South Dakota State Historical Society

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44°22′22.6″N 100°20′19.4″W / 44.372944°N 100.338722°W / 44.372944; -100.338722

The South Dakota State Historical Society is South Dakota's official state historical society and operates statewide but is headquartered in Pierre, South Dakota at 900 Governors Drive. It is a part of the South Dakota Department of Education.[1]


The South Dakota State Historical Society, after an initial meeting in April, was founded on May 7, 1862 as the Old Settlers Association of Dakota Territory.[2] It was renamed the Historical Society of Dakota in 1863 and the State Historical Society of South Dakota in 1890, months after the state was admitted to the union. In 1901, the South Dakota Legislature took the Society into state government when it established the organization as the official state historical society. With each change of name, the property of the old Society was formally transferred to its successor.

Over the years the Society was quartered in various places from the territorial post office in Yankton, the old territorial capitol, Pierre University, and the current State Capitol. In 1932, the Society opened the new Soldier's and Sailor's Memorial Building. In 1989, the Culture Heritage Center was opened as a home for all archives, a museum, and their administrative offices.[1]

In 1975, the State Archives were incorporated into the Society, which continues to operate them and also functions as a public library.

In 2014, the South Dakota State Historical Society published an annotated version of Wilder's autobiography, titled Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pamela Smith Hill (Editor).[3][4]



  • Benjamin F. Jones, Ph.D. (2020-
  • Jay D. Vogt (2003-2020)
  • Mary Beaty Edelen (1995-2003)
  • Junius R. "J.R." Fishburne, Ph.D. (1987-1994)
  • Fred Lillibridge, Ph.D. (1985-1987)
  • Dayton Wayne Canaday, Sr. (1968-1984)
  • Will Grow Robinson, LL.B. (1948-1968)
  • Lawrence Keith Fox (1926-1946)
  • Doane Robinson (1901-1925)


  1. ^ a b "South Dakota State Historical Society".
  2. ^ "South Dakota State Archives". South Dakota State Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  3. ^ Pioneer Girl is Out!.
  4. ^ Higgins, Jim (2014-12-05). "Review - Laura Ingalls Wilder's annotated autobiography, 'Pioneer Girl,' shows writer's world, growth". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-12-23.

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