How I came to do a display on the Rankins is, unsurprisingly, related to Darwin. Back in 2005, I purchased a copy of The Descent of Man (an 1890 printing of the 2nd edition) at my public library's quarterly used book sale. Apparently someone had donated several boxes of old books right before the doors to the sale opened, and the volunteers placed the boxes with everything els because they did not have time to look through them. So I found this copy of The Descent of Man and an 1890s copy of volume 1 of George Romanes' Darwin and After Darwin. Both for $3.00 each. Both books had little surprises in them when I opened them up at home. Darwin and After Darwin had some newspaper clippings: one of an article about the funeral of an eskimo girl, the other a picture of Darwin. The Descent of Man contained a political card for when Wellington D. Rankin ran for U.S. Senate in 1942 (and lost) with the slogan "Win the War, Crush the ilitary Axis Powers Forever" on the back of it; a "Peace on Earth" (read pacifist) Christmas card from Jeanette to Wellington; and Wellington's signature on the front endpage indicating (Cambridge, Mass.) that he had the book when he went to Harvard Law School in the first decade of the 20th century. I am using these artifacts to tell their stories, and the book to show where history can be found.
Here are some photos of the Montana Historical Society. I didn't have enough time to really take in the exhibits... and I have had some fun using photoshop to create images for my display, especially making images transparent. When I have finished the display and it is mounted (hopefully by the end of November, I will post some pictures here. Here are the two biographies I am using (on Jeannette and on Wellington).