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Thomas Howard Ruger papers

 Collection
Call Number: WA MSS S-2699

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, reports, printed material, and maps that document the military career and personal life of United States Army general Thomas Howard Ruger, focusing on his years in Montana, the Dakotas, and Missouri, 1879-1895. The collection contains significant documentation of the relationship between Native Americans and the United States government, especially the Lakota, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, Crow, and Chiricahua Apache communities. Correspondence and records from Ruger's post as commander of the Department of Dakota document actions taken by United States Army personnel to track Ghost Dance practitioners (including Kicking Bear and Sitting Bull) and to quell the Ghost Dance religious movement during the Ghost Dance War, 1890-1891. The papers also contain correspondence and reports documenting Ruger's and others' reactions to the death of Sitting Bull and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Four cloth maps document geographic details of Sioux reservations in North and South Dakota, and the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre. The collection includes letters from United States Army generals William T. Sherman and Nelson A. Miles, Lakota leader Sitting Bull, United States secretaries of war William Crowinshield Endicott and Redfield Proctor, and United States president Benjamin Harrison.

The collection includes correspondence, reports, and other records documenting the Crow War of 1887, when Ruger served as the commander of the Department of Dakota. Papers from Ruger's post at the Military Division of the Missouri document the treatment of the Chiricahua Apache prisoners of war held at Fort Sill, 1894-1895. The collection contains officers' reports of armed conflicts with Native American tribes, lists of tribal leaders and Native Americans suspected of unrest, and records of Native Americans enlisting in the United States Army as scouts. There are also transcriptions of speeches by Native Americans and accounts of Native Americans' grievances against white settlers, Indian agents, and the United States government.

Other military papers document Ruger's term as president of the Military Service Institution of the United States, 1901-1907. Personal correspondence documents Ruger's family life and travels, including extensive correspondence with his wife and daughters. Family papers include the correspondence of Ruger’s wife Helen Moore Ruger, daughters Helen Ruger Hay and Anna Ruger, and son-in-law Thomas A. H. Hay. Other family papers include genealogical records, wills, and correspondence relating to Ruger’s family after his death.

Dates

  • 1821-1958
  • Majority of material found within 1878-1907

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Thomas Howard Ruger Papers is 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 Co.(Cowan's sale, 2009 June 24, lots 283, 284 and 285) on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2009.

Arrangement

Organized into four series: I. Professional Papers, 1865-1907. II. Maps, 1890-1891. III. Personal Correspondence, 1861-1907. IV. Ruger Family Papers, 1821-1958.

Extent

5.21 Linear Feet ((13 boxes) + 1 roll)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.ruger

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, reports, printed material, and maps that document the military career and personal life of United States Army general Thomas Howard Ruger, focusing on his years in Montana, the Dakotas, and Missouri, 1879-1895. The collection contains significant documentation of the relationship between Native Americans and the United States government, especially the Lakota, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, Crow, and Chiricahua Apache communities. Correspondence and records from Ruger's post as commander of the Department of Dakota document actions taken by United States Army personnel to track Ghost Dance practitioners (including Kicking Bear and Sitting Bull) and to quell the Ghost Dance religious movement during the Ghost Dance War, 1890-1891. The papers also contain correspondence and reports documenting Ruger's and others' reactions to the death of Sitting Bull and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Four cloth maps document geographic details of Sioux reservations in North and South Dakota, and the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre. The collection includes letters from United States Army generals William T. Sherman and Nelson A. Miles, Lakota leader Sitting Bull, United States secretaries of war William Crowinshield Endicott and Redfield Proctor, and United States president Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Howard Ruger (1833-1907)

Thomas Howard Ruger (1833-1907) was born in Lima, New York and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1854. He saw active duty in the United States Army during the Civil War and in the Reconstruction South, eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general. He was the superintendent of the United States Military Academy, 1871-1876, Commander of the Department of the South, 1876-1878, Commander of the District of Montana, 1879-1886, Commander of the Department of Dakota, 1886-1891, Commander of the Department of California, 1891-1894, Commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, 1894-1895, and Commander of the Department of the East, 1895-1897. Ruger was promoted to major general in 1895 and retired from the Army in 1897. Ruger died on June 3, 1907, in Stamford, Connecticut. He married Helen Lydia Moore in 1857 and they had two daughters, Helen Ruger Hay and Anna Ruger.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. The Thomas Howard Ruger papers was comprehensively reprocessed in 2017. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards. For more information, please refer to the Beinecke Manuscript Unit Processing Manual.
Title
Guide to the Thomas Howard Ruger Papers
Author
Stephanie Bredbenner
Date
2010, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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

Location

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.