Montana & Local History & Information

Pieces of Montana's Past
The Montana Memory Project is a cooperative project among a number of our state's libraries and museums. Digital copies of historic photographs, documents and objects are made available for all to enjoy.

Billings Public Library has started to make digital copies of photographs in the Montana Room collection, beginning with photographs of early Billings pioneers. Take a look!
Billings Public Library digital historic photographs in the Montana Memory Project

Digital memory projects from other communities in Montana

Home page for the Montana Memory Project

You may also like to look at the Mountain West Digital Public Library. It is a central search portal for digital collections from the Mountain West region. The Montana Memory Project is one of the collections included.

To explore digital collections from institutions across America, study those at the Digital Public Library. The DPL is an open and collaborative community dedicated to digitizing content for public use. Billings Gazette: Archived Newspapers
View a selection of archived Billings Gazette newspapers on two sites:
  1. The Advantage Preservation portal stores digital archives of recent editions starting with January 2013. The collection is expanded at quarterly intervals and includes an assortment of early papers from 1929 to 1970.
  2. Search the Billings Gazette’s historic newspaper pages from 1899-1909 at Chronicling America on the Library of Congress website. Chronicling America is a long-term effort to develop an internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. It is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Historic Montana Newspapers from the Montana Historical Society
The full-text searchable database Montana Newspapers contains 352,797 pages from 44 Montana newspapers dated 1885-2014. These do not overlap with the Chronicling America website.

Chronicling America: More Historic Montana Newspapers
The Chronicling America project from the Library of Congress features digitized historic Montana newspapers as well as other American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Books and Files
The Montana Room on the second floor contains a special non-circulating collection of local interest and historical items. In addition to about 7,500 books, there are magazines with references pertaining to Montana as both state and territory, non-fiction works by Montana authors, and works about events of interest to or occurring in Montana, such as the Battle of the Little Big Horn. There is also a collection of maps, including historical maps of Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana as both a state and a territory, topographical maps of Montana, and recreational maps for Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
Montana Room Microfilm

The microfilm collection includes:
  • All the back issues of the Billings Gazette and older Billings newspapers
  • All the minutes of the Billings City Council from the first meeting
  • Montana census info from 1880 to 1930
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps of Billings
Other Information
The Genealogy Room is located right next to the Montana Room. For more information, as well as more access to sources of local history, visit the Genealogy page.