Evelyn Cameron Diaries
Published by Montana Historical Society Research Center
Evelyn J. Cameron was a pioneer photographer and rancher in eastern Montana. Originally from England, she moved to Montana with her husband Ewen in 1893. Evelyn kept extensive diaries from 1893 until her death in 1928. The diaries (35 in total) presented here chronicle her daily life including books she read, chores, lists of letters written and received, local and national events, photographs taken, social activities, verbatim copies of special letters, and weather. The diaries also include innumerable tidbits of information that reveal the fabric of her life and by extension that of many women in eastern Montana at the time. For instance, her diaries include the number of eggs gathered and chickens killed per month; notes on the amount of butter she churned; methods of skinning a coyote and breaking a horse; accounts of money made from her photos and garden produce; lists of supplies; and Evelyn's favorite poems and quotes. In order to make ends meet, Evelyn also became an accomplished photographer, working for hire for local families wanting to record special events. Her images capture the surprising ethnic and cultural diversity that marked life in the Terry, Montana area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The diaries record when and where she took images, for whom, why and on what occasions, and what her thoughts were at the time. Taken together the images and diaries provide wonderful insights into the life of early eastern Montana ranch families.
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