0.63 linear feet (1 document case and 1 small document case), photographs, sound recording
Oscar E. Simonson (1913-2014) and Alice Margaret Bakken (1918- ) were married on June 11, 1938. They made their home and farmed in the Bristol, South Dakota area for forty years, planting their first crops in the spring of 1939. The collection consists of “Farm Family Record Books” compiled by Alice and Oscar Simonson from June 1, 1941 through December 31, 1979 for their farm in Day County, SD. In these workbooks, issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Home Administration, farmers recorded monthly all money taken in and paid out, as well as farm-furnished food, an annual summary, and a five year inventory. The workbooks provide details of a family farm during the mid-twentieth century. The collection also includes some images of the family and an oral history interview conducted with Alice Simonson in 2016.
Oscar E. Simonson was born on August 14, 1913, at Bristol, South Dakota to Simon and Annie (Skudal) Simonson. He attended country school in Union Township, Day County and Bristol High School. After his education, he farmed with his family near Bristol. In the 1930’s, Oscar worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Alice Margaret Bakken was born in McGregor, North Dakota on January 4th, 1918, to Elmer and Inga Marie (Sand) Bakken. She grew up in rural northeastern South Dakota’s Day County. On June 11, 1938, Alice married Oscar.
Oscar and Alice Simonson made their home and farmed in Day County for forty years. They planted their first crops in the spring of 1939. Over those forty years, the Simonson’s witnessed many advancements in agriculture and technology of rural America including the switch from horses to tractors, crop hybridization, the introduction of electricity in the home, and indoor plumbing. The Simonson’s rotated crops, planted tree belts, practiced diversified farming, and saved seed from the previous year’s crops to plant the next year. Alice kept the books for the family farm.
In 1957, they purchased from Alice’s father, Elmer Bakken, the 1890 homestead of Lars A. Sand in Union Township, Day County, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice lived on the Sand homestead until they sold the farm in 1978 and moved to Webster, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice also acquired his parent’s Union County farm, which his parents had acquired from his grandfather, Ole Simonson, which had been originally homesteaded by Alma Smoots.
While living in Webster, Oscar worked at the Farmers Elevator in Holmquist, South Dakota for ten years. Alice was on the board of Sun Dial Manor in Bristol, when it was being organized and built; Oscar was a board member in 1980’s. Oscar and Alice thoroughly enjoyed traveling by plane and bus. They traveled to Norway to visit Oscar’s mother’s birthplace.
Oscar Simonson died on March 5, 2014 at Bethesda Home in Webster. Oscar and Alice had two children, Linda born in 1940, and Robert born in 1944.
The collection consists of completed “Farm Family Record Books” compiled by Alice and Oscar Simonson from June 1, 1941 thru December 31, 1979 for their farm in Day County, South Dakota. In these workbooks, issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Home Administration, farmers recorded monthly all money taken in and paid out, as well as farm-furnished food, an annual summary, and a five year inventory. Alice made detailed entries in the farm ledgers. She accounted for all incomes and expenses for their farm; everything was noted down to every nail purchased.
The collection also includes information about the Simonson family, images of the family and farm, and an oral history interview conducted with Alice Simonson in 2016.
SDSU Archives and Special Collections
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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.
SDSU Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, "Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers" (2018). Manuscript Archive. 65.