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Joseph H. Cash

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Location: Room 321, I.D. Weeks Library


Collection Summary

Title Joseph H. Cash
Span Dates 1945-1994
Bulk Dates 1966-1989
Quantity 48 linear ft.
Printed Material
Location     Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, University of South Dakota.


Joseph H. Cash was born on January 3, 1927 in Mitchell, South Dakota. After graduating from Bonesteel High School (SD), he served in the Marine Corps. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a master’s degree in 1959 both from the University of South Dakota. On December 18, 1952, Cash married Margaret Ann Halla in Vermillion, SD.

Between 1951 and 1962, Cash taught and coached in Scotland, Pierre, and Lead high schools (SD). He then moved to Montana to teach at Eastern Montana College in Billings for 3 years and spent summers conducting oral history interviews on South Dakota's Indian Reservations. In 1966, he earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa. In 1968, he joined the faculty of the University of South Dakota's (USD) history department, where he remained for the next 23 years. In 1972, Cash was named the Duke Research Professor of History at the University of South Dakota, funding for which came from the Doris Duke Foundation. From 1969-1973, Cash served as the Director of the American Indian Research Project. From 1970-1973, he served as the Director of the South Dakota Oral History Project. During this same time, he was also Director of the Division of Indian Research within the Institute of Indian Studies. In 1977, Cash was named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held for 10 years before returning to full-time teaching in the Department of History. In 1987-1990, Cash served as director of the Institute of American Indian Studies.

In 1974, Cash received the Distinguished Service Citation Award from the University of South Dakota Institute of Indian Studies. Cash authored 10 books and numerous articles on South Dakota history, mining, American Indians and oral history, including “To be an Indian,” “The Sioux People,” and “The Practice of Oral History.” His book “Working the Homestake” was a Francis Parkman Prize nominee. In 1990, Cash received the Robinson Award in recognition of his work in South Dakota history. This award recognized his accomplishments at USD and his service as president of the South Dakota Historical Society and member of its board of directors, member of Cultural Preservation, and as a charter member of the South Dakota Committee of Humanities. Cash was also a member of the South Dakota Centennial Commission that planned the state's 100th birthday celebration in 1989. He lobbied for the creation and funding of the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. In addition, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was active in professional history associations.

On April 23, 1991, Cash died at the age of 64 in Vermillion, SD. He was inducted posthumously into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1995.

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