Archive for the ‘Chilson Collection’ Category


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The Archives and Special Collections has acquired Cuthbert DuCharme’s (also known as Old Papineau) trading post ledger. The post was located along the Missouri River and the military road near present-day Geddes, South Dakota. The ledger covers the years 1869 to 1872.


For information on DuCharme see John Andrews et al, South Dakota Outlaws and Scofflaws: Did Outlaws and Scandalous Ancestors Shape South Dakota’s Culture? Yankton, SD: South Dakota Magazine, 2012.


For information on the ledger see Daniel Daily, “$5 for a coffin: trading at Papineauville, Dakota Territory”, in Papers of the Forty-Third Annual Dakota Conference, compiled by Kristi Thomas and Harry F. Thompson, Sioux Falls, SD: The Center for Western Studies, Augustana College, 2011, 50-61.


Image by Abigail Sandberg.





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Wilber Stilwell, professor of art at USD from 1941-1973, and his wife Gladys experimented with different materials to create simplified printing processes that could be used in elementary and secondary classrooms. Their desire was to produce printing processes that were cost effective (utilizing readily available classroom materials), easy to employ, and preserved the feel of a professional artist. One of their creations, the blottergraph process, reflects the printmaking method of lithography. Lithography, as well as the blottergraph process, relies on the principle of oil and water and their natural inclination to repel one another. “Plates” of blotter paper are prepared using a wax crayon to draw on the paper followed by the application of watercolor. While the watercolor is still wet, contact is made with another piece of paper to make the final print.

The USD Photograph Collection holds a series of photographs taken by John Wicks and Bill Slattery for use in various publications such as Art News (S.D. Art Education Association), School Arts magazine, and the S.D.E.A. Journal illustrating their blottergraph process.

Preparing the printing plate (drawing with wax crayon on blotter paper)

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Printing plates showing wax crayon drawings on blotter paper

PRINTING PLATE using crayon on blotter PRINTING PLATE Printing plate

Plates saturated with watercolor

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Blotter paper applied to printing plate

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Finished prints

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Blotter forms cemented to wax cardboard for an alternative printing process

One variation of this printing process is the tearing or cutting of a number of small and varied shapes from a blotter. These are arranged in an interesting design with open areas of varying sizes surrounding the small blotter shapes. These small blotter shapes are then rubber cemented to wax paper or preferably to the flat factory-waxed side of a butter, oleo or milk carton. After the rubber cement dries,  watercolor is applied to the blotter shapes and a clean white blotter is pressed against this printing plate to obtain a print. — Gladys and Wilber Stilwell, SDEA Journal


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In a letter dated March 8, 1957, Wilber writes to Dr. Warren M. Lee, dean of the College of Fine Arts,

I believe I mentioned that we have now invented simplified versions of both the intaglio printing process and the relief printing process for use in teaching artistic printing in the elementary and high schools. These processes are currently being tested on a preliminary basis with various age groups. We hope to be able to report on them in a national magazine this next school year.

Wilber Stilwell and Claudia Alta Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson from the University of South Dakota Bulletin, series LXVI no. 10, May 1, 1966.

— Stilwell, Gladys Feree and Wilber Moore. Blottergraph Printing. SDEA Journal, May 1956.

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