Archive for the ‘USD Archives’ Category

Although both the W. H. Over Museum and the National Music Museum (NMM) have distinctly different items they collect and the NMM is part of the University of South Dakota (USD), whereas the W. H. Over Museum resides on the USD campus, but is not part of USD, at one time both called the Carnegie Library building home.

The USD Carnegie Library construction was finished and occupied in 1911 when USD enrollment was 425 students according to Cummins’ book (Cummins, Cedric C. The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1975). By the later part of the 1930’s USD student enrollment doubled, and President I. D. Weeks promoted the enlargement of the building.  On Thursday, October 10, 1940, dedication exercises for the expanded library were held. The major addition, constructed of Indiana Bedford limestone, doubled the capacity of the building.

Twenty years later, enrollment doubled yet again necessitating the construction of a new library on campus. This would become the I. D. Weeks Library. In 1967 President Weeks suggested that the W. H. Over Museum, founded in 1883 by the Board of Regents known as the University Museum, occupy the old Carnegie Library building. The Over Museum had occupied several sites on campus including University Hall, the Science building, and the basement of Slagle Hall.

 In 1967, not only did Over call the Carnegie building the Over Museum’s home, but space was given to a newly hired music professor, Arne B. Larson who brought with him over 2,000 instruments. Most instruments were initially stored in Old Main.  In addition, prominent Yanktonai Dakota artist and professor Oscar Howe had his studio and a gallery in the Carnegie building. He was also assistant director of the W. H. Over Museum. 

In 1973, Andre’ Larson, Arne Larson’s son, founded and became director of the Shrine to Music Museum and the Center for the Study of the History of Musical Instruments which included his father’s collection donated to the University of South Dakota. Andre’ Larson was a consummate collector of rare and important musical instruments, books, documents, and other ephemera.

By the early 1980’s the Shrine to Music Museum was expanding and President Joseph McFadden did not renew the Over Museum’s lease for the occupancy of the Carnegie building in 1984. In addition, in 1980 Oscar Howe retired from the University and in 1983 passed away. The consequences were that the Shrine to Music Museum acquired the entire Carnegie building (AMIS newsletter Vol. xv, No.2, June 1986, Dedication of the renovated Shrine to Music Museum). By contrast, Friends of the W. H. Over Museum, raised funds to build a new museum located east of the DakotaDome. The Chair of the fundraising committee for nine years (1984-1993) was General Lloyd Moses.  In 2001, the Shrine to Music Museum changed its name to the National Music Museum and in 2018 major renovations to the Carnegie building commenced including construction of a new wing. In 2022, a ribbon cutting signaled the completion of the construction project, although developing the exhibits in the Carnegie building is ongoing.

In 2023, the W. H. Over Museum will celebrate its 140th year and the NMM its 50th year. Stay tuned for their celebrations.

Photograph thanks to Dr. Margaret Banks illustrating the enlarged Carnegie Library building in 1983 when it served as home for the Shrine to Music Museum, the W. H. Over Museum, and Oscar Howe’s Gallery. Note the lighter limestone addition to the rear of the original building.

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Upon starting my research, my knowledge of Wilber Stilwell was very base level; I knew that he was Chair of the Department of Art for over 30 years, I had heard that he had won a Medal of Honor, awarded by First Lady Johnson, for his dedication to art education, and there’s a student exhibition every year in his honor. As my research went on, and I got a greater sense of Wilber, I realized that there’s much more to the story than the headlines. Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten many of his efforts. The first of these I’d like to share is Wilber Stilwell as an inventor.

            From the beginning of the collection until the end, Wilber was overflowing with innovation. Scrawled in the margins of every page are notes that imagine the possibilities to surpass the limitations of our everyday lifestyle. He wasn’t alone, either; his wife, Gladys, had an innovative side as well, pioneering different gadgets to make life easier. She was particularly interested in fashion design and pursued a patent for a hem measuring tool. It’s obvious, and heartwarming, that the pair were inspired by one another, and supported each other’s creative endeavors. 

            During his time as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, Wilber experimented with inventive techniques to inform his artwork – this includes trial and error with his Transfer Wax process, and the Blottergraph. The Blottergraph would later become a staple in many classrooms as an introduction to relief printing. Wilber even developed his own color wheel after much experimentation. 

            Gladys and Wilber becoming parents seemed to have spurred more inspiration for their inventions. They clearly had a passion for making art safe and accessible for children and young adults. Many of these techniques found their home in classrooms, especially after they were published in art process magazines. It was around this time that Wilber developed the idea of the “Safe-T-Scissors.” Wilber was in contact with attorneys and material companies throughout this time, to see if this was even possible. He created hundreds of sketches, and after much trial and error, was granted a patent for the invention. The safety scissors, something we’ve all probably used at some point or another, were a revolutionary possibility, and eventual reality. Below is the official patent found in Box 9, Folder 41.

            Behind the success of their inventions was a fair amount of failure and rejection. There is a significant amount of correspondence in which their lawyers told them their inventions were unpatentable, or that the idea didn’t hold enough merit for a company to invest money into. Throughout all of this, Wilber and Gladys persevered for their passions. 

            During a tumultuous economy, and a lack of state funding for education, Wilber and Gladys utilized accessible materials, like tin foil, basic crayons, freezer paper, even face powder, to help students make “fine art” without access to the prestigious materials usually utilized. In all of this lies a profound lesson: There can and often will be adversity and rejection in our lives, but it can lead to greater inspiration and success.


Here’s a link to the finding aid for the collection I’m researching.    https://archives.usd.edu/repositories/2/resources/99

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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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Information from “U.S.D. Endowment Association.” The Alumni Quarterly 18 no. 1 (April 1922); 36-37. This publication can be found in the Archives and Special Collections.

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“Since 1972, EROS has worked to map, monitor, and analyze land change across our nation and around the world” (EROS website). This USGS facility is located by Sioux Falls, SD, and is a treasure-trove of satellite images and aerial photographs.”

Documents and photographs concerning the early history of EROS and ERTS (Earth Resources Technology Satellite) can be found in the James G. Abourezk papers in the Archives and Special Collections.

Also, a couple of the archival collections have large aerial photographs that I believe came from EROS. I particularly like the 38” x 38” black and white photograph of the USD campus in 1999.

EROS website, https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eros/about (accessed 2/4/2022)

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  • We wish we had more. Please, please donate your USD student group’s publications to the archives. They will tell future researchers so much about USD.

Below are listed the publications we currently have in the Archives and Special Collections.

Student Publications:

The Blast, magazine, 1954 to 1968

Blue Print, magazine, 1917 to 1927

The Coyote, annual yearbook, 1903 to 1886

The Coyote, student weekly newspaper, 1893 to 1894

The Cynic, student newspaper, 1889 to 1890

Hm-m, 1951 to 1952

Houtz Review, 1960s

Inter noose or Inter Nos, magazine, 1961 to 1969

Julian-Brookman Forum, 1973

Magazine, It’s a Real Blast, magazine, 1963, Is this a part of The Blast series?

Maverick, 1964

Rebel, 1966 to 1968

Strollers, magazine, 1971 to 1989

Red Ink, 1948

Research and Scholarship Club Bulletin, 1940

Satyr, 1973 to 1974

The Scribbler, 1926 to 1938

South Dakota Student News, date unknown

Student Activities Center Newsletter, 1987 to 1992

SUSD Journalism Reporter, 1958

U Lo-Down, newspaper, 1930, 1936

Up Yours, magazine, 1974

Veritas, newspaper, 1889

Vigilante, newspaper, 1980

Volante, newspaper, 1887 to present

Wet Hen, magazine, 1926 to 1947

Alumni Publications:

South Dakota Alumni Quarterly, magazine, 1905 to 1924

South Dakota Alumnus, magazine, 1924 to 1941

South Dakotan, magazine, 1970 to the present

South Dakotan Arts and Sciences, magazine, 2019 to 2020

South Dakotan Business, magazine, 2009 to 2019

South Dakotan Health, magazine, 2013 to 2020

South Dakotan Lawyer, magazine, 2010 to 2020

South Dakotan M.D., magazine, 2009 to 2020

University of South Dakota Alumni Bulletin, magazine, 1942 to 1966

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What do you think of this great graphic expression of the University of South Dakota’s academic programs in 1982? The poster also lists the year each program started. It was created by Wayne Knutson, and is in the College of Arts and Sciences collection.

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First floor of East Hall ca. 1912

Franklin B. Gault was USD President 1906 – 1913. Archives and Special Collections received volume 3 of three ledgers of material associated with his term as president. Much of the ledger is hard-to-read handwritten text or typewritten papers glued to the pages of the ledger. This ledger contains interviews, correspondence, rulings, material on the general administration of the university, and programs from sporting, musical, and academic events. It does contain some student information which may violate FERPA.

Ledger 3 was found in Tacoma, Washington. Locations of volume 1 and volume 2 are unknown.

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During the 1980s and 1990s, USD commencement programs often highlighted USD buildings.

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April 21, 1862; October 16, 1882; and February 3, 1883.

The first was when the act to authorize an university in the Territory of Dakota was signed. The second was the first day of classes. The third was “Charter Day”, which was when the act to provide for the organization and government of the University of the Territory of Dakota was signed.

Information from The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966, by Cedric Cummins, Dakota Press, 1975.

What dates would you pick as important to USD’s history? I would add the date of the first graduation.


An Act to Locate the University of the Territory of Dakota

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota:

Section 1: That the territorial university of the Territory of Dakota be, and the same is hereby established and located on lot number four, of section twenty-four, in township number ninety-two, north of range number fifty-two west of the fifth principal meridian in the town of Vermillion in Clay County.

Section 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage, and approval by the governor.

Approved April 21, 1862.

W. Jayne, Governor

Act text from Laws passed at the first session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Dakota, 1862.


Image of the first day of classes from the Digital Library of South Dakota.


An Act to Provide for the Organization and Government of the University of the Territory of Dakota

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota:

Section 1. Purpose, Tuition, Etc.] The objects of the University of Dakota, established by an act of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota, entitled “An act to locate the University of the Territory of Dakota,” approved, April 21, A.D. 1862, shall be to provide the best and most efficient means of imparting to young men and women on equal terms a liberal education and thorough knowledge of the different branches of literature, the arts and sciences with their varied applications. The University, so far as practicable, shall begin the courses of study in its collegiate and scientific departments, at the points where the same are completed in high school; and no student shall be admitted who has not previously completed the elementary studies in such branches as are taught in the common schools throughout the Territory. No student who shall have been a resident of the Territory one year next preceding his admission, shall be required to pay any fees for tuition in the University, except in the law department and for extra studies. The regents may prescribe rates of tuition for any pupil in the law department, or who shall not have been a resident of the Territory as aforesaid and for teaching extra studies.

Section 2. No sectarian control.] The University shall never be under the exclusive control of any religious denomination whatever, and no instruction, either sectarian in religion, or partizan in politics, shall ever be allowed in any department of the University.

Section 3. How governed.] The University shall be governed by a board of regents, consisting of the Governor of the Territory, who shall be president of the board, the President of the University, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, who shall each be a member of said board of regents by virtue of his office, together with six other competent persons, who shall be appointed by the Governor by and with the consent of the legislative council.

Section 4. Regents, how appointed.] That immediately upon the passage and approval of this act the six persons shall be appointed and shall hold their offices for the term of two and four years respectively, and the Governor shall designate in his appointments the three persons who shall hold their office for two years and the three for four years.

Section 5. Vacancies.] The board of regents shall fill vacancies occurring therein, except when the Legislature is in session; and the persons so appointed shall hold their offices until the next session of the Legislature, when the Governor, with the concurrence of the legislative council shall fill all vacancies.

Section 6. Departments.] The University shall include a collegiate, scientific, normal and such other departments with such courses of instruction and elective studies as the board of regents may determine, and the board shall have authority to confer such degrees and grant such diplomas and other marks of distinction as are usually conferred and granted by other universities.

Section 7. Meetings.] The meetings of the board of regents shall be held at such times as the board may appoint. The president of the board may call special meetings when he deems it expedient, or special meetings may be called by any three members of the board.

Section 8. Finances.] An executive committee consisting of three competent and responsible persons shall be appointed by the board of regents, who shall audit all claims and whose chairman shall draw all orders for such audited claims upon the treasurer, but before payment such orders shall be countersigned by the secretary. Said committee shall keep a specific and complete record of all matters involving the expenditure of money, which record shall be submitted to the board of regents at each regular meeting of same.

Section 9. Erection of buildings.] Whenever any building is to be erected, or extensions, alterations or repairs are to be made in connection with the University, or other improvements, the board of regents shall have authority to procure all necessary plans, drawings and specifications for such building, alterations, repairs or improvements; to advertise for proposals for the erection and completion or performance thereof, in such manner as may be most advantageous, and to contract with the lowest responsible bidder therefor, such contractor in every case to give adequate security for the faithful performance of his contract; to appoint and discharge a building superintendent, who shall superintend the work and perform such other duties as they may require, and receive such compensation as the board shall determine, and to examine and certify to the correctness of the estimates and accounts for work under the contract, and of their superintendent and employes.

Section 10. Secretary.] The board of regents shall elect a secretary, who shall hold his office at the pleasure of the board. He shall record all the proceedings of the board of regents, and carefully preserve all books and papers. He shall countersign and register all orders for money on the treasurer, and the treasurer shall not pay an order on him for money, unless the same be countersigned by the secretary.

Section 11. Treasurer.] The board of regents shall elect a treasurer, who shall hold his office at the pleasure of the board. He shall keep a true and faithful account of all moneys received and paid out by him, and before entering upon the duties of his office he shall take and subscribe an oath that he will faithfully perform the duties of treasurer; and he shall also give a bond in a penal sum fixed by said board, conditioned for the faithful discharge of his duties as treasurer, and that he will at all times keep and render a true account of moneys received by him as treasurer, and of the disposition he has made of the same, and that ‘ e will at all times be ready to discharge himself of the trust, and to pay over when required; which bond shall have two or more good securities, and shall be approved as to its form and sufficiency of its sureties by the board of regents, and also the auditor and secretary of the Territory, and shall be filed in the office of the latter.

Section 12. Rules.] The board of regents shall enact rules for the government of the University, and shall appoint a president and the requisite number of professors and tutors, together with such other officers as they may deem expedient, and shall determine the salaries of such officers, the compensation of the secretary and treasurer. They shall remove any officers connected with the University, when, in their judgment, the good of the institution requires it.

Section 13. Purchase of apparatus.] The board of regents is authorized to expend such sums of money as may be appropriated for the University funds as it may deem expedient, in the purchase of apparatus, library and a cabinet of natural history, in providing suitable means to keep and preserve the same, and in procuring all other necessary facilities for giving instruction.

Section 14. Cabinet.] All specimens of natural history and geological and mineralogical specimens, which are, or hereafter may, be collected by the territorial geologist or by any others appointed by the Territory to investigate its natural and physical resources, or donated by any person, shall belong to, and be the property of the University, and shall form a part of its cabinet of natural history, which shall be under the charge of the professor of that department.

Section 15. Report of president.] The president of the University shall make a report on the fifteenth day of September preceding the meeting of the Legislative Assembly, to the board of regents, which shall exhibit the condition and progress of the institution in its several departments, the different courses of study- pursued therein, the branches taught, the means and methods of instruction adopted, the number of students, with their names, classes and residences, and such other matters as he may deem proper to communicate.

Section 16. Report of board.] The board of regents shall, on the first day of October preceding each regular meeting of the Legislative Assembly, make a report to the superintendent of public instruction, which report, with that of the president of the University, shall be embodied in the said superintendent’s report to the Legislative Assembly. The report of the board of regents shall contain the number of professors, tutors and other officers, with the compensation of each, the condition of the University fund, and the income received therefrom, the amount of expenditures, and the items thereof, with such other information and recommendations as they may deem expedient to lay before the Legislative Assembly.

Section 17. Mileage.] The regents shall receive no compensation except for actual expenses in traveling to and from their places of meetings, and also their actual expenses while discharging any other duties in connection with their office.

Section 18. Franchises heretofore granted to vest in present board.] The said board of regents shall succeed to the custody of the books, records, buildings and all other property, real and personal, of the University of Dakota, incorporated on the 19th day of May, eighteen hundred and eighty-one, under chapter fourteen of the Civil Code; and the present board of trustees shall he dissolved immediately upon the organization of the board of regents herein provided for, and the deed or grant of all of said property, together with all the rights, privileges and franchises of said corporation is hereby accepted, and said deed or grant, is hereby legalized and declared to be and remains in full force and effect; and the grant of land from the United States of America to the Territory of Dakota, made in ” An act entitled ‘An act to grant lands to Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming, for University purposes,’ ” is hereby accepted by this Territory with all the privileges, rights and restrictions in said act provided.

Approved, February 3, 1883.

Nehemiah Ordway, Governor

Act text from Laws passed at the fifteen session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Dakota, 1883.

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