Elmer and Cecile Sexauer Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

MA 006

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Elmer and Cecile Sexauer Papers


  • 1898-1971 (Accumulation)


2.64 linear feet [3 document cases, 1 oversize box]

Name of creator


Biographical history

Elmer Harrison Sexauer was born July 13, 1888, at Winona, Minnesota, the son of George P. and Elisa (Ulrich) Sexauer. He moved with his family to Volga, South Dakota in 1891 and moved to Brookings several years later. He attended public schools in Brookings and South Dakota State College. In 1911, he joined his father in directing the operations of The Sexauer Company. He served in the US Army during World War I. / Elmer served as president of the SD Seed Dealers Association, president of the Western Seedsmen Association, president of the American Seed Trade Association and president of the National Grain and Feed Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the First Bank Systems, the Board of Directors of Northwestern Bell Telephone and the Board of Trustees for the SD Memorial Art Center. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Business from the University of South Dakota. He was a member of Gamma Sigma Phi SDSU Chapter, Brookings Masonic Lodge No. 24, Brookings Commandery of Knight Templar, El Riad Shrine and Jesters. / At the time of his retirement in 1977, Elmer held the position of chairman of the board of The Sexauer Company, which has its headquarters in Brookings, SD, with division offices in Des Moines, Iowa, West Fargo, ND, and Norfolk, Nebraska. / Elmer Harrison Sexauer died on November 15, 1986.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Cecile Irene Welch Sexauer was born January 18, 1888 in Huron, South Dakota to Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Welch. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Arlington, SD, where they stayed until coming to Brookings, SD in 1903. / A graduate of Brookings High School and South Dakota State College, Cecile also attended Boston Conservatory of Music for one year and taught piano at South Dakota State College. / A member of the Christian Church at Arlington, SD, Mrs. Cecile became a member of First Baptist Church in Brookings, SD where she played piano and organ for about 25 years. / Cecile was active in local, state and national music organizations, serving as president of the National Music Organization. She was also a member of BA chapter of PEO and Sorosis Club. / Cecile Irene Welch Sexauer died on October 7, 1973 at Brookings Hospital. She had been hospitalized 4 weeks. / Elmer Sexauer and Cecile Welch were married on June 28, 1916, at Brookings, SD. They had two children, Dorothy, who died in 1966, and Robert. After Cecile's death in 1973, Elmer married Ada Mitchell Dybdahl on December 10, 1974, at Brookings, SD. Ada died in 1980.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of postcards and other items related to trips taken by Elmer and Cecile Sexauer. Also includes diaries, scrapbooks and family materials collected primarily by Cecile (Welch) Sexauer.

The general material consists mainly of essays written by Cecile Welch Sexauer during her college career. Also included is a Christmas card list of the Sexauer's for 1971, scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, a book of Agricultural Department Reports presented to Elmer Sexauer in 1947, and certificates presented to the Sexauer's on the anniversary of their 50th college reunion. Some examples of their personal stationery, grade school papers from Elmer's youth, and a language paper of Laura Sexauer, Elmer's sister are also included.

A scrapbook of Elizabeth Anne Baker, age 9 weeks, chronicles her first visit to her grandparents’ home during Easter 1947. It was prepared by Jeannette Gagnon-Abbey for the Sexauer's.

The scrapbook was presented to Elmer Sexauer by the Grain and Feed Dealers National Association as a permanent reminder of the Forty-fourth Annual Convention held at Louisville, Kentucky October 13-15, 1940. Elmer was president of the Association at that time.
The postcards are composed of postcards from the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean that the Sexauer’s collected on their travels. There are over 400 postcards in this collection.

The Travels series consists of travel diaries hand-written by Cecile Sexauer. These diaries contain information about where the Sexauer's traveled and the customs, history and items of interest of these places. Some of the places the Sexauer's traveled to Europe, Canada, and Japan. Also included is a souvenir book of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged into series:

  • Series 1. General
  • Series 2. Postcards
  • Series 3. Travels

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives 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

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Notes element

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Alternative identifier(s)




MA 6

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