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Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 8411

Scope and Contents

Materials include a four-page letter written from Helena, Montana, by Philip M. Crapo to his sister relating his visit to Yellowstone National Park just months after the area was officially made a national park. Crapo was one of the approximately 300 persons who visited the park in its first year. He describes many of the thermal features, falls of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River canyon, and other scenery of the park that he saw in his visit. Dated September 20, 1872.


  • 1872 September 20


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Philip Madison Crapo (1844-1903) was a Civil War veteran and businessman in Iowa.

Philip Madison Crapo was born June 30, 1844 in Freetown, Massachusetts, to Philip and Hannah Crapo. He grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and acquired a good education at the common and high schools in the area. When he was eighteen years old, Crapo enlisted as a soldier for the Union Army and fought in the Civil War in North Carolina. After the war, he moved to Flint, Michigan to begin a business as a civil engineer. In 1868, Crapo moved to Burlington, Iowa as an agent for the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, eventually being in charge of the company's business over the entire states of Iowa and Nebraska. On September 6, 1870 he married Ruth A. Ray in Burlington, and they had seven children together.

In 1872 Crapo joined an expedition to explore areas of the western United States, including the newly minted Yellowstone National Park, making him one of the approximately 300 visitors to the park in its first year.

In Burlington, Crapo was involved in several interests for the city. He was president of the Burlington & Illinois Bridge Company which helped to build a wagon bridge alongside the railroad bridge over the Mississippi River. He held many prominent positions in the community, including president of the Burlington board of trade, president of the Burlington & Henderson County Ferry Company, president of the Burlington Commercial Club, a trustee of the city for the ferry franchise, trustee of the public library, and a trustee of the Congregational church. Crapo was instrumental in the building of the city's public library and Crapo Park. He was also an advocate for Civil War veterans, helping to establish the Iowa Soldier's Home at Marshalltown. Politically active as well, Crapo was nominated to be a State senator, and in 1887 was even mentioned for the office of governor.

Crapo died on September 20, 1903.


1 folder (0.01 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Purchased from Buckingham Books (Pennsylvania) in 2014.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Buckingham Books (Pennsylvania); March 2014.


Utah and Western American environmental history (19th Century Mormon and Western manuscripts collection development policy, 1 V., November 2013.)

Processing Information

Processed; Ryan K. Lee; 2014.

Register of Philip Madison Crapo letter on visit to Yellowstone National Park
Ryan K. Lee
2014 March 14
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States