Johanna McElwain Interview, May 31, 1977


Johanna McElwain


Mary Melcher



Download Audio Interview (52.7 MB)

Download Transcript of Johanna McElwain Interview (595 KB)


Johanna McElwain describes her childhood on a homestead at Douglas Creek, located outside of Drummond, Montana. She discusses the household chores she was assigned, what her family did for entertainment, and the community dances they attended. She talks about growing up in a German community, learning English, and attending grade school with her siblings. McElwain recalls working as a housekeeper in Missoula, Montana, when she was 16, going to dances in the Orchard Homes area, and meeting her husband. She describes her reluctance to get married then finally accepting his proposal. McElwain details her experiences giving birth and the pain of losing her first two children. She concludes by talking about the clubs to which she belonged, including Order of the Eastern Star and Daughters of the Nile, and what she remembers about women’s suffrage.


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Document Type

Oral History


Drummond, Montana; Douglas Creek (Mont.); Missoula, Montana; German immigrants, Montana; Women’s education, Montana; Orchard Homes, Missoula, Montana; Order of the Eastern Star; Daughters of the Nile; Women’s suffrage, Montana; McElwain, Johanna – Interviews; Women -- Montana – Interviews; Women -- Montana -- Social conditions -- 20th century; Women -- Employment -- Montana -- History -- 20th century; Rural families -- Montana -- Helmville – Biography; Helmville (Mont.) -- Social life and customs – History; Deer Lodge (Mont.) -- Social life and customs – History; Childbirth -- Montana -- History -- 20th century; German Americans -- Montana -- Interview

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 /

Oral History Number

OH 049-031

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (21 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:40:37 minutes

Local Filename

OH_049_031.mp3; OH_049_031.pdf

Johanna McElwain Interview, May 31, 1977