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Archive for the ‘Chilson Collection’ Category

Read about the Archives and Special Collections new digitization project in the latest issue of South Dakota Magazine (September/October 2022).

We have added three items to the Digital Library pertaining to early Dakota Territorial history:

1st Dakota Cavalry, Company A, descriptive book, Captain Nelson Miner


Descriptive book of Company A of the 1st Dakota Calvary (U.S. Army) containing soldiers’ names, physical traits, places of birth, and dates of enlistment. The descriptive book dates from the Civil War era and serves as a roster of the men who enlisted to serve in the Dakota Territory between 1862 and 1865. Organized in 1862 during conflicts between Indigenous peoples and settlers, Company A mustered out in 1865.

Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1863-1864, John Blair Smith Todd


A scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1863-1864, reflecting the history of the Dakota Territory, especially the military and political events of the territory. John Blair Smith Todd, a delegate to the U.S. Congress from the Dakota Territory, created the scrapbook from articles published in the Sioux City Register, the Dakotian, the Omaha Daily Nebraskian, the Congressional Globe and the Dakota Union.

Ledger, Dakota Territory, 1869-1872, Cuthbert DuCharme

A bound manuscript ledger reflecting the sales of goods, including alcohol, at a trading post maintained by Cuthbert DuCharme on the Missouri River near Fort Randall in Dakota Territory, or present-day Charles Mix County, South Dakota. The ledger contains daily entries between 1869 and 1872. Also contains a list of DuCharme’s property as of 1857.

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Picture postcard with air view of Prentice Park, Vermillion, SD.
Image is an undated postcard from: South Dakota postal cards. A collection of cards of early South Dakota, CHILSON COLLECTION. F656 .S63x.

Do you see the park’s baseball field and the swimming pool on the postcard above?

Vermillion is collecting stories about the park for the celebration. We will happily forward any stories you send to us to the committee collecting the stories.

Help us assign a date to this postcard. We know it is after 1936 and before late 1950s because the caretaker’s house in the park is present but the water tower is not. Please also contact us if you know who took the picture or made the postcard.

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Undated postcard from: South Dakota postal cards. A collection of cards of early South Dakota, CHILSON COLLECTION. F656 .S63x.

This year, make a trip to Mitchell to see the Corn Palace and/or visit our Archives and Special Collections to read about the once common Corn Palaces:

1976. Schutt, Robert. The Corn Palace Story: with a Description of Early South Dakota and Mitchell, and a Map Indicating South Dakota Indian Reservations. Dakota News. CHILSON COLLECTION. F659.M5 S39x.

1981. World’s Only Corn Palace. Goin Co. CHILSON COLLECTION. F659.M57 W67 1981.

2005. Nygard, Travis E. Oscar Howe and the Metaphorical Monarchy on Maize: Indigenism and Power in the Mitchell Corn Palace Panels, 1948-1971. Thesis (M.A., Art History). University of Pittsburgh. SPECIAL BOOKS. NA6750.A2 U62 2005.

2010. Nygard, Travis E., and Pamela H. Simpson. “Indians at the Corn Palaces : Race and Reception at Two Midwestern Festival Buildings.” Buildings & Landscapes. SPECIAL BOOKS. NA6750.A2 U63 2010.

2012. Simpson, Pamela H. (Pamela Hemenway). Corn Palaces and Butter Queens: a History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture. University of Minnesota Press. SPECIAL BOOKS. NA6750.A2 U6 2012.

Check out this online story about Oscar Howe, the painter, and the Corn Palace:

2016. Zimny, Michael. Gallery Documents Oscar Howe’s Long Legacy at the Corn Palace. South Dakota Public Broadcasting. https://www.sdpb.org/blogs/arts-and-culture/gallery-documents-oscar-howes-long-legacy-at-the-corn-palace/ (accessed 07/29/2022).

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Historian Everett Sterling wrote in Vermillion Story (1959) that there was “a 1910 map preserved in the City Building, on which every residence is shown and identified …” Does anyone know where the map is now?

image of a large question mark

Sterling’s Vermillion Story is in the Chilson Collection. Other histories about Vermillion and Clay County SD are listed on the Archives and Special Collections web site.

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recipe to cook eggs in the shell

This recipe from Good Things to Eat and How to Prepare Them. Buffalo NY: Larkin Co., 1906. This book is in the Chilson Collection in the the Archives and Special Collections.

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If ghost towns do not need to have standing structures, then Clay County has at least one – Lodi. Bloomingdale may turn out to be another one, but further research is needed to determine if Bloomingdale was a town. Both are now private land and used for farming.

map of Lodi, South Dakota
Plat of Lodi from Illustrated historical atlas of Clay County, South Dakota: including a brief history of Clay County, 1901, by E. Frank Peterson.

Peterson’s atlas can be viewed in the Archives and Special Collections or the Digital Library of South Dakota. The atlas has maps of other towns or villages in Clay County.

The county has a few more towns or villages that no longer exist, but they were moved rather than abandoned. Lincoln relocated and became Meckling.

Please contact us if you know of other abandoned towns in Clay County, SD.

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April is National Poetry Month and March 21st is International Poetry Day.

Browse the shelves in the library and have fun putting titles together to form a poem that pleases you.

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She was active and influential in politics and public education in the early 20th century at the local (Vermillion SD) level and the state level. She also wrote for a local newspaper, the Vermillion Plain Talk, and taught school.

1866 – birth.

Circa 1888 – graduation from USD and started teaching at Vermillion.

1901 – authored history section of Peterson’s Illustrated Historical Atlas of Clay County.

1911-1914 – Clay County superintendent of schools.

1924 – authored Makers of History; Today and Yesterday.

1926-1930 – Clay County auditor.

1930s– authored 3 stories in Legends of the Mighty Sioux.

1931 – authored Picture Studies: Complete.

1937 – death.

Her picture and obituary can be found at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15663153/florence-belle-conrow.

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Even his wife Eleanor did not know what was in it. In her cookbook, she described the dressing as having a tangy flavor all its own.

George McGovern was an US senator from South Dakota and the Democratic Party presidential nominee 50 years ago in the 1972 presidential election.

This cookbook is in the Chilson Collection in the Archives and Special Collections at the University of South Dakota.

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The mound appears on this 1856 map as Little Spirits Hill.

Warren, Gouverneur Kemble. Reconnoissances in the Dacota Country. Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, Senate Printer, 1856.  Call number CHILSON COLLECTION F593 .U39 map.

Spirit Mound was described by local Indigenous people to the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. Twenty years ago in 2001, it was replanted with native grasses and joined the South Dakota state park system as Spirit Mound Historic Prairie. In 2010, a geologic survey determined the mound to be a rock-cored drumlin created by a glacier. Check out the websites for Spirit Mound Trust or the Spirit Mound Historic Prairie for more information.

U.S. Geological Survey. Elk Point, S.D. – Neb. – Iowa. 1:125,000. 1908. Call number RICHARDSON COLLECTION G1201.C5 U5 v.156

Both maps can be viewed in the Archives and Special Collections.

Information about the addition of Spirit Mound Historic Prairie to the South Dakota state park system can be found in the William J. Janklow papers at the Archives and Special Collections.

Geologic survey by Cody Miller, Origin and Erosion of Spirit Mound, http://www.spiritmound.com/PDF/Miller_spirit_mound.pdf (accessed November 8, 2021).

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