For this West River edition of “Digital Research Tools,” I’ve included collections in Hot Springs, Spearfish, and Deadwood. Thank you to the librarians, archivists, grant-writers, donors, and supporters who are helping to make these collections available. Back in the day, I did a couple student gigs as an archive intern, scanning material and entering metadata for each and every record. It takes an incredible amount of time and organizational energy to turn tactile records into digital ones and put them out there for the public in an accessible way–particularly for a local public library, for which archive digitization would seem to be outside their typical wheelhouse. Thank you working to bring new life to our past!
Helen Magee Collection, Hot Springs Public Library: The library in Hot Springs is the repository of the exhaustive collection of local historian Helen Magee, who meticulously recorded years and years of obituaries, mortuary records, birth announcements, “on this day…” news articles, event flyers, and more. The collection is digitized and searchable to an extent–handwritten material doesn’t come up in the searches, some was later typed out but some wasn’t. Magee’s information was arranged at some point into binders by subject matter, so if you’re curious, go through to the subject of interest and browse to your hearts content. The library also has the hard-copies in their Heritage Room if you plan a research trip there.
Hot Springs, January 2017, photograph from South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office.
Leland D. Case Library, Black Hills State University, Spearfish: This link takes you to a list of the collections held at the Case Library at BHSU in Spearfish. The descriptions of each collection have links then to finding aids or search options if that collection has digitally-viewable material. It looks like… they have digitized material from the Black Hills National Forest Historical Collection, the Troy L. and Watson Parker Collection (Black Hills ephemera and research notebooks on ghost towns), the Father Szalay collection (heavy on maps), the Wharf Resources, Inc. collection on the Bald Mountain Mining Company, and several collections of research materials from historians and authors.
Deadwood History: This link will take to a page about research options with Deadwood History. There’s a link to their digital collection, and a link to their finding aids if you want to look deeper into their available collections. If you go to their digital collections, there’s a Random Images link at the top that’s a fun way to get a glimpse at the wide variety of things they have.