Archive for April, 2013


Ella Deloria (1888 or 1889 – 1971) was born on the Yankton Reservation. She was “a teacher, speaker, author, and researcher in linguistics and anthropology” (Murray 1974, viii). She was associated with the University of South Dakota from 1961 to 1964 (Murray 1974, 146-149).

The Chilson Collection contains the following books that she authored, coauthored, or edited:

Boas, Franz and Ella Deloria. Dakota grammar. Sioux Falls, SD: Dakota Press, 1979.

Deloria, Ella Cara, comp. Dakota texts. New York: G. E. Stechert, agents, 1932.

Deloria, Ella Cara, comp. Dakota texts. New York: AMS Press, 1974.

Deloria, Ella Cara, comp. Dakota texts. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1978.

Deloria, Ella Cara. Deer women and elk men: the Lakota narratives of Ella Deloria. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Deloria, Ella Cara. Ella Deloria’s The buffalo people. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

Deloria, Ella Cara. Ella Deloria’s Iron Hawk. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993.

Deloria, Ella Cara. Speaking of Indians. New York: Friendship Press, [1944].

Deloria, Ella Cara. Speaking of Indians. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1979.

Deloria, Ella Cara. Waterlily. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988.

She wrote several articles for the Museum News, which were published by the W.H. Over Museum at the University of South Dakota and are in the Chilson Collection:

“The Origins of the courting flute,” 1961.

“Easter Day at a Yankton Dakota church,” 1962.

“Some notes on the Yankton,” 1967.

“Some notes on the Santee,” 1967.

She also did several oral history interviews with the South Dakota Oral History Center at the University of South Dakota:

Loder, Richard, interviewer. “Oral history interview with Ella Deloria, Wallace Eagle Shield, and Sophie Many Deeds,” 1969. AIRP 383.

Loder, Richard, interviewer. “Oral history interview with Ella Deloria and J. Jeston,” 1969. AIRP 443, 444, and 445.

Some of her unpublished papers are at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Other unpublished papers were at the University of South Dakota, and then moved to the Ella Deloria Archives in Chamberlain, South Dakota. See http://zia.aisri.indiana.edu/deloria_archive/index.php.


Medicine, Beatrice, and Sue-Ellen Jacobs. “Ella C. Deloria: the emic voice.” In  Learning to be an anthropologist and remaining “Native“: selected writings. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

Murray, Janette K. “Ella Deloria: a biographical sketch and literary analysis. ” PhD diss., University of North Dakota, 1974.

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X. L. A. Society, 1915, Dallas High School, Dallas, South Dakota
Fourth row [back], left to right: Peterson, Ralph S. Lewis, Nichols, Basil Hodson, Jansen, Watt
Third row from front, left to right: Lang, Ryokowska, Rudolph, Ticknor, Lancaster, Meyer, Whitt
Second row from front, left to right: DeVorss, Lucie Lewis, Pederson, Craven, Lona Wilson, Buroh, Olson
First row [front], left to right: McDowell, Weaver, Alta Wilson, Peterson, Jacobson

I have been working to identify these two photographs on and off for four years, if not longer, when I get a free moment or two. Haunted by their faces, so familiar, and intrigued by the background studio setting that appears nowhere else in the collection, these photographs have stumped me for a while.

For the longest time my student assistants, coworkers and I have been trying to unlock the “XLA” clue on the banner. No national organization fit. No local organization fit.

All came together this past week.

According to the stamp on one of the photograph’s window mounts, Green was the photographer and the studio was located in Gregory, SD. Using They Captured the Moment: Dakotas Photographers 1853-1920 by Robert Kolbe and Brain Bade [Chilson Collection F651 .K54 2006], I discerned that Green was in business from 1911-1918.

“Why was this photograph in our collection?” “Why would USD students travel to Gregory, South Dakota to have their portraits taken?” Things were not making sense.

Then I zeroed in on the banner initials “DHS.” “What cities were close to Gregory?” “Dallas High School?”

Our Chilson Collection carries a book called Dallas, South Dakota: The End of the Line published by the Dallas Historical Society [Chilson Collection F659 .D15x D35].

From that moment on, things could not have been simpler. With book in hand, I turned a page and found a reproduction of the only high school annual in the entire publication. The annual was from 1915 and after the first few pages of advertisements, there was Walter Frankenfeld listed as the instructor for “Commercial and Athletics.” There were also portraits of several of the students in the photographs that I could use to match up.

Walter Frankenfeld?!”

Herman Walter Frankenfeld served as registrar at the University of South Dakota from 1926-1964. I turned back a few pages and read:

March, 1914, M. I. Ellis was hired as superintendent of schools at a salary of $1,200.00 per year. Walter Frankenfeld was hired as commercial teacher and coach at $75.00 per month. “Frankie” was rehired the following year, then went to war, and returned after the war and taught two more years in Dallas, where he met and married his wife, the former Ruth Patrick, who taught in Dallas High School. After leaving Dallas he went to the University of South Dakota where he served as registrar until his retirement.

Deeper into the reproduced yearbook, there was the photograph shown below with everyone identified. A few pages more and the other photograph presented itself also with students identified.

I learned the X. L. A. Society was founded in 1911 by Superintendent Barr:

…with Miss Henderson as sponsor. Florence Watwood was the first president and during the year much rivalry was evident between the two societies in the way of tearing down the pennants of one another and painting the interiors of the school building with their respective colors……

During the present year the members of the society have progressed rapidly along literary lines. Superintendent Ellis arranged a competition between the two societies [X. L. A. and Geilik] for better programs given during the winter months. After much hard work on the part of both societies the X. L. A. ‘s were victorious by a small margin.

The membership has increased from twenty to the present number of thirty.

We know from alumni records that Katherine Ellis (Kositsky), Earl Halverson, and Edward Prchal attended and graduated from the University of South Dakota. We also know that Frankenfeld held a long tenure here. So we have a glimpse of pre-University of South Dakota days for these folks – two photographs taken in Gregory, South Dakota.

All these years the answers were as close as the Chilson Collection. The one and only yearbook reproduced in the Dallas Historical Society publication held all the answers.


Class in Commerce, 1915, Dallas High School, Dallas, South Dakota
Back row, left to right: Earl A. Halverson, Jansen, Ward Evans, Basil Hodson, Edward Prchal, Ralph S. Lewis, Earl Evans, Logerwell
Front row, left to right: Katherine Ellis, Cunningham, Lona Wilson, Professor Walter Frankenfeld, Frances Ticknor, Pederson, Blanche Meyer


Update: Travelling from Dallas, South Dakota to Vermillion in 2014 takes roughly a little over 2 1/2 hours if taking US-18 by car. According to an account written by Faye Cashatt Lewis in “The University I Knew” published in 1973:

The train trip from Dallas to Vermillion was an all-day affair, and either going or coming it meant being at the depot at four o’clock in the morning. It involved travel in three different states. First, down into Nebraska to change trains at Norfolk, then into Iowa to change again at Sioux City, then back into South Dakota for about 50 miles, to Vermillion.


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Bill Nye

Bill Nye. There’s a name that automatically brings back memories. No, not Bill Nye the Science Guy, but don’t worry… I was fooled too! I stumbled across this story while rambling through the Chilson Collection. The voice and history of the Western enthusiast, Edgar Wilson Nye, more commonly known by his pseudonym Bill Nye, comes to life in the story Bill Nye: The Western Writings, written by David B. Kesterson. Bill Nye may have been humorous, but his goal was not to promote science like the one of this era. He was a journalist, writer, and an advocate of the West. He gives interesting, and contrasting, insights on life in the West, being witty as well as satirical in the stories he spun. Founder of the Laramie Boomerang, a newspaper that still exists in his beloved Wyoming, Nye went on to become well known for his comical tales that always seemed to hide another meaning behind them. Bill Nye: The Western Writings reveals the life journey of a writer who loved the West, but acknowledged its faults with humor to cover his tracks. He lived during the time of the “Wild Frontier,” the infamous Jesse James, the humorist and realist Mark Twain, and renowned poet James Whitcomb Riley and either had influence or direct contact with all of these recognizable symbols of America. Not only did Nye indulge in promoting the West, while broadcasting its faults, he would go on to become an advocate for women’s suffrage. Bill Nye’s biography takes an interesting perspective on life of the West among many other outlooks on life in general. This is one of the many treasures that can be found in the Archives and Special Collections, one just has to keep an open mind to what they are looking to discover!

Works Cited

Kesterson, David B. Bill Nye: The Western Writings. Boise: Boise State University Western Writers Series, 1976. Print.

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For quick tips on how to save your audio tapes, books, film and home movies, data, textiles, documents, slides, photographs, and scrapbooks, go to http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/howto.

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Mahoney Music Collection ML755.V52 1876-1878, v. 1, c. 1

Mahoney Music Collection ML755. V52 1876-1878, v. 1 c. 1

On John Mahoney’s recent visit to the Archives and Special Collections, he shared a novelty with the staff. Walking over and picking up a book out of the thousands he has collected over the years, he made a questioning inquiry about a fly. “Is this the book with the fly?” Sure enough…..several pages in, there was the “stamped fly.”

Fly stamp

Owner’s mark

The book is Les instruments a archet: les feseurs, les joueurs d’instrument, leur histoire dur le continen by Antoine Vidal.

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Dr. John P. Mahoney and Sarah A. Hanson

Dr. John P. Mahoney visited the Archives and Special Collections Friday, April 19, to meet with staff processing the Mahoney Music Collection . The second in a series of oral history interviews with Dr. Mahoney was created. The oral history series focuses on the building of the Collection and documents important stories pertinent to the Collection items. The recording will be deposited in the South Dakota Oral History Center.

Sarah A. Hanson and Dr. John P. Mahoney

Sarah A. Hanson and Dr. John P. Mahoney inspecting an inscription in “Musical Instruments: Historic, Rare and Unique” by A. J. Hipkins, artist’s proof copy number 36.


Photographs taken by Loni McComber

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The University of South Dakota Alumni Association, Department of History and University Libraries, along with the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission and the Clay County Historical Society, will host a screening of the documentary, “W. L. Dow, Architect” at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3 at the Muenster University Center 216A on the USD campus.

“W. L. Dow, Architect” will air May 6 on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and highlights the work of Wallace Dow, who came to the prairie in the 1880s and left his mark on cities from Bismarck, N.D. to Vermillion. Old Main and East Hall, both Dow buildings and landmarks of the USD campus, are featured in the film. A question and answer session with the film’s creators and producers, Brad and Jennifer Dumke of Sioux Falls, S.D., will follow the screening at 3:30 p.m.


Old Main before 1893, photograph by Henry Butler

“We wanted to produce a historical documentary that brings history to life, is informative, and makes history interesting and enjoyable while providing a community service in preserving the past,” the Dumkes said in a statement.

Jim Wilson, chair of the Clay County Historical Society, stated that Dow was also responsible for several prominent buildings in Vermillion, including the First National Bank Building (now Red Steakhouse), the first Vermillion Public High School and the first Vermillion City Hall. “Dow was the most prolific and famous of the early architects in South Dakota and built in a variety of styles,” Wilson added.

“Dow seems to have done it all,” said USD Associate Professor of History Molly Rozum, Ph.D. “His buildings were varied in design and purpose, from Queen Anne to Gothic and from homes and schools to churches.”

The screening is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For more information about “W. L. Dow, Architect,” please call (605) 310-3844 or email jenniferdumke@msn.com.

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