The Center for Western Studies Digital Collections debuted in 2011 are evolving.
In the fall of 2015, CWS embarked on a new partnership with Augustana University’s Mikkelsen Library to create Northern Plains Peoples and Places (np3), a continually growing online database of digital resources related to the Northern Plains and its inhabitants. The database includes primary source material from the Center for Western Studies archives, university publications, and scholarly research and creative endeavors by university students and faculty.
Content on np3 spans a long period of Northern Plains history from early missionary work during the Civil War era to the present. Topics range from local Sioux Falls and Augustana history to regional literature, and religious, social, and political history.
Highlights of Northern Plains Peoples and Places include:
- More than 40,000 pages of yearbooks, student newspapers and creative arts publications, alumni publications, and school history monographs for Augustana University, Augustana Academy, and Lutheran Normal School
- Letters from Stephen R. Riggs, missionary to the Dakota before, during, and after the Sioux Uprising, relating his visits to Native American prisoners and meetings in Washington, D.C., to discuss Native American affairs
- Letters and other documents of William Hobart Hare, first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota, discussing funding for Native American schools and his accusations against missionary Samuel Hinman for impropriety
- Letters between John R. Milton, founding editor of the South Dakota Review, and regional authors such as Herbert Krause and Frederick Manfred
- Letters of Nellie Zabel Willhite, South Dakota’s first woman pilot (who was also deaf) discussing her secret flight lessons, the naming of her plane, and the financial woes of the Great Depression era
- Over 1,100 images of nearly 600 artifacts and a sampling of photographs from the Blue Cloud Abbey-American Indian Culture Research Center Collection
- A growing collection of historical images of Sioux Falls and the surrounding area from the 1860s to the 1970s
- Oral history interviews with Korean War veterans, a project commissioned by the Center for Western Studies in conjunction with the 2018 Dakota Conference
The database represents only a small fraction of what is available in the CWS archives, but staff regularly update np3 with new collections to give scholars a better sense of the broader content that is available for in-person research.
The partnership with Mikkelsen Library allows CWS to migrate its digital collections to CONTENTdm, a robust management and hosting platform that offers many useful tools for researchers. These include in-depth keyword search capabilities, detailed item and collection descriptions, and an integrated PDF viewer that makes examining documents easier.
Primary source materials available in the Center’s digital collections may be protected under specific copyright restrictions. For more information about the Center's image policies, consult the Image Use Form and Research Collections Fee Schedule.
The project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Expansion of the content on np3 is intended as funding and staffing conditions allow. If you would like to help fund this important endeavor, please contact Executive Director Dr. Harry F. Thompson. For additional information about the digitization efforts at CWS, please call 605.274.4007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.