Montana State University Library’s grant project used MHF funds to facilitate increased scholarship into the historical weather conditions that influenced Ivan Doig’s literature. They focused on collecting oral histories of local ranchers and contemporaries of Ivan Doig about local cultural and meteorological conditions they experienced. It also included interviews with academic and scientific experts such as meteorologists, geographers and historians. The Library edited and archived at least ten interviews into short, audio postcards.
Weather has been historically formative for Montanans along the Rocky Mountain Front since it was settled by pioneers in the 19th century—and even earlier for Montana’s indigenous populations. The area’s unforgiving winters made travel difficult for homesteaders, often separating families. In some cases, these conditions drove even hearty settlers to retreat from ranching life altogether. While Montana summers were celebrated, they brought with them their own challenges such as thunderstorms and fire seasons.