SDOHC's Mission

The SDOHC is devoted to documenting the history of the Northern Plains region and the care of previously collected interviews.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is the South Dakota Oral History Center?

The SDOHC Preserves the Voices of the Northern Plains

The South Dakota Oral History Center collects and preserves voices of the people of the Northern Plains. The acquisition and preservation methods are a major part of the Native Studies program, allowing students to have an active role in the Oral tradition. Included in the Oral History Collection are 5500 interviews which preserve indigenous memories and experiences from the 1890s to the present.  This makes the collection an especially vital and  valuable record of the historical, social, and cultural legacy of the state. To preserve this valuable collection and to make it more readily available to researchers and historians, a project is underway to digitize and catalogue the entire collection.  The Oral History Center's Digitization Project is supported with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's FIPSE program.  Once completed, the project will provide national prominence for the South Dakota Oral History Center and for the state of South Dakota.

"State of the Art" Digitizing Equipment

The SDOHC's Collections

The South Dakota Oral History Center currently houses six unique collections. These collections contain nearly 6000 recordings, and are still growing.
  • The American Indian Research Project was originally funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation in 1967, and contains approximately 2400 recordings. The recordings in this collection pertain solely to Native Americans of the Northern Plains.
  • The South Dakota Oral History Project aimed to collect recordings from every county in South Dakota. Currently containing about 3200 recordings, this large collection covers a broad range of topics.
  • The John S. Painter Collection was an independently collected group of recordings, and was generously donated to the South Dakota Oral History Center. It contains nearly 300 recordings collected between the late 1950s and early 1980s.
  • The Stanislaus Maudlin Collection is unique in that it contains the Oral Diary of Father Stanislaus Maudlin, as well as many other recordings he made. The collection centers on Blue Cloud Abbey, a Catholic mission near Martin, South Dakota.
  • The James Emery Collection is another independently collected group of recordings. Dating back to the early 1950s, this collection of nearly 300 recordings contains a large amount of Native American music, in addition to other material.
  • The Lindley Collection is our most recent addition. Thanks to the generous funds provided by Carina Lindley, we are acquiring new recordings in the modern audio-visual format. The goal of the collection is to record notable speakers, guest lectures, events, and other related material.

- Jennifer McIntyre, SDOHC Digitizer/Curator

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