Audio files from the State Archives collections now available online

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – In November 2021, the South Dakota State Archives were awarded a South Dakota Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize select audio recordings and make them available on the South Dakota Digital Archives.

South Dakota State Archivist Chelle Somsen these recordings are fascinating.

The digitized content is a variety of South Dakota history, including oral history interviews about wartime experiences in Vietnam and during World War II, life during the Great Depression, the Black Hills flood of 1972, and the 1985 Farm Rally in Pierre. There are also recordings with Gladys Pyle; Hazel Mahone, a successful African American businesswoman from Huron; Ben Black Elk; Ida McNeil, a pioneer in radio broadcasting; and Nellie Zabel Willhite, the first deaf person to earn a pilot’s license.

As the focus for the digitization project and electronic records, staff recently processed the digitized content, preparing transcripts, performing quality control, cataloging the files, and uploading them to the South Dakota Digital Archives. The 123 audio files and transcripts created for the project are now available on the South Dakota Digital Archives at

For more information, contact the State Historical Society State Archives, by calling 605-773-3804 or visit