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HSTA 371: Women in America: From 1865 to the Present: Archives and Special Collections

Welcome! This guide will help you get started with your research for History 371!

Places to Start - Resources from Archives and Special Collections

The following resources have content of particular relevance to this course. They are only a very small sub-set of materials compiled by and held by Archives and Special Collections.

Select Montana Archives

Montana Historical Society / Montana State Archives -

The Historical Society has numerous collections documenting Montana's people and places from the 19th century to the present day. The State Archives (located at the Historical Society) houses the official records of Montana state agencies.

Renne Library Special Collections and Archives, Montana State University-Bozeman -

A good place to research the history of Eastern Montana, the Bozeman area and Yellowstone National Park.

Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives - 

The place to go for primary sources documenting Butte and Anaconda.


The Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections helps to document the history of Montana and the region through its unique, rare and / or valuable books, pamphlets, ephemera, archival and manuscript collections, photographs, maps, oral histories and moving image material. The Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections unit is located on the 4th floor of the Mansfield Library. You can visit in person or contact us at library.archives [at] or by phone at (406) 243-2053.

What we have of relevance to Montana Women's History:

Archival Collections

Archives & Special Collections holds over 800 collections (primarly unpublished materials created by individuals, organizations and businesses) focusing on events and activities in Montana. We also hold the records of several University of Montana departments and entities. A list of collections by or about Montana women is here: Women in Montana Collections List

Information about the majority of our manuscript and archival collections can be found using the Archives West website. (Note: you can limit your search in this database to only collections held at the University of Montana.) A pdf tutorial about using Archives West is available on the homepage of  the Archives & Special Collections LibGuide.

Oral Histories

Over 2,500 oral history recordings are available from Archives & Special Collections. Tapes and transcripts for most oral histories are located in cabinets just outside Archives and Special Collections and can be checked out from the library. The majority of our oral history interviews can be identified using the library's OneSearch interface. (Hint: use "oral history" as a keyword.) You can find many of our oral histories listed in the publication People Will Talk: Oral History Collection of the Mansfield Library.

Some of our collection of oral history interviews, including audio and transcripts by and about Montana women, is available through ScholarWorks.


Archives & Special Collections has nearly 100,000 historic images, in a variety of formats, dating from the 1860s to the present. The majority of the photographs document people, places and activities in western Montana, including the Missoula area and the University of Montana campus.

A card catalog index and photocopies of more than 20,000 images are located in cabinets just outside Archives & Special Collections. A portion of our photographs have been digitized for online access:


There are more than 25,000 books located in Archives & Special Collections, including nearly 20,000 available for browsing in the Montana Room. Our books include both primary and secondary sources about Montana women. All our books can be found using the library's OneSearch interface.


Papers and Photographs from Women in Montana Politics
Archives and Special Collections has many manuscript collections, oral histories, and photography collections created by or related to women in Montana and Missoula, in particular. Writers, professors, politicians, wives, teachers, ranchers, doctors, conservationists, mothers, poets, students, historians, pioneers, smokejumpers, postmasters, activists, and a filmmaker are all represented in the records.  There are also collections created by women’s social and civic organizations and materials generated by various University of Montana-Missoula women’s clubs and departments founded by or directed toward women.

A Matter of Perspective: Women Writers and Montana 1890-1930
A Matter of Perspective: Women Writers and Montana 1890-1930 is an exhibit created by Archives Specialist Teresa Hamann. The exhibit tells the story of several prominent women authors in Montana. The books featured in this exhibit are from Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.

Agetha Ogden Finley

Agatha Ogden Finley, Image from Mansfield Library Archives