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Tolan, Providencia, Sister. NWDA



Biographical History

Sister Providencia Tolan, S.P., was born on Feb. 24, 1904 in Anaconda, Montana, the daughter of John. H. and Alma Deschamps Tolan. In 1928 she joined the sisters of Charity of Providence and began a teaching career in Seattle, WA and Des Plaines, IL from 1931 to 1933.

During the period from 1937 to 1941 Sister Providencia was a missionary at DeSmet, Idaho, then taught school in Great Falls, Montana. Beginning in 1941 she was associated with the College of Great Falls, where she rose through the academic ranks to become an Associate Professor of Sociology. Her academic degrees included a B.A. from the College of Great Falls in 1945 and an M.A. in Anthropology and Social Work from the Catholic University of America in 1952. She retired in 1974.

While teaching in Great Falls, Sister Providencia became concerned with the plight of the American Indian tribes in Montana, particularly the urban Indians displaced from the reservations to "Hill 57" hear the garbage dumps of Great Falls. Much of the collection revolves around her relationship with Montana's American Indian tribes.

From the finding aid for Sister Providencia Tolan Papers 1888-1978 1953-1978 (Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives)

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