A new finding aid for 96 images of Montana and the West has been added to the Clark’s page on the Online Archive of California. Though the finding aid itself only includes descriptions of the images and no pictures itself, it should serve as a valuable entry point to this interesting collection, which has remained relatively hidden in the Clark’s stacks up until now. The collection includes original black and white photographs of individuals from the Montana Territory, including such colorful characters as Calamity Jane, “Lonesome Charlie,” and “Flopping Bill,” as well as members of the military and other pioneering locals. Other images include sketches and photographs of military and trading forts in the West, mining towns, and the great wilderness.
Of particular interest are a handful of pictures of Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Territory: he took a hunting trip near a ranch he owned (Elk Horn Ranch) and pursued thieves who stole his boat on the Missouri River. There is even one stereographic print of Roosevelt with a dead elk; one of a handful available for purchase by catalog for 19th century adventure-seekers.
The adventure of pursuing the boat thieves was chronicled by Roosevelt in his book “Ranch Life and the Hunting-Trail”, illustrated by Frederic Remington, in the chapter “Sheriff’s Work on a Ranch”:
“While Seawall and Dow, thoroughly at home in the use of the ax, chopped down dead cottonwood trees and dragged the logs up into a huge pile, I kept guard over the three prisoners, who were huddled into a sullen group some twenty yards off, just the right distance for the buckshot in the double-barrel.” – Theodore Roosevelt