Archive for the ‘Digital Library of South Dakota’ Category

Southern Dakota was one of the first railroads in Dakota Territory, and the first to successfully operate in the area that would become the state of South Dakota. The tracks began in Sioux City in 1872 and reached Vermillion, Dakota Territory at the end of that year. In 1873, the tracks were completed to Yankton, Dakota Territory. 

map showing Dakota Southern Railroad from Sioux City to Yankton
Map showing Dakota Southern Railroad from Sioux City to Yankton.
    Students arriving in Vermillion by train utilized the Milwaukee/St. Paul Railroad.
Students arriving in Vermillion by train.

Six men standing for their picture at the train station in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Six men standing for their picture at the train station in Vermillion, South Dakota.

All sources for this post are in the Archives and Special Collections.

Information from South Dakota’s Railraods [sic]: an Historic Context, by Hufstetler, Mark, and Michael Bedeau. South. Dakota State Historical Society, 1998. The book is the the South Dakota State Documents Collection. Map shown is a small portion of Territory of Dakota, by S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1879. The map is in the Chilson Collection. Photographs are from the USD Photograph Collection and are also in the Digital Library of South Dakota.

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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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On April 23, 1884, Arbor Day, students of the University [of South Dakota] planted a silver maple tree. One hundred years later on April 26, 1984, students and USD alumni celebrated the centennial birthday of South Dakota’s largest silver maple tree by planting 125 trees around campus. In an unfortunate storm on October 24, 1997, the Grand Old Maple suffered severe limb damage, and University officials deemed it necessary to cut down the South Dakota landmark. Students, faculty, staff, and community members said farewell to the Grand Old Maple at 9:00 a.m. on November 25, 1997.

Digital Library of South Dakota, ID P006056.

Library of Congress sponsors #ArchivesHashtagParty once a month. May’s topic is branching out and and celebrating trees.

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The Historical Altas of South Dakota: Containing State and County Maps, Geologic Maps, Statistical Charts, Geography, Geology, History, Descriptive Notes, Tables, etc.

and the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Clay County, South Dakota: Including a Brief History of Clay County

have been added to the Digital Library of South Dakota.

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The Archives and Special Collections has added its collection of photographs published in 1882 by Bailey, Dix & Mead of Sitting Bull and his camp to the Digital Library of South Dakota (DLSD). The Bailey, Dix & Mead series is comprised of twenty-four views of Sitting Bull’s time as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. (Of the twenty-four images in the series, the Archives and Special Collections holds fifteen.)

Bailey, Dix & Mead were the publishers of the series. The photographer? Was it W. R. Cross from Niobrara, Nebraska? Was it Stanley J. Morrow of Yankton? Although definitive formal documentation has not been found (Goodyear 32), many researchers have reached similar conclusions and believe that W. R. Cross was indeed the photographer.

Included in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, is the familiar portrait of Sitting Bull:

A third portrait of Sitting Bull, which appears to be from the same time period and possibly the same photographer, can be found “published and photographed” as part of a series entitled: “Sitting Bull” and Camp, While held Prisoners of War at Fort Randall, D. T. by W. R. Cross. The image is number five in the series (shown here from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana, Newberry Library).

The topical photograph of this blog post (see first photograph above), Chilson Collection, Archives and Special Collections, has also been published in the DLSD and is an alternative pose that:

1 – appears on a W. R. Cross mount,

2 – is printed with the same text as found on the portrait of Sitting Bull in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, and

3 – has a shadow of under-printing in the text which clearly reads “Niobrara, Nebraska,” the location of W. R. Cross’ studio at the time. The under-printing text also matches the Cross photograph in the “Sitting Bull” and Camp series.

The only other manifestation of this photograph that has been located thus far, appears in several places on a Stanley J. Morrow mount as a stereograph:

A rare Sitting Bull stereoview by S. J. Morrow

and as a single copy image in the Frank Bennett Fiske Collection, and also attributed to Morrow, at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. To make matters more complex, photographers of this time were known for copying other photographers’ works and placing them on their own mounts, sometimes “with” and sometimes “without” permission. Photographers would also sell and/or trade their negatives with one another. Tragically, both Cross’ and Morrow’s negatives were destroyed in fires, creating a significant barrier for analysis.

Does the Archives and Special Collections have the only version of this photograph on a Cross mount? Was this a test print or photographer’s proof? Are there other copies in libraries, archives, and private collections?

Does this add further evidence that Cross was the photographer for the images in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, as well as this photograph? If so, how did Stanley J. Morrow come to reproduce it and sell it as his own?

And, why is this photograph of Sitting Bull so obscure and so hard to find?

— The Archives and Special Collections would like to thank Larry Ness, Bob Kolbe, and Frank Goodyear for generously sharing their time and expertise in the search for more information regarding this very special photograph.

Goodyear, F. (1996). The narratives of Sitting Bull’s surrender: Bailey, Dix & Mead’s photographic western. In S. E. Bird (Ed.). Dressing in feathers: The construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture (pp. 29-43). Boulder, Colo.: Westview. Main Collection / 3rd Floor E98. P99 D72 1998

Further reading:

Hurt, Wesley Robert, and William E. Lass. Frontier Photographer: Stanley J. Morrow’s Dakota Years. University of South Dakota Press, 1956. Main Collection / 3rd Floor TR140 .M6 H85

LaPointe, Ernie. Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy. Gibbs Smith, 2009. McKusick Law Library, Native and Indigenous Peoples, Main Floor E99 D1 .S569 2009

Pope, Dennis C. Sitting Bull, Prisoner of War. South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2010. Main Collection / 3rd Floor E99 .D1 S6129 2010


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The national woman suffrage story ultimately became a success because of the success of suffragists at the state and local levels. Next year, as we celebrate a century since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, it is important to remember the significance of the state and local stories as well.

Simultaneously the most fun and most frustrating part of designing this display was choosing which items to include. The Jane Breeden, Mamie Pyle and Gladys Pyle papers contained a wealth of fascinating items. These collections worked well together to provide different perspectives of the suffrage movement. As a leading suffragist in South Dakota, Mamie Pyle’s papers provided an insight into the “business” end of the movement, while Jane Breeden’s papers gave a non-leadership perspective. Although active in the suffrage movement herself, Gladys Pyle’s papers were important to show that women were not just capable of using the vote, but they were more than capable of pursuing political office all the way to Washington D.C.

Organizing the display by theme seemed a much better way to put the items in conversation with one another. Highlighting the reoccuring elements of democracy, wartime, anti-suffragist and citizenship, it was clear that the history of the suffrage movement was not exclusively a women’s story. There were so many interesting and sometimes absurd pieces; I hope at the very least, those who are interested in the woman suffrage movement will take the time to visit the Archives and Special Collections at USD.

Although many of the items on display can be accessed through the Digital Library of South Dakota (DLSD), a trip to USD’s Archives and Special Collections is unparalleled. Sure, you can peruse these collections from the comfort of your own armchair, but the reading room has comfortable seating, a welcoming atmosphere and a superb staff waiting for you to bring in your research questions.

Interning at A&SC has been a rewarding experience. Honestly, it was a little like going on a treasure hunt, and every time I entered the stacks, I found something new. There were a few projects that I worked on through the semester, but the opportunity to put together a display on woman suffrage was by far my favorite.

My hope with this display is that it will encourage visitors to further explore these manuscript collections for the items that had to reluctantly be returned to the stacks and to contemplate how some of the issues presented in the display remain relevant today.

Information and items from:

Richardson Collection, Archives and Special Collections, the University of South Dakota

  • the Mamie Shields Pyle Papers
  • the Gladys Pyle Papers
  • the Jane Rooker Breeden papers

Chilson Collection, Archives and Special Collections, the University of South Dakota

  • Lahlum, Lori Ann and Molly P. Rozum. Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains. Pierre, SD: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2019.

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English-Dakota vocabulary; Waśicun iapi ieska wowapi, John Poage Williamson

Chilson Collection PM1023 .W6

Oscar Howe photographs, USD Photograph Collection

Oscar Howe: the Sioux painter, University of South Dakota

USD Archives ND 237.H79 O7 1983

William J. Janklow Gubernatorial Papers, Richardson Collection

William J. Janklow Personal and Political Papers, Richardson Collection

Mamie Shields Pyle Papers, Richardson Collection

Report to the members of the visiting Congressional Committee regarding the Standing Rock Indian Agency, Fort Yates, North Dakota, E.D. Mossman

Special Collections Books

Translation of the Sioux Indian language into English; Figures, money definitions, words, sentences, etc., O.H. Bonnell

Oscar Howe Papers

University of South Dakota, 1862-1966, Cedric Cummins

USD Archives LD5073 .C85x

Vermillion and vicinity , George T. Jordan

Vermillion, South Dakota, Richardson Collection


New materials coming this summer!

Bound and Unbound V: Altered Book Exhibition – August 26th

Oscar Howe Photographic Materials, Oscar Howe Papers – selections from…

William J. Janklow Gubernatorial Papers – continued additions…

Mabel Townsley Papers



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The Digital Library of South Dakota has a new URL: https://explore.digitalsd.org.

We have a new look as well. If you haven’t visited recently, take a look around, we’re always adding new material and collections.


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Archives and Special Collections recently received a 1925 report about the Standing Rock Reservation written by E.D. Mossman for a visiting congressional committee. Shown below is one of the pages from this report. [Update: Report to the members of the visiting Congressional Committee regarding the Standing Rock Indian Agency, Fort Yates, North Dakota has now been added to the Digital Library of South Dakota.]


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Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce that a small selection of material from the Larry Pressler Papers has been digitized and is now available in the Digital Library of South Dakota. These documents have been selected to coincide with the recent publication of Senator Pressler’s book, Neighbours in Arms: An American Senator’s Quest for Disarmament in a Nuclear Subcontinent, for which Senator Pressler used numerous materials from his papers located in the Archives and Special Collections. These selected materials relate to Pakistan, nuclear nonproliferation, and the Pressler Amendment. Neighbours in Arms: An American Senator’s Quest for Disarmament in a Nuclear Subcontinent was published in July, 2017.

Senator Larry Pressler, born March 29, 1942 in Humboldt, South Dakota, graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1964. He later attended Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School.  He served in the US House of Representatives from 1975-1979 and the US Senate from 1979-1997, becoming the first Vietnam veteran elected to the Senate. The Larry Pressler Papers are a closed collection housed within the Archives and Special Collections at the University of South Dakota that maintain a comprehensive account of the Senator’s life and work in service to the state of South Dakota.

The photographs featured below, as well as several others, can be found in the University of South Dakota Photograph Collection, Series 3.


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