George A. Custer Collection,   1864, 2003, and undated
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History

Biography:

For information on General George A. Custer (1839-1876), the controversial army officer, and one-time American hero, who with his men died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, see an encyclopedia.

T. N. “Tal” Luther (dates unknown) of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, was a Custer collector and researcher. His collection of Custerania, considered one of the best, was purchased by the Clarke Historical Library for $55,000 over a three year period, beginning in 1977. Luther wrote at least two bibliographies of Custer materials, copies of which are in the Clarke. One of the books, Custer High Spots (1967), has drawings in it by Byron B. Wolfe. The original drawings, drawn by Wolfe for the book, are in this collection.

Lawrence A. Frost (May 1, 1907-August 14, 1990) was a podiatrist in Monroe, Michigan. He collected footware from various countries as a hobby. In 1942, one of Frost’s neighbors, Col. Brice C. W. Custer, Gen. George A. Custer’s closest living linear descendant, gave Frost Gen. Custer’s boots. This prompted a lifelong research and publishing interest in Custer, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and related topics in Frost. Frost eventually published at least sixteen books, thirteen of which document Custer-related topics.

Fred Dustin, noted Saginaw, Michigan, author and historian (October 12, 1865-May 15, 1957) authored nineteen books, six of which document Custer-related topics. Most importantly for Custer buffs, Dustin authored the first bibliography of literature on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, entitled (the) Custer Tragedy, 1939. Dustin’s book was critiqued by Luther in his book, Custer High Spots (1967). Dustin worked as a special agent for the University of Michigan (UM) making archaeological surveys and reports of Isle Royale. He also reported on prehistoric earthworks in Ogemaw County, Michigan, for Cranbrook Institute of Science. Many of his books document Michigan’s prehistory, archeology, and Native Americans, as well as Saginaw history. In 1955, Dustin received the UM Regents’ Citation of Honor for his outstanding work as a historian and archaeologist. (For further information on Dustin, please see the finding aid for his papers, which are also housed in the Clarke Historical Library.)