according to a book in Chilson Collection with this title.

Hint – many of the letters that look like a “f” are actually a “s”.

to USD’s COVID-19 Experiences Project?

Coronavirus, Globe, Flags, World, Nations, Disease

Don’t be shy. I will let you read two of my less-than-great haikus,, written at different stages of the pandemic:


Ha, TP hoarding

Funny until you run out

Shelves are still empty


Please don’t come near me

Your breath and touch dangerous

I so want to live







-while at the time having a region called New South Wales


Close-up of New Holland


1798  World Map


in a book with a long title in the Chilson Collection in the Archives and Special Collections:

Payne, John. A New and Complete System of Universal Geography; Describing Asia, Africa, Europe and America; with Their Subdivisions of Republics, States, Empires, and Kingdoms: The Extent, Boundaries, and Remarkable Appearances of Each Country; Cities, Towns, and Curiosities of Nature and Art, Also Giving a General Account of the Fossil and Vegetable Productions of the Earth. The History of Man, in All Climates, Regions, and Conditions; Customs, Manners, Laws, Governments, and Religions: The State of Arts, Sciences, Commerce, Manufactures, and Knowledge. Sketches of the Ancient and Modern History of Each Nation and People to the Present Time. To Which Is Added, a View of Astronomy, as Connected with Geography; of the Planetary System to Which the Earth Belongs; and of the Universe in General … Being a Large and Comprehensive Abridgement of Universal Geography. New York: Printed For, and Sold by John Low, Book-seller, at the Shakespeare Head, No. 332 Waterstreet, 1798. Call number Chilson Collection  G114 .P34 .

Autobiographies by Lewis Akeley and Edward Churchill have vivid descriptions and fun stories centered around their teaching experiences at the University of South Dakota. Akeley’s book covers approximately 1887 to 1933. Churchill’s book covers approximately 1920 to 1961.

My favorite stories are Churchill’s description of the campus in 1920 and how it felt to teach evolution after the Scope’s trial of 1925.



Map from 1920-1921 USD Catalog.  Campus boundaries are Cherry Street to the north, Pine Street to the east, Clark Street to the south, and Dakota Street to the west.


For a more general second-hand account of USD in the 1920s, see Cedric Cummins’ book University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. He has an entire chapter on the 1920s and covers a breadth of topics. I particularly like his descriptions of student life and sports activities.

All three books are in the USD Archives and in I.D. Weeks Library. Also, the Archives and Special Collections has the papers of Akeley, Churchill, and Cummins.

Akeley, Lewis E. This is what we had in mind: early memories of The University of South Dakota. Vermillion, SD: The University of South Dakota, 1959. Call number LD5073 .A6.

Churchill, Edward P. Three thousand coyotes and I: memoirs of a zoology professor. State University of South Dakota. Vermillion, SD: State University of South Dakota, 1962. Call number QL31 .C54 A3.

Cummins, Cedric. The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1975. LD5073 .C85x.

If you are curious about a later period of USD history, check out the oral histories by Chuck Estee.


I need to find a bowler hat and a dark suit. Should I dress up and sit outside of Old Main now while there are not many people on campus, or wait until fall when the leaves are off the trees, allowing us to photograph a clearer view of Old Main and East Hall?

Image from Catalogue of the University of South Dakota for the year 1892-3. Catalogs for USD are in the USD Archives.

William Jennings Bryan and Adlai Stevenson

William Jennings Bryan and Adlai Stevenson

The Alan H. Schell collection of campaign buttons, pins, and political ephemera contains nearly one thousand pins, buttons, and ribbons that date from the 1884 to the 2008. While working with the collection this summer, I found surprises. There is a pin for Charlene Mitchell, very likely the first woman to appear on the general ballot as a candidate for the US president, and a pin for Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for the US President.

Click here to see a few of the other buttons in this collection.

Contact the Archives and Special Collections if you have US presidential or South Dakota campaign buttons (or the stickers that many candidates are using instead of buttons) that you would like to donate. We also welcome those from primaries and caucuses.

Consider starting your own collection of political memorabilia this campaign season.

Persuasive Maps

 –  are maps intended primarily to influence opinions and beliefs rather than to communicate objective geographic information. They are meant to convey a message. Persuasive maps can be divided into intentional and unintentional.

The Archives and Special Collections has a few persuasive maps. Most are dated from the homesteading period and are from land companies, railroad companies, and immigration bureaus trying to convince people to obtain land in a particular area.

I did find one persuasive map on a subject other than land sales. It is a 1916 map on South Dakota water conservation projects produced by a group called Call-to-Action. I will keep looking. Please let me know if you see a persuasive map in in our collections.

To view a wide-ranging collection of persuasive maps, see:

PJ Mode Collection. Cornell University Library | Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections. https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/ (accessed March 18, 2020).


Tyner, Judith Ann. Persuasive cartography: an examination of the map as a subjective tool of communication. University of California, Los Angeles Ph.D. Geography Dissertation, 1974.

Reformers & visionaries, scoundrels & incendiaries: 250 years of persuasive mapping. Catalog 3. Boston: Boston Rare Maps. 2019.

Do any of our readers have information or stories to share about this building located behind Davidson on the University of South Dakota campus?

Photograph from the I. D. and Virginia Weeks papers.

Eighty-two photographs have been added to the Digital Library of South Dakota from the personal papers of I. D. and Virginia Weeks.

An outdoor theatre begun at the close of [WWI] by Clarence Lyon was formally inaugurated in June, 1920, with a commencement play. Located in a former wasteland back of the Science Hall [and between the Pardee Estee Laboratory and the National Music Museum] it emerged throughout the next ten years as a moderately attractive facility. A sloping grass amphitheater faced westward toward an elevated leveled stage, both surrounded by linden trees and buckhorn hedges supplied by the Women’s Art Club and honeysuckle bushes donated by [USD President] Slagle.

From Cedric Cummins, The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966, 1975, page 167.



1917-1918 USD campus map. The outdoor theater was located near the yellow star. Number 3 was the Science Building, and that building is now gone. Number 6 is now the National Music Museum. Number 8 is now the Pardee Estee Laboratory.


The first commencement play in 1920 was Prunella. The principal parts were played by Professor Clarence Lyon and Mrs. Lyon.

From the Alumni Quarterly, June 1920, page 59.





The second commencement play in 1921 was Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night or What You Will  performed by the Shakespearean Playhouse Players of New York City.

From the Alumni Quarterly, July 1921, page 68.


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