Lonita Gustad Corothers Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

MA 048

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Lonita Gustad Corothers Papers


  • 1942-2010 (Accumulation)


6.0 linear feet (6 records boxes)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Lonita Joyce Gustad was born on May 19, 1928 in Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota. She lived on a farm near Volin, South Dakota with her parents and a younger sister, Roberta, nicknamed Bobby. Lonita was 17 years old in 1945 when she began keeping a diary. World War II was ending and the second atomic bomb was detonated in Nagasaki, Japan when she realized that she was living in momentous times, but that in time the details would be forgotten.

She graduated from Yankton High School in May of 1946 and began her college education at South Dakota State College in September of the same year, graduating with a degree in pharmacy on June 5, 1950. Her pharmacy class of 1950 was comprised of eight women and 56 men. Her minor was in chemistry, a field that was also predominantly male at the time. Following graduation, she worked at Woodward Pharmacy in Aberdeen, South Dakota for a year. She then moved to Sioux City, Iowa where she worked and lived until the time that she donated her papers to South Dakota State University.

She met Thomas Edward Corothers during her time at college, whom she married on June 24, 1951. The couple had one child, a son named John born on August 3, 1952 who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 25, 1972. Her husband died on March 1, 1998 at the age of 71.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

Composed of Lonita Gustad Corothers' diaries from 1946 through 2010, excerpts from and a timeline index of the diaries, correspondence with Tom Corothers written primarily during their courtship, a grief notebook written after her husband died, and her original writings and poetry. Of note are the daily descriptions of her experiences as a student at South Dakota State College from 1946 to 1950.

System of arrangement

This collection is organized into series:

  • Series 1. Timelines
  • Series 2. Diaries
  • Series 3. Correspondence
  • Series 4. Poetry
  • Series 5. Original Writings
  • Series 6. Diary Excerpts
  • Series 7. General Material

Within each series, items are arranged chronologically, with the exception of Series 6 which is arranged alphabetically.

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.

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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

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Alternative identifier(s)




MA 48

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