Organizing articles into specific issues of South Dakota History is a matter of timing, workload, word counts, and other factors. Always amazing to me is how frequently the pool of accepted manuscripts, and therefore the articles in a given issue, are connected in some way.
Often, articles on related topics—politics or American Indian subjects, for example—can be tied together in themed issues. In the Fall 2012 issue just off the press, however, the connections are more personal. The lead article, “‘Awake to all the needs of our day’: Early Women Lawyers in South Dakota” by Lisa R. Lindell, introduces readers to the lives and careers of nineteen women who pioneered in the legal profession in the state. Among them was Katie Rochford, who began her legal career in the 1890s by working in the law office of her uncle, Joe Kirby, in Sioux Falls. Kirby himself is the subject of the issue’s second article, “The Case of the German Socialist Farmers: Joe Kirby Challenges the Espionage Act of 1917,” written by one of his great-grandsons, Joe P. Kirby. Among other episodes in Kirby’s eventful legal career was his defense of thirty German Americans from Hutchinson County who were convicted of obstructing the war effort by circulating a petition against the draft during World War I. Kirby appealed their case to the United States Supreme Court and, in so doing, became the first lawyer in the country to challenge the Espionage Act on the basis of the First Amendment. The article also gives a glimpse into Kirby’s personal life, noting that he was a devout Catholic who donated his legal services to each bishop of the Sioux Falls Diocese, including Martin Marty, the subject of the issue’s third article. “The Catholic ‘Apostle of the Sioux’: Martin Marty and the Beginnings of the Church in Dakota Territory” is authored by Matthew Alan Gaumer, a native of North Dakota who studied history and theology at the University of Leuven in Belgium, which, by Northern Great Plains standards, at least, is practically a stone’s throw from Marty’s home monastery of Saint Einsiedeln in Switzerland.
Enjoy the Fall issue of South Dakota History. Who knows what other connections remain to be discovered.