Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

MA 075

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oscar and Alice Simonson Papers


  • 1941-1979 (Accumulation)


0.63 linear feet (1 document case and 1 small document case)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Oscar and Alice Simonson were married on June 11, 1938. They made their home and farmed in Day County for forty years. They planted their first crops in the spring of 1939. Over those forty years, the Simonson’s witnessed many advancements in agriculture and technology of rural America including the switch from horses to tractors, crop hybridization, the introduction of electricity in the home, and indoor plumbing. The Simonson’s rotated crops, planted tree belts, practiced diversified farming, and saved seed from the previous year’s crops to plant the next year. Alice kept the books for the family farm.

In 1957, they purchased from Alice’s father, Elmer Bakken, the 1890 homestead of Lars A. Sand in Union Township, Day County, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice lived on the Sand homestead until they sold the farm in 1978 and moved to Webster, South Dakota. Oscar and Alice also acquired his parent’s Union County farm, which his parents had acquired from his grandfather, Ole Simonson, which had been originally homesteaded by Alma Smoots.

Oscar and Alice thoroughly enjoyed traveling by plane and bus. They traveled to Norway to visit Oscar’s mother’s birthplace.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Oscar E. Simonson was born on August 14, 1913, at Bristol, South Dakota to Simon and Annie (Skudal) Simonson. He attended country school in Union Township, Day County and Bristol High School. After his education, he farmed with his family near Bristol. In the 1930’s, Oscar worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. On June 11, 1938 Oscar married Alice Margaret Bakken. Oscar and Alice Simonson made their home and farmed in Day County for forty years. While living in Webster, Oscar worked at the Farmers Elevator in Holmquist, South Dakota for ten years. Oscar also servie on the board of Sun Dial Manor in Bristol, South Dakota in 1980’s. Oscar Simonson died on March 5, 2014 at Bethesda Home in Webster.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The collection consists of completed Farm Family Record Books compiled by Alice and Oscar Simonson from June 1, 1941 thru December 31, 1979 for their farm in Day County, South Dakota. In these workbooks, issued by the US Department of Agriculture's Farmers Home Administration, farmers recorded monthly all money taken in and paid out, as well as farm-furnished food, an annual summary, and a five year inventory. Alice made detailed entries in the farm ledgers. She accounted for all incomes and expenses for their farm; everything was noted down to every nail purchased.

The collection also includes information about the Simonson family, images of the family and farm, and an oral history interview conducted with Alice Simonson in 2016.

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.

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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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Related archival materials

Atlas: Day County, South Dakota, 1968.
South Dakota Collection: Oversize G1448.D3 A74 1968

Atlas of Day County, South Dakota: containing plats of each township, a county road map, a rural directory of farmers, and other features, 1952.
South Dakota Collection: Oversize G1448.D3 A74 1952

Bakken family history, Day County, South Dakota by Douglas A. Bakken and Jacquelyn Bakken, 2013.
South Dakota Collection CS71 .B165 2013

Day County history, 1981.
South Dakota Collection: F657.D3 D39

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Alternative identifier(s)




MA 75

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