UA 14


1886-2022, undated


25.92 linear feet [25 record boxes, 1 document case, 1 shoebox] 465 photographs


The Library is a learning and research center that inspires academic excellence, creative scholarship, and student engagement. This collection is composed of Dean's office records, public services records, technical services records, South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, committee records, and faculty and staff meeting records.

Historical Note

The Library had its beginning in the fall of 1885 when two rooms on the second floor of the Old Central building were assigned as reading rooms. The Library at that time contained approximately 500 reference books. In the early years, the Library was frequently moved from floor to floor in Old Central and back and forth from Old Central to South building. Essentially, it seems to have consisted of two rooms: a reading room and a book room. The office of Librarian was established in 1886 with the appointment of a Mr. Lewis, an arithmetic teacher. He soon left and was succeeded by Nancy L. Van Doren, Preceptress and English grammar and composition teacher. She continued as Librarian until 1889. These succeeding appointments seem to have been largely nominal, with much of the work being done by students. In 1898, Librarian Robert F. Kerr returned to the position he held seven years earlier, and served until he became secretary to Governor H. Elrod in 1904.

The Library grew slowly. The original collection was mainly donated materials. The first book was purchased in 1886. It was a United States government document: The Report of the Secretary of the Interior for 1877. The college catalog for 1887-88 reported that the college library contained over 2,000 volumes. Ten years later, the Library consisted of about 5,000 volumes and as many pamphlets. By 1925, the figure was 35,000 bound volumes and 8,000 pamphlets.

In 1927, the Library moved into its new building, the Lincoln Memorial Library. It was the first building in the state to be financed from funds received from a tax on cigarettes and the first land-grant college library dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial Library consisted of a large reading room designed to seat 250, a periodical room to accommodate 64, eight classrooms, fourteen seminar rooms, and sufficient unused floor space in the large stack room to accommodate the museum.

A growing institution always needs more space and so the Departments of History, English and Education also moved into the new Library. In 1942, when the Army took over many of the buildings on campus, the Library had to make room in whole or part, for the offices of Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology and Foreign languages. The end of World War II brought an influx of students. The Library collection began to grow rapidly, tripling in size to about 100,000 volumes in the 20 years after occupying the new facility.

The establishment of a doctoral program in 1954-55 had great significance for the Library. To supplement such studies, Library appropriations were greatly expanded, as was the staff. By the late 1950's, the Lincoln Memorial Library was visibly inadequate. Books were overflowing the shelves, service areas and offices intruded upon the study areas and students found that the crowded and noisy conditions interfered with their studies. One-by-one, the faculty offices found new homes, classrooms were converted to house additional books and storage areas for books were added in East Men's Hall and Hansen Hall. After years of study, a new library was built. Hilton M. Briggs Library was finished in 1977.

Content Notes

This collection is composed of administrative records, cataloging records, collection development files, committee and meeting records, financial records, library serials files, off campus relations files, and reports.

Folders consist of administrative records, publications, newsletters, reports, photographs, policies related to the operation of the library, material pertaining to special events, circulation, inter-library loan, reserves, information services, acquisitions, cataloging, serials, and bindery.

Also included are meeting minutes for committees such as the Social Committee, Publicity Committee, Collections and Connections Committee, Exhibits, Arts and Signage Committee, Staff Development Committee, the University Library Committee, and Faculty and Staff Library Committees.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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


This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the SDSU Archives and Special Collections.