Hilda Denny Interview, May 26, 1977


Hilda Denny


Mary Melcher



Download Audio Interview (50.0 MB)

Download Transcript of Hilda Denny Interview (286 KB)


Hilda Denny gives a biographical sketch of her life, beginning with how her parents came to own a ranch in Montana, as well as the births of their four children and the unfortunate death of a son. She mentions doing fieldwork chores as a child and seeing a train for the first time. Denny describes dancing and skiing with her neighbors and her love for ice fishing at Copper Lake. She talks about learning Swedish from her mother and working as a ranch cook in Montana towns including Butte, Helena, and Deer Lodge after finishing school. Denny recalls her relationship with her brother and the dances they went to as they became teenagers before he died of cancer. She concludes by mentioning the work she did as a laundress and chambermaid, having her first steady boyfriend at age 50, whom she married a few years later.

When this interview was conducted, the interviewee requested to remain anonymous in the transcript and audio. Archives and Special Collections has chosen to lift this restriction now that the interviewee is deceased.


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Document Type

Oral History


Deer Lodge, Montana; Butte, Montana; Helena, Montana; Women homesteaders, Montana; Women ranchers, Montana; Denny, Hilda – Interviews; Women -- Montana – Interviews; Women -- Montana -- Social conditions; Ranch life -- Montana – History; Ranchers -- Montana – Biography; Ranchers' spouses -- Montana – Biography; Women -- Employment -- Montana – History; Ice fishing -- Montana – History; Women cooks -- Montana – Interviews; Ranch cooks; Loss of sibling; Late-life marriage; Copper Lake (Mont.)

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Montana Women's Oral History Project, OH 049, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 049-009

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (14 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:38:59 minutes

Local Filename

OH_049_009.mp3; OH_049_009.pdf

Hilda Denny Interview, May 26, 1977