The first edition of the Black Hills Journal, the original name of the Rapid City

A family whose connection to Black Hills State University dates nearly a century recently donated the first edition of the Black Hills Journal, the original name of the Rapid City Journal, to Black Hills State University. Pictured, left to right, are Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement; Patricia Peterson Meyers; Susan Talley-Johnson, a 1970 BHSU graduate and Edith Peterson’s granddaughter; and Rich Loose, systems librarian, E.Y. Berry Library Learning Center.

, has found a permanent home in Black Hills State University’s Leland B. Case Library of Western Studies.  

The publication, dated Jan. 5, 1878, was recently donated to the University by Patricia Peterson Meyers. The paper was passed down to Myers from her mother, the late Edith Hoy Peterson. “The family believed BHSU was a place where people could see the paper and where it would be preserved,” according to Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement.

The newspaper was uncovered in 1982 when the Rapid City Journal held a contest for the oldest newspaper in observation of the city’s Centennial celebration. Peterson searched her father’s collection of old newspapers and discovered the Vol.1 No. 1 of the Black Hills Journal.  The paper includes a faded signature, “for Mr.Hoy.” According to the 1982 Rapid City Journal article, Peterson believed the newspaper was a gift from the Journal founder and publisher Joseph Gossage to her father Thomas Hoy, a friend of the Gossages. The front page of the Journal contains a report of the Ladies Home Society’s Christmas festival, updates on the social lives of the townspeople, and the newspaper’s first police blotter reporting the theft of a horse.

The newspaper is a great addition to an already spectacular collection, according to Bobbi Sago, BHSU special collections librarian and archivist. “It’s a really great piece for the students to see – it really makes history come alive.”

Peterson’s connection to BHSU began in the early 1900s when she was a student at Spearfish Normal School. Since then, four of her 10 grandchildren have earned degrees from BHSU including Peterson’s granddaughter Susan Talley-Johnson, a 1970 BHSU graduate.

A decade ago,Talley-Johnson donated more than 100 historical items to the University including original postcards from the Black Hills region as well as postcards sent to the family from around the world, antique artifacts from the family’s pharmacy business, and other news clippings. Also, included in this collection is a small wooden writing table that former President Calvin Coolidge used to sign the dedication of Mt. Rushmore 85 years ago, Sago said. A Mt. Rushmore dedication booklet, also in the collection, shows the table next to Coolidge during the dedication. Another significant piece is a framed photo of the bust of Mt. Rushmore signed and dated by Guzton Borglum.

Sago said the collection also includes two receipts made out to Alice Brush Hoy from the Eastern Star Society. The receipts are signed by Carrie Ingalls Swanzey, the younger sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder who authored the Little House on the Prairie books.

The newspaper will likely be displayed in the reading room, Sago said. She hopes to eventually have an exhibit of the entire Edith Hoy Peterson collection. “It’s a great collection to have available for researchers and anyone interested in Black Hills history,” she said.

Talley-Johnson said her grandmother had ties to the University all her life and her legacy will continue to live on through the special collections at BHSU.

 “We are grateful to Edith Hoy Peterson's family and all of our donors for their generosity and continued support. Without them the Case Library wouldn’t be the wonderful resource that it is,” Sago said.