CWS Archives and Manuscript Collections

Detail from Cleveland letter to Bishop Hare, September 7, 1877

The Center for Western Studies' archives and manuscript collections comprise 4,500 linear feet of institutional records and personal papers. These include the John R. Milton, the Riggs Family, and the Reuben Goertz Germans-from-Russia collections; documents of the American Indian Culture Research Center, the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota, and the South Dakota Conference of the United Church of Christ; and numerous smaller collections.

The Center also maintains several large photographic collections including the Historic Sioux Falls Slide Collection featuring thousands of images of Sioux Falls and the surrounding area from the 1860s to the 1970s. Images from the CWS collections can be purchased for personal or commercial use. Please see the Image Use Form for more information about our image policies.

Access to the archives is by appointment only. Appointments are available Monday-Friday from 8:30-11:45 a.m. and 1:15-4:45 p.m. Access fees of $30 for the first day and $15 per day thereafter apply. Please see the Research Collections Fee Schedule for information about additional fees and the Archives Registration Form for information about appointment policies. Contact Liz Cisar, Collections Assistant, at 605.274.5017 to schedule an appointment.

Please note these additional appointment policies, effective August 16, 2021:

  • Augustana University policy dictates that masks are required in all indoor public spaces on campus, regardless of vaccination status. Visiting researchers must wear a mask during their appointment and when moving through the building.
  • Researchers who are sick, or who have a cough or fever, are encouraged to reschedule their appointment and stay home. 
  • In an effort to maintain social distancing, research room occupancy will be limited to two researchers at a time; appointments will be scheduled accordingly.
  • Sanitizer stations are available in the building, but residue from hand sanitizer has been shown to damage archival materials. Instead of using hand sanitizer, researchers are asked to wash their hands with soap and water in the restroom before entering the research room. Gloves will only be required in the course of activities for which they are always required (i.e. handling photographs) and will be provided when needed.
  • Drop-in researchers will only be accommodated if they can adhere to these policies. Like always, scheduled appointments are preferred. 

Learn more about how to conduct archival research with Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by Laura Schmidt and published by the Society of American Archivists in 2011.