Gateway to Montana's Artistic Legacy

Exhibit Archives

The Call of the Mountains
The Artists of Glacier National Park
June 27 to October 12, 2002

Napi, by Charles M. Russell
by Charles M. Russell
Trails End Collection
Sign Talkers

Popular authors of the early Twentieth Century like Frank Bird Linderman, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and James Willard Schultz turned their experiences around the Glacier National Park area into best-sellers. Other writers like Agnes Laut and James Whilt were inspired to poetry, or wrote histories of the Northern Rockies.

Frank Bird Linderman (1869 - 1938) Frank Bird Linderman arrived in the Flathead Valley in March 1885 at the age of sixteen. He made a living for seven years as a trapper and guide in the Flathead and Swan Valleys before becoming assayer at the Curlew mine, south of Missoula. He married Minnie Jane Johns in 1893, and settled in Sheridan, Montana running an assay office. Six years later he bought the Sheridan Chinook newspaper, and his writing career began. 
Linderman had political ambitions and was elected to the State Legislature in 1903 and 1905. In 1905, he moved to Helena, after being appointed Assistant Secretary of State, and resided there for the next twelve years. 
Linderman became friendly with many local Native leaders, including Rocky Boy (Stone Child) of the Chippewa, and Little Bear of the Cree. Originally migrating to the northern plains from the Canadian Great Lakes, the Chippewa and Cree had been left out of the reservation process and many became squatters on any open land they could find. In 1908, Linderman met with many influential Montanans, including Senator Paris Gibson, and artist Charlie Russell to advocate the idea of creating a reservation for these wandering, dispossessed people. Writing almost five hundred letters and telegrams over a ten-year period to support his cause, Linderman used his political influence to persuade the legislature. In 1916, his ceaseless campaign culminated in the creation of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation near Havre, Montana. 
Linderman had always been intrigued with Indian culture and, partly inspired by George Bird Grinnell, he became totally immersed in their legends, customs. and beliefs. In Sentember 1915, Charles Scribner's Sons released Linderman's Indian Why Stories, a collection of Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree legends retold by a fictional character named War Eagle, molded after Chippewa leader, Chief Penneto. Dedicated to his friends Grinnell and Russell, it was illustrated by Charlie Russell himself! The book was warmly received by the public, and wildly popular with children. Linderman went on to write numerous volumes on Indian subjects. Through an interpreter, Linderman interviewed Chief Plenty-Coups on the Crow Reservation. In 1931, the John Day Company published Linderman's American; The Life and Story of a Great Indian, Plenty-Coups, Chief of the Crows, of the most powerful and revealing hooks ever written on the Plains Indians. Plenty-Coups gave Linderman the name "Sign-Talker." 
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Glacier National Park, Linderman was chosen by the Great Northern Railway to write the text for a book introducing the magnificent Blackfeet portraits by Winold Reiss. In the afterword, Linderman himself is profiled: "(his) Blackfeet name is Iron Tooth ... The old Kootenai called him Bird Singer, and the Crees and Chippewa called him Sings Like A Bird ..." 
Although historically important, Linderman's books had limited commercial success. He lamented, "The critics all praise my books, but the public won't buy them...." Frank Bird Linderman would be pleased to know that many of his books are still in print today, and are enjoyed by western history enthusiasts around the world.

James Willard Schultz (1851 - 1947) James Willard Schultz was born in Boonville, New York in 1859. As a youth he developed a passion for the outdoors, spending much of his time in the Adirondacks. Following his junior year at the Peekskill Military Academy on the Hudson River, Schultz traveled to St. Louis to visit his uncle. He eagerly listened to tales of adventure spun by riverboat crews returning from the West. Fascinated by their stories of Montana's wilderness, Schultz booked passage and headed up the Missouri for Fort Benton. 
Shortly after he arrived, Schultz met Joseph Kipp, an early settler of the region and well-known prospector, trader, army scout, and rancher. Kipp took the young easterner under his wing. While spending the next several years with Kipp and his Blackfeet in-laws, Shultz kept details of his experiences in Montana. Chief Running Crane gave him the name "Apikuni." Kipp's wife, Double Strike Woman, arranged the marriage between fifteen year old Fine Shield Woman and James Willard Schultz. 
Fine Shield Woman bore his first son, Hart Merriam Schultz, who later became a famous artist using his Blackfeet name Lone Wolf. From his earliest days as a hunting guide James was known as a gifted storyteller, and some of his adventures with Eastern clients found their way into print in a book called Sport Among The Rockies. After the sudden death of Fine Shield Woman from heart disease, Schultz agreed to take Ralph Pulitzer, the son of the famous journalist, on a hunting trip where they illegally shot four bighorn rams. Pulitzer was fined, and Schultz fled the state. Drifting, he spent time in Arizona where he wrote his most famous work My Life As An Indian, using the pen name W. B. Anderson. The book was first serialized in Field and Stream, and published in 1907 with photographs by George Bird Grinnell. He settled in California and worked for the L.A. Times as a literary editor. 
His popularity continued to increase, and in 1914, Schultz made the decision to return to Montana. With his new prominence, he was somewhat of a celebrity. Each summer, beginning in 1915, Schulz and his wife were brought by the Great Northern Railway from Southern California and given lodging in the Park. In an effort to bring further national attention to the area, Schultz engaged some of his Blackfeet friends to visit important sites in Glacier. Photographer Roland Reed accompanied the party and shot dramatic images of the Blackfeet amidst spectacular settings. Schultz used Reed's photographs to illustrate the resulting book Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park, which chronicled Native legends and was dedicated to Louis Hill, the president of the railroad. 
Although Schultz had little formal education, he proved to be a prolific writer, often finishing two or three books a year. It is estimated that since 1911, over 2 million copies of his books had been printed, with My Life As An Indian accounting for nearly 500,000 of the total number. In addition to the 37 books published in his lifetime, four other manuscripts were published posthumously. 
One of Schultz's greatest accomplishments was his leadership of The Indian Welfare League, an organization that struggled to attain full citizenship for all Native Americans. Schultz's writings remain popular today. The James Willard Schultz Society, founded in 1976, publishes a quarterly and holds its conventions in Glacier National Park. Schultz brought to the American people compelling narratives of the Blackfeet, written with the compassion and understanding that could only come from his own experience.

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) Mary Roberts Rinehart was one of the most famous mystery writers in America when she wrote Through Glacier Park in 1916. The Man in Lower Ten (1906) and The Circular Staircase (1907) are among the earliest works by an American author still in print. Through Glacier Park was a departure from her suspenseful style. Sprinkled with photographs, it documented her 300-mile horseback trip across Glacier National Park led by the famous dude rancher, Howard Eaton. At first, Rinehart was somewhat averse to traveling with Eaton and his dudes, but her days in Glacier proved to be a wonderful experience. 
In 1918 she penned a sequel, Tenting To-Night. It showcased images of the Park by several photographers, including Ted Marble and Fred Kiser. Rinehart's enthusiasm for Glacier National Park was noticed by Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway, and she was commissioned to write introductions for their brochures.

An Appreciation of Glacier National Park
If you are normal and philosophical, if you love your country, if you are willing to learn how little you count in the eternal scheme of things, go ride in the Rocky Mountains and save your soul. There are no "Keep off the Grass" signs in Glacier National Park. It is the wildest part of America. If the Government had not preserved it, it would have preserved itself but you and I would not have seen it. It is perhaps the most unique of all our parks, as it is undoubtedly the most magnificent. Seen from an automobile or a horse, Glacier National Park is a good place to visit. 
Here the Rocky Mountains run northwest and southeast, and in their glacier carved basins are great spaces; cool shadowy depths in which lie blue lakes; mountain-sides threaded with white, where, from some hidden lake or glacier far above, the overflow falls a thousand feet or more, and over all the great silence of the Rockies. 
Here nerves that have been tightened for years slowly relax. 
Here is the last home of a vanishing race - the Blackfeet Indians. Here is the last stand of the Rocky Mountain sheep and the Rocky Mountain goal; here are elk, deer, black and grizzly bears, and mountain lions. Here are trails that follow the old game trails along the mountainside; here are meadows of June roses, forget-me-not, larkspur, and Indian paintbrush growing beside glaciers, snowfields and trails of a beauty to make you gasp. Here and there a trail leads through a snowfield; the hot sun seems to make no impression on these glacier-like patches. Flowers grow at their very borders, striped squirrels and whistling marmots run about, quite fearless, or sit up and watch the passing of horses and riders so close they can almost be touched. 
The call of the mountains is a real call. 
Throw off the impedimenta of civilization. Go out to the West and ride the mountain trails. 
Throw out your chest and breathe-look across green valleys to wild peaks where mountain sheep stand impassive on the edge of space. Then the mountains will get you. You will go back. The call is a real call. I have traveled a great deal of Europe. The Alps have never held this lure for me. Perhaps it is because these mountains are my own-in my own country. 
Cities call - I have heard them. But there is no voice in all the world so insistent to me as the wordless call of these mountains. I shall go back. Those who go once always hope to go back. The lure of the great free spaces is in their blood

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Agnes Laut (1871-1936) Agnes Laut was a Canadian author. 
One of her best known early works was the historical novel, Pathfinders of the West: The Thrilling Story of The Adventures of The Men Who Discovered The Great Northwest-Radisson, La Verendrye, Lewis and Clark (1904), featuring illustrations by Philip R. Goodwin, John Marchand and Frederic Remington. In 1925, the president of the Great Northern Railway, Ralph Budd, invited Agnes Laut and other notables to join the upper Missouri Historical Expedition. Beginning in St. Paul, the expedition was a celebration of the railroad's influence on the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountain region. This expedition was the inspiration for two books by Laut, Blazed Trail of the Old Frontier and Enchanted Trails of Glacier Park which featured human-interest stories by James Willard Schultz, illustrations by artists Charles M. Russell and John Clarke, plus photographs by Roland Reed.

James Whilt was a popular poet who wrote at least three volumes about Glacier National Park and it's environs; Rhymes of the Rockies, Mountain Memories, and Giggles from Glacier Guides. His poem about the North Fork of the Flathead River is on display in Call of the Mountains.

Hockaday Museum of Art  
302 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, Montana, 59901

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