MA 5




4.32 linear feet (8 boxes) photographs, sound recording


Bert Popowski is noted as an outdoor writer. He wrote books concerning various aspects of outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing. His writings emphasized the important of habitat management. This collection is composed of articles, manuscripts, and materials related to Popowski's career as author and hunter.

Historical Note

Bert John Popowski was born in Grafton, North Dakota on February 15, 1904. He lived in Grafton throughout his elementary and high school years. He attended South Dakota State College in Brookings, South Dakota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in printing in 1926. He married Harriet Seymour of Aberdeen, SD in 1930. They had two sons, John Seymour and Jerome Bert.

Throughout his career, Bert lived in various areas of the United States and held several different jobs, ranging from a high school principal to associate editor for Look Magazine. From 1951 to his death in 1982, he worked as a freelance writer, author, and contributing editor for several publications.

During a career that spanned half a century, Bert wrote over 2,300 articles. His first feature story appeared in Outdoor Life in 1931. He served as contributing editor for The American Rifleman writing a column titled "Dope Bag." He also wrote columns for several other magazines, including "Hunting" for The Outdoorsman, "Guns and Ammunition" for Hunting & Fishing, and "The Shot Tower" for Guns and Hunting. He wrote several major books and gained national prominence with his classic Hunting Pronghorn Antelope. Some of his works were translated into Spanish and Japanese. He was also an award-winning photographer, and his photographs illustrated many of his articles and books.

In his earlier years, he was best known as an expert varmint hunter. Several of his books did much to popularize this form of hunting. In 1932, he built a log cabin near the Narrows on French Creek in Custer State Park. There he weathered the Great Depression and did most of his writing. In 1949 he won the National Crow Shooting Championship, using calls of his own design to take first place over 51 other contestants. Bert was always interested in natural history and wildlife management as well as hunting.

In 1979, he donated a collection of his books, original manuscripts, and photographs to his alma mater, South Dakota State University. At the convention of the Outdoor Writers Association of America in Rapid City, the State of South Dakota presented him with a special award as the Dean of South Dakota Outdoor Writers. In the 1980's, Bert contracted cancer and eventually suffered a stroke, which hospitalized him. He died on February 14, 1982

Content Notes

This collection is composed of articles, manuscripts, and materials related to Popowski's career as author and hunter. Included are photographs, illustrations, and many articles. Bulk of collection is copies of articles authored by Popowski on the subject of hunting and wildlife.

The general materials are composed of correspondence from 1942-1956.

The illustrations consist of several loose-leaf illustrations of crows drawn by Gordon Elliott for Popowski's book titled Crow Shooting and include 29 ink drawings. Also included are two folders of photograph proofs (37 pages) for Popowski's book titled Hunting Pronghorn Antelope, 1 mat board drawing of a fireplace in what is suspected to be Popowski's cabin and drawn by C. Greenidge and one phonograph record titled Crow Calling.

The Japanese magazine Modern Hunting is composed of article submitted by Popowski.

The manuscripts are accompanied by correspondence sent to publishers and an information card, which notes to which publications Popowski sent his manuscripts, whether or not they were published and the amount he was paid for these manuscripts.

The phonograph records is composed of a recording of Popowski demonstrating crow calls. The photographs consist of several black and white photographs, mostly of wildlife and hunting, and a few negatives. Some items of note are 22 matted and signed black and white photographs that Popowski entered into a photography contest at the Iowa State Fair. He won first prize for these photographs.

The research material is the largest series is Popowski's collection of articles he had published in various hunting and wildlife publications. These articles cover a wide range of subjects from big game, crow and varmint hunting to safety and conservation issues. Included also is an autographed copy of The Outdoorsman (June 1947) in which Popowski wrote an article titled "Off-Season" Duck Hunting.

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.