Anna Johnson Pell Wheeler

American mathematician Anna Johnson Pell Wheeler is best known for leading a successful career in mathematics in the early twentieth century, a time when few women worked in the field. She was the first woman to lecture before the American Mathematical Society, and she was influential in shaping the mathematics department at Bryn Mawr College. Her chief area of mathematical research was functional analysis (Hannon 2006).

Anna Johnson attended the University of South Dakota from 1899 to 1904. (Walz 2000), and obtained advance degrees from the University of Iowa in 1904, Radcliffe College in 1905, and the University of Chicago in 1909.

The Anna Johnson Pell Wheeler papers at the Archives and Special Collections consists mainly of family letters between Anna and her family, from 1898 to Anna’s appointment at Bryn Mawr in 1918.


Hannon, Jessica. “Anna Johnson Pell Wheeler: Background.” Science Reference Center Database, EBSCOhost http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=3eeaf634-a369-475a-85cf-edf30cae1f59%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=22315949&db=sch (accessed 2/7/2018).

Walz, Shawna Darlene. “The University of South Dakota’s Own Anna Johnson: A Pioneer for Women in Mathematics.” Honors Thesis, University of South Dakota, 2000.



Mary Edelen

Mary Beaty Edelen served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1973 to 1980 and from 1983 to 1992, representing Clay and Union Counties and becoming the first woman legislator elected from her district. She was the president of the National Order of Women Legislators in 1986 and on the executive board of the Legislative Research Council from 1975-76 and 1979-80.


The Mary B. Edelen papers at the Archives and Special Collections are 2.5 linear feet and consist mainly of material related to her work in the South Dakota House of Representatives.


Herbert S. Schell. History of Clay County, South Dakota. Vermillion SD: Clay County Historical Society, 1976. Page 260.

South Dakota Legislature, Legislative Research Council, Historical Listings http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/Historical_Listing/default.aspx?Session=2018  (accessed Dec. 27, 2017).

South Dakota. Legislature, Legislative Research Council. Biographical directory of the South Dakota legislature, 1889-1989. Pierre, SD: The Council, 1989.










Hands On History

When I took the graduate class in historiography in Fall 2016 as a requirement of the Master’s degree program in USD’s history department, I was very excited when my professor Dr. Molly Rozum announced that the class would be working directly with historical materials in the USD archives. My class had the responsibility of doing the preliminary organization and processing of the Krueger-Kruse collection, the personal correspondence and papers of Carrie and Herman Krueger, written at the end of the 19th century – the Krueger family donated the collection to the care of the USD archivists. I had some experience with archiving as an undergraduate, having taken an archiving class at Augustana, so I was looking forward to the chance to dig into historical documents again with the Krueger-Kruse collection.

The sense of connection with the past was palpable as I propped open the lid of the acid-free box and gently lifted out the letters from their folders, the correspondence still neatly tucked into envelopes postmarked with dates from more than a century before. The contents of the box I worked on mainly consisted of letters from relatives and friends to the future Carrie Krueger, then Carrie Kruse, during her time as a young unmarried woman working as a teacher in a schoolhouse in rural Illinois. The authors of the letters, usually Carrie’s brother and sisters or her sister in law Emma, were frequent correspondents, often writing several times a month to fill Carrie in on the news back home.

The letters contained some unexpected items as well, slipped in between the musty folds of letter paper – in one I found a small brown twig Carrie’s brother sent her as a souvenir of his mother in law’s attempts as an amateur naturalist during a family stroll in the countryside. I found myself chuckling at Fred’s account to Carrie in the accompanying letter, describing his good humored impatience with “Ma’s” interest in collecting odds and ends on their walk. In another I discovered several fronds of dried fern leaves pressed between the musty folds of letter paper, so delicate they threatened to disintegrate with the lightest touch. The little scrap of paper with a child’s drawing of a little girl in nineteenth century clothing was probably my favorite find though, tucked in with a letter detailing news of the family Christmas.

What I remember best about my experience archiving the collection though was the emotional connection I felt with Carrie and her relatives when reading her letters. Having worked as a teacher’s aid in a preschool in the past, I sympathised when Carrie’s relatives tried to offer consolation for her stories of the sometimes bumpy process of starting her job as a schoolteacher. And I could not help but be drawn in to the series of letters between Carrie and Emma in which they discussed Carrie’s then secret feelings for her future husband Herman, and enthusiastically discussed Carrie and Herman’s planned summer meeting at the Chicago World’s Fair, where Carrie felt she would finally decide if Herman was Mr. Right. It seems obvious that people of all times have always gone through the everyday things of life like the anxiety of starting a new job, or the excitement, sometimes thrilling but sometimes exasperating, of a budding relationship. However, reading all about it in the spidery handwriting of a nineteenth century woman, different from me and yet in many ways the same, was a poignant reminder that everyone can relate to the struggles of young adulthood, even people from over a century ago.

The Archives and Special Collections will be closed:

Dec. 25, 2017

Dec. 26, 2017

Jan. 1, 2018


A shout out to Dr. Lauren Freese and her ARTH 211 class for visiting the Archives and Special Collections on Friday. We pulled out early examples of hand-written manuscripts, a facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible – Biblia Sacra, a facsimile of the Mainzer Psalter von 1457, and early printed works with woodcut illustrations as well as engravings.

1400s. “From a Latin manuscript, the work of Italian Franciscan monks, containing the prayer of the mass.” Chilson Collection


1450? Incipit laus Sancti Bernardi Abatis; Laus de Virgine Maria: Ave mater misericordie, by Saint Bernard de Clairvaux. Poetry. Chilson Collection BX 890 .B43 L3x


1454 or 1455 / 1961. Biblia Sacra, by Johann Gutenberg. (Facsimile of the Ansel Verlag edition based on the copy in the Koniglichen Biliothek in Berlin and the Standischen Landesbibliothek, circa 1454 or 1455.) Chilson Collection Z 241 .B58 v. 1 and v. 2.


1457 / 1968. Mainzer Psalter von 1457, by the Catholic Church. Chilson Collection BX 2033 .A3 M3 1457a


  1. Tusculanarum quaestiones, by Marcus Tullius Cicero. Publisher: Venice, Nicolas Jenson. Chilson Collection PA 6304 .T71 1472


  1. De Imitatione Christi (Imitation of Christ), by Thomas à Kempis, printed by Caspar Hochfeder at Nüremberg. Chilson Collection


  1. Politica Economica Aristotelis. Leonardo aretino interprete, by Aristotles. Chilson Collection PA 3890 .A8 1506


  1. Hortus Sanitatis, by Johann von Cube of Frankfort. Chilson Collection


  1. Sententiae ex Thesauris Graecorum Delectae, by Joannes Stobaeus. Printed by Johannes Oporinus of Basle, Switzerland. Chilson Collection PA 4436 .A5 1549


  1. Theatrum Anatomicum, by Caspar Bauhin. Printed in Frankfurt am Main, under the patronage of Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. Chilson Collection QS B353 1604


  1. Ecclesiastes. The Song of Solomon, by Robert Barker. “From the first edition of the King James Bible.” Chilson Collection BS1763 1611


  1. Cremona fedelissima citta, et nobilissima colonia de Romani: rappresentata in desegno col svo contato, et illvstrate d’vna breve historia delle cose piv notabili appartenenti as essa, et dei ritratti natvrali de dvchi, et dvchesse di Milano, e compendio delle lor vite, by Antonio Campi and Agostino Carracci. Mahoney Music Collection DG 975 .C8 C2 1645


  1. L. Annaei Senecae Philosophi Opera, quae extant omnia: A Iusto Lipsio Emendata et Scholiis Illustrata. Engravings by Cornelis Galle the Elder after Peter Paul Rubens. Chilson Collection
  2. Histoire des Juifs, by Flavius Joseph, translated by Arnauld d’Andilly. Chilson Collection DS 116. J81 1681


  1. Gabinetto Armonico pieno d’istromenti ti sonori, indicati, spiegati, e di nuovo corretti ed accresciuti, by Filippo Buonanni. Mahoney Music Collection ML 460 .B94 1723


  1. Versuch einer grundlichen Violinschule, entworfen und mit 4. Kupfertafeln sammt einer Tabelle, by Leopold Mozart. Mahoney Music Collection MT 262 .M93 1756


  1. Grondig onderwys in het behandelen der viool, by Leopold Mozart. Mahoney Music Collection MT 262. M93 1766


  1. Lutherie: contenant trente-quatre planches, dont une double, by Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, and Robert Bénard. Mahoney Music Collection ML 460. L87 1767



Egyptian Harpists

Three engravings from Description de l’Egypte were recently added to the Mahoney Music Collection. These plates are from Antiquities volumes 2 and 5, and show individuals playing harps. Each measures about 30” x 22”, with one in color and the others in grey tones. These images spark my curiosity. What did early Egyptian harp music sound like?

Description de l’Egypte is a multivolume set containing information gathered during Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt in 1798. The first edition was published 1802 – 1824 and had four printings. These printings differ mainly in quality, i.e. in the types of paper used and how many of plates were in color. For more about the books and the plates, the expedition, the people involved, the engraving process, the Rosetta Stone, and the ancient Suez canal, see Gillispie, and Dewachter.

Source: Gillispie, C., & Dewachter, M. (1987). Monuments of Egypt: The Napoleonic edition: The complete archaeological plates from la Description de l’Egypte. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Architectural Press in association with the Architectural League of New York, the J. Paul Getty Trust, call number Main Collection DT60 .M59 1987.



VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota Archives and Special Collections has announced the addition of two unique assortments of material from the Mahoney Music Collection to the Digital Library of South Dakota.

These collections include 30 illustrated catalogs of the famed Lyon & Healy brokers and harp makers and 13 treatises from violin masters before 1850. The catalogs, ranging in date from 1890-1940, include rich descriptions and illustrations of both rare and modern violins, violas, and violoncellos, as well as the harps for which the company would become most well-known. The treatises include Leopold Mozart’s 1756 treatise, as well as treatises by Francesco Geminiani, Carl Flesch, and Ivan Galamian.

View both collections on the Digital Library of South Dakota.

The Mahoney Music Collection contains more than 4,800 books, magazines, pamphlets, and ephemera documenting the history, craftsmanship, and playing of stringed instruments. The collection contains a particularly comprehensive assortment of books about violins and the violin family instruments. The collection was gifted the collection to the University of South Dakota in June 2006 by John P. and Barbara Mahoney, who continue to add new materials.

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