G. Joseph Sills, Jr. Papers: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Steven Collicelli, February 3, 2011.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2011
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: G. Joseph Sills, Jr. Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1878-2000
Bulk dates: 1984-2000
Collection Number: mssSills papers
Creator: Sills, G. Joseph, Jr.
Extent: 284 items in 2 boxes.
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains the research materials and correspondence of G. Joseph Sills (1931-2000) concerning the events surrounding th Battle of Little Big Horn and Custer's Last Stand. The collection revolves around not only George A. Custer, but several of his subordinates as well (Myles Walter Keogh, Frederick William Benteen, and Marcus A. Reno).
Language: English.

Access

Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. G. Joseph Sills, Jr. Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Gift of Virginia Sills, April 7, 2004.

Processing/Project Information

Additional Items included with Finding aid:
  • Summary of correspondence between G. Joseph Sills, Jr., Brian Pohanka and Ronald Nichols.
  • Pohanka, Brian C., 1955- (2000) A Tribute to Joe Sills.

Biographical Note

A member of the English Westerners Society, the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association (CBHMA) and the Little Big Horn Associates, G. Joseph Sills, Jr. (1931-2000) of Baltimore, Maryland, was a dedicated as well as respected student of Custer’s Last Stand. Maryland’s longtime Commissioner for Workers’ Compensation, Sills brought a keen mind and impartial spirit to the study of the famous battle.
G. Joseph Sills was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1931 and graduated from Loyola College in 1952. He received his law degree from the University of Maryland Law School in 1960. Author of an introduction to the 1995 edition of Men With Custer: Biographies of the Seventh Cavalry, he was a frequent participant in panel discussions and lectures at the CBHMA’s annual symposiums. In the early 1990s, he actively assisted in the conservation of the Custer Battlefield Historical Monument. In addition, Sills was also a lifelong Sherlock Holmes enthusiast. He died in 2000.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the research materials and correspondence of G. Joseph Sills (1931-2000) concerning the events surrounding th Battle of Little Big Horn and Custer's Last Stand. The collection has been divided into two boxes: one containing his correspondence with various historians and National Park Service personnel, one holding his research and writings. The correspondence extends chronologically from Sills first visit to the Little Big Horn Associates annual conference in 1984 through his death in the summer of 2000. Chief correspondents include historians Brian Pohanka, Ronald Nichols, and Francis B. Taunton. A summary of the sixteen years of exchanges between Sills, Pohanka, and Nichols has been compiled by Pohanka and is at the end of this finding aid.
The research Sills collected contains notes made while investigating the Battle of Little Big Horn at the National Archives and other pertinent archives. Much of his research was documented by hand on yellow legal pads and is contained herewith. The collection also contains photocopies of other manuscript materials with Sills’ annotation. Intensely focused on the events surrounding Custer’s Last Stand, the collection revolves around not only George A. Custer, but several of his subordinates as well (Myles Walter Keogh, Frederick William Benteen, and Marcus A. Reno). In addition, there are a number of articles--both published and unpublished--written by Sills’ colleagues and correspondents. Lastly, Sills’ various lectures and essays are included in this collection. These writings range from esoteric jottings on scraps of paper to final, typewritten drafts. The largely undated material in this box is arranged alphabetically and grouped into (1) notes and research, (2) secondary literature, and (3) Sills’ writings, manuscripts, and ephemera.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two boxes:
  • Box 1: Correspondence
  • Box 2: Research, Manuscripts, and Ephemera

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

Benteen, Frederick William, 1834-1898.
Custer, George A. (George Armstrong), 1839-1876.
Keogh, Myles Walter, 1840-1876.
Reno, Marcus A. (Marcus Albert), 1835-1889.
Sills, G. Joseph, Jr.
Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association.
Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee.
United States. Army. Cavalry, 7th.
Historians -- United States -- Archives.
Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Mont.)

Forms/Genres

Articles -- United States -- 20th century.
Essays -- United States -- 20th century.
Lectures -- United States -- 20th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 20th century.
Research (document genres) -- United States -- 20th century.

Additional Contributors

Nichols, Ronald H. (Ronald Hamilton), 1935-.
Pohanka, Brian C., 1955-.
Taunton, Francis B.


Collection Contents

Box 1

Correspondence

Folder 1

1984, Sep.-1991, Feb. Miscellaneous Correspondence. 7 letters between G. Joseph Sills, Jr. and W. Donald Horn, John M. Carroll, Lowell Smith, and Douglas W. Ellison.

Folder 2

1984, Oct.-2000, May. Sills, G. Joseph Jr. 27 letters to Brian C. Pohanka, 1955--.

Folder 3

1984, Oct.-2000, May. Pohanka, Brian C., 1955- 26 letters to G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 4

1985, Oct.-2000, May. Sills, G. Joseph Jr. 35 letters to Ronald H. (Ronald Hamilton) Nichols, 1935--.

Folder 5

1985, Nov.-1995, Aug. Nichols, Ronald (Ronald Hamilton), 1935--. 26 letters G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 6

1985, Jan.-Apr. 2000. Nichols, Ronald (Ronald Hamilton), 1935--. 26 letters to G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 7

1985, Jul.-1992, Oct. Taunton, Francis B. 7 letters) to G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 8

1985, Aug.-1992, Oct. Sills, G. Joseph Jr. 4 letters to Francis B. Taunton.

Folder 9

1990, Jun.-1995, Sep. McCristian, Douglas C. 2 letters to G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 10

1991, Nov.-1994, Oct. Fox, Richard A., 1943 3 letters to G. Joseph Sills, Jr.

Folder 11

1993. Miscellaneous Correspondence. 21 items between G. Joseph Sills, Jr. and Benjamin Cardin, Lawson Stowe Warren, Michael J. Koury, and Robert M. Baker.

Folder 12

2000, Jun. Sills, G. Joseph Jr. 1 letter to Sandy Barnard.

Folder 13

2001, Jan. 25. Upton, Richard, 1933--. 1 letter to Brian Pohanka.

Box 2

Research, Manuscripts, and Ephemera

Folder 1

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. 7th Cavalry Rosters and Losses: notes [undated]. 12 items.

Folder 2

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Accounts of Little Big Horn: photocopies of articles (1878-1933). 6 items.

Folder 3

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Custer Battlefield Archaeological Data and Native American Accounts: photocopies (1988). 6 items.

Folder 4

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Little Big Horn Documents [after 1884]. 4 items.

Folder 5

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Little Big Horn Research [after 1884]. 21 items.

Folder 6

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Notes on Little Big Horn [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 7

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Custer, Kidder, and Tragedy on Beaver Creek, On Locating the Kidder Massacre Site of 1867: historical essays (1999, Oct.). 4 items.

Folder 8

Burst, James S. 1877 Summer Expedition [undated]: article. 1 item.

Folder 9

Burst, James, S. “With More Rapidity than Discipline:” historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 10

Ellison, Douglas W. A Mystery of the Rosebud: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 11

Gray, John S. A Vindication of Curly: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 12

Nichols, Ronald (Ronald Hamilton), 1935--. Custer Divides His Command: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 13

Taunton, Francis B. The Enigma of Weir Point: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 14

Thomas, Rodney G. A Warrior’s Pictograph of the Encampment on the Greasy Grass River: historical essays [undated]. 2 items.

Folder 15

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. The Crow Scouts: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 16

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Custer’s Battalion: Reno Creek to South Medicine Trail Coulee: historical essays [undated]. 10 items.

Folder 17

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Holmes’ Last Stand: essay (1987, Feb. 17). 2 items.

Folder 18

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. The Mary Adam’s Affidavit: historical essays [undated]. 3 items.

Folder 19

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Messages and Messengers: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 20

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Untitled Manuscript [undated]. 3 items.

Folder 21

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Wings, Battalions, Speculations: historical essay [undated]. 1 item.

Folder 22

Sills, G. Joseph Jr. Ephemera [undated]. 14 items.