Howard Bulger Collection

engraving of Fort Armstrong showing the fort, the river and a boat in the river with people upon it
Fort Armstrong
One of the images of Western forts from the collection.

Howard A. Bulger Western Forts Collection

- Finding aid by Jennifer R. Clark

July 2002


Dr. Harold A. Bulger, a St. Louis physician with a deep interest in Western history, created this collection of information about forts, camps and trading posts west of the Mississippi River. Dr. Bulger graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1920 and taught at Yale Medical School and the Washington University School of Medicine specializing in metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Dr. Bulger was very active in many fields serving as: president of the Webster Groves Nature Society, vice-president of the Historical Association of Greater St. Louis, librarian of the Academy of Science, a member of the St. Louis Naturalist Club and founder of a group to study western history - the St. Louis Westerners. He combined his practice with his hobby by serving as the resident physician on Ford Foundation archaeological expeditions to the southwest. He died on November 1, 1966.

This collection consists primarily of maps, newspaper articles, brochures, engravings, letters and other materials relating to western forts, camps and trading posts. Also included is some material about rivers and other geological formations as well as some cities and towns in the southwest. Many of the engravings are original clippings from Harper's Weekly. Other illustrations are Pacific Railroad Surveys, color lithographs done by John Mix Stanley from sketches by R.H. Kern, from the 12-volume survey report to the government about the reports of explorations and surveys to determine the most practical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. These lithographs date from around 1855. The collection contains twenty letters; mostly handwritten letters to or from men who had forts named after them. Most of these men were generals in either the Mexican War or the Civil War. The collection was originally housed in eleven three-ring binders. The materials have been placed in acid free folders for safekeeping. The folder labels [for example, "Forts A-B"] reflect Bulger's original binder labels.

Dr. Bulger also left a large collection of photographs of insects, trees, plants and geological formations, which is part of the collections of the St. Louis Science Center.

Information obtained from this collection must be properly cited, whether used in publications or in other formats. A citation suggested for this collection is:

National Park Service

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives

Indian Wars Widows Project Records, circa 1864-1965

Box __, Folder __

Researchers are advised that before records, photographs, and any other unpublished materials from this collection can be published or exhibited, permission from the National Park Service must be obtained in writing.


Series 1. Western Forts

This series consists of newspaper clippings, maps, line drawings, sketches and other information about forts, encampments and trading posts in the western portion of the United States of America. Some forts have considerably more information than others. Also included in this series are twenty manuscript letters from people associated with some of the forts. These letters appear to have been collected for their autograph value as the content has little bearing on the collection.

Series 2. Miscellaneous Information about the West

This series contains newspaper articles and drawings about the American West focusing especially on natural features such as mountains, rivers and valleys. The series also contains information about a few western cities.

If you have questions regarding archives holdings, contact Archivist Jennifer Clark at the JNEM Archives at (voice) 314-655-1600.


Last updated: October 5, 2020

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