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University of Montana - Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library

CPC Catalog > Organization: University of Montana - Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library

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32 Campus Drive 
Missoula, MT 59812


The Mansfield Library, the premier research library in Montana, facilitates the intellectual and creative pursuits of all members of the University of Montana community and supports their information, education and cultural development as global citizens.


Joseph M. Dixon Papers 1772-1944

Note that this is an incomplete collections list. Please contact the organization directly for the most current information about their holdings.

Joseph M. Dixon Papers 1772-1944

Dixon, Joseph M. (Joseph Moore), 1867-1934. Lawyer, of Missoula, Mont., and U.S. Representative and Senator. Born in Snow Camp, N.C., in 1867, Joseph Moore Dixon moved to Missoula, Mont., at the age of twenty-four to read law. He was admitted to the Montana bar in 1892 and became involved with Republican politics. Dixon was elected to the Montana legislature in 1900 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1902 and 1904. While in the House, he introduced and passed the bill that opened the Flathead Indian Reservation to white settlement. In 1906 the Montana legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate. There, he dealt with issues of interstate tariffs and unequal rail freight charges. In 1912 he headed Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party and was defeated in his bid for popular election to the U.S. Senate. After Roosevelt's defeat, Dixon retreated to Missoula to focus on his law practice and business affairs. His businesses were considerable. In 1900 he acquired a controlling interest in the Missoulian, Missoula's Republican newspaper. Between 1912 and 1917, when the paper was sold, he was vitally involved with the paper's editorial policy. He was also involved in real estate and owned a dairy and a farm and had mining interests. In 1919 Dixon ran for governor against Burton K. Wheeler, was elected, and served one term. While in office, he dealt with the beginnings of drought and agricultural depression in the state, a large deficit, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and its control of the state, the state's system of taxation, and the need for administrative reform. Throughout his tenure, he endured unrelenting attacks from the Anaconda Copper Mining Company-owned press and other company allies. Those attacks were perhaps most intense over the investigation of allegations of maladministration and misuse of state funds by Montana State Prison warden Frank Conley. Dixon was not re-elected in 1924, losing to Democrat John E. Erickson. He returned to Missoula and his ranch and increased his real estate holdings in Missoula. In 1929 Moore was appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Interior and in 1930 he became vitally involved with a project to develop water power on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with its accompanying complex network of water rights. Joseph Moore Dixon died in May 1934.

Correspondence files, legal documents, financial records, campaign/political materials, photographs, and personal affects of Joseph M. Dixon, with particular representation from his public service as U.S. representative and senator and Montana governor, as well as a national leader in the Republican and Bull Moose parties. Papers provide insights into Dixon's personal life, private political opinions and strategies, professional (both political and business) relationships, and actions on behalf of the early twentieth century's Progressive movement. Correspondents include Dixon's wife, Caroline, and other family members, as well as prominent Montana and national political figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Topics include Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Presidential campaign; the progressive/Bull Moose movement in Montana; changes in Montana and national Republican-Democratic Party dynamics resulting from the progressive movement; and Dixon's role in promoting early twentieth century natural and cultural resource conservation ideals, including federal land set-asides, massive irrigation/hydro-electric projects, species preservation, and American Indian assimilation and termination of tribal trust responsibilities.

70 linear ft

Presidential content includes:

- Calvin Coolidge

- William Taft

- Theodore Roosevelt

- Warren G. Harding

- Herbert Hoover

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