on a Large Scale:
Writings of Hans Peter Gyllembourg Koch, Montana Territory, 1869-1874
& with an introduction & epilogue by Kim Allen Scott
Preface by Rick Newby
Design by Peter Rutledge Koch
by Drumlummon Institute and Bedrock Editions, Helena, Montana
on a Large Scale is available in fine bookstores
everywhere. To order a copy, send a check for the edition you prefer,
plus $5 shipping & handling, to:
402 Dearborn Ave. #3
Helena, MT 59601
The editing of [Hans Peter] Koch’s
papers provides researchers unprecedented insight into Montana’s
early territorial years from an articulate observer of the frontier
and one of the molders of Montana society.
published by Drumlummon Institute and Bedrock Editions, Splendid
on a Large Scale: The Writings of Hans Peter Gyllembourg Koch, Montana
Territory, 1869-1874, presents the diaries and letters of a highly
educated Danish immigrant who made significant contributions to the
emerging EuroAmerican culture on the Montana frontier.
Known as Peter, the young man quickly grew enthusiastic on the
subject of Montana, her beauties and resources, and his writings
offer a wonderfully articulate account of his first years in a new countryas
an unlikely frontiersman, often reluctant businessman, aspiring naturalist,
avid bookman, and yearning lover (he wrote the bulk of his letters to
his fiancée, Laurentze, whom he would wed in 1874).
Whether he was painting a picture of the home he hoped to build for
his bride-to-be, lamenting the absence of good books, chronicling his
efforts to trade with the Crow Indians, or describing the lynching of
a murderer by vigilantes, Koch brought a sensitivity and astuteness
to the task that belies his concern that the frontier might render him
rough and unpolished.
Peter’s passion for education and book culture led him to start the
Bozeman public library, but it was as co-founder of the Agricultural
College of the State of Montana (today Montana State University, Bozeman)
that he left his most lasting mark.
In his public spiritedness and as the compelling, moving, driving
force behind the movement for a newer education, Peter possessed,
in the words of the 1919 Bozeman Weekly Exponent, the intelligence
of an aristocrat and the heart of a democrat.
is often mentioned alongside other major collectors of the literature
of western exploration. When Ripley Hitchcock discusses, in his landmark
study, The Louisiana Purchase and the exploration, early history
and building of the West, "the early memoirs of travelers and hunters,
the tales of Indians . . . and the various personal narratives," he
cites the "library of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the
Mercantile Library of St. Louis . . . and certain private libraries
like those of Edward E. Ayer of Chicago [whose collections formed the
backbone of the Newberry Library and the Field Museum], H. H. Bancroft
of San Francisco [Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley], and the Hon. Peter
Koch of Bozeman, Montana, [as especially] rich in examples of this early
Edited and annotated by historian Kim Allen Scott, Splendid on a
Large Scale includes not only Peter’s diaries and letters, but also
an extensive introduction and afterword, Peter’s vivid account of his
experiences as a trader at Fort Musselshell in 1869-1870, an essay on
his extraordinary collection of the literature of western exploration,
and an inventory of the most significant titles in that library.
The book is designed by Peter Rutledge Koch, great-grandson of Hans
Peter Koch, one of America’s foremost letterpress printers and book
artists, and founder of the Codex Foundation.