Archive for February, 2013

dammed indians






What if everyone in South Dakota read the same book?” This is the premise behind One Book South Dakota.

Dammed Indians Revisited by Michael L. Lawson is the 2012 One Book South Dakota selection. Discussions on this book will be held on campus March 18 and April 15, 2013 .

Dammed Indians Revisited and five of the related readings listed in the study guide are in the Chilson Collection. Two more books can be found in the general stacks of the University Libraries.

Books in the Chilson Collection:

Carrels, Peter. Uphill against water: the great Dakota water war. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

Lawson, Michael L. Dammed Indians revisited: the continuing history of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux. Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2009.

Ridgeway, Marian E. The Missouri Basin’s Pick-Sloan plan: a case study in congressional policy determination. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1955.

Schneiders, Robert Kelley. Unruly river: two centuries of change along the Missouri. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Thorson, John E. River of promise, river of peril: the politics of managing the Missouri River. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994.

VanDevelder, Paul. Coyote warrior: one man, three tribes, and the trial that forged a nation. New York: Little, Brown, 2004.

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Although Edith Wharton may be best known for her novels analyzing New York’s upper crust, the author lived in France from 1907 until her death in 1937. There, she witnessed the ravages of World War I, especially the hardships endured by refugees. She helped by establishing The Children of Flanders Relief Committee and The American Hostels for Refugees. To raise money for her charities, she edited this work of poems, essays, and pictures. Contributors include some of the brightest names of the time — Joseph Conrad, Jean Cocteau, Paul Claudel, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Maurice Maeterlinck, George Santayana, Igor Stravinsky, and W.B. Yeats. Theodore Roosevelt provided the introduction, in which he wrote: We owe to Mrs. Wharton all the assistance we can give. We owe this assistance to the good name of America, and above all for the cause of humanity we owe it to the children, the women and the old men who have suffered such dreadful wrong for absolutely no fault of theirs. EDITH WHARTON (1862-1937) is the author of The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, The Custom of the Country, and The Age of Innocence, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. For her charitable work, she was awarded the French Legion of Honor and other decorations.


Quote from the publisher comments on the Powell’s Books website http://www.powells.com/biblio?inkey=61-9781596050600-2 (accessed 2013 January 30).


This book can be found in the Chilson Collection at the University of South Dakota, call number D526 .W5 1916b.

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Ellen McGowan Biddle

While wandering through the labyrinth of books in the Archives and Special Collections, I came across a title that caught my eye. Taking it off the shelf, the tale of Ellen McGowan Biddle was unveiled in her memoir Reminiscences of a Soldier’s Wife. The story mainly focuses on experiences that occurred after the Civil War as well as factual information of her peers and the deeds they had done. Her tale relays facts about certain war veterans she had met, be it Lieutenant-General Philip H. Sheridan, who was one of the causes of Robert E. Lee’s retreat in the Appomattox Campaign, to General W. T. Sherman, who is known for “Sherman’s March to Sea,” a campaign that left much damage in his wake. The novel also reveals aspects of Ellen’s life, from diverting masquerade balls and tea with soldiers to the dangers that followed her as she accompanied her husband on a journey across the frontier for his job. Her whole story reminded me of a quote I once read by L. P. Hartley: “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” The tale revolves around a history of a person, and how she is connected to several others who have their own stories; each page has a new discovery of tradition, perils or diversion that is now exotic in today’s world. It is an interesting read that retells the lifestyle of a woman in the late 1800s, and her acute observations of the events occurring around her. If one is interested in the American Civil War, lifestyle of the late 19th century, or the confrontation of the West, I would highly recommend this book. There are plenty of other treasures in the Archives and Special Collections that are waiting to be found, one only has to look!

Biddle, Ellen M. Reminiscences of a Soldier’s Wife. Philadelphia: Lippincott Company, 1907. Print.

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