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Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers

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Collection Summary

Identifier

MA 75

Title

Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers

Creator

Oscar and Alice Simonson

Dates

1941-1979

Extent

0.63 linear feet (1 document case and 1 small document case), photographs, sound recording

Language

English

Repository

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. Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers. MA 75. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Abstract

Oscar E. Simonson (1913-2014) and Alice Margaret Bakken (1918- ) were married on June 11, 1938. They made their home and farmed in the Bristol, South Dakota area for forty years, planting their first crops in the spring of 1939. The collection consists of “Farm Family Record Books” compiled by Alice and Oscar Simonson from June 1, 1941 through December 31, 1979 for their farm in Day County, SD. In these workbooks, issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Home Administration, farmers recorded monthly all money taken in and paid out, as well as farm-furnished food, an annual summary, and a five year inventory. The workbooks provide details of a family farm during the mid-twentieth century. The collection also includes some images of the family and an oral history interview conducted with Alice Simonson in 2016.

Biographical Note

Oscar E. Simonson was born on August 14, 1913, at Bristol, South Dakota to Simon and Annie (Skudal) Simonson. He attended country school in Union Township, Day County and Bristol High School. After his education, he farmed with his family near Bristol. In the 1930’s, Oscar worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Alice Margaret Bakken was born in McGregor, North Dakota on January 4th, 1918, to Elmer and Inga Marie (Sand) Bakken. She grew up in rural northeastern South Dakota’s Day County. On June 11, 1938, Alice married Oscar.

Oscar and Alice Simonson made their home and farmed in Day County for forty years. They planted their first crops in the spring of 1939. Over those forty years, the Simonson’s witnessed many advancements in agriculture and technology of rural America including the switch from horses to tractors, crop hybridization, the introduction of electricity in the home, and indoor plumbing. The Simonson’s rotated crops, planted tree belts, practiced diversified farming, and saved seed from the previous year’s crops to plant the next year. Alice kept the books for the family farm.

In 1957, they purchased from Alice’s father, Elmer Bakken, the 1890 homestead of Lars A. Sand in Union Township, Day County, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice lived on the Sand homestead until they sold the farm in 1978 and moved to Webster, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice also acquired his parent’s Union County farm, which his parents had acquired from his grandfather, Ole Simonson, which had been originally homesteaded by Alma Smoots.

While living in Webster, Oscar worked at the Farmers Elevator in Holmquist, South Dakota for ten years. Alice was on the board of Sun Dial Manor in Bristol, when it was being organized and built; Oscar was a board member in 1980’s. Oscar and Alice thoroughly enjoyed traveling by plane and bus. They traveled to Norway to visit Oscar’s mother’s birthplace.

Oscar Simonson died on March 5, 2014 at Bethesda Home in Webster. Oscar and Alice had two children, Linda born in 1940, and Robert born in 1944.

Arrangement

The bulk of the collection is arranged in chronological order.

Contents Note

The collection consists of completed “Farm Family Record Books” compiled by Alice and Oscar Simonson from June 1, 1941 thru December 31, 1979 for their farm in Day County, South Dakota. In these workbooks, issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Home Administration, farmers recorded monthly all money taken in and paid out, as well as farm-furnished food, an annual summary, and a five year inventory. Alice made detailed entries in the farm ledgers. She accounted for all incomes and expenses for their farm; everything was noted down to every nail purchased.

The collection also includes information about the Simonson family, images of the family and farm, and an oral history interview conducted with Alice Simonson in 2016.

Related Resources

Atlas: Day County, South Dakota, 1968.
South Dakota Collection: Oversize G1448.D3 A74 1968

Atlas of Day County, South Dakota: containing plats of each township, a county road map, a rural directory of farmers, and other features, 1952.
South Dakota Collection: Oversize G1448.D3 A74 1952

Bakken family history, Day County, South Dakota by Douglas A. Bakken and Jacquelyn Bakken, 2013.
South Dakota Collection CS71 .B165 2013

Day County history, 1981.
South Dakota Collection: F657.D3 D39

Key Words

Agriculture -- South Dakota

Day County (S.D.)

Family farms -- South Dakota

Farm life -- South Dakota

Farm record keeping

Farm record book

Simonson, Alice Margaret Bakken

Simonson, Oscar E.

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers Container List. MA 75

BoxFolderDescriptionDate(s)
213Biographical information about Alice and Oscar Simonson2014-2016
11Farm Family Record Book1941
12Farm Family Record Book1942
13Farm Family Record Book1943
14Farm Family Record Book1944
15Farm Family Record Book1945
16Farm Family Record Book1946
17Farm Family Record Book1947
18Farm Family Record Book1948
19Farm Family Record Book1949
110Farm Family Record Book1950
111Farm Family Record Book1951
112Farm Family Record Book1952
113Farm Family Record Book1953
114Farm Family Record Book1954
115Farm Family Record Book1955
116Farm Family Record Book1956
117Farm Family Record Book1957
118Farm Family Record Book1958
119Farm Family Record Book1959
120Farm Family Record Book1960
121Farm Family Record Book1961
122Farm Family Record Book1962
123Farm Family Record Book1963
124Farm Family Record Book1964
125Farm Family Record Book1965
126Farm Family Record Book1966
127Farm Family Record Book1967
21Farm Family Record Book1968
22Farm Family Record Book1969
23Farm Family Record Book1970
24Farm Family Record Book1971
25Farm Family Record Book1972
26Farm Family Record Book1973
27Farm Family Record Book1974
28Farm Family Record Book1975
29Farm Family Record Book1976
210Farm Family Record Book1977
211Farm Family Record Book1978
212Farm Family Record Book1979
214Images of Simonson family and farmundated
216Letter from Alice Simonson to her children about the 1930s1995
215Oral history interview (audio recording)2016

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

Ann Eichinger