The Fred Hultstrand History in Pictures Collection contains approximately
550 images of the settlement and development of northeastern North
Dakota from the early 1880s to the 1920s. The collection is a combination
of images that Fred Hultstrand either photographed himself or collected from other sources.
In addition, there are a small number of topically related images
from South Dakota and Montana. Other states represented in the collection,
usually with only one or two images, include Minnesota, Nebraska,
Kansas, New Mexico, and Arkansas.
Of the 550 images approximately 300 of them were hand-colored in
oil by Mr. Hultstrand's long-time studio assistant, Thelma Wick. Together
some 789 black and white and hand-colored images are presented here.
Although the vast majority of the images are from before 1920, a small
number were taken after that date. Since they were all taken by Mr.
Hultstrand and continue the themes presented in earlier images, they
have been included. A small number of images were not included due
to the quality of the image or the more recent date of some of the
After the death of Mr. Hultstrand in 1968, contact was established
with his daughter, Donna Jean Verwest, by the president of North Dakota
State University, Dr. L.D. Loftsgard, a native of Park River,
N.D. and Dr. Seth Russell, Director of the Institute for Regional
Studies. Through their efforts, the Hultstrand collection was donated
to NDSU in 1969 by Mrs. Verwest, who had inherited the collection
from her father.
original prints had been specially framed by Mr. Hultstrand for public
exhibits he sponsored in Park River, N.D. For preservation reasons,
all images were removed from the wood frames and placed in polyester
sleeves and acid-free folders and boxes. The original and copy negatives
for most, but not all, of the images were also part of the donated
material. These too have been processed and preserved in the proper
The work of two other photographers is represented in the Hultstrand
collection, namely John McCarthy of Milton, N.D., and Job V. Harrison
of Rock Lake, N.D. Mr. Hultstrand apprenticed for a short time under
Mr. McCarthy and later purchased his studio, including all of his
original glass negatives. Mr. McCarthy had been a photographer at
Milton from circa 1890 until he moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
Canada, some time after 1906. There he operated a studio until his
death in 1918. Mr. Harrison was an itinerant photographer based at
Rock Lake, N.D., around the turn of the century. He was born in 1873
in Indiana and came to homestead in Towner County, N.D., in 1898.
Apparently his brother James Harrison and family had come to homestead
the year before. Little else is known regarding Mr. Harrison's life.
The provenance of his negative collection is unclear but it was
acquired by Howard O. Berg of Devils Lake, N.D., around 1956. It was
through Mr. Berg that Hultstrand made copy negatives and prints for
his own collection. It is not known what happened to the Harrison
negatives after Mr. Berg's death. In the catalog record McCarthy or
Harrison are identified as the photographer if so indicated on the
print or negative.
Because of the popularity of the Hultstrand collection, item-level
cataloging was begun in the early 1990s when computer software was
acquired, allowing the Institute staff to begin local in-house MARC-based
cataloging. The cataloging also was begun in connection with the laser
videodisc produced in 1988 by the Institute for Regional Studies,
Visual Images from the Northern Prairies. The videodisc, which
is still available and used today, includes some 15,000 images from
the collections of the Institute and several other local repositories.
The videodisc contains only a portion of the total photographic resources
available at the Institute.
The catalog record for each image includes all information that is
found with the original picture. Additional research has been done
by the Institute staff on some of the images. Sources are reflected
in the bibliographic record. An attempt has been made to date all
images, but at times it is difficult to assign a specific year. Many
times only a span of years or a decade is used, and even some of those
are estimates. Biographical information about the people in, or associated
with, an image has been added, including their ethnic background.
Since the original information accompanying a picture can be inaccurate
or incomplete, the Institute is eager to hear from researchers who
have additional or better information.
The image title either was on a label in the framed picture, or was
imprinted upon the image itself. In a few cases the title was provided
by the cataloger. The Notes section includes information related to
the image, such as a subject description of the image, source of the
title, any information written on the image or negative, bibliographic
citation to image-related information, biographical information, and
citations to published versions.
Topical terms were assigned to all images, providing subject access
to each image. In almost all cases these terms describe what the image
shows rather than what it is about. The primary source for the topical
terms was Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms,
developed and published by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division. When this proved inadequate, terms were taken from Library
of Congress Subject Headings, and Art and Architecture Thesaurus.
In addition, a small number of local subject headings were used,
particularly terms related to agriculture, such as Binders (Agricultural
machinery), Sheaves of grain, Sod barns, Sod post offices, and Threshing
crews. Although the most specific term from the thesauri was used
when assigning topical terms, in some cases a broader, more familiar
term was also used to aid the user in retrieving desired images.
The topical terms, in most cases, have been subdivided by place and
decade. The place is expressed in a hierarchical geographic order,
such as (term)--North Dakota--Park River. The appropriate decade has
also been added to all topical terms, as well as to personal name
entries. To avoid any confusion, no overlapping of the decade year
has been used. For example, 1890-1899, not 1890-1900.
Proper noun headings were checked against the Library of Congress
Name Authority File. All people identified in the images were
included in the subject headings, and when possible, their life dates
The term [sic] which appears in some records indicates
erroneous spellings which are in the transcribed information.
A number of North Dakota local histories were consulted in the cataloging
of the images of the Fred Hultstrand History in Pictures Collection.
Other sources consulted were federal census schedules, naturalization
records, and newspapers.
Cemeteries of North Dakota, Cavalier County. 3 vols. Fargo,
N.D.: Red River Valley Genealogical Society, 1994-1995.
Cemeteries of North Dakota, Walsh County. 3 vols. Fargo, N.D.:
Red River Valley Genealogical Society, 1991.
A Century of Area History, 1882-1982, Milton, North Dakota.
[Milton, N.D.: Milton Area Historical Committee, 1983]
Hadler, Mable Lyles Jacques. Towner County, North Dakota Families.
6 vols. Long Beach, Calif.: Mrs. Hadler, 1958-1962.
Lounsberry, Clement A. North Dakota History and People. Chicago:
S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.
Our Heritage, Nekoma, North Dakota, 1905-1980. Nekoma, N.D.:
Nekoma Book Committee, 1980.
Park River, 100 Years, 1884-1984. [Park River, N.D.: Centennial
Book Committee, 1984]
The People of Bottineau County. [Bottineau, N.D.?]: Centennial
Book Committee, 1984.
The Spirit Lives On: Osnabrock, ND, 1887-1987. Osnabrock,
N.D.: Osnabrock Area Historical Book Committee, 1987.
Walsh Heritage: A Story of Walsh County and Its Pioneers.
4 vols. [Grafton, N.D.?]: Walsh County Historical Society, 1976-1981.
The Wonder of Williams: A History of Williams County, North Dakota.
2 vols. [Williston, N.D.?]: Williams County Historical Society, 1975-1976.