Books

Ankle High and Knee Deep

Women Reflect on Western Rural Life

Life on the Farm & Ranch

South Dakota Stories

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John E. Miller, editor

Peggy Sanders, contributor

South Dakota Humanities Council 2009

ISBN 978-0615324296

 

No single factor has been more important in influencing the history of the area that we know today as South Dakota, as agriculture. These stories may appear at first glance to be of decline and failure, but looked at from a different vantage point becomes one of progress and triumph. The stories focus on the everyday lives of people living on ranches and farms and the memories of their variegated experiences from childhood through adulthood. The continual advances of technology, larger equipment, and more efficient farming practices have transformed the rural countryside over the past decades. Within these pages, readers will learn the qualities and characteristics that make for the great way of life in South Dakota agriculture. In the 1930s one American farmer produced enough to feed a total of four people, his own family. By the 1970s, it was increased from four to 73. Currently, in 2021, a US farmer grows enough to feed 166 people worldwide. This compilation of stories gives the background on how those changes affected the very people who do the work and those who support them in their daily lives.

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Gail L. Jenner, editor

Peggy Sanders, contributor

Globe Pequot/TwoDot October 2014

ISBN 978-0-7627-9211-5

 

Keeping the farm going when a husband is activated for war, late nights birthing calves in pastures, pulling out a mud-stuck tractor driven by a husband, harvesting amber waves of grain, and Sunday dinners at the ranch house are examples of essays contained herein. The ranch and farm women and their lessons learned while standing in or stepping out of “mud, manure, and other offal” in their day-to-day lives on the land. Their voices offer unique perspectives on relationships, loss, love, parenting and other universal issues. The contemporary accounts of women struggling to keep a lifestyle intact—as told through their recollections of childhoods spent in open spaces and tales of overcoming obstacles—are inspirational reading for city dwellers and country folks alike.

Fall River County and Hot Springs

Views From, the Past: 1881-1955

Arcadia Publishing 2002

ISBN 9780738519999

 

The unsung heroes of Fall River County, South Dakota, made the area what it is. They were the men at the lumberyard, the pioneers, homesteaders, cowboys, farmers, homemakers, teachers, quarry workers, service station mechanics, blacksmiths, firemen and the builders of Angostura Dam. The book showcases these everyday people. Each person played a role in the success of the county, from the children whose chores helped to ensure a family’s survival to the visionaries who built irrigation ditches. Sandstone quarries and building sod houses and mansions, cattle and cowboys, work and play, and other images of daily lives are featured. Using over 200 vintage images and accompanying captions, the author brings to life the rich history of the area and the incredible residents who made it all possible.

The Civilian Conservation Corps

In and Around the Black Hills

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Arcadia Publishing 2004

ISBN 9780738532646

The Civilian Conservation Corps was established on March 31, 1933, by President Franklin Roosevelt as part of his efforts to pull the country out of the Great Depression. The program lasted until July 2, 1942, successfully creating work for a half-million unemployed young men across the nation. They were housed, fed, clothed, and taught trade skills while working in forests, parks and range lands. Paid one dollar a day, each man was required to send home $25 a month; the program provided work for young men as well as support to thousands of families. South Dakota was home to more than 50 camps over the nine-year time span with projects in area ranging from constructing bridges and buildings in a state park, thinning trees in national forests to mining rock, crushing it into gravel, and graveling roads. Although this volume is set in South Dakota, the more than 200 vintage photos are representative of camps and men from all over the nation.

Fall River County and Hot Springs

125 Years

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Acadia Publishing 2008

ISBN 9780738551876

 

Fall River County (SD) has a history built around water. Early industries, such as the Refinite Mineral Processing Plant in Ardmore, were constructed to enhance the water; other business—bathhouses in Hot Springs and Edgemont, the Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veterans Home (originally named the South Dakota State Soldiers Home), and the VA Black Hills Medical Center, known by longtime residents as the Battle Mountain Sanitarium in Hot Springs—were established because naturally warm water and the moderate climate enhanced their missions. Back in the day, small towns had flour mills, creameries, and ice companies, as the towns flourished with each industrial boom. Out in the county, on the government-run experimental farm, crops were tested and people attended agriculture class and meetings. Oil wells were drilled, sandstone was quarried, and farmers and ranchers worked the land and the cattle. Through the years, county residents have been warm and welcoming, much like the water.

 

With over 200 historical images gathered mostly from private collections, Peggy’s book documents the dramatic changes in county industries and the lives of every day people.

Wind Cave National Park

The First 100 Years

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Arcadia Publishing 2003

ISBN 9780738523064

 

Wind Cave is the third longest cave in the US. Complete with more than 100 miles of surveyed cavern passageways below ground and 28,295 acres of diverse ecology above, Wind Cave National Park is an American treasure with an impressive history. The first recorded discovery of the cave occurred in 1881 when brothers Jesse and Tom Bingham followed the sounds of the whistling wind and came upon the cave. In 1903, the cave and surrounding area became Wind Cave National Park, the fifth national park in the nation and the first created with a cave as its focal point. Approximately 95 percent of the world's discovered calcite formations, called boxwork, are found in Wind Cave. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp near the park headquarters. The CCC built roads and buildings, landscaped and made improvements to better accommodate tours inside the cave. The history is encapsulated in over 200 vintage images with captions.

Custer County

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Arcadia Publishing 2005

ISBN 9780738534381

 

Custer County, South Dakota, is trees and prairies, Black Hills and buffalo, small towns and friendly people, mining and logging, farming and ranching, history, and memories. It is the home of Crazy Horse Monument, Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park, where the Civilian Conservation Corps left many legacies. The individuals who did the everyday work are the ones who truly made a difference. These are the people who are celebrated within thes pages, which contain over 220 vintage photographs and captions, mostly from private collections. The only thing missing is the aroma of sawmills in operation that used to permeate Custer City. As the Custer Chamber of Commerce says, “You should see the Hills from here.”

Woven on the Wind

Women Write About Friendship in the Sagebrush West

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Linda Hasselstrom, Gaydell Collier, & Nancy Curtis, editors

Peggy Sanders, contributor

Houghton Mifflin 2001

ISBN 978-0395977088, hardcover; ISBN-13, paperback Mariner Books (2002), 978-0618219209

 

The American West conjures images of wide-open spaces, harsh but beautiful landscapes embroidered with winding rivers and streams, long dusty roads to nowhere, sagging barbed-wire fences that separate neighbors in the loosest sense. Here the only hustle-bustle is the wind gathering strength across the plains and the rush to get a day’s work done before darkness swallows the countryside whole. In this region where time and space are writ large and solitude is a fact of life, how exactly do friendships develop, let alone thrive? What does that human connection provide and mean? And what can these friendships teach us about these women, about ourselves? A communion of voices, Woven on the Wind tells of the beauties, ironies, rigors, heartbreak, and humor of Western life, and how it is enriched by friendships past and present.