The Archives and Special Collections is the rare books, manuscripts and archives department of the University Libraries, The University of South Dakota (USD). It contains multiple research collections.
The Herman P. Chilson Collection includes books, maps, pamphlets, and print materials relating to local histories, South Dakota history, Native American cultures, and United States western expansion. Rare books by national and international authors are held in the Chilson Collection as well. Among the items in the Chilson Collection are books in the Norwegian language, Lakota and Dakota dictionaries, and one of the first translations of the Bible into the Dakota language by Stephen Return Riggs. Included are first edition works by South Dakota authors such as Ole Rolvaag, Native American authors such as Vine Deloria, Jr. and regional authors such as Willa Cather and John G. Neihardt. There are extensive materials on General George Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn as well as both historical events at Wounded Knee.
The Mahoney Music Collection is comprised of more than 4,800 books, periodicals, pamphlets, and ephemera, and is one of the most complete collections in the United States pertaining to the violin and violin family instruments. When combined with the Witten-Rawlins Collection of Early Italian Stringed Instruments at the National Music Museum, as well as other archival and book collections at the National Music Museum and the University Libraries, the Mahoney Music Collection establishes USD as the preeminent place to study the history of the violin. The collection not only provides a wealth of research and teaching opportunities for faculty and students, but also offers a chance for outside researchers to access a large range of rare materials in one Location.
The Mabel K. Richardson Collection is made up of distinct manuscript collections focusing primarily on South Dakota and the surrounding region. These papers include correspondence, photographs, journals, scrapbooks, maps, and other manuscript materials. The Richardson Collection covers a wide variety of subjects but concentrates on the people, places, and events in South Dakota’s cultural, political, and economic history.
The papers of many South Dakota elected officials are found in the collection, including governors, state legislators, U.S. Congressmen, and U.S. Senators. Highlights include the papers of U.S. Senator James Abourezk (1971-1979), Dakota Territorial Legislator Horace J. Austin, U.S. Senator and South Dakota Governor Peter Norbeck (1900-1936), U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (1974-1996), and U.S. Congressman William Williamson (1921-1933).
The USD Archives holds the records of the academic and administrative departments of USD as well as materials relating to the history of USD and the activities of its students, faculty, and alumni. The primary purpose of the USD Archives is to collect and preserve records pertaining to the origin and history of The University of South Dakota. Collection materials date back to the founding of the University in 1882.
In early 2003, what had previously been referred to as the University Photographer’s Collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, from the office of Photographic Services. What has now been named the USD Photograph Collection includes images taken by student photographers, Coyote Yearbook photographers, early Volante photographers, News Bureau photographers, as well as the campus photographers employed by the University. This collection comprises the largest and most comprehensive photographic history of USD. The collection is currently in processing and access is limited. The USD Photograph Collection is the first Collection in South Dakota and much of the region to be secured utilizing sub-zero preservation.