Thomas Wallis Huidekoper (1870 - 1956)

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Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: Died in Big Timber, Sweet Grass County, Montana, United States
Managed by: Elizabeth-Gaye Jeans
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About Thomas Wallis Huidekoper

Click here to find information about Thomas Wallis Huidekoper and his relationship with Montana State University.

Wallis Huidekoper was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on February 2, 1870. His father was Henry Shippen Huidekoper, a Major General in the Pennsylvania National Guard and a former Philadelphia postmaster. As a sixteen-year-old, Wallis spent a summer vacation on his cousin A.C. Huidekoper's ranch in North Dakota. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1891, Huidekoper returned to his cousin's ranch, where he worked as a horse wrangler. In 1906 he left the North Dakota ranch and bought a ranch on the eastern slope of the Crazy Mountains in Montana. This ranch eventually grew to 33,280 acres on the American Fork of the Musselshell River. Huidekoper served in Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War. During World War I, he served in the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In addition to his ranching and military careers, Huidekoper was a book collector, a historical writer, and a collector of Charles M. Russell art. He donated his "little ranch," a 110 acre operation near Big Timber, Montana, to Montana State College (presently Montana State University) in 1956, intending it to be for the use of the Veterinary Research Laboratory. In early 1957 a collection of about 275 volumes from Huidekoper's personal library were transferred to the MSC library. Wallis Huidekoper married Lillian Porter O'Brian in September 1906. She died in 1952 and he died October 26, 1956.

 

Content Description Note: The collection consists of materials gathered by Professor Merrill G. Burlingame and Montana State University library personnel from documents gathered independently or found laid in the various books donated by Wallis Huidekoper in 1957. These materials include a selection of letters exchanged between Dr. Merrill G. Burlingame and Wallis Huidekoper regarding the editing of an oral history interview conducted in 1954, a 1929 letter from Edward Douglas Branch thanking Huidekoper for his favorable comments on The Hunting of the Buffalo (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1929) and a 1938 letter from Martin S. Garretson, again thanking Huidekoper for favorable comments on his book, The American Bison (New York: New York Zoological Society, 1938). Of interest in the Garretson letter is an anecdote concerning the observation of a bison herd in the Oklahoma panhandle during the summer of 1884. The collection also includes three consecutively edited versions of an oral history interview with Huidekoper conducted by Elizabeth DeFrate and Merrill G. Burlingame on July 26, 1954 and transcribed from an audio tape which appears to have been lost. A typed bibliography of Huidekoper's articles, along with two original manuscripts he wrote concerning artist Charles M. Russell has been placed in a separate folder. Three folders of printed material consist of brochures and pamphlets written by or pertaining to Huidekoper' father, Henry Shippen Huidekoper and newspaper clippings pertaining to historic sites in the Germantown, Pennsylvania area, Wallis Huidekoper, Theodore Roosevelt, and ranching in North Dakota and Montana. Six photographs of North Dakota badlands residents ca. 1880s and the Huidekoper ranch near Big Timber, Montana, ca. 1956, complete the collection.

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Thomas Huidekoper's Timeline

1870
February 2, 1870
Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
1956
October 25, 1956
Age 86
Big Timber, Sweet Grass County, Montana, United States
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Big Timber, Sweet Grass, Montana, United States