Saints and Family: A Story of Irish Immigration for St. Patrick’s Day

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, read A Tale of Two Grandmothers: Immigration and Family on the Great Plains. This article from South Dakota History contains the experiences of author Dorothy Schwieder’s grandmothers who immigrated to Dakota Territory in the 1800s. Schwieder’s grandmother Margaret McBride Hubbard was from County Armagh, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) before she settled, with her husband, in the vicinity of Mitchell. Discover how family ties influenced the decision to emigrate from Ireland, and find the full article here:


Six of the ten Hubbard children circa 1902, Dorothy Schwieder Collection.

‪#‎IrishImmigration‬ ‪#‎DakotaTerritory‬ ‪#‎HappyStPattysDay‬

Call for Chapter Proposals

The editors of volume three in The Plains Political Tradition:
Essays on South Dakota Political Culture series are calling for chapter proposals. Proposals are due June 1, 2015, more information is below.

Cover with medallion

The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Volume 2, $22.95,

Writers in the fields of history, political science, geography, and related fields are invited to submit chapter proposals for volume three of The Plains Political Tradition: Essays in South Dakota Political Culture series, published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press.

Proposals must provide a detailed description of what will comprise the chapter, including descriptions of the sources to be used, the topics to be explored, and the contributions the chapter will make to the understanding of South Dakota political culture.

The selected chapters must be formatted to the Chicago Manual of Style, thoroughly documented with end notes, contain original research, and be appealing to both popular and scholarly audiences. Graphs, tables, charts, and photographic suggestions are welcome as attachments to the essay. Chapters on political actors, parties, pressure groups, organizations, legislation, outcomes, events, campaigns, the media, political socialization, ideas, rhetoric, social-economic-cultural transitions, and other elements of politics that help explain South Dakota’s political culture are invited. Comparative studies which place South Dakota within the broader purview of other states, the region, or the nation will be especially welcome, as will synthetic studies that place the material in the broadest possible context of place and time. Special attention should be paid to how the subject being discussed reflects or contributes to a deeper understanding of the political culture of South Dakota. For additional direction, prospective authors are

The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Volume 1, $19.95,

The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Volume 1, $19.95,

strongly encouraged to review the chapters in the previous two volumes of The Plains Political Tradition series, published in 2011 and 2014 by South Dakota Historical Society Press.

The editors for volume three will be Jon K. Lauck, John E. Miller, and Paula M. Nelson. Proposals for chapters are due on June 1, 2015, and they should be submitted by electronic mail to Paula Nelson at If a proposal is accepted, the final chapter will be due March 1, 2016. Final chapters should range from 6,000 to 8,000 words (not counting notes), be double-spaced, and be submitted as a word document in 12 pt Bookman Old Style font. Authors who are selected for inclusion in the new volume will be invited to participate in a book release conference to be held in March 2018 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Photo Recap of the South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Every year tourism professionals gather in Pierre for the annual South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism. At the event, as marketing director, I get to meet with retail business professionals and avid readers alike. This year I learned about new advertising venues, gave away our celebrated book Love Letters from Mount Rushmore, and had an interesting conversation with some of Deadwood Alive’s most colorful characters about our amazing authors and illustrators.

The fabulous winner of South Dakota Historical Society Press book "Love Letters from Mount Rushmore".

The fabulous winner of South Dakota Historical Society Press book “Love Letters from Mount Rushmore”.


The South Dakota Historical Society Press booth, featuring Chris Browne’s first children’s book “The Monster Who Ate the State.”

Wild Bill and Jack McCall check out the 'pretty pictures' in award-winning children's book "Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend," written and illustrated by Donald F. Montileaux

Wild Bill and Jack McCall check out the ‘pretty pictures’ in award-winning children’s book “Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend,” written and illustrated by Donald F. Montileaux

Visit #CelebrateSD for more!


Midwest Book Review takes a look at “County Capitols”

Illustrated with black-and-white photography of historic courthouses throughout, County Capitols: The Courthouses of South Dakota is as much about the history of these storied edifices as their architecture. During the pioneer era, South Dakota communities competed fiercely for designation as a county seat (and access to railroad lines); such a distinction improved the odds that a town would flourish, and raised local land values. Land speculators especially had a vested interest in ensuring a courthouse would be established near their own property. This conflict of interest led to “courthouse fights” between rival communities, ranging from bidding wars to midnight excursions to steal county records, or even the destruction of nascent courthouses! County Capitols devotes two or more pages to each of dozens of courthouses, recounting the often colorful tales behind their creation and use, and makes an excellent addition to South Dakota state history shelves.—The Midwest Book Review

Rusch - County Capitols (small)

State Historical Society to Release New Book on Political Culture at USD Conference

Cover with medallionAcross the country, election-night viewers typically see South Dakota as a “red” or Republican state, but is it really that simple? In their upcoming book from the South Dakota State Historical Society, editors Jon K. Lauck, John E. Miller and Donald C. Simmons, Jr., present 10 essays that focus on the unpredictability and inconsistencies in the state’s political culture. “The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Volume 2” will be released on Thursday, Nov. 13, at a conference hosted by the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

“Our political heritage is much more varied and unique than people realize,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, headquartered at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. “The editors continue to shed light on the South Dakota political experience—connecting it to the greater Midwestern and American setting.”

South Dakota’s political landscape is a mix of geographical variations and political subcultures that changes over time. The first volume of “The Plains Political Tradition” examined this complexity, and this new volume explores compelling stories of direct democracy, organized labor, West River identity, New Deal planning, Cold War loyalty, bicultural conservatism and the Christian Left—among other topics. Tracking the shifting dialogues that make the Great Plains unique, the authors and editors take South Dakota further into the growing study of modern political culture.

Authors of the essays in “The Plains Political Tradition” will discuss their topics in a series of panels at the USD conference, which runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST on Nov. 13. Tom Isern, University Distinguished Professor of History at North Dakota State University in Fargo, will give the luncheon keynote address. Contact Sandi Allred at or (605) 677-5242 to register. The event is free to the public.

“The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Volume 2” is available for $22.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased through most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit or call (605) 773-6009. For distribution information, contact the South Dakota Historical Society Press at

Full Press Release

Memoir Receives Multiple Accolades

SD LIPP ACORD COVERCircling Back Home: A Plainswoman’s Journey is a finalist in the 2014 WILLA Literary Awards and a nominee in the 2014 Will Rogers Medallion Awards. Written by first-time author Darcy Lipp-Acord, the book has been well received since its publication by the South Dakota State Historical Society in 2013. In Circling Back Home, Lipp-Acord looks to her past to create a life of significance for her family at a time when values of home, family and care of the land seem increasingly absent. She mourns the loss of one child and celebrates the births of others while balancing her own desire to put down roots with her husband’s life as an itinerant ranch hand. Written over 10 years, Lip-Acord’s essays compose a picture of endurance and grace as the author addresses her history and finds her way home. Award-winning author Linda M. Hasselstrom contributes a foreword, stating that “Circling Back Home reflects the life of a ranch woman in all its prismatic variety.” “Darcy Lipp-Acord has written a great testament to American values and the experience of women on the plains,” said South Dakota State Historical Society Director Jay D. Vogt. “Different than the typical cowboy or cowgirl narrative, her book shares the story of countless women who worked to keep their families together in an unforgiving landscape.” “Because she writes well and makes us care, it is a joy when Darcy Lipp-Acord can say, ‘I feel like I’ve finally arrived,’” says Susan Schoch, reviewer for Story Circle Book Reviews. “How she gets there makes a fine story … a good one to pass along to a friend.” The WILLA Literary Award is named in honor of Willa Cather, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. It is awarded annually for outstanding literature featuring women’s stories set in the West and is chosen by a panel of professional librarians. Circling Back Home was named a finalist in the Creative Non-fiction category. Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, also published by the State Historical Society, won in 2008.

In October the winners and ranking for the Will Rogers Medallion Award will be announced at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. Circling Back Home was nominated in the Western Biographies and Memoirs category and is the first South Dakota Historical Society Press book to be nominated for a Will Rogers Medallion Award. Originally created to recognize quality works of cowboy poetry that honored the Will Rogers heritage, the award has expanded to include all works of Western literature. Circling Back Home is available for $16.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit, call (605) 773-6009 or email

Official Press Release