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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #10070

Title: Usher L. Burdick Papers

Dates: 1870-1958

Collection Number: 10070

Quantity: 11.5 ft. and oversize

Abstract: Papers consist of manuscript copies of articles written by Burdick, entitled "The Last Battle of the Sioux Nation," and "The Murder Trial of Antoinne De Vallombrosa, Marquis de Mores," a bibliographical sketch of John Leach, notes and drawings concerning the Battle of the Little Big Horn, speeches; newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, scrapbooks "Your Congressman Comments;" and copies of House bills introduced by Burdick, who served as Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota (1911-1912) and member of the United States House of Representatives (1935-1945).

Provenance: The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Usher L. Burdick Papers as a gift from Eugene Burdick, Jennifer Burdick, Jan Mary Hill, and Reverend Denis Fornier (OSB, Assumption Abbey Archives) in July 1996.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements are needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Transfer: Photographs were transferred to the Photo Archives, and are located in the Burdick, Usher Lloyd (E0138) and Burdick, Usher Lloyd (Collection)(00049).


Usher Lloyd Burdick was born February 21, 1879, at Owatonna, Steele County, Minnesota, to Ozias Perry Warren Burdick and Lucy Farnum. Usher’s father Ozias was born near Montpelier, Vermont, in 1831; a millwright, he moved to Wisconsin and then to Plainview, Minnesota, in 1862. The following year, he enlisted in First Minnesota Artillery and fought in the siege of Vicksburg and in the Shenandoah campaign in 1865. He returned home to Owatonna, then homesteaded in Graham's Island, near Devils Lake, Dakota Territory in 1882. Usher’s mother, Lucy Farnum, was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, and moved to Sparta, Wisconsin as a child with her parents. It was there that she married Ozias Burdick. The couple had six children, Usher was the youngest.

Usher L. Burdick attended Graham's Island (Dakota Territory/North Dakota) public schools, and earned a Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) from Mayville State Teachers' College in 1900. Burdick was deputy superintendent of schools of Benson County, North Dakota, from 1900-1902, and earned a Bachelor of Law from the University of Minnesota in 1904, teaching school in a business college while attending the university. He also played football for the University of Minnesota. Burdick was admitted to the bar in 1904 and commenced practice in Munich, North Dakota.

Burdick married Emma Rasmussen Robertson of Northwood, Iowa, September 5, 1901. Usher and Emma attended Mayville State at the same time, received their Ph.B. degrees together, and she earned a B.A. at University of Minnesota. Usher and Emma had three children: Quentin Northrop Burdick, Eugene Allan Burdick, and Eileen Rosemary (Mrs. Bob Levering, Ohio). They also had two grandchildren: Roberta and Usher Levering. They divorced in 1921. In 1927, Burdick married Helen Clark, they later divorced. Subsequently, Burdick married Edna Leavitt Bryant in 1955; she died as a result of an accident while horseback riding. Finally, he married Jean R. Rogers in 1958. She died in 1961, one year after Usher.

Throughout his lifetime, Usher L. Burdick engaged in many types of work, including the following positions: raising sheep (1888); teaching rural school and working as deputy county superintendent of schools (Benson County) (1901); practicing law in Hampden and Munich, and banking in Munich (1904); cattle ranching (1905); serving as North Dakota legislator for Cavalier County (1907-1911); speaker of the North Dakota House of Representative (1909-1911); cattle ranching in Williston (1909-1910); North Dakota lieutenant-governor (1910-1912); Williams County States Attorney (1913-1914); candidate for Governor of North Dakota (unsuccessful) (1914-1916); organizing the North Dakota Farm Bureau, and serving as President (1920); practicing law with John Burke in Fargo (1920-1928); the North Dakota Farmers Holiday Association (1932-1937), serving as President from 1933-1934; serving in the United States House of Representatives (1935-1945 and 1949-1959). He lived in Owatonna, Minnesota; Graham's Island, Dakota Territory/North Dakota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Benson County, North Dakota; Munich, North Dakota; Williston, North Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Washington, D.C.

Special interests of Burdick included raising livestock, writing, editing, the West, and Native Americans. Since he grew up near Devils Lake Indian Reservation, Usher learned to speak Sioux fluently. His personal library collection contained 12,000 books on the West.

Organization memberships and offices held by Usher L. Burdick included the Masons (32nd degree), Elks, Republican Party, Langer League Republican (1930s), Farm Bureau president, and a United States Grain Growers director, among other affiliations. Usher Burdick donated many of his files to the University of North Dakota, which included matters relating to U.S. Congress, personal correspondence, county and state affairs, college days, and the original manuscripts of his books. Books written by Burdick include Last Battle of the Sioux Nation (1929), Tales from Buffalo Land, Last Days of Sitting Bull, Rems of Graham's Island, Life of George Sperry Loftus, Life and Exploits of James Goodall, Life on the Red River of the North, and Tragedy in Great Sioux Camp. In 1920, he was the editor of the Western Livestock Journal. The Usher L. Burdick Memorial Hospital at Fort Yates was named for him.

There are numerous highlights during Burdick’s career. As Williams County states attorney, Burdick prosecuted the Cleve Culbertson case from 1913-1914, after which Culbertson was lynched. As lieutenant-governor (1911-13), Burdick presided at the John F. Cowan impeachment trial. Cowan was 2nd judicial district judge from 1901-1912. Burdick was also involved in Non-Partisan League, as well as the regular Republican Party, and knew all the political figures of his day. Usher L. Burdick passed away on August 19, 1960, and is buried on his ranch near Williston.

"Burdick Donates 20-Year Files," The Rakota (Ray, ND): 1, 9, 59.
History of North Dakota. Robinson, Elwyn B. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966.
"Profile of a Politician," Eide, Marlene. Horizons: 37-39.
"North Dakota Oral History Project Interviews," Sprunk, Larry J., ed. North Dakota History, (43:2): 29, 34.
Who's Who for North Dakota, "Usher L. Burdick, Lawyer and Statesman," 27.
Who's Who for North Dakota: A Triennial Biographical Directory, (North Dakota State Historical Society), 1954.


Box 1:
1 47P-001 Manuscript Of John Leach, 1942
2 C-65 Manuscript Last Battle of the Sioux Nation, 1928
3 XP-001 Catalog of Northwest Book Exchange, 1930
4 41P-003 Correspondence to State Historical Society On Trefetheren Manuscript on life of Stanley (Mss Not Found), 1941
5 43P-001 6 letters pertaining to James McLaughlin Mss A-70 Folder 2, 1845-1881
6 Correspondence (Copies), 1858
7 XP-268 Letter and Sketch to Crawford about Last Battle with Sioux Nation, 1927
8 B 83 Letter to Sidney Lee, 1955
9 Copy of Day Book, 1932

Box 2:
1 Legislation Introduced 74th Congress 1st session(1935) to 77nd Congress 2nd Session (1942), 1935 &1942
2 Legislation Introduced 78th Congress 1st Session (1973) to 82nd Congress 2nd Session (1952), 1943 & 1952
3 Legislation Introduced 74th Congress 1st Session, 1955
4 Legislation Introduced 83rd Congress 1st Session (1953) to 84th Congress 2nd Session (1956), 1953 & 1956
5 Miscellaneous Legislation Introduced Bills, 1937-1955
6 Miscellaneous, 1892-1915

Box 3:
1 Speeches in Congress, 1935-1955
2 "Your Congressman Comments," 1958
3 Your Congressman Comments, 1955-1958
4 Your Congressman Comments, 1957
5 Your Congressman Comments, 1956
6 Your Congressman Comments, 1955
7 Your Congressman Comments, 1954
8 Your Congressman Comments, 1953
9 Your Congressman Comments, 1952
10 Purpose of High Dam at Williston and Passenger List Copy, 1930 & 1873
11 Your Congressman Comments, 1953-1955

Box 4:
1 Legal Files, Miscellaneous, 1908-1932
2 Map: Hand-Drawn Munich, ND
3 Photos
4 “Burdick Bronco Buster”
5 Newspapers/Newspaper clippings (Facsimiles - Originals Removed), 1893-1936
6 Newspaper Clippings, 1899-1958
7 Newspaper clippings from articles he wrote for Reader's Digest, 1957
8 Publication File: Manuscripts for Early History Of Williston and Residents, 1899-1958
9 Publication File: Manuscripts for Early History Of Williston
10 Literary Digest, 1919
11 Morgan Masonry by Elder Barnard, 1985-1965
12 Publications File: Manuscripts: Indian History, Early Settlements of North Dakota "Burdick’s Manuscripts" "Indians," 1923-1927
13 Publication File: Manuscript Ed Lemmon
14 Song Lyrics - Early Dakota, 1936

Box 5:
1 Correspondence “Famous Politicians," 1953-1958
2 House and Senate Documents: Chippewa Indians, 1886-1888
3 House and Senate Documents: Fragments, 1830
4 Senate Documents Pertaining to Trust of Indians, 1886
5 House and Senate Documents: Pertaining to Mandan Indians, 1887-1888
6 House Documents: Indians in California, 1887-1888
7 House Documents: Pertaining to Frontier, 1830-1840
8 House Documents: Mexican Claims, 1886
9 House and Senate Documents: Miscellaneous Indians, 1886-1888
10 Publication: “The End of the Long” (2 Copies)

Box 6:
1 Publications
2 Gatschet, Albert S., “The predictive function as expressed in some American languages,” 1889
3 Buffalo
4 Bank Letters - Munich, 1903-1910
5 Chapman, H.L. Research
6 Book Materials Manuscripts
7 Montana Speech Engagements, 1953-1954
8 Sioux Winter Count Interpretation
9 Publications: Missing Chapters for McLaughlin, 1931-1936
10 Publications: Crofutt, W.A., “Lincoln as I Saw Him” (Original Manuscript)
11 Publication: Great Judges And Lawyers Of Early North Dakota, 1956
12 Interviews/Stories
13 State Historical Society, 1941-1949
14 Russell Reid, 1960
15 Dr. Hagen, 1955

Box 7:
1 Publications: “Busy West” 1872 and Burdick's Magazine and Miscellaneous, 1935-1950
2 Publications: The Christian Almanac 1825, The Maryland Journal, 1925 & 1773
3 Publications: Journal Of The Deliberations Of The Convention Of Orleans (1811), The Banner Weekly (1888), 1811 & 1888
4 Publication: Tre Lettere Autografe Christoforo Colombo Di Genova, 1905
5 Publications: Missouri Statesman Supplement and Declaration of Independence (copy), 1882
6 Publication: The Virginia Gazette, 1776
7 Photos
8 Publication: Washington's Farewell Address
9 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1849-1850
10 Scrapbook: Indians and History of Williston, 1930-1949

Box 8:
Scrapbook: Indians & History of Williston

Box 9:
Scrapbook: History of West, Indian fighters - Custer, 1913-1939

Box 10:
Scrapbook: History and Signatures of Prominent Men, 1925

Box 11:
1 Frederick Remington materials including articles written by Theodore Roosevelt and illustrated by Remington, 1945
2 Souvenir Booklet - William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration, 1901
3 Articles- Journals
4 Miscellaneous Articles and Journals
5 Miscellaneous Articles and Journals
6 Miscellaneous Articles and Journals

Box 12:
1 Wallpaper Editor-Daily Citizen (copy), 1863
2 Articles and early issues from various publications
3 Burdick, Usher Lloyd. Papers Various articles written during WWII ?
4 Debate on League of Nations
5 Democratic Party Campaign book, Congressional Record, NPRR, 1932-

Box 13:
1 Various programs from art and history events (i.e. purchase of Magna Carta), 1895-1939
2 Articles from Burdick newspaper copy, 1889
3 World Columbia Exposition, Chicago, souvenir booklet, 1893
4 Colorado History publications on exploring and Mining, 1901-1922
5 Miscellaneous Publications by others, 1876-1900
6 Publications, campaign materials, ND tourism pamphlets and ND statehood petition and proclamation (copy), 1930-1946
7 Miscellaneous Publications, 1922, 194
8 Various publications and speeches including Garrison Dam, Equity Coop Exchange Statement and Farmers
9 Various publications subjects including North Dakota Historical Society, Rep. Lemke, Lewis and Clark, transfer of BIA, various dates
10 “Soil Conservation Service Activities in the Northern Great Plains Region,” 1944
11 Publications - Fish and Game, 1930s
12 Publications - Native American, Annual Reports, “Foley” papers, various dates

Box 14:
1 Publications - Congressional, various dates
2 Publications - Congressional, various dates
3 Publications - Short Articles, various dates
4 Publications-Various Titles, various dates

Box 15:
1 Publications - Various Titles, various dates
2 Publications - Various Titles, various dates
3 Middle Border Bulletin and Non Partisan League (NPL) brochure, 1943-1944
4 Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, Regional Studies, IVA and NPL, 1952
5 Publications - Pioneer Days in Red River Valley and Articles Harding Magazine, 1933, 1938
6 Resources of ND and Townshed, Photos
7 Publications - Historical Information, various dates
8 Publications-The Great West and Lewis and Clark Journals, various dates
9 Publications- Winner Of The West, 1936-1937

Box 16:
1 Stephen Foster Songbook
2 Publications - Master Humphreys Clock, various dates
3 Publications - Fair Play(newspaper), Washington Farewell Address, The Buffalo Express, various dates

Box 17:
1 Publications - Books and Pamphlets, various dates
2 Publications - On Printing
3 Publications - On Printing and Historical Information
4 Publications - Books and Pamphlets
5 Publications - On Printing
6 King Charles II's Charter for Rhode Island, 1730
7 Jim Jam Jems, 1923
8 The Wigwam, 1931, 1933
9 Correspondence and Reminiscences of Mayville, 1799-1955
10 Sam Clarks Red Ink, 1934
11 Photo-Usher Burdick

Box 18:
1 Lithographs- Indians and Places
2 Lithographs- Indians and Places
3 Fort Berthold - Relief, 1939-1941
4 Committee On Indian Affairs, 1936-1939
5 American Indian Federation, 1935-1937
6 Missouri River Diversion, 1938
7 Indian Affairs Committee, 1935-1937
8 Sidney East Side Irrigation Project, 1937
9 Precipitation-Arid West, 1930s
10 Indians-American Federation and American Indian Defense, 1935-1945
11 Fort Totten Indians, 1936
12 Fort Yates Indians, 1938
13 Free Speech - Pending Legislation, 1935-1936
14 Commissioner of Indian Affairs-Documents, Letters, and Reports, 1935-1943
15 Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, Reply to Joseph Brunner, 1936
16 Reports On Indian Legislative Bills, 1938-1941
17 Reports On Indian Legislative Bills, 1938-1944

Box 19:
1 Red River Projects, 1937-1939
2 Missouri River Dam, 1936
3 Missouri River Development, 1935-1945
4 Missouri River Channel, 1944
5 Assiniboine Indians, 1936
6 War Effort, 1939-1941
7 H.R. 3362 Amend, Public 520, Turtle Mountain, 1940-1941
8 H.R. 3521 Purchase Land Adjacent to Turtle Mountain Indian Agency, 1939-1940
9 Decisions - Turtle Mountains, 1936
10 H.R. 38 (HR 45) Turtle Mountain Chippewa - Relief, 1939-1943
11 H.R. 7197 Payment - Sisseton and Wahpeton Bands Sioux Indians, 1935-1936
12 Turtle Mountain Indians - Empty
13 Sioux - General, 1935-1938
14 Commission Of Government And Public Employees Their Widows And Orphans Of Former Kingdom Yugoslavia, 1957
15 Miller, Lucille, 1955
16 Correspondence - Drafts Of Articles, 1934

Box 20:
1 Correspondence Between Paul Beckwith and McLaughlin, 1883
2 Correspondence, 1883
3 Correspondence, 1913-1925
4 Voucher For Indian Supplies
5 Correspondence - Major McLaughlin Appointed as Notary Public by Governor John Pennington, 1874
6 Correspondence-Major McLaughlin Appointed Indian Agent in Dakota, 1881
7 Correspondence-Major McLaughlin From Hiram Price Commission of Indian Affairs, 1881
8 Correspondence - To Major McLaughlin, 1884-1900
9 Correspondence- Major McLaughlin, 1896-1920
10 Indian Policemen Charge Their Officers, 1881
11 Sioux Letter From Albert Kills-Crow-Indian, 1909
12 Correspondence- Major McLaughlin, 1876-1891
13 Correspondence-Major McLaughlin, 1880
14 Correspondence-Major McLaughlin to Frank Palmer, 1889
15 Photo “We Are Two Orphan Children”

- Certificate, Usher L. Burdick, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, Latin, Mayville Normal School, June 8, 1900
- Certificate, Usher L. Burdick, Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, North Dakota Chapter, by descent from John Weston, February 8, 1913
- Copy of mailing envelope (Denis Fornier, Assumption Abbey Archives)
- Daily Railway Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 29, 1882
- Diploma, Usher L. Burdick, University of Minnesota Bachelor of Laws, June 2, 1904
- Drawing of General George Custer and Sitting Bull battle movements and routes, sketched by Usher L. Burdick and drawn by Harry Imai, n.d.
- Massachusetts SPD: or the Worchester Gazette (original and copy), Vol XVIII No. 869, December 3, 1789
- Photographs of church (Assumption Abbey?)
- The Massachusetts Sentinel (original and copy), No. 23 of Vol. 8, December 5, 1787

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