Henrietta "Pat" Christopher Papers, 1920-1989
Primary Creator: Christopher, Henrietta "Pat" (1892-1989)
Extent: 6.5 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 07/12/1991
The Henrietta "Pat" Christopher Papers date from 1920-1989 and have been divided into four series:
Series 1: Writings by Christopher
Series 2: Subject Files
Series 3: Oversize Materials
Series 4: Photographs
Henrietta "Pat" Christopher was born Helen Henrietta Conmy on July 15, 1892, in Pembina, North Dakota. Her parents, Judge Edward W. and Celina Conmy, were pioneers of Pembina County. Pat stated that "I acquired the nickname of Pat before I was old enough to have a say in the matter."
Pat finished high school in Pembina in 3 years and entered St. Mary's Academy in Winnipeg in 1909. In the spring of 1910 she was hospitalized with scarlet fever and returned home to recuperate. She went to Menomonie, WI in 1911 where she completed a 2 year course in home economics at the Stout Institute in 1913. This was followed by 4 years of teaching in Minot, ND. After 3 semesters of study, she graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1922 with a B.S. and then went on to teach in Grand Rapids, MN. This was followed by 2 years of teaching in Sauk Centre, MN.
While attending UND in 1921, Pat won the Neilson Award for Pioneer Stories. The article, "North Dakota's First White Settler," was written about Charles Cavalier of Pembina. The prize of $25 was the first money she ever earned for writing. The article is found in folder 1243-1-4.
"Pat" Conmy married Albert J. Christopher in June, 1925. Albert was born January 1, 1897, to Harley and Mary Christopher at Aitkin, MN. When Albert was 7 years old his father died, so he and his brother went to live with their uncle in Nova Scotia where he grew up. He served 3 years in WWI with the Ninth Canadian Siege Battery. On his return he attended the Denver Engineering Institute. In 1920 he came with his brother to Pembina and bought an automotive business. It was here that he met and married Pat. Melbourne was born to them in 1927 and Catherine in 1931.
In 1939, Pat wrote and directed "Red River Ripples: A Pageant of Pembina, 1818-1889." Pat also was an historical correspondent for the Grand Forks Herald. She helped establish the Pembina County Pioneer Daughters in 1940 and was their first president until 1942. She continued to remain active with the Pioneer Daughters, serving on various committees and in other positions. During this time she was also active in the American Legion Auxiliary, serving periodically as their District President.
Pat wrote "Early Pembina History" for the North Dakota Clubwoman in 1948 and in 1950 she contributed historical articles and photographs to the North Dakota State Historical Society. She conducted Pembina River Flood Research for the North Dakota State Water Commission in 1957. During this year, she also wrote and directed an outdoor pageant on North Dakota history for the Pembina County Pioneer Daughters. In 1958, she wrote and directed an outdoor pageant for the Minnesota Centennial year.
In 1957, Pat presented historical data on Pembina River flooding to the International Joint Commission, which was studying the feasibility of the Pembilier Dam. She also compiled a history of the Pembilier Dam Project for presentation to the International Joint Commission in 1965.
While Albert served in the North Dakota State Legislature, 1953-1967, Pat was active in the Auxiliary of Wives of Republican Legislators, serving for a time as President. She prepared and presented historical data to the Appropriations Board for the Pembina State Museum at the North Dakota legislative sessions in 1959 and 1963. From 1962-68 she served as the Pembina State Museum Exhibits Chairman. She and Albert received an award from the North Dakota State Historical Society for promotion of the Pembina State Museum in 1962.
Pat was a member of the Dakota Territorial Centennial Commission in 1961 and chairman of the Unwritten Tales Contest. In 1963 she became the charter Director of the Red River Valley Historical Society. She served on the Re-Organization Committee of the North Dakota Historical Society in 1966. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Pembina County Centennial and helped compile the county history, A History of Pembina County. Governor Guy asked Pat to serve on the North Dakota Heritage Committee in 1967 but she had to decline due to ill health. This same year Albert and Pat received a certificate of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History. In 1968, she was chairman of the History Committee for the Sesquicentennial of the Pembina Catholic Church, of which she was an active member. The Minnesota Historical Society presented her an award for her work on early area history in 1972. Henrietta "Pat" Christopher died on August 12, 1989.
Albert J. Christopher, like his wife Pat, lived an active life and one dedicated to helping others. He was a prominent businessman in Pembina, starting Christopher Sales and Service in the 1920's, running a garage and filling station, and later adding on a Chevrolet and John Deere dealership. In World War II, he joined the Seabees as a Chief Petty Officer and served in the Pacific for 2 years.
Albert had the record for the greatest number of consecutive years as a mayor of an American municipality, serving from 1931- 1970. Circa 1950, he became Republican Precinct Committeeman in Pembina County, serving for 13 years. He served in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1953-67. In 1962, he received the Governor's "Man of the Year" award and on Veteran's Day, 1969, he was given special recognition by several state and local officials and also received a letter of commendation from President Nixon.
Over the years, he served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Pembina River Flood Control Association, Economic Development Corporation, and the Red River Watershed and Flood Control Association. He served as Director of the North Dakota Water User's Association, North Dakota State Historical Society, and the Pembina State Museum which he also helped found. In addition, he was Post Commander of the American Legion and County Chairman of the American Red Cross. Albert J. Christopher died February 26, 1977.
Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Source: Albert Melbourne Christopher
Acquisition Method: Donation; Acc.91-1784
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Henrietta "Pat" Christopher Papers. OGLMC 1243, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid migrated to Archon in May 2014.
Browse by Series:
[Series 1: Writings by Christopher],
[Series 2: Subject Files],
[Series 3: Oversize Materials],
[Series 4: Photographs],
- Series 1: Writings by Christopher
- Series 1 consists primarily of articles written by Pat and notes taken by her from various sources. There are also photocopied materials related to Pat and her husband, Albert, articles authored by others, and a few brochures. Most of the materials document the history of Pembina and its surrounding area. The materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Folders that contain papers written by Pat are identified in the inventory, and these papers are placed in front of their respective folders.
- Box 1
- Folder 1: Backoo - 1 paper written by Pat included.
- Folder 2: Barry, Elmer E. - 1 paper written by Pat included.
- Folder 3: Canada - Miscellaneous.
- Folder 4: Cavalier family - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 5: Chaboillez, Charles
- Folder 6: Christopher, Albert J
- Folder 7: Christopher, Henrietta "Pat."
- Folder 8: Conmy family
- Folder 9: Dakota Territory
- Folder 10: Fort Pembina
- Folder 11: Goiffon, Father - Frozen Priest of Pembina
- Folder 12: Hatch's Independent Battalion
- Folder 13: Icelandic pioneers
- Folder 14: La Moure, Judson
- Folder 15: LeTraille, Louis.
- Folder 16: Minnesota
- Folder 17: Miscellaneous materials
- Folder 18: Miscellaneous notes taken from books, etc
- Folder 19: Moorhead family
- Folder 20: Mother of the Year nominations - 1966
- Folder 21: Native Americans
- Folder 22: <pre>Nelson, Nelson E. and Martha Hanson - 1 paper written by Pat included</pre>
- Folder 23: North Dakota State Historical Society
- Folder 24: Pembilier Dam Justification - 3 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 25: Pembina - Catholic Church chronology
- Folder 26: Pembina - Catholic Church history - 5 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 27: Pembina cemetery, 1st - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 28: Pembina County - 3 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 29: Pembina history - 7 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 30: Pembina history - Various materials - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 31: Pembina Museum - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 32: Pembina schools - 2 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 33: Pioneer Daughters of Pembina County
- Folder 34: Railroads
- Folder 35: Red River area
- Folder 36: Red River carts - 2 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 37: Rolette, Joseph - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 38: Selkirk Settlement - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 39: Stutsman, Enos - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 40: Thomson family
- Folder 41: Trading posts
- Folder 42: U.S.S. Pembina and Pembina II - 2 papers written by Pat included
- Folder 43: Verendrye - 1 paper written by Pat included
- Folder 44: Walhalla
- Folder 45: Walhalla martyrs
- Series 2: Subject Files
- Series 2 contains newspaper clippings and publications. The clippings are arranged alphabetically by subject. The publications are grouped by subject and arranged alphabetically by title within each subject category.
- Box 2
- Folder 1: Clippings - American Legion Auxiliary.
- Folder 2: Clippings - Blizzard - 1966
- Folder 3: Clippings - Canada history
- Folder 4: Clippings - Chaboillez, Charles Jean Baptiste
- Folder 5: Clippings - Christopher, Albert J
- Folder 6: Clippings - Christopher, Albert Melbourne
- Folder 7: Clippings - Christopher, Henrietta, "Pat."
- Folder 8: Clippings - Conmy family
- Folder 9: Clippings - Fort Pembina
- Folder 10: Clippings - Grand Forks history
- Folder 11: Clippings - Interstate 29 dedication
- Folder 12: Clippings - Minnesota history
- Folder 13: Clippings - Native Americans
- Folder 14: Clippings - North Dakota Heritage Center
- Folder 15: Clippings - North Dakota history
- Folder 16: Clippings - North Dakota Territory Centennial
- Folder 17: Clippings - Pembilier Dam
- Folder 18: Clippings - Pembina bus plant
- Folder 19: Clippings - Pembina Catholic church
- Folder 20: Clippings - Pembina County Centennial
- Folder 21: Clippings - Pembina County Historical Society
- Folder 22: Clippings - Pembina history
- Folder 23: Clippings - Pembina County history
- Folder 24: Clippings - Pembina Museum
- Folder 25: Clippings - Pioneer Daughters, Pembina County Chapter
- Folder 26: Clippings - Red River carts
- Folder 27: Clippings - Red River of the North history
- Folder 28: Clippings - Red River Valley history
- Folder 29: Clippings - Rolette, Joseph
- Folder 30: Clippings - Stefansson, Vilhjalmur
- Folder 31: Clippings - United States history
- Folder 32: Clippings - University of North Dakota
- Folder 33: Clippings - Walhalla history
- Folder 34: Publications on Canada
- Folder 35: Publications on the Catholic Church
- Folder 36: Publications on the Christopher family
- Folder 37: Publications on Dakota Territory
- Folder 38: Publications on the international boundary between Canada and the United States
- Folder 39: Publications on Native American history
- Folder 40: Publications on Native American history
- Folder 41: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 42: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 43: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 44: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 45: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Box 3
- Folder 1: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 2: Publications on North Dakota - general
- Folder 3: Publications on the Pembilier Dam and the Pembina River Basin
- Folder 4: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Folder 5: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Folder 6: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Folder 7: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Folder 8: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Folder 9: Publications on Pembina County and City
- Box 4
- Folder 1: Publications on persons of historical significance
- Folder 2: Publications on persons of historical significance
- Folder 3: Publications on the Pioneer Daughters of Pembina County
- Folder 4: Publications on the Red River Valley - general
- Folder 5: Publications on the Red River Valley - general
- Folder 6: Publications on the Red River Valley - general
- Folder 7: Publications on the Red River Valley - general
- Folder 8: Publications on miscellaneous communities
- Series 3: Oversize Materials
- Series 3 is found in Box 5 and consists of newspapers, two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, two maps of Pembina and Pembina County, and miscellaneous publications.
- Series 4: Photographs
- Series 4 contains 210 photographs, most of which document Pembina and the surrounding area. The photographs have been placed in the Photograph File Cabinets.
Browse by Series:
[Series 1: Writings by Christopher],
[Series 2: Subject Files],
[Series 3: Oversize Materials],
[Series 4: Photographs],