Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Large Pictorial Map by Irvin Shope

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Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
Irvin Shope (1900-1977) (cartographer and illustrator)
Irvin Shope and Robert H. (Bob) Fletcher (1885-1972) (researchers)
Thurber's, Helena, Montana (printer)
Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer
A One Page History Dedicated to the Old Timers

Montana State Highway Department, Helena, Montana: 1937
Blue ink on yellow paper
Signed in the plate: "Irvin Shope '36"
25.25 x 33.75 inches, overall
Sold, please inquire as to the availability of similar items.

Large scarce historical pictorial map of Montana focused on the frontier history during the Westward Expansion of the United States. Numerous detailed line drawings portray pioneers and Native Americans. Regarding the large illustrations surrounding the map, the legend in the lower margin states, "Border illustrations represent the major frontier industries: Trapping, Mining, Cattle and Sheep Raising, and Lumbering," and identifies symbols for fur posts, military forts, fights and battles, cities and towns, missions, historic markers and abandoned frontier towns. The map also indicates 11 historic trails from Lewis and Clark's route west in 1805 to the retreat of Chief Joseph's Nez Perces in 1877. In addition, it shows old freight and stage roads and "Indian trails over the Rockies" from after 1860 and the modern state highway system established in 1936. Beside the legend is a compass rose decorated with a Native American motif and an inset map of Yellowstone National Park. Mountain ranges are drawn in relief. Numerous smaller illustrations with captions also decorate the map.

The map was first published in 1936 by the Montana Chamber of Commerce as A map of Montana whereon is depicted and inscribed the pioneer history of the Land of Shining Mountains, with text verso by Robert H. (Bob) Fletcher. The map offered here is the first edition of the wall map version published by the Montana State Highway Department under the title Montana -- Frontier, Pioneer. It is the largest known edition and apparently rare. There were multiple later reprintings by a few different publishers at different sizes, until at least the 1970s, including a smaller folding pocket map.

Irvin "Shorty" Shope was a painter and illustrator, known for his depictions of the American West. Shope was born in Montana and worked as a cowboy before becoming an artist. He attended Reed College in Oregon and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in fine art. Shope studied art in the East for a while, but spent most of his life in Montana, where he was mentored by other well-known artists of Western genre paintings, especially Harvey Dunn. In addition to painting figures of the historic West, Shope supported himself illustrating books, calendars and pictorial maps. He was a charter member of the Cowboy Artists of America from its inception in 1966 until his death in 1977. Today his works are in museum collections such as Favell Museum of Western Art and Indian Artifacts, Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art, the National Center for American Western Art and Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. In 1965, Shope was interviewed for the Smithsonian Archives in American Art; a 38-page transcript of the interview is part of the Smithsonian’s New Deal and the Arts project.


"Historical Map Collection." Washington State University Libraries. 12 October 2012. (20 August 2013).

"Irvin 'Shorty' Shope." Cowboy Artists of America. 2013. (20 August 2013).

"Montana: Frontier, Pioneer: A one page history dedicated to the Old Timers." Montana Memory Project. (20 August 2013).

"Oral history interview with Irvin Shope, 1965 Nov. 27." Archives of American Art. 2013. (20 August 2013).