MA 38




4.79 linear feet (4 boxes) photographs, printing plates


The Dakota Farmer first published as a newspaper in 1881, supported all sorts of agricultural organizations and promoted the development of quality livestock and crops for the Dakotas. This collection is composed of plates, publications, reports, correspondence, and photographs used for publication of the Dakota Farmer.

Historical Note

The Dakota Farmer first began as a newspaper in 1881, eight years before North Dakota and South Dakota were granted statehood.

It was first published in Alexandria in what is now Hanson County, S.D. The first owner, James Baynes, sold it within the first year of existence to Augustine Davis, and the publication moved to Huron, S.D. Davis sold a half-interest in Dakota Farmer to William Bushnell in 1883. Bushnell became sole owner of Dakota Farmer in 1885.

As editor and manager, Bushnell led Dakota Farmer into its early prominence. The publication, moved to Aberdeen, S.D. in 1893, supported all sorts of agricultural organizations and promoted the development of quality livestock and crops for the Dakotas. Bushnell himself was active in politics and eventually became state statistician for South Dakota.

Over the next century, Dakota Farmer survived and thrived with farmers through good times and bad, and became a well-respected source of information.

Webb Publishing, which published The Farmer, saw Dakota Farmer as a natural fit and purchased the magazine in 1979.

Today, Dakota Farmer is part of Farm Progress Companies. Farm Progress publishes 18 state farm magazines similar to Dakota Farmer. It owns and operates eight farm shows across the nation, including the largest in the nation, The Farm Progress Show.

Content Notes

This collection is composed mainly of plates, publications, reports, a small amount of correspondence, and photographs. The plates consist of frames, cover mast-heads, article mast-heads, frames for photographs, and other artwork used for the publication. A more detailed description of these plates is found in the container list. The publications are mainly specialty publications aimed at advertisers and marketers. The reports are surveys conducted on farmers, bankers, merchants.

An item of note is the contracting for a new cover file. This material contains several examples of other publication covers with critiques of what works and what does not. Also included in this material is three sample covers for the Dakota Farmer and correspondence between the contractor and the Dakota Farmer staff.

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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.