Montana (journal)

Edited byDiana Di Stefano
Publication details
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Montana

Montana: The Magazine of Western History (formerly The Montana Magazine of History) is a quarterly journal published by the Montana Historical Society. It publishes articles about the history of Montana as well as the western United States and Canada. The magazine also publishes book and movie reviews. It is heavily illustrated with historic photos, maps, and western American art.[1]


Inception and creationEdit

In 1950, the Montana Historical Society's board of trustees appointed a special committee to create a quarterly journal. The committee included Merrill G. Burlingame, Joseph Kinsey Howard, Anne McDonnell, H. G. Merriam, Albert Partoll, Paul Phillips, Lucinda Scott, and Norman Winestine. The committee agreed that the magazine should reflect the history, culture, and economics of Montana. They named it The Montana Magazine of History.[2] To save on publishing costs, they chose a small format, 6" x 9", slightly bigger than Reader's Digest. They set the price of a subscription at three dollars a year.[3]

Albert Partoll volunteered as acting editor for the first issue, which appeared in February 1951. It featured a wood-grain cover and commemorated the white settlers of Montana Territory. Under Partoll's editorial guidance, the magazine followed the motto, "To Preserve, To Publish, and To Promote interest in, the History of Montana."

Name changeEdit

In 1951, K. Ross Toole was appointed director of the Montana Historical Society, and he assumed the position of editor for the magazine. Toole had a bold vision to expand the MHS museum, create a professional library and archives, and protect historic sites. Toole also had bold visions for the magazine. He increased the page size and added photographs and illustrations. By 1956, MHS distributed the magazine to more than fifteen thousand readers.[2] With the Spring 1955 issue, Toole changed the name to Montana, The Magazine of Western History, signifying a shift in focus to the entire North American West. Eventually, the comma was dropped from the title.[3]

Magazine of Western HistoryEdit

At first, most of the members of Montana's editorial board came from within the state. But in the 1970s, editor Vivian Paladin began to invite historians with national reputations to serve on the board. Her efforts positioned the magazine as a scholarly journal. Yet she continued to illustrate articles heavily, and she published readable articles for a popular audience.[3] Montana's reputation as a scholarly journal of western history was cemented in 1984 when the Western History Association chose it as a benefit for their members.[4]


  • Albert Partoll (1951)
  • K. Ross Toole (1951–1957)
  • Michael Kennedy (1958–1966)
  • Vivian Paladin (1966–1978)
  • William L. Lang (1978–1989)
  • Charles E. Rankin (1989–2001)
  • Clark Whitehorn (2001–2006)[4]
  • Molly Holz (2006–2018)
  • Diana Di Stefano (2018–current)[5]


Articles in Montana have won dozens of awards, including seven Wrangler Awards, seven Spur Awards, three awards from the Western History Association, and two awards from the Forest History Society. In 2014, the magazine was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.[6]


  1. ^ "Montana The Magazine of Western History". Montana Historical Society Press. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b Shovers, Brian (Spring 2002). "Saving Montana's Past: The Creation and Evolution of the Montana Historical Society and Montana The Magazine of Western History". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 52 (1): 57–58. JSTOR 4520395.
  3. ^ a b c Burlingame, Merrill G. (Summer 1991). "Early Days at Montana the Magazine of Western History". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 41 (3): 90–93. JSTOR 4519419.
  4. ^ a b Paladin, Vivian A.; Lang, William L.; Rankin, Charles E. (Autumn 2001). "Looking Back: The Editors Remember". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 51 (3): 60–64. JSTOR 4520346.
  5. ^ Di Stefano, Diana (Winter 2018). "Salutations from Your New Editor". Montana: The Magazine of Western History.
  6. ^ "Awards for Montana The Magazine of Western History". Montana Historical Society. Retrieved 1 February 2020.

External linksEdit