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Introduction to Archival Research

Archives and Special Collections Policies

Review Archives and Special Collection's policies before you visit.

Most important to know:

  • No archival materials (including books) circulate.
  • No food or drink are allowed
  • All personal belongings will be stored while you are using materials.
  • Pencils only, you may also use laptops, tablets, phones.
  • Photographs of materials for research purposes are allowed for no cost.
  • Always handle materials carefully with clean hands.

From Letters to Newspapers: Find these and more at USD

Archives and Special Collections is located on the third floor of University libraries and open Monday-Friday 8-5.  Please call, email or stop by if you have questions about our collections.  Appointments are encouraged but not necessary.

Archives and Special Collections contains historic materials with strengths in the study of the northern plains relating to:

  • Native American history and culture
  • South Dakota politics
  • Settlement of the Northern Plains
  • History of USD.  

About Archives and Special Collections

USD Archives and Special Collections houses the rare books, manuscript collections and instituional archives for the University of South Dakota.  Materials are gathered into several collections based on content and subject.

Chilson Collection includes materials (mostly books) related to local history, South Dakota history, Native American cultures and western expansion of the United States.

Mahoney Music Collection is one of the most complete collections in the US pertaining to the violin and violin family of instruments.

Richardson Collection includes the majority of the manuscipt collections focusing on South Dakota's cultural, political and economic history.

USD Archives holds the records of the academic and administrative departments of USD as well as materials relating to the activities of students, faculty and alumni.

Find Resources in Archives and Special Collections

The research materials in Archives and Special Collections are searchable through online finding aids, guides held in the department, and the USD catalog.  

A Finding Aid is often the tool that both Archives staff and users rely upon to find letters, photographs, reports, diaries and other archival records with the Richardson and USD Archives collections. 

Search the Catalog for books, pamphlets and other materials in the Chilson Collection.  Limit Collection to Special Collections-Chilson

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