MA 52




1.0 linear feet (1 records center box) photographs


Audrae Visser is an American educator and poet and was Poet Laureate of South Dakota from 1974-2001. The collection is composed primarily of correspondence with Dr. Charles Woodard, Visser’s poetry and prose writings, and photographs.

Historical Note

Audrae Eugenie Visser was born June 3, 1919 to Harry J.L. and Addie Mae (Perryman) Visser on a farm near Hurley, South Dakota. She attended country schools in Turner and Moody counties and graduated from Flandreau High School in 1938. She received degrees from Black Hills Teachers College, South Dakota State University, and the University of Denver.

Visser’s 52 year career in the field of education began with a position in the Moody County country schools from 1939 to 1943. She also taught elementary and high school students in Hot Springs, Pierre, Elkton, De Smet, and Flandreau, South Dakota, and in Windom, Verdi, and Lake Benton, Minnesota. She spent one year in Nagoya, Japan from 1954 to 1955, teaching the children of U.S. Air Force personnel stationed there.

Visser was also a poet and wrote her first poem when she was twelve years old. Her first published poem appeared in Pasque Petals, the South Dakota Poetry Society magazine when she was 21 years old. She published her first book of poetry, Rustic Roads and Other Poems, in 1961, and was appointed to be Poet Laureate of South Dakota in 1974 by Governor Richard Kneip. She published nine more volumes of poetry from 1974-1998, and also wrote the introduction to Pages Glued Apart, a book of poetry by Evelyn Winklepleck-Stuefen. Visser’s books sometimes included her own art work.

Visser’s poetry has won numerous awards, including second prize in the 1984 National Federation of State Poetry Societies contest judged by May Swenson. She also sponsored state and national poetry contests as memorials to her parents since 1976, including the Perryman-Visser scholarship for outstanding poetically-inclined students at South Dakota State University. She served as Associate Editor and Editor of Pasque Petals during the time that she was Poet Laureate and a member of the South Dakota State Poetry Society.

Audrae Visser had a son, Lou H. Guardino, and a brother, Donald. She died on October 8, 2001 in Mabank, Texas.

Content Notes

The materials in this collection were collected and donated by Dr. Charles Woodard of the South Dakota State University English Department. The collection is primarily composed of correspondence between Audrae Visser and Dr. Woodard and includes many of her writings to fulfill class assignments. Also included are photographs she took and written accounts of her frequent travel vacations, as well as materials related to her awards, honors, and activities as a poet and as a member of numerous organizations.

This collection consists of correspondence, clippings, photographs, and many poetic and prose writings by Visser including book reviews and reports, speeches, and a Pioneer Humor Project undertaken to fulfill the requirements of the Heritage of the Prairies Institute at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota.

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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.