Baseball, politics, and the open range headline latest State Historical Society journal

South Dakota History 4602 Summer 2016Twenty-six seasons of professional baseball in Aberdeen, the fortunes of Democratic politicians in the state, and a memorable incident in the life of legendary cattleman George Edward (“Ed”) Lemmon are featured in the Summer 2016 issue of South Dakota History, the quarterly journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Jon K. Lauck’s article, “‘It disappeared as quickly as it came’: The Democratic Surge and the Republican Comeback in South Dakota Politics, 1970–1980,” examines the heyday of the state Democratic Party in the 1970s, when Richard F. Kneip won three consecutive gubernatorial elections. As conservatism reasserted itself later in the decade, Democrats, including Senator George S. McGovern, fell out of favor with South Dakota voters, allowing Republicans to return to dominance. Lauck is president of the Midwestern History Association.

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Pictured from left to right in this February 1980 photograph are Kneip, who left the governor’s office in 1978; McGovern, who would lose he Senate seat in the 1980 election; and former Governor Harvey Woolman, who had lost the 1978 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“‘Keep Pro Baseball’: The Aberdeen Pheasants Baseball Team, 1946–1971,” tells the story
of the city’s link to “big-league” baseball. The community’s pride in its team was on full display in June 1964, when the Baltimore Orioles played an exhibition game with their minor-league affiliate in Aberdeen, which went on to win that year’s Northern League championship. Although the Pheasants had a core of dedicated fans, waning interest in minor-league baseball spelled doom for the Northern League in 1971. Author Daryl Webb is an assistant professor of history at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Local artist Gordon Haug’s cartoons featuring Philbert the Pheasant graced the front page of the Aberdeen American-News the morning after each game and usually commented on the team’s performance.

An excerpt from Nathan Sanderson’s book Controlled Recklessness: Ed Lemmon and the Open Range, published in 2015 by the South Dakota Historical Society Press, follows Lemmon from a crippling range accident in South Dakota to a stay at his father’s Nebraska farm as he contemplated whether to continue the cattleman’s life. Lemmon went on to help found several towns west of the Missouri River, including the South Dakota community that bears his name. Sanderson is a policy advisor to Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Charles “Deacon” Phillippe, who learned to play baseball in Dakota Territory and went on to become the winning pitcher in the first game of the first modern World Series in 1903, is highlighted in the “Dakota Images” Sanderson - Controlled Recklessness (CI)biographical sketch that is a feature of each issue of South Dakota History.

South Dakota History is a benefit of membership in the South Dakota State Historical Society. For information on membership, call (605) 773-6000. Individual issues may be purchased for $10 plus tax and shipping by calling (605) 773-6009.

Controlled Recklessness: Ed Lemmon and the Open Range can be purchased by visiting or calling (605) 773-6009.


New Hugh Glass Biography Now Available from State Historical Society

Readers now have access to the real story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, recently portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-winning blockbuster The Revenant.

Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor is written by James D. McLaird and published by the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, which is also the location of the only known letter written by the infamous trapper.

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Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor tells the story of the most famous grizzly-bear attack in the history of the American West, taking readers along Glass’s 200-mile crawl across the plains and his journey of revenge against those who abandoned him. The exploits of Glass have long provided fertile ground for articles, books and film, but the real man remains a mystery.

Historian McLaird traces the threads of the legend back in time and revisits what readers know—or think they know—about Glass and his ordeal. Along the way, McLaird examines the story itself and how it reflects our changing view of the West, the development of the fur trade and the complicated relationship between humans and grizzly bears. The result is a comprehensive biography of a larger-than-life character whose fantastic story of survival has fired imaginations for nearly 200 years.

“The legend of Hugh Glass continues to occupy a significant place in American folklore,” says Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press. “This book is the first accurate biography that looks at the believability of other narratives written about him.”

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James Bridger is one of the men who potentially deserted Glass.

McLaird is professor emeritus of history at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. He is the author of the second South Dakota Biography Series book “Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane: Deadwood Legends” and numerous articles on the Black Hills and the American West.

McLaird will discuss the book at the monthly History & Heritage Book Club on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. CDT at the Cultural Heritage Center.

Hugh Glass is made possible in part by the Deadwood Publications Fund provided by the City of Deadwood and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission.

Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor is the latest addition to the South Dakota Biography Series published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press. The book is available for $14.95, plus shipping and tax. It can be purchased directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press at or by calling (605) 773-6009.

Politics, airshows, Wounded Knee headline latest State Historical Society journal

4601 cover imageAgitator Henry L. Loucks, World War I military air shows and events at Wounded Knee are chronicled in the Spring 2016 issue of “South Dakota History,” the quarterly journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society.


“‘Equal Opportunity for All, That’s All’: South Dakota’s Henry L. Loucks and the Fight for Reform, 1885–1928,” profiles the Deuel County farmer who rose to national prominence as a leader in the Farmers’ Alliance movement of the 1880s and 1890s. Although Loucks and his fellow reformers failed to create a viable third party in South Dakota, they left a lasting legacy with the initiative and referendum process now enshrined in the state constitution. The article’s author, Jeffrey A. Johnson, is an associate professor at Providence College in Rhode Island. 


In his article, “Flying Machines and War Bonds: The Victory Loan Flying Circus in South Dakota,” Alan L. Roesler documents the South Dakota performances of a military aircraft demonstration team that toured the Midwest to promote the sale of bonds to finance World War I. The air shows entertained large crowds in Aberdeen, Redfield and Sioux Falls in April 1919. Roesler, a retired geologist in Mesa, Ariz., is a member of the League of World War I Aviation Historians. 


Jerome A. Greene, a retired National Park Service historian, presents a never-before-published account of Wounded Knee and its aftermath in “An Artilleryman at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek, 1890: The Reminiscence of Private John W. Comfort.”


Comfort’s memoir is the only known enlisted artilleryman’s perspective of the turmoil that left at least 200 Lakotas dead, with many more injured, and resulted in 66 army casualties. Greene provides explanatory notes and maps to help readers follow events.


Former State Historical Society director Dayton W. Canaday is highlighted in the “Dakota Images” biographical sketch that is a feature of each issue of “South Dakota History.” 


“South Dakota History” is a benefit of membership in the South Dakota State Historical Society. For information on membership, call (605) 773-6000. Individual issues may be purchased for $10 plus tax and shipping by calling (605) 773-6009.


State Historical Society ‘Tasunka’ book featured in Atlanta children’s program

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend is featured in the November Artful Stories program at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, located on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

The multi-award-winning South Dakota State Historical Society book, written and illustrated by Oglala Lakota artist Donald F. Montileaux, has received high praise since its publication in 2014.Montileaux - Tasunka (CI)

The Carlos Museum designed Artful Stories for preschool children. The program combines art and literacy to build vocabulary, flexible thinking, problem-solving skills and fine motor skills. Picture books are chosen for their quality and connection to current museum exhibits. In November, the course centers around Tasunka, which teaches children about ledger-style drawings. The book accompanies the Carlos Museum’s exhibit “Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection.”

“We are thrilled to be offering Montileaux’s Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend as part of our Artful Stories program,” says Alyson Vuley from the Education Department of the Carlos Museum. “Each child involved with the program will receive a beautiful hardcover copy of ‘Tasunka’ to help them learn about the pictographic art of the Plains peoples.”

In addition to reading Tasunka, participants will create a pictorial shield based on an artifact at the Carlos Museum by Joseph No Two Horns, the man who is believed to have carved the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Great Sioux Horse Effigy. The effigy recently returned from a two-year world tour and is on display at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

Tasunka is a story of adventure, discovery, loss and renewal, set to beautiful illustrations that illuminate the story of the horse and its importance to the Plains people. Readers journey with a young warrior as he tracks a strange new creature across the Plains and discover the destructive nature of power as well as a lesson in redemption.

Montileaux uses traditional storytelling methods to impart wisdom to new generations, and through the Lakota translation by Agnes Gay, Tasunka preserves an important piece of Lakota culture. Tasunka is dedicated to Alex White Plume, who first told the legend to Montileaux.

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend is available for $19.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit, call (605) 773-6009 or

To find out more about the Carlos Museum and its exhibits, please visit

Five-star Reviews for “Natives of a Dry Place”


“I couldn’t put [the book] down. Not only did it capture people and place with an almost magnetic clarity, but it was so gracefully written that I didn’t want to stop reading. . . . It was a privilege to meet so many of the Stanley folks, and your family, on such intimate terms.”—Fergus M. Bordewich, author of America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union

“Edwards has a keen eye, and through his deep connection with the Great Plains and love of the souls who made it their home, he distills wonderful vignettes of enduring character, and offers insights as to why this land seemed to mold its denizens so. Edwards doesn’t romanticize, which just makes his well researched and intimate observations of people all the more compelling.”—Robert Hazen, reviewer

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Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota before the Oil Boom is available for $16.95, plus shipping and tax, at or by calling (605) 773-6009.

Contact for publicity information, a review copy, or to schedule an interview or event with Richard Edwards.

“The Midwest Book Review” recommends “Red Cloud: Oglala Legend”

Impressively well written, exceptionally well organized, and deftly presented, “Red Cloud: Oglala Legend” is an informed and informative read from beginning to end. A work of impressive research-based scholarship, “Red Cloud: Oglala Legend” is very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of the non-specialist general reader with an interest in Native American History. It will also prove to be a core addition to community and academic library Native American Studies reference collections in general, and Oglala History supplemental studies lists in particular.”—Willis M. Buhle, The Midwest Book Revew

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Red Cloud: Oglala Legend is available for $14.95 from your local bookstore, online, or through the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Call (605) 773-6009 or visit to order.