Montana Historical Society

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Montana: Stories of the Land

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Chapter 15 - Progressive Montana, 1900-1924

Learning From Historical Documents

Testimony from Hum Fay. Hum Fay, et al. vs. Baldwin, et al. records, 1898. Manuscript Collection 43. [box 1 folder 3]. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.

Context for Hum Fay's Testimony:

Chinese communities grew in Butte, Helena, and throughout the United States as an urban residual of the mining frontier. Many Chinese worked discarded mines with profitable patience, served in countless domestic capacities, and opened businesses of their own. As their communities grew, white neighbors sometimes grew fearful and unfriendly. In Butte, opposition took the form of a union boycott of Chinese businesses. Hum Fay, who owned the Palace Restaurant in Butte, responded with a law suit, which ultimately ended the boycott but not the prejudice that sparked it.

About Primary Sources:

Letters, diary entries, census records, newspapers, and photographs are all examples of "primary sources," material created at a particular moment in the past that has survived into the present. Primary sources can provide clues to the past. They are our windows into an earlier time. The Montana Historical Society contains thousands of primary sources. The above item from the Society's collection relates directly to this chapter.

Toilet car in Butte mine
Toilet car in the 2211 sill, Butte mine, ca. 1910, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives Lot 8 Box 1/9.02
ready to blast
Ready to blast 1900 feet under the Butte Post Office, photo by N. A. Forsyth, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives Stereograph Coll.