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A man of many hats: Rep. Frank Denholm papers now at Briggs

Congressman Frank Denholm
A public reception welcoming the addition of the Frank E. Denholm Papers to the SDSU Archives and Special Collections will be held. Nov. 3 at 7 pm on the third floor of Briggs Library.

He was an FBI agent and a farmer, a congressman and a sheriff, a lawyer, a trucking company owner and an auctioneer. Frank Denholm was a South Dakotan who walked down a variety of career paths.

Some of the papers from the course of his professional life – particularly during his time as a congressman – have now been added to the Archives and Special Collections at Briggs Library.

He was an FBI agent and a farmer, a congressman and a sheriff, a lawyer, a trucking company owner and an auctioneer. Frank Denholm was a South Dakotan who walked down a variety of career paths.

Some of the papers from the course of his professional life – particularly during his time as a congressman – have now been added to the Archives and Special Collections at Briggs Library.

Denholm, a 1956 graduate of South Dakota State University, spent most of his life practicing law in Brookings and Volga. He served as sheriff of Day County for two years beginning in 1950, and in 1956 he was appointed as a Special Agent of the FBI by Director J. Edgar Hoover, where he remained until 1961. The Day County native served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for South Dakota’s 1st Congressional District from 1971 – 1975. Denholm passed away April 7, 2016 in Brookings at age 92.

The Frank Denholm estate donated 25 linear feet of materials, including items such as papers, photographs, slides, audio recordings and campaign artifacts. Most of the collection is associated with his congressional work. Once the collection is organized, an inventory will be created and published online so that researchers worldwide will be able to find Denholm’s papers. Select materials will be digitized and added to the Digital Library of South Dakota.

This is the third congressional collection held by the Archives and Special Collections, and involves a time period not covered by the collections from Rep. Ben Reifel and Sen. Tom Daschle.

“This collection offers a new perspective that we didn’t have on the political climate of South Dakota and the country,” Archivist Michele Christian said. “He was in there during the [President Richard] Nixon impeachment, and was a champion for the Rural Electrification Act of 1973, which benefited countless South Dakotans.”

The public is invited to attend a reception for the Frank E. Denholm Papers on Nov. 3 at 7 pm in the Archives reading room on the upper level of Briggs Library. Parking is available on the north side of the library and refreshments will be available.