The Frederic G. Renner Library, located in the Museum, is a non-circulating, research library dedicated to the appreciation and study of the art and artists of the American west, Montana and western history, and Charles M. Russell materials. The library collection reflects the strengths of the C.M. Russell Museum and supports the educational and research needs of its staff and academic researchers.
The library collection includes books, serials, auction cataloges, exhibition catalogs, vertical files and non-print resources. The Frederic G. Renner Library is developing its programs and services to make the collection more user friendly. The materials are shelved in closed stacks, but are easily retrieved for library users.
This beautiful research center was established in 1987 and dedicated to the memory of Frederic G. Renner. Renner, who died in 1987 at the age of 89, spent his lifetime researching and collecting everything possible about Charlie Russell’s life and art.
Hours are by appointment. Please contact (406) 727-8787 to schedule an appointment.
Food and drink are not permitted in the library.
Belongings may be checked in the Museum's coat-check room. Purses, bags and backpacks may be subject to inspection upon leaving.
Frederic Gordon Renner (1897-1987) was a gentleman who spent his lifetime researching and collecting everything possible about Charlie Russell’s life and art. His parents were friends of Charlie and Nancy Russell. Like other neighborhood children, Renner watched Charlie at work in his studio. He was intrigued by Charlie’s flamboyant dress, vibrant paintings, as well as the personality of the artist himself.
Renner grew up to have had two very successful careers; his legacy lives on in both fields. He was recognized nationally and internationally as a specialist in soil conservation and range management. He worked for the United States Department of Agriculture and headed its Range Management division for 26 years until his retirement in 1961.
After retirement, Renner was devoted full time to his Russell research. Ginger Renner often explained her husband’s dedication to the study of Charlie Russell as an accident of birth. "I was born in Great Falls, Montana," he once said, as though this early proximity to the celebrated cowboy artist would be sufficient to explain his 75 years of searching, collecting and recording Russell's extraordinary artistic output. Renner traveled extensively for the USDA and was always on the lookout for Russell works and information. He was an extremely thorough researcher and always took careful notes, wrote accurate descriptions and whenever possible documented his findings with photographs. He did not tolerate errors nor their perpetuation.
Fred Renner always willingly shared his knowledge of Russell. For this reason it is most appropriate that our library honors his memory.