Montana Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Montana sil.png
the Montana Family History Research series.
History of Montana
Montana Vital Records
Census Records for Montana
Background Sources for Montana
Montana Maps
Montana Land Records
Montana Probate Records
Montana Court Records
Montana Tax Records
Montana Cemetery Records
Montana Church Records
Montana Military Records
Montana Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Montana Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Montana Immigration
Montana Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Montana
Montana County Resources
Map of Montana


Montana: The Magazine of Western History is published quarterly by the Montana Historical Society. Available through the society are two published volumes of indexes to their magazine, one covering 1951 to 1990 and the other 1991 to 2000.

An important but defunct publication is Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana with its Transactions, published irregularly between 1876 and 1940. Copies are available at the Montana Historical Society. It is an excellent source of history and genealogy. An excellent source for information on newspapers, city and county records, cemetery records, church records, military records, and indexes to local histories and other books, magazines, and newsletters is The Montana Historical and Genealogical Data Index, which was compiled by Paulette Parpart and Donald Spritzer. The best way to access the numerous local historical and genealogical periodicals published in Montana is through the Montana State Genealogical Society's website.


The Montana Historical Society has the largest collection of newspapers in the state. The guide to the collection is A Union List of Montana Newspapers in Montana Repositories, which also covers other libraries in the state. Many newspapers are on microfilm at Montana State University and the University of Montana. Links to Montana newspapers can be accessed through the Montana GenWeb Project and the website The Montana Historical Society provides a comprehensive index to obituaries from Montana newspapers (1864'1900). However, indexes after 1900 are not complete.


Since 1865 the Montana Historical Society has collected manuscripts for the state and other areas. Manuscripts cover areas such as agriculture, banking, early exploration, fur trading, government, the military, mining, and Native Americans, and can be accessed through its own database or the National Union Catalog of Manuscripts.

Other repositories with important manuscripts are the following: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, P.O. Box 81, 17 W. Quartz St., Butte, MT 59703 which houses both municipal and private papers and records concerning Butte; the Cascade County Society and Archives, Paris Gibson Sq., 1400 1st Ave., North Great Falls, MT 59401; and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Bldg. 322, Fort Missoula, MT 59801.