Earle Thompson Interview, July 10, 1991


Earle Thompson


Annie Pontrelli



Download Audio Interview (72.0 MB)

Download Transcript of Earle Thompson Interview (291 KB)


Earle Thompson describes his tenure as dean of the Mansfield Library at the University of Montana (UM) from 1964 to 1982. He offers his opinions on the four university presidents under which he served, and he discusses the liberal culture on campus during the 1960s and ‘70s. He talks about his specific focus on increasing access to the library’s materials, which included accommodations for persons with disabilities. He discusses how the library developed a core of specialized holdings to better assist students and faculty. Thompson recalls the construction of the new library building in the 1970s, his plans to make it a functional space, and his frustrations with budget constraints. He compares the new building to the old library building which he describes as a warehouse. He notes that his greatest challenge as dean was overseeing the reduction of resources, especially periodicals. Thompson concludes by mentioning the library’s acquisition and development of the Mike Mansfield archival collection which included artifacts, Mansfield’s political papers, and books.


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Document Type

Oral History


University of Montana administration; Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library; University of Montana Archives and Special Collections; Mike Mansfield; Archival collections, Montana; Robert Pantzer; Robert Johns; Richard Bowers; Neil Bucklew; University of Montana Library

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

University of Montana Centennial Oral History Project, OH 270, 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 270-060

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (11 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:58:37 minutes

Local Filename

OH_270_060.mp3; OH_270_060.pdf

Earle Thompson Interview, July 10, 1991