SD Oral History Center

South Dakota Oral History Center

The Oral History Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Our staff is available during those hours with the exception of University holidays when the Oral History Center will be closed.  It is suggested that you make an appointment with our staff at least one week prior to your visit to the Oral History Center by using the contact information below.
Phone number: 605-677-6386. Email address: OR


In 2013, USD administration made the decision to transfer the South Dakota Oral History Center from the College of Arts and Sciences to the University Libraries. As part of the University Libraries, the South Dakota Oral History Center remains committed to documenting the history of the Northern Plains region by continuing to collect oral histories and preserving interviews collected during the past five decades. The transition of the center, including the relocation of the office and research collections, from Dakota Hall to I.D. Weeks, will continue throughout 2013-2014.

Preserving the Voices of the Northern Plains

The South Dakota Oral History Center collects and preserves voices of the people of the Northern Plains. The acquisition and preservation methods are a major part of the Native Studies program, allowing students to have an active role in the Oral tradition.

Included in the Oral History Collection are 5500 interviews which preserve indigenous memories and experiences from the 1890s to the present.  This makes the collection an especially vital and  valuable record of the historical, social, and cultural legacy of the state. 

The collection has been digitized and catalogued and available to researchers and historians.


The South Dakota Oral History Center currently houses six unique collections. These collections contain nearly 6000 recordings, and are still growing.

The American Indian Research Project was originally funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation in 1967, and contains approximately 2400 recordings. The recordings in this collection pertain solely to Native Americans of the Northern Plains.

The South Dakota Oral History Project aimed to collect recordings from every county in South Dakota. Currently containing about 3200 recordings, this large collection covers a broad range of topics.

The Stanislaus Maudlin Collection is unique in that it contains the Oral Diary of Father Stanislaus Maudlin, as well as many other recordings he made. The collection centers on Blue Cloud Abbey, a Catholic mission near Martin, South Dakota.

  The John S. Painter Collection was an independently collected group of recordings, and was generously donated to the South Dakota Oral History Center. It contains nearly 300 recordings collected between the late 1950s and early 1980s.

  The James Emery Collection is another independently collected group of recordings. Dating back to the early 1950s, this collection of nearly 300 recordings contains a large amount of Native American music, in addition to other material.

  The Lindley Collectionis the most recent addition to the Oral History Center and was made possible thanks to the generous funds provided by Carina Lindley. The Lindley Collection contains recordings detailing the lives and experiences of people in the Northern Plains.