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Elmer and Cecile Sexauer Papers


Elmer and Cecile Sexauer Papers

Finding Aid

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Collection Summary


MA 6


Elmer and Cecile Sexauer papers


Elmer H. Sexauer, 1888-1986; Cecile I. (Welch) Sexauer, 1888-1973




2.64 linear feet (4 boxes) photographs




South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . Elmer and Cecile Sexauer papers, MA 6. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Elmer Sexauer was chairmen of the board for The Sexauer Company, a seed business based in Brookings, SD. He and his wife, Cecile, enjoyed travel and provided funds for Sexauer Field, a track on the campus of South Dakota State University. Composed of postcards and other items related to trips taken by Elmer and Cecile Sexauer. Also includes diaries, scrapbooks and family materials collected primarily by Cecile (Welch) Sexauer.

Biographical Note

Elmer Harrison Sexauer

Elmer Harrison Sexauer was born July 13, 1888, at Winona, Minnesota, the son of George P. and Elisa (Ulrich) Sexauer. He moved with his family to Volga, South Dakota in 1891 and moved to Brookings several years later. He attended public schools in Brookings and South Dakota State College. In 1911, he joined his father in directing the operations of The Sexauer Company. He served in the US Army during World War I.

Elmer served as president of the SD Seed Dealers Association, president of the Western Seedsmen Association, president of the American Seed Trade Association and president of the National Grain and Feed Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the First Bank Systems, the Board of Directors of Northwestern Bell Telephone and the Board of Trustees for the SD Memorial Art Center. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Business from the University of South Dakota. He was a member of Gamma Sigma Phi SDSU Chapter, Brookings Masonic Lodge No. 24, Brookings Commandery of Knight Templar, El Riad Shrine and Jesters.

At the time of his retirement in 1977, Elmer held the position of chairman of the board of The Sexauer Company, which has its headquarters in Brookings, SD, with division offices in Des Moines, Iowa, West Fargo, ND, and Norfolk, Nebraska.

Elmer Harrison Sexauer died on November 15, 1986.

Cecile Irene Welch Sexauer

Cecile Irene Welch Sexauer was born January 18, 1888 in Huron, South Dakota to Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Welch. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Arlington, SD, where they stayed until coming to Brookings, SD in 1903.

A graduate of Brookings High School and South Dakota State College, Cecile also attended Boston Conservatory of Music for one year and taught piano at South Dakota State College.

A member of the Christian Church at Arlington, SD, Mrs. Cecile became a member of First Baptist Church in Brookings, SD where she played piano and organ for about 25 years.

Cecile was active in local, state and national music organizations, serving as president of the National Music Organization. She was also a member of BA chapter of PEO and Sorosis Club.

Cecile Irene Welch Sexauer died on October 7, 1973 at Brookings Hospital. She had been hospitalized 4 weeks.

Elmer Sexauer and Cecile Welch were married on June 28, 1916, at Brookings, SD. They had two children, Dorothy, who died in 1966, and Robert. After Cecile's death in 1973, Elmer married Ada Mitchell Dybdahl on December 10, 1974, at Brookings, SD. Ada died in 1980.


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series 1. General

Series 2. Postcards

Series 3. Travels

Material is arranged in alphabetical order within each series.

Contents Note

This collection is composed of postcards and other items related to trips taken by Elmer and Cecile Sexauer. Also includes diaries, scrapbooks and family materials collected primarily by Cecile (Welch) Sexauer.

The general material consists mainly of essays written by Cecile Welch Sexauer during her college career. Also included is a Christmas card list of the Sexauer's for 1971, scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, a book of Agricultural Department Reports presented to Elmer Sexauer in 1947, and certificates presented to the Sexauer's on the anniversary of their 50th college reunion. Some examples of their personal stationery, grade school papers from Elmer's youth, and a language paper of Laura Sexauer, Elmer's sister are also included.

A scrapbook of Elizabeth Anne Baker, age 9 weeks, chronicles her first visit to her grandparents’ home during Easter 1947. It was prepared by Jeannette Gagnon-Abbey for the Sexauer's.

The scrapbook was presented to Elmer Sexauer by the Grain and Feed Dealers National Association as a permanent reminder of the Forty-fourth Annual Convention held at Louisville, Kentucky October 13-15, 1940. Elmer was president of the Association at that time.

The postcards are composed of postcards from the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean that the Sexauer’s collected on their travels. There are over 400 postcards in this collection.

The Travels series consists of travel diaries hand-written by Cecile Sexauer. These diaries contain information about where the Sexauer's traveled and the customs, history and items of interest of these places. Some of the places the Sexauer's traveled to Europe, Canada, and Japan. Also included is a souvenir book of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

Key Words

Baker, Elizabeth Ann

Grain and Feed Dealers National Association

Sexauer family -- Archives

Sexauer, Cecile I. (Irene) Welch, 1888-1973

Sexauer, Elmer H. (Harrison), 1888-1986

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

Elmer and Cecile Sexauer Papers Container List. MA 6

Series Box Folder Description Date(s)
1. General 1 1 Agricultural Department reports 1940-1945
1. General 1 2 Christmas card list 1971
1. General 1 3 Elmer Sexauer Grade School papers 1898-1899
1. General 1 4 Essays by Cecile Welch Sexauer 1907
1. General 1 5 Essays by Cecile Welch Sexauer 1909
1. General 1 6 Essay on Ludwig Von Beethoven undated
1. General 1 7 Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1910 1960
1. General 1 8 Language paper of Laura Sexauer 1901
1. General 1 9 Miscellaneous undated
1. General 1 10 Scrapbook undated
1. General 1 Items Photographs 1975, undated
1. General 2 1 Scrapbook: Elizabeth Anne Baker 1947
1. General 2 2 Stationery samples undated
1. General 4 Item Scrapbook: 44th Annual Convention of the Grain and Feed Dealers National Association 1940
2. Postcards 3 1 Alabama undated
2. Postcards 3 2 Arizona undated
2. Postcards 3 3 California undated
2. Postcards 3 4 Canada undated
2. Postcards 3 5 Florida undated
2. Postcards 3 6 Georgia undated
2. Postcards 3 7 Haiti undated
2. Postcards 3 8 Hawaii undated
2. Postcards 3 9 Indiana undated
2. Postcards 3 10 Jamaica undated
2. Postcards 3 11 Kentucky undated
2. Postcards 3 12 Louisiana undated
2. Postcards 3 13 Mexico undated
2. Postcards 3 14 Minnesota undated
2. Postcards 3 15 Mississippi undated
2. Postcards 3 16 Missouri undated
2. Postcards 3 17 Oklahoma undated
2. Postcards 3 18 Pennsylvania undated
2. Postcards 3 19 South Dakota undated
2. Postcards 3 20 St. Thomas / Virgin Islands undated
2. Postcards 3 21 Tennessee undated
2. Postcards 3 22 Texas undated
2. Postcards 3 23 Utah undated
2. Postcards 3 24 Washington undated
2. Postcards 3 25 West Virginia undated
2. Postcards 3 26 Miscellaneous undated
3. Travels 2 3 Canada, Europe, United States 1910
3. Travels 2 4 Europe 1960
3. Travels 2 5 Europe, United States undated
3. Travels 2 6 Japan 1961
3. Travels 2 7 Ocean Cruise: Queen Elizabeth undated
3. Travels 2 8 West Indies 1956

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Crystal J. Gamradt, 1998 April 8.