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Grant number like: PY-234371-16

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South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD 57007-0001)
Jessica English (Project Director: June 2015 to February 2017)
Preserving Historic Hobo Day

The gathering, digitization, preservation, and appreciation of materials related to “Hobo Day,” a fall homecoming celebration at the South Dakota State University. Held annually in Brookings since 1912, “Hobo Day” not only reflects the history of the university but also demonstrates wider community response to political and cultural changes in South Dakota, providing more than a century of annual snapshots of culture in the central Plains. This project would expand the documentation of the Hobo Day celebration, currently known only through annual yearbooks, to include a wealth of other, community-held materials never systematically collected, including flyers, buttons, newspaper clippings, personal photographs, and firsthand accounts. Collected items would be preserved in digital form by the university libraries and made available through an online exhibit; an accompanying lecture on the history of Hobo Day would interpret the event in the context of regional history.

The South Dakota State University Archives will engage the local Brookings County public with “Preserving Historic Hobo Day” educational lecture and digitization events to collect, preserve, and provide online access to a new body for research on how the local, regional, and University’s social and cultural expression has changed throughout the past century as demonstrated through the enduring Hobo Day tradition. The public will gain new insights into their families’, friends’, and neighbors’ involvement in this community event, and discover ways in which the Brookings County community has been forged, strengthened, and adapted through this annual tradition. Partnering with the Brookings Area Genealogical Society and the SDSU Alumni Association for “Preserving Historic Hobo Day” events is a first step toward developing and sharing resources for sustainable, digital local history preservation of the regional public’s documents, photographs, oral histories, and audiovisual materials.

Project fields:
History, General

Common Heritage

Preservation and Access

$11,987 (approved)
$11,987 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2016 – 12/31/2016