Curator's Corner Blog

Author Archives: The Collections Department

About The Collections Department

We live and breathe the collection. It is our job to know the who’s, what’s, where’s, and why’s of the thousands of artifacts placed into our care. What you see on display at a museum doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s stored in the basement.

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The Changing Fashion of Women’s Shoes

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Shoe’s from the HMFM Collections

Though it may seem a woman’s love for a variety of shoes in her closet has only been possible since the hemline of her skirt was shortened in the early 20th century, we have found an amazing assortment of stylish shoes in our “closet” at the Fort Missoula Historical Museum.

 

During the 1850s, women’s fashion introduced the steel framed crinoline hoop that allowed women’s skirts to swing while walking.  This would allow a peek at ladies’ ankles which inspired a need for boots.  They were made from silk, satin, or leather and were custom made for the wealthier women of society.  Beaded, embroidered, or bejeweled, the boots help preserve women’s modesty, for the ankle was never to be exposed.

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Boots from HMFM Collections

By the 1870s, bustle skirts brought the fashionable hourglass look that extended to women’s shoes.  Many shoes had an hourglass, 2 inch heel.   The Fenelon (a multi looped bow) and button closures added to the fashion of the shoe.

 

By the 1880s, the United States began mass producing sturdy, fashionable, and fitted footwear that could be purchased at a fraction of the cost of custom made shoes, thus opening a market for women with smaller incomes.  Boots continued to dominate fashion, but new styles were available.  Rubber soles and canvas shoes were often used for lawn sports and some had a low heel.  These shoes became popular for use with the most exciting new activity – bicycling!

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Buckle Shoes from HMFM Collections

The Cromwell shoe became popular during 1885 and 1900.  It sported a high tabbed front and buckle, reminiscent of 17th century Puritan shoes.

 

During the 1890s, heels could be as high as 6 inches.  But, by 1901, any heel over 3 inches was deemed uncouth.   Cuban heels made their debut in 1904.  These stacked leather heels of 2 ½ inches were popular through the 1910s.

 

The 1910s brought women’s liberation in many areas of American life, including shortened skirt lengths.  With the exposure of women’s ankles, the strappy look became the new fashion.  Boots were still considered daywear, but with the night came low heels and straps.  Many women preferred the narrow toe, often necessitated the removal of bones in the small toes so they would fit.  But what is the loss of a few bones to fashion?!

 

Thank goodness not all shoe manufacturers made tight, narrow shoes!  Pumps with small heels became popular for daywear by 1910.  Often made from satin or silk, these shoes were much more forgiving of the natural contours of women’s feet.

 

Shoes have not always been functional for upper class women.  We have found in our collection that many were simply for looks and outward displays of status.  In the following decades, France became the leader the in shoe fashion, and shoes for children became a target market.

J Rankin Dissenting Vote 1941

Jeannette Rankin

We ought to know that you cannot settle a dispute by violence.”

Miss Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin was born in Missoula, Montana 11 June, 1880.  She served as the first woman in the House of Representatives in the 65th session of Congress from 1917 – 1919. She said that she was the first woman to be elected, but she would not be last.  Women had had the right to vote in the state of Montana since 1914, but a constitutional amendment giving all women the right to vote was not ratified until 18 August, 1920.  She was welcomed by her fellow congressmen by cheers and had to bow in acceptance twice.

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During her first term in congress, she, along with forty nine of her fellow congressman, voted “No” against the United States involvement in World War I. Commenting on her vote, she said, “As a woman I cannot go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”

In January 1918, she opened the House Floor debate on a constitutional amendment on woman’s suffrage, the very first of such debates.  Many representatives who shared her vote defended her, including Fiorello La Guardia, Representative from New York.  In an effort to distance themselves from Miss Rankin’s views, the National American Woman Suffrage Association wrote, “Miss Rankin was not voting for the suffragists of the nation – she represented Montana.”

As was the pattern of her life, Miss Rankin spoke for miner’s rights, social welfare programs, and peace.

J Rankin Dissenting Vote 1941

Miss Rankin was narrowly defeated in the following election, but when war presented itself on the world stage in 1939, she submitted her bid for re-election and won.  Her purpose in this term was to speak against the United States in World War II.  After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she immediately returned to Washington D.C. to cast her vote against war.  She was not given the floor to speak against President Roosevelt’s request to fight back.  She was also encouraged to abstain from the vote.  But, when the roll was called, she declared, “No.”  This time, she stood alone, the resolution passed 388-1.  The response was immediate.  She was driven from the House of Representatives amidst hisses and boos, and had to run from the building.  Finding shelter in a phone booth, she waited until the police arrived to escort her back to her office.

Miss Rankin was ignored for the remainder of her term.

15 Jan 1968, Washington, DC, USA --- A group of women belonging to the Jeanette Rankin Brigade march in protest of the Vietnam War. Jeanette Rankin, the first female congress member, stands holding the banner at center (wearing eyeglasses). --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

15 Jan 1968, Washington, DC, USA — A group of women belonging to the Jeanette Rankin Brigade march in protest of the Vietnam War. Jeanette Rankin, the first female congress member, stands holding the banner at center (wearing eyeglasses). — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Jeannette Rankin worked as a seamstress and a teacher after her service in government.  She also stayed active in politics.  She was impressed with Mahatma Gandhi’s adherence to nonviolent protests and had made several trips to India even though she lived on a minimal income.

When war, again, raged at the United States door, she formed the Jeannette Rankin Brigade.  In 1968, she and 5000 protested marched in Washington D.C. against the war in Vietnam.

At age 92, she was considering running for Congress again to put an end to the conflict, but she passed away 18 May 1973 in Carmel, California.

Jeannette Rankin’s life was one of consistency.  She said, “What one decides to do in a crisis depends on one’s philosophy of life, and that philosophy cannot be changed by an incident.”

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Every state is allowed two statues to be placed in Washington D.C. to memorialize what is valued most by each state.  Montana chose Charles Russell and, appropriately, Jeannette Rankin, who embodied the spirit of Montana in her perseverance in standing, even alone, for her convictions.

All images are courtesy of the following websites:

Dissenting Vote, barrybradford.com

Rankin Statue, aoc.gov

Rankin Brigade, corbisimages.com

Miss Jeannette Rankin, moralheroes.org

church

100th Anniversary First Presbyterian Church of Missoula

In 1909, Missoula was a town to be talked about. Its second railroad, the Milwaukee, had finally reached town, an electric streetcar system ran the streets, and a new modern Higgins Avenue bridge had been recently completed.
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Reverend Dr. John Maclean was also just arriving to town, delivering his first sermons at the First Presbyterian Church of Missoula. At that time, church buildings were not just used for worship, but were social centers for town as well. On a daily basis the Brotherhood Club, Boy Scouts and a variety of women’s groups were using the small church. By 1910, Maclean and local architect and congregation member, A.J. Gibson, began plans for a larger church.

In 1912, lots were purchased on the south side of Missoula, at South Fifth and Myrtle street, and the current church was finished three years later. Though Gibson had retired in 1913, he came out of retirement to design the large scale Gothic Revival-style brick church as his last official project. The building includes an enormous square bell tower, steep central gable, and pointed-arch windows. Its large size and nod to European style of architecture makes it the showcase of the South Side.

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John Maclean was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church from 1909 to 1925. His sons, Norman and Pual, grew up in Missoula and learned to fly fish in the surrounding rivers. It was their adventures in Missoula that sparked Norman to write “A River Runs Through It.”

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On September 13th, 2015 the First Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its 100th year with a variety of events. Check out their website for more information: http://fpcmissoula.org/site/homepage.html.

Teepee Burner Ceiling

On the grounds of Fort Missoula…

Teepee Burner Ceiling

The other day, I snapped this picture while wandering the grounds of Fort Missoula. To me, it looked like some kind of celestial map, or maybe a planetarium. I asked my friends what they thought it was and got the following answers: the eyeball of a giant steel chameleon, a kaleidoscope looking at a forest, the ceiling, the inside of an old silo, a stained glass window, and, a personal favorite—the time-traveling, dinosaur space ship from We’re Back, a bizarre animated children’s movie about, of course, time-traveling dinosaurs.

What do you think it is?

The most precise and accurate answer came from my friend Chris: “That’s a dome ceiling, poorly welded together. The green and red part is a mesh top that’s sagging inward and full of mold (unlikely) or a similar dome of netting, but extending conical, showing silhouettes of the trees.”

Well, yes, kind of. I took the photograph while standing in the center of the teepee burner at Fort Missoula on a bright, sunny day, looking straight up into the mesh ceiling. Named for their resemblance to Native American teepees or wigwams, teepee burners were once used by sawmills to burn leftover sawdust and slabs of wood, generally at night when the glow from the fires could be seen for miles. Before the Clean Air Act of 1970, they were ubiquitous across the Pacific Northwest—signs of a healthy timber industry. In the Missoula Valley alone, there were eleven operating teepee burners in the 1940s and 1950s. Imagine driving into the valley on a moonless autumn night, the sky lit up by scattered torches of fire. Imagine the smoke drifting into the air, blocking out one star at a time until the smoke itself took on the shape of something silhouetted against the darker night—a bear, for instance, or a fish. Like finding faces in the clouds.

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The teepee burner on the grounds of Fort Missoula

The teepee burner at Fort Missoula is 5½ stories high, consisting of 18 forty-foot panels and a 15-foot high dome at the top. Normally, the domes, or screen spark arrestors, are made of wire mesh to keep burning embers from escaping. The teepee burner at the fort also has a fiberglass covering over the mesh to protect the structure from the elements. The fiberglass was painted orange and yellow to resemble an operating teepee burner. The colors and size of the Fort Missoula burner enables hikers to locate the fort from as far away as the M. Trust me, I’ve tried it!

After this initial exploration, my mind immediately jumped to the next set of questions: how did the museum go about moving this enormous structure, and, maybe more importantly, why? It couldn’t have been an inexpensive process, right? Originally, the teepee burner was built for the S&W Sawmill just north of Darby. It was moved in 1973 to the historic pioneer village erected by the Bitterroot Valley Historical Society at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds in Hamilton and then, just over 30 years later, given to the museum at Fort Missoula to better preserve it. The burner was dismantled in 2005 and over the following year, volunteers prepared an 18-sided foundation, sandblasted and painted the 40-foot panels and finally erected the new teepee burner on October 8, 2006. Just to give you a sense of the commitment here: it took 12,000 pounds of sand to sandblast the panels, 100 gallons of paint to paint them, and 594 bolts to stitch the entire thing together. Before the stitching together even began, volunteers spent 4 hours sandblasting each panel and then two hours painting it (remember, there are 18 panels). That’s a lot of work!

Lifting the ceiling of the teepee burner

Lifting the ceiling of the teepee burner

The building is pretty empty inside. It feels magical, standing in there alone, looking at the chinks of sky sneaking through the mesh. Back in 2006, Scott Kuehn described it nicely, “Tepee burners are funny because, while this one is 45 feet in diameter and 55 feet tall, if you go inside one it’s like walking into a cathedral. It seems like it doubles or triples in size.” Scott is the chair of the Society of American Foresters, the group responsible for erecting the teepee burner and maintaining the Forestry Interpretative Area on the museum grounds, which includes a steam powered sawmill and a locomotive.

But does the teepee burner warrant that kind of effort? There are a ton of historic objects out there. Some have more value than others. What does this particular piece add to contemporary conversations? Surviving teepee burners are still littered around Oregon and other timber-rich areas, dotting the countryside much like Roman ruins are still strewn along highways in Italy, mainly left to themselves as an almost natural part of the landscape. Photographer Curt Deatherage made it one of his missions to discover and document teepee burners after he saw one demolished by a tornado near his home in the Willamette Valley. As of 2006, his list contained over 150 existing teepee burners in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana (only 3), and California, many of which he’s photographed and posted on Flicker. Like Scott Kuehn, and like me, he’s impressed by the beauty of the incinerators and the kind of mystical quality they have: “…somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I remembered as a child seeing one of these burners glowing in the night sky, imagining the glowing embers swirling and dancing under the screen must be what a firefly looks like.” But it’s more than that. In a 2010 article documenting the birth of the Oregon Wigwam Burners Association, Deatherage describes the association’s mission to preserve the memory of the men and women involved in the lumber industry—an industry that completely transformed this part of the country. Much like photographs of deteriorating barns or covered bridges, the images are haunting reminders of how quickly the world is evolving.

Perhaps the most applicable conversation about our teepee burner is one that walks the line between history and the present, a conversation not only about air quality and pollution, but about soil, science, government spending, and the ways in which we try to repair the damages we’ve wrought in the past. The S&W Sawmill, home to our teepee burner for about ten years, was founded in 1965 by Milo Wilson and Dee Shook, who had opened the first modern mill in the Darby area in 1954. The Shook Mill, their previous endeavor, was destroyed in ’64 by fire and in fact, a week after the S&W Mill opened the following year, with a work force of about 150 men, the new sawmill caught fire too. A newspaper reported that, “A fire in the chipper shed at the mill caused some damage and threw the chipper machine out of operation for several days—but the blaze was confined to the shed at the north end of the new plant and did not damage the main building.” Still, it gives you a sense of how dangerous (read: flammable) this kind of work could be. The S&W Mill was one of four operating in the Darby area at the time.

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Another view of the teepee burner, with our locomotive in the foreground!

With so many sawmills continually burning wood waste, air quality concerns became a major issue, particularly in the Missoula Valley. As many readers will know, Missoula is surrounded by mountains and experiences severe temperature inversions in the winter, making it difficult for polluted air to escape the valley. In 1978, the EPA designated Missoula a “nonattainment area”—meaning that the county was in violation of federal air quality standards, particularly with carbon monoxide (motor vehicle emissions) and particulate pollution. One of the committees organized to address this issue focused on residential wood burning. If even residential wood burning was an issue, imagine what 11 teepee burners could do to the air! We all see the way that the valley traps smoke (particulate matter) during the fire season in the summers—even without teepee burners, the air gets heavy, hard to breath. Some days it’s difficult to make out Mount Sentinel because of all the smoke!

So here we have represented the struggle for clean, breathable air—an ongoing concern around the world. Now back to the S&W Sawmill. The site was an active sawmill until 1998, but prior to 1978 it also “operated as a wood treatment plant that used the chemical pentachlorophenol (PCP) mixed with diesel as a wood preservative. The chemical mixture and its by-products (dioxins/furans) have contaminated the soil and groundwater at the Facility.” The old sawmill is a state superfund site under the Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (CECRA), with International Paper working as the lead liable group responsible for the cleanup—meaning that they’re collecting soil samples, devising a model for remediation, and even dismantling the old buildings onsite. It’s quite a long process! Data confirmed contamination in the water and soil back in November 2004 and the proposed plan and approved decision for remediation will probably not be finished until approximately January 2017, after which the actual cleanup will begin.

The teepee burner is, in part, a catalyst for thinking about the ways in which the past molds the future. They deserve to be preserved not only as an intriguing part of the landscape or as a gesture of respect to the people who built the timber industry, but as a reminder of significant contemporary conversations about land use and preservation—both of ourselves and of nature.

Online Sources: http://jaycritchley.com/oregon-wigwam-burners-association-formed/#more-948; http://deq.mt.gov/StateSuperfund/default.mcpx; http://deq.mt.gov/airmonitoring/citguide/understanding.mcpx; http://www.livinggoldpress.com/teepeetopiclist.htm

 

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Happy Father’s Day!

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Father’s Day was inspired by Mother’s Day which came about in the post-Civil War era.  Father’s Day did not have as much campaign support as Mother’s Day received. The origins of Father’s Day began in a West Virginia church on July 5, 1908. The church hosted a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. The event however, was one-time tribute and not recognized as an annual holiday. The following year in Spokane, Washington a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd tried to establish Father’s Day. Dodd and her five siblings were raised by a widower.  Dodd appealed to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials for support. Dodd’s determination paid off and she was successful. On July 19th, 1910 Washington celebrated the nation’s first Father’s Day holiday. Overtime the holiday’s popularity spread across the U.S. In 1916, President Wilson pressed a button in Washington, D.C which signaled a flag to unfurl in Spokane using telegraph technology. It was his way of acknowledging Father’s Day. State governments were pressed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 to observe the holiday.

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There was a movement to replace Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with a single holiday referred to as Parents’ Day during the 1920s and 1930s. Pro-Parents’ Day groups gathered in New York City’s Central Park annually during Mother’s Day to promote the idea that parents should be celebrated as a unit. It was the Great Depression that prevented the movement from being successful.  Retailers and advertisers sought to make more money by presenting Father’s Day as a second Christmas for men through aggressive advertising of commercial goods. During World War II advertisers claimed celebrating Father’s Day was a way for Americans to show support for our troops and the war effort. The war transformed Father’s Day into a national institution though it was still not a federal holiday. It finally became a permanent national observance in 1972. Richard Nixon signed the proclamation during his presidential re-election campaign in an effort to gain more favor with the American public.  Today we celebrate Father’s Day every Sunday the third weekend in June.

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Happy May Day!

 

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May 1st, otherwise known as May Day, has been celebrated by Europeans and Americans for hundreds of years. In pre-Christian societies, May Day celebrated the rebirth and fertility that occurred during springtime. May Day celebrations originally sprang from the Roman festival honoring Floralia, the goddess of flowers. Over time May Day became a Christian-based holiday in which people would anonymously leave baskets of flowers on their neighbor’s doorsteps as a sign of goodwill and friendship.  Many European and American communities held May Day celebrations in which children danced around a tall, wooden maypole, often decorated with colorful ribbons. A maypole is visible in the photograph of a May Day celebration being held in Kalispell in 1913.

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The May Day celebrations of nature and springtime are immortalized in American poet, Ralph Waldo Emmerson’s 1914 poem entitled “May-Day and Other Pieces, Song of Nature.” Below is an excerpt from Emmerson’s “May-Day.”

“Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring

 To-day shall all her dowry bring,

The love of kind, the joy, the grace,

Hymen of element and race,

Knowing well to celebrate

 With song and hue and star and state,

With tender light and youthful cheer,

The spousals of the new-born year.

 Spring is strong and virtuous

 Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous,

Quickening underneath the mould

Grains beyond the price of gold.

 So deep and large her bounties are,

That one broad, long midsummer day

Shall to the planet overpay

The ravage of a year of war.”

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History of Arbor Day

History of Arbor Day

When pioneers J. Sterling Morton and his wife came to the Nebraska Territory in 1854 they immediately planted trees, shrubs, and other vegetation in their new home. Morton became the editor at one of Nebraska’s best newspapers. He used his employment as a journalist to educate and encourage the public about trees. Morton was originally from Detroit and he along with other pioneers missed seeing trees on the landscape. Besides aesthetic benefits, tees were also useful as windbreaks to stabilize soil, for fuel and building materials, and as a source of shade from the sun. Morton advised not only individuals to plant trees, but also civic organizations to take part in planting trees. Morton wielded more legitimacy and respect when he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory. He used this opportunity to continue to emphasize the value of trees.

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During January 4th, 1872 Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The holiday was to be called “Arbor Day.” The holiday was to be held on April 10, 1872. To promote the new holiday prizes were given to counties and individuals for planting the largest number of trees on that day. On the first Arbor Day in Nebraska it is believed that more than one million trees were planted.  After the territory became recognized as a state, Governor Robert W. Furnas declared Arbor Day a holiday on March 12, 1874. It was celebrated on April 10, 1874. Arbor Day was declared a legal holiday in 1885 and Morton’s birthday, April 22nd, was named a day of observance.  The April 1885 celebration of Arbor Day included a parade and a speech by J. Sterling Morton. In Nebraska City students went to school and each grade planted at least one tree for the students to take care of. After the mass planting, the students led a parade from there schools to the opera house. The children waved banners and the closer the children got to the opera house the townspeople joined the march. The festivities celebrating the first legal holiday of Arbor Day ended with a speech from Morton.

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In the 1870s states across the U.S. passed legislation to observe Arbor Day. The last Friday of April is the most common day to celebrate Arbor Day, but it can vary across the country to coincide with the best tree planting weather. In Montana it is celebrated on the last Friday in April.

Click on the link to learn about Arbor Day in Montana.

https://www.arborday.org/states/state.cfm?state=MT

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Happy Birthday Jefferson!

In celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s April 13th Birthday our HMFM interns wrote a short biography and found Jefferson within the HMFM Collections.

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On April 13, 1743 at Shadwell, Virginia Thomas Jefferson was born. Thomas Jefferson would grow up to be one of the most influential people in the making of America. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, the founder of the University of Virginia, and the third president of the United States (1801-1809).

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Jefferson was known as an “arm chair” adventurer because of his interest in the frontier. Jefferson desired for the social and economic structure of the United States to be built upon small agricultural farmers. He saw the west as an opportunity for the new country to expand the land available for farming. In 1803 President Jefferson signed the Louisiana Purchase with France. The Louisiana Purchase was a land deal where the U.S. bought 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million dollars. Napoleon had originally wanted to restore French power in the New World, but his plans were going to rot. A slave and free black rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue (Haiti) required Napoleon to send the French army to quell the uprising. The French army suffered heavily losses from yellow fever. Napoleon also feared that a war with Britain was on the horizon.

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After acquiring the large parcel of land, Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Northwest Territory. Jefferson wanted the men to discover a transcontinental route and identify the natural resources. Jefferson chose Meriwether Lewis because of his knowledge of the military and frontier. Lewis and Jefferson also were family friends and former neighbors. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left in 1804 with 45 men to paddle the Missouri River, traverse the Rocky Mountains, and from the Columbia River they saw the Pacific Ocean by November 1805. The men returned to St. Louis in September 1806 and they brought with them information about the native people, plants and animals, and geography.

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At the end of his life, Jefferson wanted his tomb to state what he had given to the people and not what the people had given to him. And so on his epitaph it states:

HERE WAS BURIED
THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE
DECLARATION
OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE
STATUTE OF VIRGINIA
FOR
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743 O.S. DIED JULY 4. 1826

On April 13, 1743 at Shadwell, Virginia Thomas Jefferson was born. Thomas Jefferson would grow up to be one of the most influential people in the making of America. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, the founder of the University of Virginia, and the third president of the United States (1801-1809).

Jefferson was known as an “arm chair” adventurer because of his interest in the frontier. Jefferson desired for the social and economic structure of the United States to be built upon small agricultural farmers. He saw the west as an opportunity for the new country to expand the land available for farming. In 1803 President Jefferson signed the Louisiana Purchase with France. The Louisiana Purchase was a land deal where the U.S. bought 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million dollars. Napoleon had originally wanted to restore French power in the New World, but his plans were going to rot. A slave and free black rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue (Haiti) required Napoleon to send the French army to quell the uprising. The French army suffered heavily losses from yellow fever. Napoleon also feared that a war with Britain was on the horizon.

After acquiring the large parcel of land, Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Northwest Territory. Jefferson wanted the men to discover a transcontinental route and identify the natural resources. Jefferson chose Meriwether Lewis because of his knowledge of the military and frontier. Lewis and Jefferson also were family friends and former neighbors. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left in 1804 with 45 men to paddle the Missouri River, traverse the Rocky Mountains, and from the Columbia River they saw the Pacific Ocean by November 1805. The men returned to St. Louis in September 1806 and they brought with them information about the native people, plants and animals, and geography.

 

At the end of his life, Jefferson wanted his tomb to state what he had given to the people and not what the people had given to him. And so on his epitaph it states:

HERE WAS BURIED
THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE
DECLARATION
OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE
STATUTE OF VIRGINIA
FOR
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743 O.S. DIED JULY 4. 1826

Thomas Jefferson’s role in the early develop of United States resulted in lasting effects because the Declaration of Independence declared the 13 colonies a free and independent country which we still are today. Here in Montana we can still see evidence of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. The Lewis and Clark expedition toured through the future Montana territory and across the state there are monuments and places named after the men. The Lewis and Clark expedition began the movement of the American people westward. The fur trappers first led westward expansion, but the discovery of precious metals and the Homestead Act quickly increased the number of white settlers as they sought to complete Manifest Destiny.

http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/thomas-jefferson-brief-biography

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House Call

Many of us take for granted the ease in which we can receive medical care in modern times. We can easily schedule an appointment at the doctor’s office and receive the care we need. If we have more urgent medical needs, there is urgent care or the emergency room. If it is an emergency an ambulance can pick up can get you to a hospital within minutes. However, the idea that ill people should travel to a doctor’s office or hospital is a relatively new idea. As late as the 1970s, a doctor traveling to private homes was a popular way to receive medical care. Due to the need for specialization in the medical field, house calls quickly became a thing of the past.
During the 19th century most medical needs were met by doctors coming into private homes. While a few doctors had private offices, and hospitals did exist, most people in the 19th century lived in rural settings and it was simply easier sending for a doctor. Hospitals at the time were often very dirty and many people knew of dieses being spread there. Doctors were often called for a variety of reasons and had to have knowledge in countless areas of medicine. People would query doctors about tooth aches, stomach problems, broken bones, and many more issues. Because of the wide variety of problems doctors had to deal with they would have to carry as many medications as they could. Since they usually rode a horse or a buggy to the private home, they were usually limited to a single doctor’s bag like the one pictured below. These bags would carry anything from aspirin to chloroform in case surgery was needed.

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Doctors bag

House calls for physicians remained popular into the 20th century. By 1930 nearly 30% of all doctor-patients interactions were via house calls. As medicine advanced and doctors began to specialize in certain areas, house calls became rarer. By 1980 only about 1% of doctor-patient interactions were through house calls. There has been a slight surge in house calls the past ten years, but with many doctors needing large machines and instruments to do their jobs, house calls are considered a thing of the past.

Gas-mask

Gas Masks

With the onset of World War II many world leaders were concerned about chemical warfare becoming a factor in in the war. This fear led to massive manufacturing and distribution of various types of gas masks. The anxiety of chemical warfare came from World War I when tens of thousands of tons of deadly chemicals were used to gain an edge in the fighting. An estimated 1.4 million people were killed by these deadly attacks, many of them being civilians.

British Civilians during World War II

British Civilians during World War II

Once World War II had begun, many countries handed out gas masks to civilians. Every British civilian was issued a gas mask for fear that Germany would perpetrate a chemical attack. Many civilians in countries like France, Australia, and the United States were issued gas masks as well. The gas mask in the picture below was a standard issue civilian gas mask in the United States; many other countries used this model to protect their citizens against chemical attacks, as well.

A MIA2-1-1 Civilian Gas Mask

A MIA2-1-1 Civilian Gas Mask

There is one major problem in gas masks from this time period; many use a filtration system that has asbestos in it. Asbestos is a material that is known to cause mesothelioma and is a very dangerous substance. Ten percent of workers in gas mask facilities during World War II would eventually succumb to mesothelioma. A tragic irony of history, the gas masks designed to save lives could actually take them away.