Archive for December, 2011

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4 no. 116

This is a photograph from the USD Photograph Collection showing the women’s 1910 basketball team at the train station.

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USD Photograph Collection Series 5 Palmer Sigvald Gilbertson Collection 5820

It appears that these two young resourceful men have turned a cow pasture into a pool table of sorts. On first glance, I thought they were playing with “cow pies” and golf clubs. But upon closer inspection, Clifford Edward Coffey and Max Royhl are indeed using pool balls and cues out on the open plain.

This photograph comes from the Palmer Sigvald Gilbertson Collection. Palmer Gilbertson was a student at the University and graduated in 1915. Born to Ingeborg and Gilbert P. Gilbertson on September 23, 1891, Palmer grew up in Vermillion and was also a graduate of Vermillion High School.

More information at Digital Library South Dakota: http://dlsd.sdln.net/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/photograph&CISOPTR=648&REC=1

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Aalfs Auditorium, c. 1972

Since 1925, Aalfs Auditorium, formerly known as Slagle Auditorium, has been a performance space and gathering place for students, staff, and community members.  The auditorium has hosted a myriad of different events including musical performances, mock political conventions, commencement ceremonies, and lectures from visiting scholars.  In addition, prior to the construction of  the Colton Recital Hall in the 1970’s, Aalfs  Auditorium was home to the productions of the USD Theater Department.  In 2008, USD began an 8.2 million dollar renovation of the facility.  The auditorium reopened October 7, 2011 with improved acoustics, updated performance lighting, additional seating and restroom facilities and its new name.  In addition, the auditorium also underwent aesthetic changes to preserve historical aspects of the venue.  The Skinner 29-stop organ, a fixture of the auditorium since 1925, was also restored during the renovation.  See below for photographs from the history of Aalfs Auditorium.

Mask and Wig Club, c. 1929

"No More Peace!" USD Theatre production, c. 1939

Miss University contestants backstage, c. 1951

View from the orchestra pit, c. 1958

Unidentified individual with 29-stop organ, c. 1957

Miss University candidates, c. 1958

Opera cast with Robert C. Marek, c. 1962

Light technicians, c. 1968

–Information from Cummins, Cedric. The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, S.D.: Dakota Press, 1975, Photographs: The USD Photograph Collection

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Unidentified students in the home of Bess Hanson

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4 no. 951

This photograph shows students inside the home of Bessie E. Hanson in 1899. “Bess” was a student at the University and studied philosophy. She graduated in 1901.

Bessie Eleanor Hanson, Ph.B., was born in Vermillion, S.D., September 24th, 1877. She attended the Vermillion Public School from which she graduated. She was a member of the Y.W.C.A. and T.B.D. societies. She graduated in 1901 from the University with a degree of Ph.B. After completing her studies at the University Of South Dakota, she began teaching in the Eagan Public School, where she is as present. — 1903 Coyote

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Portrait of Jolley after the Civil War in 1865. Jolley was 25 years old.

“John Lawlor Jolley was born to James and Fraces Jolley in Montreal, Canada on July 14, 1840.  In 1857, he moved to Poratage Wisconsin to study law and he was later admitted into the Wisconsin State Bar in October of 1861.

In 1862, Jolley enlisted with Comapany C, Twenty-third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.  Jolley would eventyally rise to the rank of second lieutenant.  He was honrably discharged from service on July 4, 1865.

In, 1866, he moved to Vermillion, South Dakota Territory and set up his law practice.  He became the first mayor of Vermillion in 1877 and he served as mayor again in 1885.  Jolley was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1867 and 1868, and after South Dakota declared statehood in 1889, he served in the State Senate from 1889-1890.  In 1891, he was elected to the U.S. Congress to fill the seat left vacant by the death of John Rankin Gamble.  Jolley served in Congress until 1893, when he returned home to resume his law practice.  John L, Jolley died on Dec. 14, 1926 and was buried at Bluff View Cemetary in Vermillion, South Dakota.” –John Lawlor Jolley Collection Finding Aid

–Information and photograph gathered from the John Lawlor Jolley Collection, Richardson Collection

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Lately I have been assigned to the exciting task of carefully vacuuming books and wiping the shelves clean in the Chilson collection. It is a task that would be boring if there weren’t so many interesting books on every shelf. I’ve been working my way through beautifully illustrated Native American children’s books, histories of Wounded Knee, and books about Scandinavian heritage. One particular two-volume set of books caught my eye, however. They turned out to be Sir William Russell’s books about America’s beginnings from 1778, titled The History of America, from the first Discovery by Columbus to the Conclusion of the late War. A history of America published before America had even created its final constitution? I was intrigued.

Unfortunately, finding information about the two-volume set was difficult. What I did discover was that Sir William Russell was born in 1741 at a farm in Selkirkshire to Alexander Russell and Christian Ballantyne. He first enjoyed literary success with The History of America, from the first Discovery by Columbus to the Conclusion of the late War and went on to write a history of Europe, poetry, and essays. Before this, he had been apprenticed to a printer and worked off-and-on in various printing companies until his writing career took off. He died on December 25, 1793 from paralysis.

Here is an excerpt from the preface:

“At this crisis, when new republics are forming, and new empires bursting into birth, the History of America becomes peculiarly interesting. We are naturally led to inquire, by what train of circumstances settlements so lately founded have arrived at such a degree of wealth and power as to attempt new establishments, in defiance of the arms of a great nation. Nor will the issue of the present struggle, between Great Britain and her colonies, should it ever prove in favour of the parent state, entirely subvert the order of things: it will only retard, for a few years, events that would now have taken place, unless the spirit of independency should be finally extinguished. By the assistance of foreign troops, we may possibly be able to subdue our refractory fellow subjects; but we must be able to inspire them with new sentiments, before we can hold them in subjection. The termination, however, of this contest, the most unhappy in which England ever was engaged, will mark an important era in the history of Europe, as well as of America.”

What most interested me were the lovely etchings every few dozen pages. A few of them were a sharp contrast from the proud images of Native Americans that I had been browsing through before. Here are a few examples:


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USD students 1891

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4 no. 943

Students from USD pose for their portrait with Professor Garry E. Culver in April or May of 1891. The photograph was taken by Butler’s Photograph Gallery, Vermillion, and features students as numbered on the original photograph:
1. Theodore R. Syverson
2. Edward Henry Holman
3. William Edgerton
4. Harriet Stanley
5. Marie M. Mars
6. Frank C. Falkenstein
7. Professor Garry E. Culver
8. Edward A. Ufford
9. William Alexander McIntyre
10. Peter Louis Larsen
11. Leon George Palmer
12. Frank Arthur Swezey
13. Harriet Christy

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West Hall

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4, no. 27

West Hall

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4, no. 5071

West Hall

USD Photograph Collection, Series 4, no. 5074

According to Cedric Cummins, The University of South Dakota 1862-1966, West Hall was constructed in 1885 as the University’s first dormitory with an appropriation from the biennial territorial legislature for $8,000. First known as Ladies Hall and then West Hall, it served as the women’s dormitory until the construction of East Hall in 1888. After 1888, West Hall became the principal place of residence for men attending the University.
After the fire of Old Main (University Hall) in 1893, the temporary office of the President and the chapel were moved to West Hall. Classes were held there in addition to its continued use as the men’s dormitory until the reconstruction of Old Main, after which it regained its sole use as a dormitory. West Hall succumbed to a mysterious fire during summer recess in 1905, from which it never recovered.

The following spring, successful revival meetings at the Methodist Church solved the mystery. Moved to contrition by the revival, Elmer S. Jordan, University student from a leading Vermillion family, confessed that he and his friend, Richard Brueschweiler, son of a former music professor, had burned the three old buildings [two buildings in Vermillion in addition to West Hall] in an effort to beautify Vermillion. They had, in fact, planned other fires, secreting an unsuccessful electrical device in City Hall which was supposed to have been their biggest blaze (Cummins p. 109).

Information from: Cummins, Cedric. The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, S.D.: Dakota Press, 1975


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