BOOKS FROM THE NORTHERN PLAINS
Publications by the Center for Western Studies are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities
BRIGHT, CLEAR SKY OVER A PLAIN SO WIDE The Center for Western Studies, 1964-2020
BY HARRY F. THOMPSON, AUGUSTANA UNIVERSITY
ISBN: 978-0-931170-90-4 307 pages, illustrated with 100 photos Price: $15.00
It took over fifty years to make the Center for Western Studies the cultural powerhouse it is today. “Bright, Clear Sky Over a Plain So Wide” is the story of how one of America’s first regional studies centers, located in the borderlands between the Midwest and Great Plains/West, grew into a distinctive humanities, arts, and public affairs program at Augustana University. The book traces three themes (mission, governance, and finance) throughout the center’s 56-year history and examines the development of an idea to preserve and interpret the history and cultures of the region surrounding the university, while also seeking to improve the quality of the area’s social and cultural life. Launched in 1964 by English professor and historical novelist Herbert Krause, the center was expanded in 1970 by the Augustana board of trustees and has since been sustained by a community-university board and council. Today, the Center for Western Studies looks forward to a future that, in the words of O.E. Rolvaag, an Augustana Academy graduate and author of the Great Plains novel Giants in the Earth, holds the promise of a “bright, clear sky over a plain so wide.” Included are recollections by founders Herbert Krause, Gary D. Olson, and Sven G. Froiland, a reminiscence of Herbert Krause by former student Jane Torness Rasmussen, remarks on the Center’s 25th anniversary by Arthur R. Huseboe, and the dedication of the Fantle Building by Tom Kilian. An account of the work of early co-director William R. “Bill” Wyatt is included in Thompson’s narrative.
Harry F. Thompson is Executive Director of the Center for Western Studies. Cover image by Iowa watercolorist Judy Thompson.
NO JUSTICE FOR AGNES: The Strange Death of Agnes Polreis and the Sensational South Dakota Murder Trials of Emma Kaufmann
BY WAYNE FANEBUST
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wayne Fanebust has a penchant for writing about the dark side of history and is an ardent advocate for the underdog. A former California attorney, he now lives in South Dakota. His recent titles include “Chasing Frank and Jesse James: The Bungled Northfield Bank Robbery and the Long Manhunt” (McFarland); “Outlaw Dakota: The Murderous Times and Criminal Trials of Frontier Judge Peter C. Shannon” (Center for Western Studies); and “Brigadier General Robert L. McCook and Colonel Daniel McCook, Jr.: A Union Army Dual Biography” (McFarland).
“No Justice for Agnes: The Strange Death of Agnes Polreis and the Sensational South Dakota Murder Trials of Emma Kaufmann” is the latest volume in the Center for Western Studies Prairie Plains Series. Other recent volumes in the series include “Outlaw Dakota: The Murderous Times and Criminal Trials of Frontier Judge Peter C. Shannon” and “Little Business on the Prairie: Entrepreneurship, Prosperity, and Challenge in South Dakota.”
ISBN: 978-0-931170-91-1 288 pages, illustrated, index Price: $15.00
For three years, beginning in 1906, the mysterious death of servant girl Agnes Polreis in Sioux Falls, SD, followed by the trials of Emma Kaufmann, gripped the nation’s attention. Lurid reports of abuse and even torture in the heartland appeared with regularity in newspapers from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. “I challenge all the pages of literature to show me so sad a case and so awful a case,” roared prosecuting attorney George W. Egan in his closing argument in 1907. After less than six months in the employ of Emma Kaufmann and her husband, a wealthy and influential partner in a brewery business in the region’s largest city, sixteen-year-old Agnes Polreis, born in Austria-Hungary, was returned to her parents’ farm, dead, her emaciated body showing marks of extreme violence—49 wounds in all, some of them gangrenous. An instance of “diabolical cruelty,” editorialized one newspaper. But more repulsive than the manner of Agnes’ death were the outrageous antics of the attorneys, the shifting testimony of witnesses, and the sensationalizing newspaper coverage. A poor immigrant girl with faltering English, Agnes was abandoned by physicians and exploited by the legal and newspaper professions. Her death and the subsequent trials caused the downfall of a United States senator, but brought no justice for Agnes Polreis.
SOUTH DAKOTA HISTORY: OLD TRAILS AND NEW ROADS EDITED BY JON K. LAUCK, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA The chapter on Lakota power by award-winning author of Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power, Pekka Hämäläinen, leads off this new history of South Dakota. Writing in the American Historical Review, Western historian David Grua calls Lakota America (Yale University Press, 2019) "a monumental achievement that will bend and shape the historiographical landscape." Hämäläinen is Rhodes Professor of American History and Fellow of St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University. His previous book, The Comanche Empire, won the Bancroft Prize in 2009. He is joined by Tom Isern, North Dakota State University; Samantha Litty, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Frank Van Nuys, South Dakota Schools of Mines and Technology; Sara Egge, Centre College; Chris Laingen, Eastern Illinois University; John Henris, University of ArkansasMonticello; Jeffrey Johnson, Providence College; Jon Schaff, Northern State University; Carson Walker, Associated Press/University of South Dakota; H. Roger Grant, Clemson University; and other distinguished historians and writers.
COMING IN 2023!
THE INTERIOR BORDERLANDS Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains EDITED BY JON K. LAUCK, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA
“Two chapters stand out in offering signiﬁcantly different approaches to the study of these regions. Gleaves Whitney argues that a “real” borderland formed when the Spanish, French, and Anglo-Americans began marrying, trading with, and living with the diverse tribes in the regions and created a cultural borderland that formed a ‘cultural core’ in its own right. These cultural estuaries existed for a few generations and were squeezed out by the grip of an American empire. The contributors here provide a rich array of ideas regarding the borderlands between the Midwest and Great Plains. The more we understand these borderlands, the greater our appreciation will be of the forces that shaped them and us.” —Ramon Powers, Kansas History (Summer 2020)
2020 MIDWEST BOOK AWARD WINNER Midwest Independent Publishers Association
“This is a special book. Its uniqueness is in part due to the questions asked: Where does the northern Great Plains end and the upper Midwest begin? In essence, is there a case to build for “interior borderlands,” the title of the volume? Twenty-two regional experts have taken on this challenge, and the result is a book that rivals any and all other North American regional writings. Don’t miss it!” – John R. Wunder, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ISBN: 978-0-931170-12-6 379 pages, including preface and introduction Price: $15.00
THE INTERIOR BORDERLANDS Preface - West from Here - Harry F. Thompson, Center for Western Studies, Augustana University Introduction - Crossing the Center Line: In Search of the Midwest/Great Plains Borderlands - Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota Geographies of the Borderlands - Christopher R. Laingen, Eastern Illinois University Aerial Transect of the Central Great Plains/Midwest Borderlands - James S. Aber and Susan W. Aber, Emporia State University, Kansas Of Space, Time, Size, Hexagons, Movement, and Memory: A Comparison of County Development in Illinois and South Dakota - James E. Davis, Illinois College The “There” in “There Is No There There” - Gleaves Whitney, Hauenstein Center, Grand Valley State University “Nebraska is, at least, not a desert”: Land Sales, False Promises, and Real Estate Borderlands on the Great Plains - Matthew S. Luckett, California State University, Dominguez Hills “The Western Coteaux!”: Hamlin Garland’s Experience of the Midwest/Great Plains Borderlands - Lance Nixon, Pierre, South Dakota Claiming the Frontier’s River: Regional Divides and the Failure of the Missouri Valley Authority, 1934-1954 - Maria Howe, Iowa State University Deﬁned By Absence: Where the West Begins - Will Weaver, Bemidji, Minnesota Exploring the Midwest/Great Plains Borderlands in Modern Women’s Memoir Rachael Hanel, Minnesota State University, Mankato Home on the Range: How Community Cookbooks Deﬁne the Middle Border Debbie A. Hanson, Augustana University The Great Plains Vision: Horizontal Grandeur - David Pichaske, Southwest Minnesota State University Finding the Sub-regional Diversity in the American West: Historians and Their Search for the American Interior Borderlands Nathalie Massip, Université Côte d’Azur Cinematic Representations of “Flyover Country” in Modern America Anna Thompson Hajdik, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater West of the 100th Meridian: Where the Midwest Ends and the Great Plains Begins - Brad Tennant, Presentation College Hiawatha and Leatherstocking: From Native Borderlands to Regional Border Joseph D. Schiller, University of Oklahoma Exploring Midwestern v. Great Plains Regional Variation by Way of the Jewish Immigrant Experience - Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Missouri State University Where the Midwest Meets the Bible Belt: Using Religion to Explore the Midwest’s Southwestern Edge - Jay M. Price, Wichita State University Beyond Aridity: Historical Environment and Shifting Regional Boundaries Julie Courtwright, Iowa State University Geography Is Not Destiny: Human Agency in the Midwest/Great Plains Transition Zone - Paula M. Nelson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville Where the Midwest Ends and the Great Plains Begins: A Survey Michael J. Mullin, Augustana University
A Cultural and Environmental History of the Big Sioux River Valley EDITED BY JON K. LAUCK, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA
COMING IN 2022! This collection of essays by over 20 authors documents the importance of the Big Sioux River to the growth and development of the region and assesses threats to its vital role as a water source for eastern South Dakota.
The Big Sioux River region. The river and its largest tributary, the Rock River, are shown on the map, along with the watershed (the area inside of the gray boundary), and counties that are used in some of the chapter’s statistical analysis of population.
The channelized Big Sioux at 450th Ave & 146th St., about seven miles southwest of Summit, SD and two miles directly east of Bitter Lake.
ISBN: 978-0-931170-96-6 300 pages, illustrated, index PRICE: $15.00
Back by popular demand! THE QUARTZITE BORDER: SURVEYING AND MARKING THE NORTH DAKOTASOUTH DAKOTA BOUNDARY, 1891-1892
BY GORDON L. ISEMINGER
In 1891, surveyor Charles H. Bates embarked on a special mission. Selected and financed by the U.S. Government, Bates and his crew faced the daunting task of surveying and marking the frontier boundary between the two recently formed Dakotas with seven-foot, 800-pound stone monuments placed every half-mile along the 360-mile border. No other state boundary is so marked! ISBN-13: 978-0-931170-40-9 139 pages Price: $18.00
CONSERVATION ON THE NORTHERN PLAINS NEW PERSPECTIVES EDITED BY ANTHONY J. AMATO, SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY, FOREWORD BY DENNIS ANDERSON, OUTDOORS EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE
AUTHORS: Anthony J. Amato William Hoffman Peter Carrels Linda M. Hasselstrom Lisa Payne Ossian Barry L. Stiefel Miles D. Lewis Andrea Glessner Stephen L. Eliason Joseph A. Amato
ISBN: 978-0-931170-95-9 215 Pages Price: $12.00
Conservation on the Northern Plains: New Perspectives challenges widespread assumptions about people and nature, reframing understandings of both in the process. In eleven essays, ten authors trek across the Plains to find the people, places, and stories that define conservation. In addressing conservation’s reach, the authors reflect on the ordinary, the extraordinary, and the spaces in between, covering species ranging from horses to honeybees and from pheasants to wolves. Each essay is a call to revisit conservation and re-engage in discussions of use and the environment. This collection tackles conservation issues in eight states and Canada, giving special attention to Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. “. . . the essayists in this volume will help readers understand the vitality and potential of one of North America’s most distinctive and productive landscapes.” — Greg Breining, author of Wild Shore and Paddle North
The Center for Western Studies is the publisher of books of enduring worth about the history, literature, art, public affairs, and diverse cultures of the Northern Plains. All CWS publications are available in the Center's gift shop, which also features books by regional authors and original Native American jewelry.
LITTLE BUSINESS ON THE PRAIRIE Entrepreneurship, Prosperity, and Challenge in South Dakota BY ROBERT E. WRIGHT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert E. Wright is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University where he has taught courses in business, economics, government, and history since 2009. He is the co-author or co-editor of over 20 books, including Corporation Nation (2014), Guide to U.S. Economic Policy (2014), Genealogy of American Finance (2015), and The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy (2017). Dr. Wright has taught at Temple University, the University of Virginia, and New York University's Stern School of Business.
ISBN: 978-0-931170-68-3 340 pages, photos Price: $12.00
“Wright has written a timely and well-researched book, in which he showcases how entrepreneurship has created economic growth and development in the highly resourceful, economically vibrant, and strikingly beautiful Mount Rushmore State.” — Joseph M. Santos, South Dakota State University, EH.Net (Economic History Association). Used by permission.
In his new study of entrepreneurship in South Dakota, Little Business on the Prairie, economic historian Robert Wright reviews the state’s economic history through the lenses of its public policies, politics, and institutions of governance. The book demonstrates that an economy that suffers from palpable disadvantages, like long distance from major markets and low population density, will still thrive if it is governed efficiently. In other words, crucial public goods like education, infrastructure, and justice should be provided at minimal cost, and entrepreneurs should not be burdened with excessive regulatory and tax expense. Economic performance suffers when governance is poor and public goods are provided at an unnecessarily high cost. This Wright shows by comparing South Dakota to other states and by examining the economies of the state's Indian reservations. Public goods provision on reservations is spotty and generally very poor and, not surprising, reservation economies lag far behind that of the state even though individual Native Americans have shown considerable entrepreneurial skill. Little Business on the Prairie concludes with Wright’s prescription for confronting the economic and governance challenges that lie ahead for South Dakota. “. . . an enjoyable and useful book that a variety of readers should ﬁnd a worthwhile addition to their personal book collection or class reading list.” — Ric A. Dias, South Dakota History Used by permission.
FORT SISSETON BY HAROLD H. SCHULER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harold H. Schuler was the author of several books on South Dakota, including two previous fort histories, Fort Pierre Chouteau and Fort Sully: Guns at Sunset. A former assistant to United States Senator Francis Case and a retired Pierre, South Dakota, businessman, he was vice president of the Board of Trustees of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
ISBN: 978-0-931170-62-1 283 pages, photos Price: $10.00
Harold H. Schuler’s Fort Sisseton is the only comprehensive history of the military fort that was established in Dakota Territory in 1864 along the main travel route of the Dakota Sioux. Responding initially to the Dakota War of 1862, the War Department operated Fort Sisseton until its disbandment in 1889. Extensively researched at the National Archives and South Dakota State Archives, Fort Sisseton recounts the military history of the post, including the activities of the Frontier Indian Scout Force and the midnight ride of Samuel J. Brown in 1866 to warn of an impending attack. Originally called Fort Wadsworth, the fort has also served as a ranch, hunting lodge, and gunnery range. Today, restored to its Dakota Territory origins, Fort Sisseton State Park is the site of the annual Fort Sisseton Historical Festival. Besides telling in detail the story of the fort and the life of its officers and men, Schuler’s book brings together a rich horde of more than sixty photographs, maps, and drawings, including such illustrations as a map of Fort Sisseton roads and Indian mounds (1864), examples of Indian agent and military correspondence, and photographs of tribal people, fort officers and men, and interior and exterior views of many of the buildings at the fort.
A NEW SOUTH DAKOTA HISTORY Second Edition EDITED BY HARRY F. THOMPSON
AUTHORS: Essays and chapters by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, Herbert Hoover, John Miller, Edward Hogan, Michael Mullin, Rex Myers, Gary Olson, Lynwood Oyos, Ron Robinson, Betti VanEpps-Taylor, David Wolff, Ruth Alexander, Carol Hoover, Arthur Huseboe, Bob Lee, and Vine Deloria, Jr. Harry F. Thompson is the Executive Director of the Center for Western Studies and author of several revisionist articles about the intersection of history and literature, including a recent article on Willa Cather in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies.
ISBN: 978-0-931170-00-3 648 pages, photos Price: $15.00
“. . . a gift to South Dakota” — South Dakota Magazine “Almost no topic is neglected…an excellent resource made especially accessible by the topical chapters. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries, especially those on the Great Plains, and for researchers at all levels.” — American Library Association’s Choice
Recipient of the 2006 Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History, “the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.” Over 100 photographs, extensive notes, and recommended readings. “. . . simply amazing…the amount and quality of information is indeed impressive…tells the story of South Dakota from a variety of perspectives in a manner that is at once both engaging and compelling…belongs in all South Dakota libraries.” — South Dakota Library Association’s Book Marks
“. . . detailed, readable, and brings the South Dakota story in its many facets completely up to date, a great service to the public and to scholars working in the ﬁeld of Great Plains, agricultural, or Native American history.” — Great Plains Quarterly
NATURAL HISTORY OF THE BLACK HILLS AND BADLANDS BY SVEN G. FROILAND, with a section on the Badlands by Ronald Weedon (includes the S.D. Geological Survey Map of the Black Hills)
“The Black Hills of South Dakota is a forested island in the grassland ocean of the Great Plains. This region is unique from its geology to the distinctive ecosystems within its border. Froiland's book does a superb job of introducing a student of natural history to the Black Hills. . . . Of particular interest is his writings about the Sioux. . . . The biological information section includes the most comprehensive material in the book."
A perennial favorite for visitors to the western areas of South Dakota. Book also features the following: Maps, figures, photos, bibliography, appendixes.
ISBN: 978-0-931170-47-8 225 pages Price: $18.00
BIRDING IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS Edited by Ronald R. Nelson ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Birding in the Northern Plains: The Ornithological Writings of Herbert Krause chronicles the high adventures of one of America's most dedicated bird watchers and environmentalists.
ISBN: 978-0931170-87-4 252 pages Price: $8.00
Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University, Herbert Krause was the author of the novels Wind Without Rain and The Thresher. He was the founder of the South Dakota Ornithologists’ Union and a founding director of the Center for Western Studies.
What Herbert Krause brings to telling the stories of the birds of the Great Plains is his love of the rich variety of wildlife here - especially its sheer profusion - and his novelist's ability to give every individual bird he visits its own character and personality.
IMPRESSIONS OF TRIBAL LIFE With Essays by Herbert T. Hoover and Harry F. Thompson Impressions of Tribal Life compiles photographs, now at CWS, taken by Father Ambrose Mattingly, OSB, who came to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota in August 1888 as a priest with Immaculate Conception Indian Mission at Stephan. The photo book features digital scans of glass plate images that have been enhanced by combining them with Native American artifacts to add color and texture.
A limited-edition book from Kodak 50 pages Price: $20.00
VOICES OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS Exhibition Catalogue
EDITED BY HARRY F. THOMPSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR THE CENTER FOR WESTERN STUDIES
An educational supplement to the Voices of the Northern Plains exhibition, exploring further its emphasis on the historical ethnic diversity of the region and its purpose in pointing to the rich resources found in the archives and other collections at the Center for Western Studies, which are available for study and research. Through Voices of the Northern Plains, a dramatic re-envisioning of the core museum exhibits in the Center for Western Studies, visitors travel across 300 years of life in the Northern Plains (1700-2000) . . . from the Oneota village at Blood Run near the Big Sioux River to the Corps of Discovery’s encounter with the Sioux along the Missouri River . . . from the Dakota and Lakota adaptation of Euro-American technology during Plains Indian dominance to resistance by Red Cloud and Crazy Horse during the Plains Indian Wars . . . from the arrival of early missionaries and the coming of homesteaders to the imaginative re-creation of the frontier era in the novels of Cather, Rölvaag, Krause, and Manfred . . . from the persistence of indigenous cultures to the enduring immigrant values seen in Euro-American folk art and the commitment to education by the Boe family in establishing the Boe Forum on Public Affairs. Visit this exhibit and the art galleries of Center for Western Studies in Sioux Falls!
ISBN: 978-0-931170-88-1 70 pages • richly illustrated in color FREE
THE THRESHER A NOVEL BY HERBERT KRAUSE WITH INTRODUCTION BY PATRICK HICKS ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Herbert Krause was a poet, novelist, essayist, ornithologist, and environmentalist of the Northern Plains. Born in Minnesota, the setting of his three novels—Wind Without Rain (1939), The Thresher (1946), and The Oxcart Trail (1954)—he moved west over the course of his career. Both in his writing and teaching, he extolled “the vastness and the richness of the land, the leveling of democracy, the freedom of action and the independence of the spirit.”
For Johnny Black, the young man we meet in Herbert Krause’s classic Minnesota farm novel The Thresher, his dream of becoming a member of a steam-powered threshing crew has come true. As fireman, he builds the fire that generates the steam and blows the whistle to wake up the rest of the crew. But, as writer Patrick Hicks explains in his introduction, commissioned especially for this edition, Johnny’s ambitions far exceed mastering this new technology, and what he is willing to sacrifice to achieve them is the driving force of the novel.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE
HERBERT KRAUSE PRAIRIE TRILOGY: Wind Without Rain ISBN: 0-88498-045-6 • 364 pages Price: $10.00 The Oxcart Trail ISBN: 0-88498-047-2 • 507 pages Price: $10.00
ISBN: 978-0-931170-89-8 510 pages Price: $10.00
COME AND VISIT! MUSEUM & ART GALLERIES • Historical exhibits Voices of the Northern Plains depict 300 years of life in the Northern Plains. • Rotating art exhibitions in the 10,000-square-foot Madsen/ Nelson/Elmen/Simmons Galleries. • Selections from the 1,000-piece Fine Art and Ethnographic collections on display. LIBRARY & ARCHIVES • Herbert Krause Library of 40,000 books and bound periodicals about the West. • Northern Great Plains cultures, South Dakota, and Sioux Falls related documents. SIGNATURE EVENTS • Boe Forum on Public Affairs brings national and international speakers. • Artists of the Plains Art Show & Sale features 25 top Great Plains artists. • Dakota Conference focuses on contemporary Northern Plains issues in their historical context.
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