The contemporary scandals involving powerful men in the realms of American entertainment, business, and politics might lead some to believe that the scourge of sexual harassment is a twenty-first-century social malady. However, even a casual study of history reveals the deplorable behavior of some men in their treatment of women has always been a part of America’s story, and a sharpened awareness of this longstanding problem can help reveal previously veiled instances in our national narrative. One such case involves the turbulent founding of the Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Bozeman during the mid-1890s. Although the argument between two of Montana State University’s founding fathers is well known to anyone familiar with the school’s history, the dramatic story of that conflict has obscured subtle evidence of a simultaneous incident of sexual harassment. If history has a purpose for the instruction of the present, this evidence deserves the light of scrutiny it has previously avoided.
Scott, Kim Allen. #METOO, 1896. Unpublished (Posted March 2019): 1-12.