Skip to main content

Carroll T. Hobart papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-2396

Scope and Contents

The papers document Carroll T. Hobart's involvement with Yellowstone National Park through correspondence, photographs, printed material and documents. The collection consists of four series: Correspondence, Photographs, Printed Material, and Other Papers, and spans the dates 1871-1904.

Series I, Correspondence , consists primarily of business correspondence, including incoming letters and drafts of outgoing letters. The series has been arranged chronologically. The earliest correspondence is in the form of a letterpress copybook for the years 1871-1872. There are approximately 500 letterpress copies of outgoing letters and reports sent by Hobart while Superintendent of the Minnesota Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The letters concern supplies, reports of work on the line, and other construction matters. The remainder of the correspondence, in the form of individual letters, dates from 1881 through 1898. These letters largely concern his work as manager of the Yellowstone National Park Improvement Company. The nearly twenty letters to his wife are full of detail about his work, and thirty-five letters from his brother Charles describe daily events at the hotel, including the carpenter strike in the winter of 1883-1884. Other correspondents include T. F. Oakes and Robert Harris of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and Henry M. Teller, Secretary of the Interior. A letter from Rufus Hatch to Hobart dated July 3, 188[-] contains a letter of introduction to Henry Ward Beecher. There are very few personal letters; three of them are from Carroll's mother in Appleton, Wisconsin, two of which are undated, the other is dated March 1886. Typescript transcripts of the correspondence are in four folders at the end of the series; these transcripts were made by an unidentified person, and have not been checked against the correspondence. They are accompanied by photocopies of documents, financial papers, and printed material, arranged in chronological order.

Series II, Photographs , is organized by photographer into six subseries: F. Jay Haynes, Keystone View Company, H.C. Phillips, W.H. Jackson & Co., Carleton Watkins, and Unidentified. The views are predominantly of Yellowstone National Park at the time Hobart worked there and also include portraits of Carroll Hobart and his family. The twenty-two Haynes photographs include eight stereocards from the Yellowstone National Park series, several mounted photographs (17.4 x 25 cm.) from different photographic series, and a mounted photograph entitled "Conductors' Excursion to the National Park, June 1885." The forty-two Jackson photographs (some of them duplicates) are mounted and unmounted albumen photographs, including two photographs measuring 16.5 x 27 cm. The forty-six Watkins photographs include mounted albumen photographs from Watkins' New Boudoir Series, and unmounted albumen photographs from Watkins' New Series.

Series III, Printed Material , is organized by format into five subseries: Books, Catalogs, Pamphlets, Periodicals, and Other Printed Material. Within each subseries, the materials are arranged alphabetically by author or title. Series IV, Other Papers , consists of documents, financial papers, maps, and other papers. These include two folders of documents and financial papers relating to the Yellowstone National Park Improvement Company, and the Northern Pacific Railroad Company; a file of bills and receipts for both personal and professional expenses; two pen-and-ink maps, one of Fracl Township in Yellowstone National Park, and the other an 1883 plat of the town of Cinnabar, Montana; and two office journals covering 1881-1882 containing information on his work on the Northern Pacific Railroad in North Dakota.

Oversize consists of materials from Series II, III, and IV, and is arranged in box order.


  • 1871-1904


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 11: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Carroll T. Hobart Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from William Reese Company on the Frederick W. & Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 1987.


7.31 Linear Feet ((11 boxes) + 2 broadside folders)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers document Carroll T. Hobart's involvement in the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company and the Northern Pacific Railroad through correspondence, photographs, printed material, and documents. The correspondence consists mostly of Hobart's business correspondence. Principal correspondents include his wife Alice, his contractor brother Charles F. Hobart, and T. F. Oakes and Robert Harris of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The photographs include images of Yellowstone National Park by F. Jay Haynes, William Henry Jackson, and Carleton Watkins, in stereographs, cabinet cards and unmounted albumen prints. The papers also include documents and financial papers relating to the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company and the Northern Pacific Railroad, two pen-and-ink maps, one of them a plat map of Cinnabar, Montana, and two office journals from 1881-1882.


Carroll T. Hobart was a Northern Pacific Railroad Superintendent and manager of the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company early in the history of commercial enterprises in Yellowstone Park. Hobart had served as a railroad superintendent for at least ten years when he was made Superintendent of the Yellowstone Park Branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881. Shortly after this he formed an improvement company with two other men, Henry F. Douglas, a merchant of Fort Yates, Dakota Territory, and Rufus Hatch, a New York banker.

The company sought from the federal government a monopoly to construct roadways and build hotels in Yellowstone Park, but no monopoly was granted, and in 1883 a modified agreement was reached with the Secretary of the Interior. Rufus Hatch, the principal financial backer, never supplied the necessary capital, and Hobart, acting as general manager of the company, built the National Hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs largely on credit. Yellowstone Park Superintendents charged him with exploiting park resources: contracting with local hunters for wild meat to feed his workmen and later hotel guests, as well as cutting timber for his sawmill without authorization. The hotel lost money its first summer of operation (1883), and during the winter of 1883-1884 carpenters staged a strike for their wages. When creditors began demanding money, Rufus Hatch, in New Jersey, sought the appointment of a receiver without his partners' knowledge. In turn, Hobart and Douglas obtained a receiver in the Wyoming courts. This receiver, George B. Hulme, eventually won control of the company's assets.

After the summer of 1884 proved to be another losing season, Hulme leased the hotel to Hobart for $1 in 1885. Hobart thereupon made the hotel a money-making operation which thrived. The Yellowstone Park Improvement Company was later sold to an agent of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.

Carroll was married to Alice M. Hobart, and they had at least one son. In 1898 he was engaged in the location and construction of a government road in the Argentine Republic.

Guide to the Carroll T. Hobart Papers
Under Revision
by Diana Smith
February 2001
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.