Bert Popowski Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

MA 005

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Bert Popowski Papers


  • 1935-1978 (Creation)


6.53 linear feet (8 document cases, 2 oversize boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Bert John Popowski was born in Grafton, North Dakota on February 15, 1904. He lived in Grafton throughout his elementary and high school years. He attended South Dakota State College in Brookings, South Dakota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in printing in 1926. He married Harriet Seymour of Aberdeen, SD in 1930. They had two sons, John Seymour and Jerome Bert. / Throughout his career, Bert lived in various areas of the United States and held several different jobs, ranging from a high school principal to associate editor for Look Magazine. From 1951 to his death in 1982, he worked as a freelance writer, author, and contributing editor for several publications. / During a career that spanned half a century, Bert wrote over 2,300 articles. His first feature story appeared in Outdoor Life in 1931. He served as contributing editor for The American Rifleman writing a column titled "Dope Bag." He also wrote columns for several other magazines, including "Hunting" for The Outdoorsman, "Guns and Ammunition" for Hunting & Fishing, and "The Shot Tower" for Guns and Hunting. He wrote several major books and gained national prominence with his classic Hunting Pronghorn Antelope. Some of his works were translated into Spanish and Japanese. He was also an award-winning photographer, and his photographs illustrated many of his articles and books. / In his earlier years, he was best known as an expert varmint hunter. Several of his books did much to popularize this form of hunting. In 1932, he built a log cabin near the Narrows on French Creek in Custer State Park. There he weathered the Great Depression and did most of his writing. In 1949 he won the National Crow Shooting Championship, using calls of his own design to take first place over 51 other contestants. Bert was always interested in natural history and wildlife management as well as hunting. / In 1979, he donated a collection of his books, original manuscripts, and photographs to his Alma mater, South Dakota State University. At the convention of the Outdoor Writers Association of America in Rapid City, the State of South Dakota presented him with a special award as the Dean of South Dakota Outdoor Writers. In the 1980's, Bert contracted cancer and eventually suffered a stroke, which hospitalized him. He died on February 14, 1982.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of articles, manuscripts, and materials related to Popowski's career as author and hunter. Included are photographs, illustrations, and many articles. Bulk of collection is copies of articles authored by Popowski on the subject of hunting and wildlife.

The general materials are composed of correspondence from 1942-1956.

The illustrations consist of several loose-leaf illustrations of crows drawn by Gordon Elliott for Popowski's book titled Crow Shooting and include 29 ink drawings. Also included are two folders of photograph proofs (37 pages) for Popowski's book titled Hunting Pronghorn Antelope, 1 mat board drawing of a fireplace in what is suspected to be Popowski's cabin and drawn by C. Greenidge and one phonograph record titled Crow Calling.

The Japanese magazine Modern Hunting is composed of article submitted by Popowski.

The manuscripts are accompanied by correspondence sent to publishers and an information card, which notes to which publications Popowski sent his manuscripts, whether or not they were published and the amount he was paid for these manuscripts.

The phonograph records is composed of a recording of Popowski demonstrating crow calls. The photographs consist of several black and white photographs, mostly of wildlife and hunting, and a few negatives. Some items of note are 22 matted and signed black and white photographs that Popowski entered into a photography contest at the Iowa State Fair. He won first prize for these photographs.

The research material is the largest series is Popowski's collection of articles he had published in various hunting and wildlife publications. These articles cover a wide range of subjects from big game, crow and varmint hunting to safety and conservation issues. Included also is an autographed copy of The Outdoorsman (June 1947) in which Popowski wrote an article titled "Off-Season" Duck Hunting.

System of arrangement

The Bert Popowski Papers are arranged into eight series:

  • Series 1. General material
  • Series 2. Research material
  • Series 3. Manuscripts
  • Series 4. Published articles
  • Series 5: Japanese Magazine: Modern Hunting
  • Series 6. Photographs
  • Series 7. Illustrations
  • Series 8. Phonograph record

Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Open. Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only. Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

  • Calling All Game, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1952. Call number: SD Collection: SK33.P6ca
  • Calling All Varmints, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1952. Call number: SD Collection: SK33.P6c
  • Crow Shooting, New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1946. Call number: SD Collection: SK325.C7 P6
  • Hunting Pronghorn Antelope, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1959. Call number: SD Collection: SK305.A6 P6h
  • Hunting Small Game, New York: Macmillian Co., 1948. Call number: SD Collection: SK36.P63
  • Manual dil Cazador de Alimanas y Grajos (The varmint and crow hunter's bible. Spanish), Barcelona: Editorial Sintes, 1964, c 1962. Call number: SD Collection: SK33.P58718
  • Olt's Hunting Handbook, Omaha? c1948. Call number: SD Collection: SK313.P6
  • South Dakota Brags, Custer, S.D.: The Author, 1953. Call number: SD Collection: F651.5.P6
  • The Hunter's Book of the Pronghorn Antelope, Tulsa, Okla., Winchester Press, c1982. Call number: SD Collection: SK305.P76 P66 1982
  • The Redbook of Big Game Hunting, Skokie, Ill., Publishers Development Corp., 1961. Call number: SD Collection: SK33.P588
  • The Varmint and Crow Hunter's Bible, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, 1962. Call number: SD Collection: SK33.P587
  • Varmint Hunting, Paterson, N. J., Athletic Activities Pub. Co., 1971. Call number: SD Collection: SK336.P66

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)




MA 5

Description control element

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