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Edward Edwards Journal

edwards-diary-001“As soon as we were across the [Missouri] river, we started up the river on our long westward journey. Late in the evening we camped at a farm house some six miles from Covington. The road we traveled is very smooth and level. The Missouri bottom here is some 18 or 15 miles wide and, for between one to three miles in width, is covered with a heavy growth of cottonwood timber. Back of Covington, for several miles, the country is not settled and cultivated as it should be, for, to all appearances, a more beautiful locality could not more easily be found. The soil is deep and rich and covered with an abundance of grass, with water and timber within convenient distance.”

 

edwards-diary-003This description of the Sioux City, Iowa area in 1865 is from the Edward Edwards’ journal. (I will use diary and journal interchangeably in this post.) Other towns mentioned in the next couple of pages of the diary are Decotah, Franklin, St. John, Ponka, St. James, and Niobrara. Some of these towns still exist and can be visited by driving west of Sioux City.

 

 

A portion of the Edward H. Edwards journal is in the Archives and Special Collections.

 

edwards-diary-002The diary’s writer Edward Edwards was from Sioux City, and he was 24 years old when he joined the Sawyers expedition as teamster. The expedition’s goal was to construct a wagon road from the Missouri River at Niobrara City, Nebraska to the gold mines of Virginia City, Montana (Drago and Mott).

 

 

 

 

 

edwards-diary-004.jpgThere are many different types of diaries. Some give an account of day-to-day life. Edward’s journal is not that type. It doesn’t have daily entries, and it doesn’t tell us much about constructing a road or what it was like living in a camp. It does contain detail descriptions of the land, plants, weather, and major events like meeting Natives or finding fossils. It reads like a travelogue.

 

 

 

 

When reading a diary for historical research, it is useful to ask yourself questions similar to the following:

What was the diary’s context?

What was the writer’s intent? Was it promotional? If so, what was the goal?

Was it written while the events were occurring or later?

Are there phrases borrowed from other contemporary literature? Clichés may indicate that the writer is repeating common knowledge rather than writing personal observation.

 

edwards-diary-005.jpgDrago and Mott tell us that Edwards wrote to his family during the same trip. I wonder how the observations in this journal compare with observations in those letters.

 

Some of the diaries from the Archives and Special Collections are on the Digital Library of South Dakota. Diaries by Austin Horace and an unnamed Civil War soldier are available there for viewing.

 

 

 

edwards-diary-007If you are looking for a fun volunteer activity, consider transcribing handwritten diaries for an archives. One of our diaries is in shorthand. If you know how to read shorthand, you could tell us what a young man in Sioux Falls in the 1870s-1800s was journaling.

 

 

 

Source:

 

Harry Sinclair Drago and Phyllis Mott. “The Edwards Letters and the Wagon Road to Virginia City.” In The Westerners, New York Posse Brand Book, Volume 9, Number 1, 1962.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Health Sciences Rare Books is one of the collections located in the Archives and Special Collections. This collection consists mostly of medical books donated to the Lommen Health Science Library. While the majority of the items are books, the collection does include anatomical stereograms, one movie film, and two video tape cassettes. Some of the items are facsimiles or copies, but most are originals. All the items can be found with the help of the library catalog. They cannot be checked out, but you can read the books in the Archives and Special Collections reading room.

 

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Some characteristics of this collection are:

Year range: 1665 (original date; ours is a later facsimile) to circa 1980, with most of the items published between 1800 and 1899

Most Frequent Subjects: anatomy, midwifery/obstetrics, and surgery

Most Frequent Authors: Osler and Gray

 

 

 

 

Items that caught my attention are:

  • Abernethy’s The surgical and physiological works of John Abernethy. 1825. Subject is phrenology, which purports that the shape of the skull indicates mental faculties and character.
  • Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis Icones anatomicae, ediderunt Academia medicinae nova-eboracensis et Bibliotheca Universitatis monacensis. 1934 edition based on the 1555 and 1543 books. Subject is human anatomy, and the book is illustrated with beautiful woodcuts.
  • Bichat’s Physiological researches upon life and death. Translated from the French by Tobias Watkins. 1809. Subject is biological life and death.
  • Carey’s A short account of the malignant fever, lately prevalent in Philadelphia: with a statement of the proceedings that took place on the subject in different parts of the United States. Subject is yellow fever in Philadelphia.
  • Dauer’s MAGANGA – ein wissenschaftlicer. Format 16mm film. Subject is African medicine from a very Eurocentric point of view. It shows trephination, which is drilling a hole in the skull to release pressure.
  • Edinburgh University Stereoscopic Anatomy. Circa 1900. Subject is human anatomy. Edinburgh University was an early teaching and research center for surgery and their stereograms show three-dimensional images of human anatomy.
  • Gunn’s Domestic Medicine. 1835. Subject is health care you can do yourself when a doctor is not available, such as in frontier areas.
  • Hooke’s Micrographia or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses. With observations and inquiries thereupon. Facsimile of 1665 book. This is the first book describing observations made through a microscope.

 

Contact the Archives and Special Collections for a list of what is in the collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar Howe Mural

Did you know there is an Oscar Howe designed mural in Vermillion, South Dakota?

See the web site for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Vermillion (and then the Church Life tab) or the Oscar Howe papers at the Archives and Special Collections for more information.

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.

Sources:

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.

edelen

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.

Sources:

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

 

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