Format: Paperback & Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-9668216-1-1 & 978-0-9668216-2-8
Splendid on a Large Scale
The Writings of Hans Peter Gyllembourg Koch, Montana Territory, 1869-1874
Co-published by Drumlummon Institute and Bedrock Editions, Helena, MT; Edited & with an introduction & epilogue by Kim Allen Scott; Preface by Rick Newby; Design by Peter Rutledge Koch
Jointly published by Drumlummon Institute and Bedrock Editions of Helena, Montana, 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 country—as 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.”
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 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 and one of America’s foremost letterpress printers and book artists.