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SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Archives & Manuscripts > Family/Local History > 10536
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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #10536

Title: Martin Paul Mosbrucker

Dates: 1906-ca. 1986

Collection Number:  MSS 10536

Quantity: 2.5 feet

Abstract: The majority of the collection consists of archaeological files, drawings, research, correspondence, and publications that support Mosbrucker’s archaeological collection, which is among the collections in the Archaeology and Historic Preservation Division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Mosbrucker collected the artifacts with his wife, Lavinia, while living in Mandan (ND). The bulk of his collection came from the Boley site (32M037) (the site of a Mandan earth lodge village, 1725-1785), and from Fort Abraham Lincoln (32M026). The rest of the collection was collected at various sites in North Dakota.

The papers provide insight into Mosbrucker’s collection, his system of organizing and describing the artifacts in the collection, and reflect his particular interests in the Mandan culture, history, and archaeological excavation.

Provenance: Mosbrucker’s archaeological collection and these files were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by his daughter, Margo Koller, San Pablo, CA, on December 8, 1986. These records were transferred to the State Archives by the Museum Division in January 1990. The artifacts reside with the Archaeology and Historic Preservation Division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota (accession number 1986.226). Don Huber added several items to the collection in June 2015 and March 2016.

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

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in 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 and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is 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: These records were transferred to the State Archives by the Museum Division in January 1990. Several photographs were transferred to the Photo Archives. Several publications were transferred to the State Archives’ publications in March 2014.

Related Collections:        Mosbrucker Collection (Archaeology and Historic Preservation Division,
accession number 1986.226).     


Martin Paul Mosbrucker, retired switchman for the NP Railroad, died Wednesday, June 26, 1963 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fargo (ND). Mosbrucker was born November 7, 1890 to Mr. and Mrs. Peter P. Mosbrucker. He entered the military service March 26, 1918, at Mandan (ND) and was discharged a Sgt. Major of Hq. Co. 58th Inf. At Camp Dodge (AL) on August 11, 1919. Mosbrucker married Lavina Staigle in Mandan on November 16, 1936. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and of the American Legion.

Mosbrucker Archeological Collection Donated
C. L. Dill, Plains Talk, spring 1987

Margo and Lynn Koller of San Pablo, California, recently donated the Mosbrucker archeological collection to the SHSND. The collection consists of 225 cubic feet of materials gathered by Mrs. Koller's parents, Martin and Lavinia Mosbrucker, while they lived at Mandan.

The Boley (32M037) site is the largest single component in the collection. A Mandan earth lodge village, the site dates from ca. AD 1725-1785, and was bisected by the railroad around 1900. Approximately two-thirds of the site was recently destroyed by a housing development, and the small remaining portion has been actively mined for artifacts by private collectors.

Boley artifacts in the Mosbrucker collection include ceramics, projectile points, chipped stone scrapers and knives, bone awls and knives, sandstone and bone abraders, bone and shell ornaments, bone knife handles, historic trade goods, and floral and faunal remains. It is particularly valuable because Mosbrucker took photographs, made maps, and kept records of his excavations. These documents, also donated, provide a context in which the artifacts can be interpreted.

Materials from Fort Abraham Lincoln (32M026), now a State Park, are the second largest component. They consist mostly of historic materials related to the military, including military insignia, shell casings, bullets, glass and metal buttons, horse shoes, and bottles, as well as other glass, ceramics, and hardware.

Other sites represented are Double Ditch and Fort Buford State Historic Sites, Fort Union Trading Post and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Sites, Fort Berthold and Deapolis earth lodge villages (which have been destroyed), and various other prehistoric sites.

Mr. and Mrs. Koller offered the collection in early 1986. After inspection in storage in Denver and completion of necessary paperwork, personnel from the State Parks and Recreation Department transported the collection to Bismarck. Dr. Frederick Dockstader, former Director of the Museum of the American Indian in New York, appraised the collection, and it is presently in temporary storage.

Portions of the collection have already been selected for an exhibit about Knife River Flint at the Heritage Center. Materials from the collection will also be included in permanent exhibits. Fort Lincoln materials will be available to the State Parks and Recreation Department and Fort Lincoln Foundation for use at Fort Lincoln State Park. The Mosbrucker Collection, with its related records and provenience data, is a major contribution to our ability to understand, interpret, and exhibit North Dakota's history and prehistory.


Box 1:
1 Correspondence, 1956-1962
2 Photocopies of 1954, 1955 and 1956 artifact ledgers
3 Ledger of artifacts found, 1954
4 Ledger of artifacts found, 1955
5 Ledger of various artifacts, ca. 1954-1957
6 Inventory in ledger created by SHSND staff to organize the donation, ca. 1986
7 Miscellaneous drawings, notes, artifact catalogue lists, maps and research, ca. 1950s
8 Photocopies of photographs and captions from photo album, ca. 1954-1957
9 Newspaper clippings, 1954-1956
10 Typed copies of Joseph Henry Taylor essays:
“Mandan Indians”
“Beginning and end of trail west”
“Fort Berthold agency in 1869”
“Aricarees (Arikaras): a romantic encounter”
11 Indian Artifacts, Virgil Russell

Box 2:    Photograph and post cards

Box 3:    War service file: A-G (index cards about members of the military, ca. 1945-1963)

Box 4:    War service file: H-O 

Box 5:    War service file: P-Z

Box 6:    War service file: miscellaneous

Box 7:    Artifact note cards, ca. 1950s-1960s (detailing items in Mosbrucker’s collection)

Box 8:    Artifact note cards, ca. 1950s-1960s (detailing items in Mosbrucker’s collection)

Postcards and photograph inventory
10536-01              William A. and Harriet Lanterman home, Mandan (ND), ca. 1910
10536-02              Exterior of Mandan (ND) High School, ca. 1910 (three versions of the same image: black & white, hand colored, and sepia tone)
10536-03              Exterior of Mandan (ND) High School, ca. 1908
10536-04              Heart River, Mandan (ND), ca. 1908-1910
10536-05              Northern Pacific Park, Mandan (ND), ca. 1910
10536-06              Northern Pacific Park, Mandan (ND), ca. 1910
10536-07              Inter Ocean Hotel, Mandan (ND), ca. 1910
10536-08              Northern Pacific Depot, Bismarck (ND), ca. 1906
10536-09              “Whippet: Fast Running” (greyhound racing), 1940
10536-11              Easter greetings card, 1909
10536-12              LoLo Charley on horseback outside tipi, Missoula (MT), June 20, 1906 (LoLo Charley was a guide on one of Major Owen’s expeditions in 1855)
10536-13              Photograph of Kim, Mosbrucker’s granddaughter, with Christmas presents, 1962

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