bonding papers. Treasurer's and Secretary's cash ledgers and account summaries follow. Certificate books for membership dues were used to issue a certificate of membership each time dues were paid at 50 per quarter. Savings books, check registers, cancelled checks, bills and receipts for both department and social events are present as well as assorted association dues receipts, expense records and tax exempt information.

Box 11
1. Surety bond papers, 1887, 1903, 1944
2. Treasurer's cash ledger, 1887-1892, general and relief funds
3. Treasurer's cash ledger, 1900-1905, general, social funds
4. Secretary's cash ledger, 1900-1907
5. Secretary's cash ledger, 1908-1918, general, relief and social funds
6. Treasurer's cash ledger, summaries 1896-1918
7. Secretary-Treasurer's account ledger, 1918-1956
Box 12
1. Trustees cash ledger, 1892-1910 - ( 1925 expenses for BFD inserted)
2. Expense ledger, 1925-1945 (scattered) - includes salaries, supplies and equipment
3. Savings books: 1887-1888, 1918-1927,1926-1936
4. Check registers, 1887-1931
5. Check registers, 1936-1948
6. Cancelled checks, 1920-1931
7. Cancelled checks, 1941-1954
8. Bank statements, deposit slips, check stubs - 1958-1962
Box 13
1. Bills and receipts, 1880-1885
2. Bills and receipts, 1888-1905
3. Bills and receipts, 1923-1935
4. Bills and receipts, 1936-1950
5. Banquets and Balls - bills and receipts, 1884-1888
6. Banquets and Balls - bills and receipts, 1931-1949
7. Tax exemption papers for non-profit fund raisers, 1922-1942
8. Certificates granted ledger, 1896-1900
9. Certificate book with stubs, 1911-1913
10. Certificate book with stubs, 1921-1946
11. Certificate book with stubs, 1939-1950
12. Certificate book for social membership, empty
13. Fire extinguisher expense record, 1951-1952
14. Receipts: dues; Pacific Fire Chiefs Assn, National Fire Protection Assn
** Certificate register of dues paid, members 1896-1915 (oversize) ** stored separately

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 4: Scrapbook, news clippings and other memorabilia, 1887 - 1947

A scrapbook from the W.G. Alexander years; miscellaneous newspaper clippings; Fireman's Ball tickets and dance cards; Stag Banquet invitations, replies, programs and invitation lists; assorted brochures and certificates comprise sub-series 4.

Box 14
1. Fireman's Ball : tickets and dance cards, 1892-1947, scattered
2. Annual Stag Banquets- invitation lists, invitations and replies
3. Programs : Annual Stag Banquet, 1909-1918, scattered
4. Programs : Annual Stag Banquet, 1920-1937, scattered
5. Assorted brochures, c1930s-40s
6. Assorted brochures (cont)
7. Certificates for active membership, exempt status and social membership, c1910
Box 15
1. Newspaper clippings, 1887-1944 (sparse)
2. Inventory of articles identified from scrapbook: Bozeman, state and national sources
3. Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1908-1931 ( Very Fragile) * Restricted
4. Miscellaneous ephemera

Contents | Special Collections

Series 2: Bozeman Fire Department Relief Association papers, 1911-1959

The Relief Association papers include: incorporation, by-laws and amendments; minutes; membership applications; annual reports; correspondence; financial records including savings books, investments, bills and receipts, and cancelled checks. Check registers of pensions paid, group insurance proposals and legislative concerns are also present.

Box 16
1. Relief Association Records Book - Incorporation, minutes, Chief's retirement and pension, 1912-1949
2. Relief Association By-Laws, 1913, 1928 and amendments
3. City Council Resolution, 1911; minutes of first member meeting and first trustee meeting, Oct, 1913
4. Applications for membership, 1914-1943
5. Annual report: To State Examiner, audits of Relief Fund 1922-1949
6. Annual report: To State Auditor, financial report of Relief Fund 1929-1948
7. Annual report to members,1915-1940
8. Group insurance proposal, c1940s
Box 17
1. Correspondence with State Auditor, 1911-1949
2. Legislative papers with correspondence, 1918-1950
3. Correspondence and billings, Justin Smith (association lawyer), 1912-1933
4. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1913-1948
5. Certificate book with stubs, 1913-1954
6. Duplicating receipt book, 1935-1959
7. Relief Association cash ledger, 1913-1946 - warrants, disbursements, investments (includes member list and roll call)
8. Check registries, 1913-1937
9. Check registries, 1937-1949
10. Vouchers, 1913-1915
11. Deposit slips, 1917-1950
12. Dues stubs, 1922-1928; Bank books 1913-1928; Savings books, 1932-1939
Box 18
1. Cancelled checks, 1913-1935
2. Cancelled checks, 1936-1943
3. Cancelled checks, 1944-1950
4. Bills and receipts, 1913-1947
5. Investments, 1913-1950

Contents | Special Collections

Series 3: Bozeman Fire Department Union papers, 1939-1957

Union Local # 613 papers include the constitution, minutes, roll call records, correspondence and financial records of the union. Also present are papers, reports, receipts and assorted papers of the International Association of Firefighters.

Box 18 (cont.)
6. Constitution, 1939
7. Secretary's minutes 1939-1957
8. Roll call book 1939-1952
9. International Association of Firefighters: constitution and assorted papers
10. International Association of Firefighters :reports, receipts, cancelled checks, 1939-1950
11. Correspondence, 1938-1955
12. Treasurer's cash book 1939-1957
13. Dues book 1939-1951

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 4/3/09