About The Women’s Room

Early Commercial House photo circa 1890,
now the Sweep-VanDyke Railroad Museum & Cultural Center
A restoration under the auspices of the Plankinton Preservation Society

Help me document the stories of women who lived in Aurora County, South Dakota.

I am embarking on a history project to highlight the lives of women who lived in Aurora County, South Dakota. The objective of this crowd-sourced Women’s Room Project is to encourage people to contribute one-page profiles of their female ancestors, who at one time lived in the county. The intent is to showcase women’s contributions to life in their communities. The collection will become part of the Women’s Room exhibit at the Sweep-VanDyke Railroad Museum & Cultural Center, Plankinton, South Dakota. Future plans include digitizing the information.

Traditionally, historians have judged community leadership based on male-dominant behaviors, such as transforming the wilderness, acquiring land, holding elective office, and establishing successful businesses and social institutions. Because women approached community differently, using a less formal and more intimate style, their contribution to community has often been ignored. By documenting the lives of these women, this project will enrich and expand the historical record and recognize women’s impact upon their communities.

I am asking people to compose their stories using a standard format that conveys the woman’s story on single page. In addition to collecting facts about dates and family members, these overviews include a section to capture in the personality, character, and unique aspects of the woman, using about 200-230 words. Additional information can be provided on page 2 that includes notes about what is missing and also provides an opportunity to attach pictures and other documents. The heart of this project, though, is that the essential story must fit on a single page.

I found it quite easy to compose these stories using obituaries and information found at ancestry.com or familysearch.com. It’s easy to look up homestead information on the web site Bureau of Land Management GLO site.

Follow the links below to read sample profiles and to obtain detailed instructions. Please contact me at rpjhistories@gmail.com for questions or to return any profiles you have written. Thanks so much for helping to save these stories!

Women’s Room Project Instructions

Augusta Theresa Jasch Bogenhagen

Jean Todd Saville, 1846-1935