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Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park

Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park

Dates: 1872 September 20

Materials include a four-page letter written from Helena, Montana, by Philip M. Crapo to his sister relating his visit to Yellowstone National Park just months after the area was officially made a national park. Crapo was one of the approximately 300 persons who visited the park in its first year. He describes many of the thermal features, falls of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River canyon, and other scenery of the park that he saw in his visit. Dated September 20, 1872.

  • Extent: 1 folder (0.01 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Crapo, Philip Madison, 1844-1903
  • Call Number: MSS 8411
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 8411; Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park; 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 8411, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Purchased from Buckingham Books (Pennsylvania) in 2014.
Acquisition Information
Purchased; Buckingham Books (Pennsylvania); March 2014.
Subject Terms
Crapo, Philip Madison, 1844-1903--Correspondence; Geysers; Material Types; Yellowstone National Park--Description and travel
Genre / Form
Processing Information
Processed; Ryan K. Lee; 2014.
Appraisal Information
Utah and Western American environmental history (19th Century Mormon and Western manuscripts collection development policy, 1 V., November 2013.)
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Crapo (Philip Madison) letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Ryan K. Lee
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-03-30T04:17-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Philip Madison Crapo (1844-1903) was a Civil War veteran and businessman in Iowa.

Philip Madison Crapo was born June 30, 1844 in Freetown, Massachusetts, to Philip and Hannah Crapo. He grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and acquired a good education at the common and high schools in the area. When he was eighteen years old, Crapo enlisted as a soldier for the Union Army and fought in the Civil War in North Carolina. After the war, he moved to Flint, Michigan to begin a business as a civil engineer. In 1868, Crapo moved to Burlington, Iowa as an agent for the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, eventually being in charge of the company's business over the entire states of Iowa and Nebraska. On September 6, 1870 he married Ruth A. Ray in Burlington, and they had seven children together.

In 1872 Crapo joined an expedition to explore areas of the western United States, including the newly minted Yellowstone National Park, making him one of the approximately 300 visitors to the park in its first year.

In Burlington, Crapo was involved in several interests for the city. He was president of the Burlington & Illinois Bridge Company which helped to build a wagon bridge alongside the railroad bridge over the Mississippi River. He held many prominent positions in the community, including president of the Burlington board of trade, president of the Burlington & Henderson County Ferry Company, president of the Burlington Commercial Club, a trustee of the city for the ferry franchise, trustee of the public library, and a trustee of the Congregational church. Crapo was instrumental in the building of the city's public library and Crapo Park. He was also an advocate for Civil War veterans, helping to establish the Iowa Soldier's Home at Marshalltown. Politically active as well, Crapo was nominated to be a State senator, and in 1887 was even mentioned for the office of governor.

Crapo died on September 20, 1903.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts