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In Memory of Dr. Arthur R. Huseboe

By Harry F. Thompson, Ph.D.

Center for Western Studies Executive Director

This tribute is written in recognition of the many contributions of Dr. Arthur R. Huseboe to South Dakota, Sioux Falls, Augustana College, especially its Center for Western Studies, and to his profession, the study and teaching of literature.

Dr. Arthur HuseboeThe son of Carl Huseboe, a carpenter, and his wife Lillian Auby, a nurse, Arthur Robert Huseboe was born in Sioux Falls in 1931.  He joined the Boy Scouts in 1942 and the following year became a summer camp counselor at Lake Shetek, MN.  Art met his wife, Doris Eggers, while both were students at Augustana College.  He and Doris became engaged in 1952 and married on May 27, 1953.  Both served the college in a variety of roles, Doris retiring in 1993 as associate vice president for development.  Her death in 2006 brought an end to 53 years of marriage and a career that paralleled Art’s in many ways. 

Dr. Huseboe received his B.A. in English and Speech/Drama from Augustana College in 1953, and in July was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served until May 1955.  He received his M.A., summa cum laude, in English and Speech/Drama from the University of South Dakota in 1956 and taught the following year at Augustana.  In 1957 he began his doctoral work at Indiana University, where he was the Strauss Fellow in English.  He taught for a year at the University of South Dakota and in 1961 returned to teach at Augustana.  Indiana University awarded him the Ph.D., summa cum laude, in English in 1963.

Among Dr. Huseboe’s substantial contributions to South Dakota and, especially, to the Sioux Falls community is his service as a board member of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (1966-2006, president, 1971-1975), South Dakota Centennial Commission, South Dakota Humanities Council (chair), South Dakota Humanities Foundation (co-founder and president), Sioux Empire Arts Council, Minnehaha County Historical Society (vice president), Community Concerts and First Lutheran Church Men (president, 1967-1968).  He has also served on the boards of such national organizations as the Federation of State Humanities Councils and the Western Literature Association (president).

At Augustana College, in addition to teaching in the Department of English for nearly 40 years and chairing the Humanities Division for 19 years, Dr. Huseboe served on the Library Committee, Concert and Lecture Committee, Personnel Council, Augustana Research Institute, Augustana College 125th Anniversary Committee (chair), and Viking Days Parade (marshal and color commentator).  His areas of teaching expertise include Restoration and eighteenth-century English drama, Milton, Shakespeare, Chaucer, English literature survey, world literature survey, composition, journalism, and Western American literature.  Among his major teaching innovations was the development of eight summer institutes for high-school and college teachers.       

Also at Augustana, Dr. Huseboe was a co-founder of the Center for Western Studies and a member of its Board of Directors before being appointed Executive Director in 1989 by President Lloyd Svendsbye.  As director, he has overseen the addition of the Dakota Conference, June Event, and Boe Forum on Public Affairs, the fundraising and construction of the Fantle Building in 2001, and growth in the areas of archives and library, book publishing, and art collections and exhibitions.  He was also co-founder of Nordland Fest in 1974 and the Nordland Heritage Foundation in 1975, serving as the latter’s Executive Director (1985-2008).

Among his book publications are biographies of two Restoration dramatists, Sir John Vanbrugh and Sir George Etherege, a biography of Herbert Krause, An Illustrated History of the Arts in South Dakota, The Letters of Frederick Manfred (co-editor), The Poems and Essays of Herbert Krause (editor), Birding in the Northern Plains: The Ornithological Writings of Herbert Krause (publisher), and several publications with the Nordland Heritage Foundation and the Center for Western Studies, including A New South Dakota History (co-author).  With Ron Robinson and Carl Grupp, he authored  Words and Savages (poems and illustrations) in 1977, and with William Geyer, edited Where the West Begins (essays) in 1978.  With Harry Thompson and Sandra Looney, he edited A Common Land, A Diverse People:  Ethnic Identity on the Prairie Plains (essays) in 1987.  He is co-author of Through Trials and Triumphs: A History of Augustana College (1985) and co-author of the chapter on Augustana College in From Idea to Institution: Higher Education in South Dakota (1989). 

Dr. Huseboe’s articles have appeared in such journals as Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research, Philological Quarterly, Notes & Queries, Great Plains Quarterly, and World Book Encyclopedia.  He has been a panelist or presenter at many professional conferences, and as president coordinated the Western Literature Association Conference the year it was held in Sioux Falls (1977).   In 2001 he directed an oral history project, with funding from the South Dakota Humanities Council, to record reminiscences of crew members of the battleship U.S.S. South Dakota.

Over the years, many educational and cultural institutions have benefited from Dr. Huseboe’s fundraising efforts, including the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux Falls Civic Fine Arts, Augustana College (Western Experience Program and Chair in Regional Heritage, both funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Mellon Institute, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), the Center for Western Studies (Fantle Building), and the Western Literature Association (grants to fund A Literary History of the American West and Updating the Literary West).

Among the honors Dr. Huseboe has received are the Doctor of Humane Letters (Dana College, 1984), Alumni Achievement Award (Augustana College, 1985), South Dakota Governor’s Award in the Arts (1989), Western America Award (Center for Western Studies, 1988), National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Regional Heritage (1989-2006), Who’s Who in America (1995-present), South Dakota Hall of Fame Inductee (with his wife, Dr. Doris Huseboe, 2001), and Minnehaha Century Fund Award (2009).  Dr. Huseboe became Director Emeritus of the Center for Western Studies on August 1, 2009.

The family requests that contributions in his name be given to the Center for Western Studies, First Lutheran Church Media Ministry, and to the Eggers-Schneider Scholarship at Augustana College.

Read A Tribute to Art by Ron Robinson
Augustana College English Professor Emeritus