The 1916 Campaigns

A set of campaigns in South Dakota about the 1916 suffrage amendment to the state constitution involved so many intersecting ideas, details, and stories, that I’m going to put the narrative together here in one place. This will focus on the two sets of campaigning led by ‘out-of-staters’ that generated a lot of press. Then, on my other pages I’ll be able to link back to this post for these two big-ticket campaigns, rather than repeating so much on a number of timeline, biography, etc. pages.

At the start of the year 1916… The state legislature in Pierre had passed a bill for a state suffrage amendment at their session in the late winter of 1915. It was put on the ballot for November 1916. The South Dakota Universal Franchise League under president Mamie Shields Pyle of Huron was the most active organization working in support of the bill, with the assistance of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union also supported suffrage, but was simultaneously waging a campaign for a state prohibition amendment that was also on the 1916 ballot. Working against the suffrage amendment was the state’s auxiliary of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, led by Ethel Jacobsen of Pierre, which re-formed in the summer of 1916. For the first five months of the year, suffragists’ activity had been of the slow-and-steady variety. The SDUFL worked on getting local suffrage leagues organized, Pyle canvassed voters for their opinion on the bill, and local speakers like Myra Weller, Mary Maguire Thomas, and Nina Pettigrew made speaking appearances [Mitchell Capital (SD), July 20, 1916; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), July 21, 1916].

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Fascinating People from Suffrage Research, part 1

So as I’m doing biographical research on people connected to the suffrage movement in South Dakota, there are quite a few that had lives that I found quite fascinating, apart of their suffrage connections. Some, I’ve written about before, like Laura Alderman, The Queen of Orchardists and Kate Boyles Bingham. Here are some other highlights from the biographies I’ve done so far…


From the Biographies of Women’s Suffrage – A page (more and source links on the Bio pages):

James C. Adams (1842-1902) of Webster SD was born in Virginia, and came to Iowa with his parents, where his father was a doctor. Having served in the Illinois 41st infantry regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War, he then went to Mississippi to publish a newspaper with Republican politics—the party of Lincoln. He faced harassment by the KKK and eventually left Mississippi. He went then to Iowa and came to Webster in 1883. He married Irene Drake Galloway in 1887. In 1891, he was appointed to chair the commission that negotiated the opening of unallotted lands on the Yankton Reservation for white settlement.

Ida M. Anding McNeil (1888-1974) of Pierre was chief clerk and then legislative reference librarian of the state historical department in Pierre from 1906 until 1921. In 1927, she received a commercial license for KGFX radio, having started by broadcasting to her rail conductor husband on an amateur radio. She ran the station until 1962. More; Rosemary Evetts, “Dakota Images: Ida Anding McNeil,” South Dakota History 11(2) (1981).

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Socialism and Suffrage in SoDak

Several Socialist leaders came to South Dakota to campaign for suffrage, and equal suffrage was supported by South Dakota socialists in the 1910s.


Visiting Lecturers and Organizers

In 1898, Ida Crouch-Hazlett (c1870-1941) toured South Dakota for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), but soon after, in 1902, became a prominent organizer and lecturer for the Socialist Party of America. Revealing some of her opinion of class hierarchies, it was reported that she said “that active opposition to the movement has ceased in the state except among classes that have everything to fear from upward social movements” [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), September 22, 1898The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD)September 23, 1898; et al.]. She spoke often on suffrage as well as Social Reforms [Black Hills Union (Rapid City SD), July 29, 1898; Mitchell Capital (SD), October 7, 1898].

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Needles in Haystacks: South Dakota’s History in Random Collections

It is hard to find archival materials about South Dakota when they’re not in South Dakota collections… or major national collections like the Library of Congress… but such is the way of archives. Sometimes, there is good stuff tucked away in strange corners.

One example I found recently, with great thanks to WorldCat.org, is the set of images from the Goodyear Co. in the university libraries of the University of Akron, mostly from Pickstown and Mitchell in 1951, including images of the dealerships/service stations in those communities, as well as images of the Fort Randall dam under construction.

In the past, I have come across these others as well:

I’ll add others here as I find them:

What are others that you have used??

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.

collage_hospitals

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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Snow in South Dakota, SD Digital Archives

Outside my window is a lot of snow that’s fallen in the last week, so I was curious what South Dakota State Archives’ digital archives had for the best and most interesting historic photographs of snow and snow removal in South Dakota.  There were nearly 1,600 results in a search for the word ‘snow’ (although admittedly, many are Preservation Office photographs of historic buildings that just happened to have been taken in the winter).

Snow is a big part of life on the Plains–beautiful, dangerous, and apparently a popular photography subject over the years.  I do know it generally makes for good building photographs — no leaves on nearby trees to block anything and a high contrast background.  From these historic photos, it looked like heavy snowfalls could be fun in their way, but they also required hard work and ingenuity to clear travel routes.  And of course we have our share of winter sports, especially in the recreation and ski areas of the Black Hills.

Here is a list of my favorites from the state digital archives…

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Public Art in South Dakota

“Dignity,” by Dale Lamphere, photograph by author, 2016.

The new 50-foot “Dignity” sculpture, by sculptor Dale Lamphere and chief welder Tom Trople, installed at a point above the highway at Chamberlain has me thinking about South Dakota’s public art and the history thereof.  So here’s some that I can think of… suggestions and additions are very welcome!


Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Most assuredly the best known work of public art in South Dakota.  The memorial was designed by Gutzon Borglum and built from 1927-1941.  The original idea for a memorial was actually from Doane Robinson, state historian, who proposed carving historical figures of the American West into the Needles rock formations south of the current memorial.  There has been so much written on Mount Rushmore that I won’t even be able to summarize it.  Check out the NPS website here.  A photograph of Borglum working on his model for the memorial, on the SDSHS Digital Archive website here.

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