Washington J. McCormick, Jr. was born in Missoula, Montana in 1884. He became an influential attorney and politician. He attended public schools in Missoula, as well as the University of Montana. McCormick continued his education at Notre Dame and Harvard, and received his J.D. degree from Columbia University in New York City.
Washington McCormick, Jr. established his first law practice in Missoula, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. His political ambitions took him to Helena, Montana, and Washington, D.C. for short periods. McCormick was in the Montana State Legislature from 1919 to 1921, followed by a term in the United States House of Representatives from 1921 to 1923. Besides working for the interests of his constituents, one of McCormick’s personal goals in Congress was the adoption of an official American language.
Later in life McCormick used his vast knowledge of Montana history to write short stories about the people, culture, and politics of the region. Some were published in local newspapers, but the majority were intended for only friends and family. A group of his short stories was published around 1980 under the title Colors From An Old Montana Sluice Box by the Friends of the University of Montana Library. Always interested in preserving local history, McCormick allowed his family ranch at Fort Owen (Stevensville, Montana) to become a state park. He also tried to move Fort Missoula’s records to the University of Montana for preservation after the base became inactive.
McCormick married Edna Fox in 1915 and they had three children, including Washington McCormick III who died in 1932. McCormick was later married to Cora Quast, who made efforts to publish his works posthumously. Washington McCormick, Jr. died on March 7, 1949 in Missoula at the age of 65.
The collection contains documents from the last years of Washington McCormick, Jr.’s life. The majority consists of his short stories. A few were published in newspapers, but many of these were simply read aloud at family gatherings. Also included in the collection are several pieces of correspondence between McCormick and his friends, newspaper clippings and an essay about the McCormick family genealogy.
The paper materials include the short stories published as Colors from an Old Sluice Box and filmed on microfilm as well as a few other stories, poems and a few factual stories about the Bitterroot and Flathead areas of Montana.
Restrictions on Access :
Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.Restrictions on Use :
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright status unknown.Preferred Citation :
[Name of document or photograph number], Washington J. McCormick, Jr. Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.
The collection is arranged in five series. The majority of the collection is on microfilm; paper materials are part of the second series:
Series I: Correspondence, circa 1940-1948
Series II: Speeches and Writings, circa 1940-1948
Series III: Newspaper Clippings, 1932-1957
Series IV: Miscellaneous, circa 1949
Series V: Biographical, undated
Detailed Description of the Collection
These microfilm frames include three pieces of correspondence between McCormick and friends pertaining to his writings. Two of the three are letters requesting copies of specific stories.
The microfilm part of this series consists of sixteen short stories written by Washington McCormick, Jr. The last seven of these are grouped together under the title Colors from an Old Sluice Box.
The original (paper) materials include the short stories published as Colors from an Old Sluice Box as well as other stories, poems and a few factual stories about the Bitterroot and Flathead areas of Montana. The original (paper) materials in this collection have been described (listed) at the folder level.
These microfilm frames include newspaper clippings that relate to Washington McCormick, Jr. One of these, published in 1957, discusses the transfer of McCormick’s Fort Owen ranch property to the State of Montana for preservation.
These microfilm frames include several items that pertain to McCormick’s death. A register signed by all who attended his funeral is in the collection, as well as notes from the Montana Bar Association’s tribute. A limited amount of financial information is also included.
These microfilm frames include an essay by an unknown author about the history of the family name McCormick. It details the genealogy of the family for several centuries, and provides brief biographies for the family’s more noteworthy members.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.