Alexander Michael Stepanzoff Interview, January 26, 1989


Richard B. Torgerson



Download Audio Interview (128.1 MB)

Download Transcript of Alexander Stepanzoff Interview (565 KB)


Alexander Stepanzoff recalls his childhood in Harbin, Manchuria, China, where he learned to play the French horn and wrestled competitively, winning the gold medal in the 1921 Asian Olympics. He talks about being recruited by several U.S. universities and his decision to attend University of Montana [UM] in Missoula, Montana. Stepanzoff credits UM President Charles Clapp with helping him obtain student employment, graduate, and make decisions about his early career. Stepanzoff describes working at Chase Manhattan Bank during the 1920s, while attending Columbia University for his master’s and doctorate, and traveling to Russia for the bank to research the Soviet economic system. He details his decision to return to Montana in 1939 at the request of his father-in-law to build and manage the Missoula Bon Ton Bakery. Stepanzoff details his work as the Missoula City Band director and the challenges he faced retaining community musicians.


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Document Type

Oral History


Stepanzoff, Alexander Michael; Russia; Imperial Russian Government; Harbin, Manchuria, China; Asian Olympics; Wrestling; University of Montana, Missoula, Montana; Charles H. Clapp, University of Montana; International Club, University of Montana; International Club Orchestra, University of Montana; University Symphony, University of Montana; Cain, Charles; Chase Manhattan Bank; Bullitt, William C.; Sousa, John Phillip; Smith, Leonard; Vizzutti, John; Goldman, Edwin Franko; Petrillo, John Caesar; Skaggs, Marion Barton; Graf, Eugene; Bon Ton Bakery, Montana; Missoula City Band

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

University of Montana History Oral History Collection, 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 225-001, 002

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (2:00:00) analog + 1 transcript (44 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:43:41 minutes

Local Filename

OH_225_001_002.mp3; OH_225_001_002.pdf

Alexander Michael Stepanzoff Interview, January 26, 1989