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USD Grad's Research on Shakespeare's Influence in South Dakota Among Symposium Topics

Reading clubs, Stomach Bitters ads and ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ in Lakota

Image Chelsea Campbell and Darlene Farabee Student researcher Chelsea Campbell and Darlene Farabee, USD English chair.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Recent USD graduate Chelsea Campbell will present her research about William Shakespeare’s influence on South Dakota at a symposium this week that’s part of the monthlong exhibit of a rare 1623 book of his plays.

The First Folio will be on display 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday through April 2 at the National Music Museum next to musical instruments from that era, the only stop in the state for the presentation marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Admission is free.

Campbell, who graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in English, started her research as an undergraduate student, funded by the U. Discover Summer Scholar program at the University of South Dakota. She looked to find evidence of Shakespeare’s influence on the lives of South Dakotans and continued her research after graduation.

Campbell worked with Darlene Farabee, Ph.D., English chair and associate professor, to search through microfilm in USD’s I.D. Weeks Library and archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre.

One of the most notable things she found was an advertisement for Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters from an 1899 edition of the “Daily Deadwood Pioneer Times” that referred to Shakespeare’s tragic prince of Denmark. “Nothing ailed Hamlet but indigestion, which upset his liver, polluted his blood and made him nervous,” claimed the ad. “If it had been possible for Hamlet to have had Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters, he would have been a different character.”

Campbell said that showed how even early on ads tried to connect with consumers by using household names to draw people toward a product. “These advertisements show that Shakespeare is recognizable. My argument is these ads prove he was present and a part of everyone’s daily lives,” she said.

Other topics to be covered through short talks and discussions at the symposium on Friday and Saturday: Shakespeare reading clubs that were popular in South Dakota towns; traveling productions performed in small-town opera houses; the difficulties and possibilities of translating “To be or not to be” into Lakota; and ways that settler communities and Native Americans interacted with Shakespeare in the past.

Details of the exhibit and the full schedule are at The schedule of the Friday-Saturday, March 18-19 symposium, which is free, open to the public and held in Old Main’s Farber Auditorium:


2 p.m. -- Welcome from President James W. Abbott, University of South Dakota

2:15 p.m. -- Shakespeare Live: Bare Bodkins Theatre Co., Sioux Falls, Jayna Fitzsimmons, artistic director; South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, Vermillion, Chaya Gordon-Bland, artistic director; reading from “Antony and Cleopatra”

3:15 p.m. -- 19th and early 20th century Shakespeare: Shakespeare in 19th century South Dakota newspapers, Chelsea Campbell, USD; outdoor Shakespeare at Yankton College, Darlene Farabee, USD; reading from “Macbeth”; reading from “As You Like It”

4:30 p.m. -- Coffee and refreshments

(7 p.m. -- Ayreheart concert)


1 p.m. -- Introductions

1:15 p.m. -- Shakespeare on the Plains: Shakespeare reading clubs in South Dakota, Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen, Northern State University; past and present of the Wessington Springs Shakespeare Garden, Kathy Dean, Wessington Springs Shakespeare Garden; reading from “Hamlet”

2:15 p.m. -- Shakespeare and cultural exchange: on translating ‘To be or not to be’ into Lakota, Armik Mirzayan, USD; educational outreach, South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, Chaya Gordon-Bland, artistic director, South Dakota Shakespeare Festival; reading from “Macbeth”

3:15 p.m. -- Coffee break

3:30 p.m. -- Shakespeare and Native American students: discussion of teaching, Jesse Bien, Flandreau Indian School, and Paula Burns, Iowa State University, with Chaya Gordon-Bland facilitating; reading from “The Tempest”

4:30 p.m. -- Closing remarks: Darlene Farabee, USD

The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is sponsoring the “First Folio! The Book that Gave us Shakespeare” tour to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the generous support of and Vinton and Sigrid Cerf. Learn more at


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News