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Rare Books and Artifacts

Rare Books

Some books and serials are housed in SDSU Archives. For the most part, these are items that, because of content, format, age, condition, or uniqueness are deemed too precious for the regular library collection. Books signed by significant figures may be housed in the Archives. Books determined to have significant monetary value are kept in the Archives. Some books that need special handling are also housed in the Archives. Books in the South Dakota Collection are collected under the guidelines of the Hilton M. Briggs Library South Dakota Collection collecting policy. Books may be identified by searching the regular library catalog.

Some of the highlights of the book collection include the rare books donated by Vera Way Marghab, Windsor Straw and Holger Bach, as well as private press materials donated by Windsor Straw. Other materials include maps and atlases, of both South Dakota and elsewhere, and many printed items from the 18th and 19th centuries.


Some artifacts and three-dimensional materials find their way into the collection, usually as part of a larger donation. SDSU Archives does not seek these materials out, but generally will retain those that are donated, particularly if they have significant value as a part of a collection or otherwise meet collection policy guidelines for other materials. Three-dimensional objects that do not meet these criteria will be handled in the same way as other materials deemed not suitable for the collection.

Cuneiform Tablet Collection

This collection consists of five Cuneiform Tablets, one Egyptian Tablet, and research and manuscript material created by Crystal J. Gamradt. Finding Aid or Digital Collection.

Dakota Tawaxitku Kin, or The Dakota Friend

This rare publication ran from 1850 through1852 and was written in both Santee Dakota and English, making it one of the first Dakota language publications. The Dakota Mission organization printed the newspaper in St. Paul, MN. Gideon Pond, the newspaper’s editor, came to Minnesota with his brother Samuel to work as missionaries. The brothers helped to produce a written Dakota language alphabet and assembled the first Dakota-English dictionary. According to the publication’s mission statement, the newspaper aimed to share stories of interest to encourage reading among the Dakota people. It included local news, sports, language lessons, and treaty transcripts. After only 20 issues, the newspaper ended with the August 1852 Vol.2, No. 8. The Hilton M. Briggs Library does not have Vol. 1, No. 3-4.

Evelyn T. Hubbard Painting

Painting by Evelyn T, Hubbard of Old Central and Old North buildings at South Dakota Date College.

Gray's Watercolors Collection

Four original watercolor prints created by Gray's Watercolor Studios depicting scenes from the South Dakota State University campus.

Illuminated Pages

The collection includes four illuminated manuscript leaves and one incunabula leaf from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The pages consist of religious texts.

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