Archive for the ‘A&SC student employees’ Category



It’s that time of year again! Halloween is slowly approaching once again. If you are a book lover and very festive during this time of year, come take a look in the Archives and Special Collections. We have some very interesting and spooky stories up here. From documents of ghost towns to books with murder mysteries. We also have some interesting books in the Mahoney Music Collection. Such as the Vampires Violin by, Michael Romkey. A story about a Vampire who is in dire need to find his lost violin once again. Yet a young woman named Maggie O’Hara now possess it, and she has no idea what is lurking in the dark, determined to have his violin back by any means. This book is a good choice for this time of year.


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Growing up just a half hour away from Mt. Rushmore, I can tell you that the beauty and grandeur is as great as the hype about it is. Though as a Rapid City native I have not visited the monument as often as one would guess, really I can count on my hands and feet the number of times I have been there (that I can really remember). To me, it is one of those places in which, less is more. I have a greater respect for the monument now that I am older and not living within its shadow.

To think that 75 years ago, the Mt. Rushmore the world knows today, was but an idea a large group was working to cultivate. That Gutzon Borglum and his team of carvers began work on the face of Washington. The project was in the works from 1927 when carving began to 1941, when what is now the finished project was unveiled, after the death of Borglum. Throughout the years of carving, many made journeys to see the monuments work in progress, including two US presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Today the monument attracts visitors from all over the globe. They are amazed by the monumental size of the sculptures, and by the beauty of the visitor’s center which gives an abundance of information on the monument. One of the prominent reasons for visiting Mt. Rushmore would be the lighting ceremony held at the end of every night. This is a major part of the monument and during the ceremony, park rangers leading the ceremony ask that any and all former and active duty service men and women take center stage. This part of the ceremony is the most moving point and as each member of the military explains who they are and which war they were a part of, there is little to no noise as this is a moment of thanks to those in service. Another great reason to visit Mt. Rushmore is the ice cream, or so I’ve been told.

The biggest lore surrounding the monument is the famed Hall of Records that is located behind the head of Lincoln. The room does exist though it is not found behind the head of Lincoln but off to the side of the monument.

Within the University of South Dakota’s Archives and Special Collections, there are 19 collections that contain information regarding Mt. Rushmore, and the process in which it took for the monument to be built, including papers between those who helped fund, sculpt, and shape the monument and visitors center in the modern beauty that it is today.

If you would like to know more about those involved and the process that they went through to create the monument, come visit the Archives and Special Collections to see the display for Mt. Rushmore or ask about the collections that discuss Mt. Rushmore. The display will be up and ready for viewing by November 1, 2016.

And as a friendly reminder, if visiting the monument, take a moment to stop and smell the pine trees, you never know if one will smell like vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch or strawberry.

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The Osborne Collection of Early English Children’s books, were donated by Edgar Osborne, to the Toronto Public Library after he visited the library in 1934. He was so impressed with their children’s program that he donated 2,000 books to the library. Since then the collection has grown into a large collection of over 80,000 children’s books. The Osborne collection is just one of three collections in the libraries children program. Those books that are a part of the Osborne Collection have parameters that require them to have been printed before 1910.

The facsimile collection of Osborne books is made up of 35 books published in 1981. The University of South Dakota houses all 35 books with in its Special Collection, in the Archives and Special Collections. An interesting fact about the books is that they were printed in the same manner as the originals. So if pages are printed blank, like they are in A Book of Nonsense then that is the way they were meant to be printed.

Many of the books within the collection are interactive. The Mansion of Bliss is in fact not a book but a spiral board game that was meant to improve one’s moral values. The game was one of chance, in which 2-4 players were racing one another to see who could make it to the mansion of bliss first. Along with the game is a rule book that explains each space and whether the player who landed there will be punished or rewarded.

Come and enjoy viewing the Facsimile Osborne Collection of Early English Children’s Books, now on display up in the USD Archives.


Toronto Public Library. “Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books.” Copyright 2016. http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/osborne/ [accessed October 19, 2016].

Dunedin Public Libraries. “Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books.” Julian Smith, August 13, 2015. Copyright 2016. https://hail.to/dunedin-public-libraries/article/D1lQo6S [accessed October 19, 2016].

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Freshmen Initiation

Friday, September 19, 1913, otherwise known as Black Friday, the newly acquired graduating class of 1917, gathered outside of Main Hall (today one could assume they meant Old Main) promptly at 7:30 pm to begin their journey through the time honored tradition of hazing the incoming freshmen. Though this practice has gone by the way side in recent decades, the memory of the events live on in the stories that remain and a poster found while cleaning in the Archives.

The poster details the rules of decorum which the freshmen class were required to follow. As well as a large paragraph of colorful descriptions (for the time period, mind you) the upper classmen threw at the freshmen. As the poster states, any rumors that certain freshmen were exempt from the activities of freshmen initiation were utter lies and all freshmen were required to participate in any events demanded by the upper classes. In accordance with the poster laying out the rules of the initiation, the Volante followed up with tales of the event in the first issue of the Volante published that school year.  In an article titled “Initiation—Black Friday” the article’s author briefly lays out what went down and encourages the freshmen to pick up their caps at the end of the article.

The jocularity of the event didn’t last long, as two weeks later another article was published in the Volante that described a certain student who was blatantly ignoring the rules. The student body called for the punishment of the student, which led to an article that detailed the suspension of five students who brutishly and publicly tried to bring the student to heel in accordance with the rules set up for the freshmen class. A week after the first article detailing the suspensions was released, a follow up of the proceedings were published and detailed further what had caused the suspensions. As well as they would enforce the student’s suspensions until January 6, 1914, when they would be able to return to classes at the university.

The poster and volante are now on display in the archives for a limited time so stop in and read about the events that freshmen today no longer have to fear.


Black Friday Poster. USD Archive Oversize Material: Photographs—USD Panoramas.

The Volante. Vol. 27-30. May 1913 – July 1916.

1915 Coyote. Pg. 229

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The first week of May everyone on campus was cramming for finals and preparing for summer. I was in the same boat as everyone else, cramming for finals and preparing to head home for a week. It was within that week that I was informed that a position in the archives was open and I quickly put in an application. It wasn’t until the next week, while I was at home that I heard anything on the job, and through email correspondence I set up an interview time for the following week. As the interview came and went I felt very positive about the prospect and possibility of receiving a job within the archives, and before the week was up I had a new job in the archives.

The following week after accepting the job offer, my struggle was real and the twister of life sucked me up and dropped me into the land of archives (once all my paper work was in order). From that first week up to now it has been an adventure, somethings such as phase boxes and photo copying take longer than others and aren’t to entirely glamorous. The staff in the archives are some of the friendliest and nicest people I have had the experience to work with. Doris is always ready to help answer my question and direct me in the right direction.

As time continues I feel that much like the scavenger hunt I completed at the beginning of my time here in the archives, some tasks will be easier while others I will struggle my way through. Yet at the end of the day I know that this is only the beginning of my adventures here in the archives.

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IMG_0300Well, this is it.

It’s my last day.

Today I get to turn in my key, submit my last time sheet, and clean up all my files on the computer, and I have to take home my sweater, wrist warmers, blanket, and refillable Einstein Bros. coffee mug . . .  plus say goodbye to probably the coolest job ever and all the wonderful people I’ve worked with.

The Archives and Special Collections has been an oasis for me through the grueling voyage of undergrad – tucked in the corner of the library, above the crowded sidewalks and away from the drama and stress of school.

I started here the summer after my sophomore year, after miserably spending the previous summer as a waitress. I began as a temporary hire for Sarah, allotted 120 hours to put in basically whenever, doing a lot of photo identification and negative-sleeve making. But I also got to work with Jim Legg’s collection of slides from Wounded Knee during the volatility of the 1970s (wow!).

When the fall semester started, Doris adopted me from Sarah. I began to make box labels instead of negative sleeves, pull boxes for patrons, make inventory lists of incoming collections, take the recycling down, and pick up the mail. Sure, a lot of my job involved removing rusty staples (yes, my tetanus shots are up-to-date), spending hours at the temperamental photocopy machine, and leafing through old Volante newspapers or yearbooks for an answer to a patron’s question.




However, I did some pretty amazing things here, too. Simply working with the Mahoney Music Collection was a dream! – how did my two favorite things in the world, books and music, end up combined in the back of the USD library? Though I couldn’t work exclusively with this collection, there was almost always a little project with it to satiate me. Writing press releases, creating a LibGuide, managing the website records, creating little exhibits, helping patrons, and writing blog posts were just a few things. I was invited to just go back and browse the stacks if I wanted, to get to know the books, and I got to correspond with the donor, Dr. John P. Mahoney, and even meet him this summer! I met a lot of great books, too. And who knows?  – maybe I’ll be back in a few years to do my own research with the collection.




The archives have forever changed me. Now I can’t bring myself to use staples or tape on anything, and I have a mission to preserve all my photos in acid-free paper. I learned so much that I don’t think I can fit it all on a résumé. And, thanks to Sarah, I’ll never be able to listen to Kishi Bashi or Van Morrison without nostalgia of the archives. I will sorely miss everything and everyone here – how did I get so lucky?

So what’s next? I have a couple more days in sunny Vermillion, then it’s off to Ohio, where I’ll be attending grad school for my master’s degree in music performance at Kent State (they have an Einstein Bros. too, so the mug comes with!).



P.S. For the record: I never got the lights turned off on me in the back room. Once the power went out when I was back there, though, and the terrifying flickering before tipped me off.



P.P.S. And my desk piggy’s coming, too! 🙂



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American History in the

Mahoney Music Collection


This week we celebrate the birth of our nation, with this Friday marking the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout those two centuries, music has played a key role in shaping our American culture, and the Mahoney Music Collection is lucky to hold some of the best of our American music history. I poured through records, combed the stacks – and even got caught in the back room during a power outage! – to compile this feature on American music from the Mahoney Music Collection.


The American Violinist, J. F. Hanks (mid 1800s)

The American Violinist, J. F. Hanks (mid 1800s)

Beginners’ method book containing small exercises, music theory basics, and simple, two-part tunes. It gives information about the instrument’s construction, great violinists, playing in groups, and using the violin for teaching vocal music. Also has a supplement of Jacob Augustus Otto’s treatise.


One Hundred and Fifty Years of Music Publishing in the United States, William Arms Fisher (1933)

Fisher traces music printing in the U.S. from through the centuries.  The very first book of music, though “crudely-printed”, was 9th edition of The Bay Psalm Book in 1698 Massachusetts (previous versions only contained text).  Included are stories of prominent publishers such as Schirmer,  Lyon & Healy, and Witmark, plus numerous maps, portraits, and other illustrations.


A Treasury of American Folklore, B. A. Botkin (1944)

With a forward by Carl Sandburg and almost a thousand pages of tales, this book is really a gem of Americana. It covers everything from Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan to nursery tales and ghost stories. The reason it is part of the Mahoney collection is the large section of ballads and songs, arranged into chapters with titles like “Songs of Sailormen and Rivermen”, “Cowboy Songs”, and “Hobo and Jailhouse Songs”. Each individual song has a verse and chorus written out on the staff, then printed lyrics for the (abundant) remaining verses. Some even have a brief history of the tune. I didn’t recognize many of the titles, but just sight-reading some them was fun.


Ten Years a Cowboy, Tex Bender, the Cowboy Fiddler (1886)


Cowboy Fiddler, Frankie McWhorter & John R. Erickson (1992)




These two volumes are amazingly not about the same person. I was stunned to find Ten Years a Cowboy and learn about the legendary Tex Bender, and was even more excited to come across Cowboy Fiddler. Actually, there are four books in the collection about fiddling cowboys! Apparently there is an American tradition of cowboys playing the violin. Harmonica? – sure, they’re rather portable. But violin…? Cowboy Fiddler is the memoir of Frankie McWhorter, a cowboy who played in Bob Wills’s band. The other, Ten Years a Cowboy, is more mysterious. I couldn’t track down who this legendary fiddler was, or how he got his nickname, but this is another beautiful example of Americana. Fantastic illustrations accompany “the story, romance and adventures of a life on the plains with the varied experiences as cow-boy, stock-owner, rancher”.










Maud Powell, Pioneer American Violinist; Karen A. Schaffer and Neva Garner Greenwood (1988)

Among all our musician biographies, I felt I had to include Maud Powell in this salute-to-America post. For, not only was she “America’s first great master of the violin” when much of classical music was imported from Europe, but she was also a woman. Even today, there is a huge gender disparity in professional orchestras. At the turn of the 20th century, there was an even larger bias toward women performers. Maud Powell is a chapter in American history not only about music but also about feminism. She broke barriers to bring American musicians on par with European, and to bring female musicians on par with the men. One of my heroes.


. . . . and FYI, the United States shares its birthday with Charles Burney’s first history of music, A General History Of Music From The Earliest Ages To The Present Period.BUrney


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