Women's History Collection
Letters, diaries, reminiscences, photographs, and organizational records bring history alive through the voices of women who participated in events as they happened. Whether it be a description of day-to-day activities on a family farm or letters which chronicle the lives of a prominent family, each is a part of our history. Donors to the State Archives are aware of the significance of women and their contributions to the history of our state, which can be seen in the increasing volume of women’s resources added to the archives collections in the past twenty years.
In addition to the collections cited here, the State Archives has many other resources in which women’s voices are found. Church records, county, city, and family histories, census records, naturalization records, school census records, the biographical file, the general photograph collection, the South Dakota Authors file, and South Dakota newspapers are some of the sources available.
Still more materials are found in other government record groups. Department of Education records documenting teacher certifications, Secretary of State photographs, Cosmetology Commission licensing records, County Mother’s Pension records, Board of Nursing records, the WPA nursery project, and the Commission on the Status of Women records all provide insight into the lives of South Dakota women.
In addition, scholars have used archives collections for a number of interesting topics devoted to women. Second generation homesteaders, women’s suffrage, the League of Women Voters, Congregational missionaries, South Dakota First Ladies, prohibition, women attorneys in South Dakota, lifestyles of pioneer women (daily duties and hygiene), and west river depression are a few of the subjects researched recently.