Ruth Ann Alexander Papers
Ruth Ann Alexander
2.0 linear feet (2 records center boxes) photographs
South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.
This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.
Name of item . Ruth Ann Alexander Papers. UA 53.22. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M .Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.
Ruth Ann Alexander was professor and head of the English Department. This collection is composed of files related to her writing and speeches, records related to her term on the Brookings School Board, Chautauqua, and with her term as head of the English Department. Also included is material related to various other activities in which Alexander was involved.
Ruth Ann Alexander February, 13 1924 – February 1, 2010
Born in Lansing, MI on February 13, 1924 to Harry and Anne (Green) Musselman, Ms. Alexander graduated from East Lansing High School and Michigan State University with a BA in English in 1945. She completed her masters in American studies at the University of Minnesota and her PhD in American intellectual history at Michigan State. She married William Alexander in 1955 and had three children.
Ms. Alexander taught English at South Dakota State University for 34 years, becoming full professor and the first woman to head the English Department (1981-1989). She developed the university's first courses focusing on women writers and African American and Native American literature. She chaired the committee that created the Women's Studies major. Ms. Alexander received numerous grants and fellowships, including a Bunting Fellowship at Harvard in 1987. She received SDSU's Outstanding Educator Award" in 1971, 1972, and 1974. Upon retirement in 1989, she was named Professor Emeritus and continued to research South Dakota women writers and women in the Episcopal Church. From 1994 to 2002 she wrote a column about women in the Episcopal Church called All Sorts and Conditions of Women" for South Dakota Church News. In 2003, she published the collected columns in Patches in a History Quilt: Episcopal Women in the Diocese of South Dakota, 1868-2000. She wrote numerous scholarly articles on such South Dakota writers as Elaine Goodale Eastman and Kate Boyles Bingham. She was a touring member of the Great Plains Chautauqua series, portraying Elizabeth Cady Stanton from 1989-91 and acting as series moderator from 1998-2001.
A life-long advocate of equal opportunities for women and girls, Ms. Alexander was the first woman on the Brookings School Board (1970-1975) and worked for equal funding for activities for girls and boys and higher academic standards. In 1972 Governor Kneip appointed her to the first statewide Commission on the Status of Women where she served until 1979. She also served on the Board of Directors for the South Dakota Historical Association from 1988-2000; the Episcopal Church History Association from 1992-1997 and for the Episcopal Women's Church History Project from 1991-1997. She helped found the Brookings Food Pantry and was chair of the Emergency Services Commission from 1983-1999.
Ruth Ann Alexander died of lymphoma on February 1 in Brookings, South Dakota. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Alexander in 1979; her sister, Jane (Musselman) Addams of Houston, Texas in 2008; and her late life sweetheart, Wes Kelley of Brookings in October 2009. She is survived by her three children: Jane Alexander (Mark Johnson) of New Orleans; Andrew Alexander ( Linda Kruckenberg) of Wayne, NE; and Sarah Alexander of Sioux Falls; and by her siblings: George Musselman of Grand Haven, MI; Sarah (Musselman) Phelps of Madison, WI; and Mary (Musselman) Fischer of Hastings, MN
This collection is arranged into seven series:
Series 1. Personal material
Series 2. Brookings School Board activities
Series 3. Chautauqua activities
Series 4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching
Series 5. Other activities
Series 6. Writings and speeches
Series 7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women
This collection is composed of material related to the activities of Dr. Alexander. The bulk of the material is composed of files related to her writing and speeches. Folders consist of correspondence, research, agreements with publishers, grant material, and manuscripts. Researchers will also find records pertaining to her term on the Brookings School Board including material related to her campaign, papers related to her involvement in Chautauqua, and records dealing with her term as head of the English Department at South Dakota State University, with a small amount of material related to courses she taught. Also included is material related to various other activities conducted by Alexander, such as her involvement with the Episcopal Church, and research dealing with women, women's rights, pioneer women, feminism, and sexism. Also included are files related to Alexander’s term serving on the South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women.
Alexander, Ruth Ann, 1924-2010
Brookings (S.D.). School Board
Cady Stanton, Elizabeth
Le Seuer, Meridel
South Dakota -- History
South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women
South Dakota State University -- Department of English
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
|1. Personal material||1||1||Clippings about Alexander||1954-1996, 2001|
|1. Personal material||1||2||Honors||1967-1993|
|2. Brookings School Board activities||1||3||Brookings School Board : Correspondence||1970-1975, 1992-1993|
|2. Brookings School Board activities||1||4||Brookings School Board : Publicity on Alexanders campaign||1968-1970|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||5||Chautauqua||1998-2001|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||6||Chautauqua application||1998|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||9||Chautauqua in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)||1997 July 28-304|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||7||Chautauqua lecture to Spearfish, SD Middle School (includes letters from school children)||1994-1995|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||8||Chautauqua memorabilia||1986-2001|
|3. Chatauqua activities||1||10||Elizabeth Cady Stanton forum||1990|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||11||College of Arts and Science, SDSU: Dean Search Committee||1985|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||12||ENGL 794: Seminar in American Literature (course material)||1987|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||14||English Department, SDSU : correspondence||1984-1989|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||13||English Department, SDSU application for chairman||1975-1981|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||15||Humanities 253: Black and Red in American Society (course material)||1970, 1976|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||16||Meridel Le Seuer talk at SDSU||1978|
|4. English Department Head at SDSU and teaching||1||17||Nameplate||undated|
|5. Other activities||1||18||Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA application||1986-1990|
|5. Other activities||1||19||Feminine history research||undated|
|5. Other activities||1||20||Laura Ingalls Wilder monologue||1986, 1995|
|5. Other activities||1||21||Laura Ingalls Wilder/William Anderson project||1983-1985|
|5. Other activities||1||22||Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College Fellowship||1987-1993|
|5. Other activities||1||23||Plainswoman activities (journal)||1984-1989|
|5. Other activities||1||24||Proving Up! The South Dakota Experience exhibit (member of Humanist Planning Committee at the Cultural Heritage Museum in Pierre, SD)||1990-1992|
|5. Other activities||1||25||Snapshots of Women in South Dakota Church History at Episcopal Convention with focus on Emily West||2001 September 28-30|
|5. Other activities||1||26||South Dakota History Conference||2003 April 25-26|
|5. Other activities||1||27||South Dakota Humanities Council : Speakers Bureau||1999|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||28||Book reviews||1982-1987|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||29||Book reviews||1990-2006|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||30||Brookings High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony speech||1984|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||32||Encyclopedia of the Great Plains contribution||1999|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||33||Feminism / Sexism in Education (talks and articles)||1974-1975|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||34||Fictionalizing South Dakota History: Kate Boyles Bingham, a South Dakota Humanities Council grant||1991-1992|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||31||Graduation speech||1983|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||35||Historiography papers||undated|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||36||Interview with Muriel Breneman||1985-1997|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||37||Keynote speech at Sioux Falls College Breaking Barriers in celebration of Womens History Month||1991|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||38||Letters to editor||1964-2002|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||39||Parenting in a Changing Society (talk)||1978|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||40||Phi Kappa Phi Lecture (speech)||1982|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||42||Publications and articles||1947-1997|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||43||South Dakota Women Stake a Claim (manuscript)||1990|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||44||South Dakota Women Writers and the Blooming of the Prairie Heroine, 1922-1939 (manuscript, agreement, correspondence)||1984|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||1||South Dakota Women Writers and the Emergence of the Prairie Heroine||1983|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||2||Speeches and papers on South Dakota women and writers||1976-1984|
|6. Writings and speeches||1||41||The Pioneer Heroine as Idea||1985-1986|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||3||Three Missionary Teachers to the Indians, 1856-1894 a South Dakota Humanities Council grant||1996-1997|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||4||Toward Our Third Century (writing)||1976|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||5||Women in Midwestern Literature (writings and revisions)||undated|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||6||Women's issues (talks)||2004|
|6. Writings and speeches||2||7||Women's rights papers||1993-1999|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||8||Athletic dispute : Brookings (SD) School Board on women's activities||1974-1975|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||9||Athletic dispute : Women's activities in Brookings (SD) Public Schools||1971-1974|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||10||Commission records (policy statements, history, minutes, members, task force, budget)||1974-1979|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||11||Did You Know column (Information about opportunities and problems of South Dakota women)||1975-1979|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||12||Equal Rights Amendment 1979 / Displaces Homemakers Bill (Senate Bill 82)||1974-1979|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||13||International Women's Year Conference, Houston, Texas: Perspectives on - beginning, end, or way station?||1977|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||14||National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year||1976-1977|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||15||Room at the Top Conference : Upward Mobility Task Force||1974|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||16||South Dakota International Women's Year Conference||1975-1978|
|7. South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women||2||17||South Dakota Women's Political Caucus||1977|
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may only be used in-house.
Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advanced 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.
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Arranged and Described by
Crystal J. Gamradt, Archivist, 2010 July 7, additions made 2016 April 26.