Hilton M. Briggs Library Records

Identity elements

Reference code

UA 014

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Hilton M. Briggs Library Records


  • 1886-2023, undated (Creation)


25.92 linear feet (25 record boxes, 1 document case, 1 shoebox)
465 photographs

Name of creator

Administrative history

The Library had its beginning in the fall of 1885 when two rooms on the second floor of the Old Central building were assigned as reading rooms. The Library at that time contained approximately 500 reference books. In the early years, the Library was frequently moved from floor to floor in Old Central and back and forth from Old Central to South building. Essentially, it seems to have consisted of two rooms: a reading room and a book room. The office of Librarian was established in 1886 with the appointment of a Mr. Lewis, an arithmetic teacher. He soon left and was succeeded by Nancy L. Van Doren, Preceptress and English grammar and composition teacher. She continued as Librarian until 1889. These succeeding appointments seem to have been largely nominal, with much of the work being done by students. In 1898, Librarian Robert F. Kerr returned to the position he held seven years earlier, and served until he became secretary to Governor H. Elrod in 1904.

The Library grew slowly. The original collection was mainly donated materials. The first book was purchased in 1886. It was a United States government document: The Report of the Secretary of the Interior for 1877. The college catalog for 1887-88 reported that the college library contained over 2,000 volumes. Ten years later, the Library consisted of about 5,000 volumes and as many pamphlets. By 1925, the figure was 35,000 bound volumes and 8,000 pamphlets.

In 1927, the Library moved into its new building, the Lincoln Memorial Library. It was the first building in the state to be financed from funds received from a tax on cigarettes and the first land-grant college library dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial Library consisted of a large reading room designed to seat 250, a periodical room to accommodate 64, eight classrooms, fourteen seminar rooms, and sufficient unused floor space in the large stack room to accommodate the museum.

A growing institution always needs more space and so the Departments of History, English and Education also moved into the new Library. In 1942, when the Army took over many of the buildings on campus, the Library had to make room in whole or part, for the offices of Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology and Foreign languages. The end of World War II brought an influx of students. The Library collection began to grow rapidly, tripling in size to about 100,000 volumes in the 20 years after occupying the new facility.

The establishment of a doctoral program in 1954-55 had great significance for the Library. To supplement such studies, Library appropriations were greatly expanded, as was the staff. By the late 1950's, the Lincoln Memorial Library was visibly inadequate. Books were overflowing the shelves, service areas and offices intruded upon the study areas and students found that the crowded and noisy conditions interfered with their studies. One-by-one, the faculty offices found new homes, classrooms were converted to house additional books and storage areas for books were added in East Men's Hall and Hansen Hall. After years of study, a new library was built. Hilton M. Briggs Library was finished in 1977.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of administrative records, cataloging records, collection development files, committee and meeting records, financial records, library serials files, off campus relations files, and reports.

Folders consist of administrative records, publications, newsletters, reports, photographs, policies related to the operation of the library, material pertaining to special events, circulation, inter-library loan, reserves, information services, acquisitions, cataloging, serials, and bindery.

Also included are meeting minutes for committees such as the Social Committee, Publicity Committee, Collections and Connections Committee, Exhibits, Arts and Signage Committee, Staff Development Committee, the University Library Committee, and Faculty and Staff Library Committees.

System of arrangement

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

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

Notes element

General note

Ask Us!

If you have questions or would like to schedule a visit, please let us know.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)




UA 14

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Accession area