Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Textiles and Clothing

First Advisor

Merlene Lyman


Hard-times of the Dakota Territory demanding strenuous physical labor compelled the investigator to study the clothing and dressmaking needs of pioneer women 1861-1889. This historical study of costume provides an insight into the life styles [sic] and the role of pioneer women as they interpreted clothing into their physical and utilitarian needs in adapting to the new frontier. The purpose of this research was to study the costume of the American women who resided in the Dakota Territory prior to the statehood of South Dakota, November 2, 1889. During the period 1861-1889, the Missouri River served as a geographical barrier in the development of the western half of South Dakota. Therefore, this research is limited to the state of South Dakota east of the Missouri referred to as "east-river." This study dealt with a variety of women who came from diverse backgrounds. To pioneer women who migrated from surrounding areas or emigrated from other countries, clothing was one of the primary needs and a vital asset in conforming to the life style [sic] in Dakota environment. In addition, the ways in which these Dakota women fulfilled their clothing needs provides ample evidence of consumption and patterns of production. The topic of pioneer dress is of growing concern to costume historians across the country; however, research in this area has been limited. This research is an effort to fill the gap of American costume of pioneer women by describing the clothing.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Costume -- South Dakota -- History




South Dakota State University