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Manuscripts by Subject - Women's History - #10023

Title: Fannie Dunn Quain Papers

Dates: 1877-1948

Collection Number: 10023     

Quantity: 1.25 feet

Abstract: Correspondence, autograph albums, printed materials, newspaper clippings, calling cards, business cards, programs, advertisements, ephemera, manuscripts relating to early Bismarck and Burleigh Co. history, records of the Original Club, the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Fortnitely Club papers of John Piatt Dunn and Christiana S. Dunn.

Provenance: The Fannie Dunn Quain Papers were acquired as a gift from Mrs. Marion Kaiser in 1950 and the Medical Library of The Quain and Ramstad Clinic of Bismarck in 1979. Juliann Henriksen prepared the inventory to the Fannie Dunn Quain Papers in August 1984.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-533, Title 17 U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyrights is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnotes and bibliographic references.


Fannie Dunn Quain was born on February 13, 1874 in Bismarck, Dakota Territory. She graduated from University of Michigan's School of Medicine in 1898. Dr. Quain served her internship at the Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and opened her own office in Bismarck in 1899.

Fannie Dunn Quain was one of the first white children born in the small prairie village of Bismarck, and later became as aficionado of the history of the capital city and later the state as a whole. The daughter of druggist John Pratt Dunn II, Mrs. Quain developed an early interest in the field of medicine as well; as one might expect, however, her gender proved to be an obstacle in late 19th century society. In addition, she was the first North Dakotan to enter and graduate from medical school. 

Mrs. Quain grew up in a home where entertaining notable Dakota Territory social, political, and military leaders was relatively common. She developed an interest in the history and politics of the Territory and later the State. Perhaps the most famous friend of the family was Mark Kellogg, the Bismarck Tribune reporter killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Many years later, Dr. Quain turned over the blood-stained diary of the reporter to the Bismarck Tribune for keeping in their archives. The diary is now part of the manuscript collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Dr. Quain is perhaps best remembered for her work against tuberculosis and the establishment of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Association. In addition Dr. Quain set up the first "baby clinic" in the state and worked hard to educate the public on diseases. A year before her death, Fannie Dunn Quain received the "Fifty Year Club" pin for her professional service as a physician in North Dakota.

Fannie Dunn Quain married Dr. Eric Quain in 1903; they had two children, Buell and Marion. Her son Buell won acclaim as an anthropologist, and is best remembered for his work in the Brazilian jungles with an obscure Indian group. Buell succumbed while working in South America, the apparent victim of an illness in 1939.

Dr. Fannie Dunn Quain died of a heart attack on February 2, 1950 in Bismarck, eleven days short of her seventy-sixth birthday.


The Fannie Dunn Quain Papers date from 1877 to 1948 and measure one and one fourth cubic feet. The papers are divided into three series: Fannie Dunn Quain Papers, John Pratt Dunn Papers, and Eric P. Quain Papers.

The Fannie Dunn Quain Papers measure one foot, range in date from 1894 to 1948, and consist of personal papers and club records.  The personal papers are made up of correspondence, historical essays, two autograph albums, a notebook, newspaper clippings, ephemera, account book, two scrapbooks, and a small variety of miscellaneous items. The correspondence dates from 1894 to 1948 and is arranged chronologically. The historical writings relate to Bismarck and North Dakota, and by-and-large were written by Dr. Quain, with a few authored by N. Jonann Kildahl. The autograph album consists of signatures of early Bismarck residents, and the notebook a record kept while attending the 1893 World's Fair. The newspaper clippings relate to George Custer; a serial written by Linda Slaughter published in the Bismarck Tribune, and articles on various and sundry topics by Dr. Quain. The ephemera consists of poems, programs, delegate tickets to the 1936 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, and invitations. The expense book kept a daily record of all the household purchases in September of 1885.  The first Scrapbook contains photographs, newspaper clippings, and picture postcards; the second has been disassembled and consists of advertising, business, and Christmas cards. The miscellaneous items are made up of receipts, certificates, sketches, an oath of office, and a Department of Public Instruction budget. The club records consist of Original Club minutes (a women's club), a Franklin Club program, and North Dakota Federation of Women's Club programs and yearbooks.

The John Pratt Dunn Papers date from 1877 to 1934 and occupy three (3) folders and are made up of correspondence, an account book, and miscellaneous items. The correspondence dates from 1877 to 1905 and is arranged chronologically. The account book was recorded by Mrs. Dunn between 1907 and 1934. The miscellaneous items consist of a biography of John P. Dunn, receipts, vouchers, certificates, and a resolution of the McCabe Methodist Episcopal Church expressing condolences to the John Dunn Family.

The Eric P. Quain Papers are made up of articles and papers written by Eric Quain on medical topics.


Series I:  Fannie Dunn Quain Personal Papers and Club Papers

Box 1:
1 Correspondence 1894-1901, 1925, 1942-1948
2 Historical writings, Bismarck n.d.
3 Historical writings, Miscellaneous topics 1895
4 Autograph albums 1895
5 Notebook 1893
6 Newspaper clippings: Custer 1923, 1926
7 Newspaper clippings: Linda Slaughter 1947
8 Newspaper clippings: Miscellaneous n.d.
9 Ephemera 1883-1947
10 Expense book 1885

Box 3:
1 Miscellaneous
2 Original Club minutes 1900
3 Original Club minutes 1901
4 Franklin Club program 1912
5 Fortnightly Club programs 1899-1909
6 North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs programs and yearbooks 1904-1911

Series II: John Pratt Dunn Papers

7 Correspondence 1877-1905
8 Account book 1907-34
9 Miscellaneous

Series III: Eric P. Quain Papers

10 Medical pamphlets

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