Identifier

MA 20

Dates

1918-1987

Extent

0.42 linear feet (1 document case) sound recordings

Abstract

This collection is a small representation of the research that Jeanette Kinyon and Jean Walz gathered for biography of Gladys Pyle, titled "The Incredible Gladys Pyle." Pyle was a South Dakota politician and the first woman elected to the United States Senate without having previously been appointed to her position; she was also the first female senator to serve as a Republican and the first female senator from South Dakota.

Historical Note

Gladys Pyle (October 4, 1890 – March 14, 1989) was a South Dakota politician and the first woman elected to the United States Senate without having previously been appointed to her position; she was also the first female senator to serve as a Republican and the first female senator from South Dakota. She was also the first female senator never to marry.

She was born to John and Mamie (Shields) Pyle and graduated from Huron College in 1911. She taught in the public high schools at Miller, Wessington, and Huron from 1912-1918. In 1923 she became first woman member of the State House of Representatives, serving from 1923-1927. Pyle then served as Secretary of State of South Dakota from 1927–1931 and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 1930, garnering nearly a third of the vote in the primary but losing after seven recounts of the votes. She was a member of the State securities commission from 1931-1933. She engaged in the life insurance business in private life.

Gladys, her mother Mamie, and two sisters were very involved in the Women's Suffrage movement and frequently hosted meetings of the local chapter in their house.

On November 8, 1938 she was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Peter Norbeck. She defeated Tom Berry, a former Democratic Governor of South Dakota. She served from November 9, 1938, to January 3, 1939.

In 1981, Jeanette Kinyon and Jean Walz began to gather research for a biography of Gladys Pyle, a prominent woman in South Dakota politics. They interviewed Miss Pyle and researched books, manuscripts, letters, news stories, editorials, and other interviews. This collection is a small representation of the research gathered for this project.

Content Notes

"The Incredible Gladys Pyle" Collection consists of clippings, correspondence, financial records, manuscripts, research, transcripts and audio cassettes.

The clippings include advertisements for the published book and clippings of Gladys Pyle on her 96th birthday. The correspondence includes letters on the publication of the book and letters from Gladys Pyle noting corrections for the book. Included is a handwritten letter from Governor Sigurd Anderson praising Gladys Pyle and her contributions to South Dakota politics.

The financial records are minimal and include itemized lists of expenses. There are two manuscripts for the book, one is with the published title "The Incredible Gladys Pyle", and the other with an alternative title "Gladys Pyle: Always a Pioneer". The transcripts appear to accompany only one set of audiocassettes. Included with the transcripts are notebooks with interview questions for Miss Pyle.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

Follow this link for more information:

https://www.sdstate.edu/sdsu-archives-and-special-collections/manuscript-archives

Language

English

Publisher

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

Rights

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.

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