Dear online wanderers,
Today, I bring you the second installment of “The Divided States,” my small effort to uncover the digital archives of each and every American state, from sea to shining sea. (Read “Pennsylvania Mania” if you missed it). This time, we head northwest to South Dakota.
South Dakota’s been on my mind the last few weeks as I started re-watching HBO’s exquisite but, alas, ended drama Deadwood, set in the historic Black Hills gold mining camp. The original settlers broke with an 1868 treaty that promised the land to the Lakota Sioux. For one interesting take on Lakota tribe, check out the Smithsonian exhibit on Alice Flecther. A single woman with little formal training, Fletcher did anthropological fieldwork in the Great Sioux Reservation in the fall of 1881, just two years before the reservation was officially “opened” to ambitious settlers. To the right is a photograph of her guide Wajapa.
You’ll find many more photographs at the Digital Library of South Dakota, with collections from many of the state’s universities. The photo archives of USD are especially evocative. Check out the portfolio from a 1999 exhibition, including the image to the left, from a 1954 performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
For yet more photographs, also check out the archive’s of the state’s historical society, at Heritage West.
And be sure to head over to the again bounteous Internet Archive to watch a 1940 film about gold mining, part I and part II. Or take a peek at the original WPA Guide to South Dakota, with wonderful illustrations like this grim drawing of “Hangman’s Hill”—just to prove Deadwood‘s portrait of swearing, murderous settlers isn’t entirely off the mark.
That’s all for this week, dear readers.
Yours in infamy,