Ceiling-heaven for the Concert in Hoven

I was able to attend the Christmas concert held at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hoven, S.D. this past weekend.  I called for my ticket late but they still had spaces in the balcony seats.  Granted, there were people around me who wanted to see the performers (including friends and family) and were disappointed that some of the church columns obstructed their view, but I LOVED being so close to the church’s gorgeous ceiling in my corner of the balcony.  There are so many details to note all around the building–I highly recommend a visit, especially if you can make it to a future Christmas concert.

So here are some of my low-res cell phone photographs of a beautiful historic building before I settled in to listen to the wonderful music…

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Amplify! Women Also Know History

I recently added my profile to Women Also Know History‘s website.  Fellow female historians should too!  Also, check out #womenalsoknowhistory on Twitter.

From their page:

Women Also Know History

“By promoting and supporting the work of women historians, we offer a concrete way to address explicit and implicit gender bias in public and professional perceptions of historical expertise.

Our searchable website makes it easier to identify and connect with women historians working in a wide range of fields and professional settings.

Our social media campaign raises awareness of women historians, their contributions to historical knowledge, and their roles as public intellectuals.”

What I’m Reading: On Kate Boyles Bingham

I came across Kate Boyles Bingham while working on suffrage movement research [part of Biographies of Women’s Suffrage – B].  She supported suffrage as secretary for the Brule County Equal Suffrage Committee in 1918 (the state’s last suffrage campaign year), but she had a bigger role in the literary record of early South Dakota.  With her brother Virgil, Kate wrote five books between 1907 and 1914 that were based on stories about the frontier of central South Dakota.  Kate did a great deal of the writing and Virgil “assisted with plot structure and background information” [Alexander, 244-245].  They share points with the new ‘cowboy western’ genre, stemming from Owen Wister’s popular book, The Virginian, that was published in 1902, except for her expanded roles for female characters: “The West that Kate Boyles envisioned was not just the male playground of the Virginian but was also the environment of strong, courageous, and aggressive women who could hold their Continue reading

My Many Favorites of the Gustav Johnson Glass Plate Collection, SD State Archives

Below are some (quite a few) of the 2,038 digital images from the Gustav Johnson glass plate collection at the South Dakota State Archives that caught my eye or peaked my interest.  There are so many wonderful images in this collection, both for historical reasons and photographic – some beautiful portraits…  And there were a surprising number of humorous images, a lot of smiles and some down-right hilarious, like the ‘breaking out of jail’ image or the series of “Deadman Valley Ranch.”

The images are scanned at a high-resolution, which is wonderful for looking at details of a farmyard, or a street scene, or the expression of a person’s face.  There are also a lot of unlabeled people/places, so I’m sure the Archives would accept additional information about images.

As 100-year-old glass plate images, many of the images are full of glorious imperfections that I’m sure are frustrating in cases (like this one that had distortion right over a couple’s faces, 2013-04-17-317), but I think they are kind of beautiful in their own way–and in some cases add beauty to the image: like the cracks on this image, 2013-07-19-312 or these that frame their subject 2013-07-01-347 and 2013-04-25-304.

A lot of the images are of Philip.  I made a section for wider views of the town of Philip, but there are lines in other categories that are also clearly or ostensibly also the Philip area.  And, there are many in the collection that I did not pull out for my list here.

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Haakon Horizons (Philip, SD: E.H. Baye, 1982), 296.

Gustav Johnson was a photographer who lived in Philip, Haakon County.  “Johnson was a familiar figure on the prairies surrounding Philip…. Johnson spent many days wandering from homestead to homestead in search of customers for his postcard art.  Frequently trailing in his shadow was his eldest daughter, Evelyn, her father’s able assistant… For several years he operated a small photography studio.  It was common for a Philip resident to pass the shop and find framed glass negatives sitting in the sun exposing light sensitive paper” [Haakon Horizons (Philip SD: E.H. Baye, 1982), 297].  His daughter, Evelyn Haberly, worked to “[preserve] the photographer’s contributions for future generations” [Haakon Horizons (Philip SD: E.H. Baye, 1982), 297].  From the State Archives’ photo description: “Information about Gustav Johnson’s photographs can be found in “Haakon Horizons” by Elsie Hey Baye, 1982 and “A Pictorial History of the Philip Area Featuring the photographic art of Gustav Johnson” by the Taylor Publishing Company, 1987.”

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Songs of Suffrage in South Dakota

In researching the suffrage movement around South Dakota, I have come across several examples of the use of music and songs for the campaigns.  I get the sense that it was a fairly common part of political campaigning in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century.  There is at least one book about suffrage songs nationally, Danny O. Crew’s Suffragist Sheet Music: An Illustrated Catalog [2002] (Google Books and WorldCat), and Smithsonian Folkways put out an album in 1958 called “Songs of the Suffragettes.”

These South Dakota examples tell us about our piece of that history…

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From the Missouri Valley Regional Preservation Conference

The 2018 Missouri Valley Regional Preservation Conference planned by the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission was a wonderful chance for people across state boundaries to learn from each other.  It also featured this excellent keynote address by Donovan Rypkema, as taped by South Dakota Public Broadcasting, about the economic effects of historic preservation.

Thanks also to Clay County and the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund for financial support.

Places of Care and Science: Hospital Buildings in South Dakota

I recently ran a search for South Dakota hospitals that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places for a Facebook post for our office (below), which led me to wonder about what historic photographs of hospitals are in the SD Digital Archives, and what they tell me about that slice of our built history.


The earliest hospitals in the territory were built with early military installations.  Once permanent settlement started, many of the early local hospitals were operated in conjunction with doctor’s clinics and often housed in buildings that were large houses in appearance.  In days before strict regulations, community health care was also undertaken by pharmacists, osteopaths, homeopaths, and others.  The Yankton State Hospital for mental health care was one of the earliest public institutions, followed by the state and federal veteran’s hospitals in Hot Springs and the state tuberculosis sanitarium in Custer.  As the profession changed near the turn-of-the-century, larger specialized buildings were erected, looking similar in style to the consolidated schools that were built at the same time.  In the 1910s-1930s, even larger facilities were built with wings for different care specialties.

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